Animal Fighting: Related Cases
|RSPCA v. McCormick|| EWHC 928 (Admin)||It was held that for an animal fight to have taken place, contrary to Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act, the following must have occurred: a "protected animal" must have been placed with another animal in an environment where the ability of both to escape is restricted and controlled by some person or persons connected with that activity or by some artificial restraint. ‘Placed with’ is to be construed as a ‘matter of normal language.’|
|Texas Attorney General Letter Opinion 94-071||Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. LO 94-071||
Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether staged fights between penned hogs and dogs constitutes a criminal offense. The Assistant Attorney General deemed these staged fights as violating the criminal cruelty laws.
|State v. Claiborne||State v. Claiborne, 505 P.2d 732 (Kan. 1973)||
Animals -- Cruelty to Animals -- Cockfighting -- Gamecocks Not Animals -- No Statutory Prohibition Against Cockfights -- Statute Not Vague. In an action filed pursuant to K. S. A. 60-1701 in which the state seeks a construction of K. S. A. 1972 Supp. 21-4310 (cruelty to animals) making its provisions applicable to cockfighting, the record is examined and for reasons appearing in the opinion it is held: (1) Gamecocks are not animals within the meaning or contemplation of the statute. (2) There is no clear legislative intent that gamecocks be included within the category of animals protected by the statute. (3) The statute does not apply to or prohibit the conducting of cockfights. (4) As construed, the statute is not so vague, indefinite and uncertain as to violate the requirements of due process.
|U.S. v. Braddock||Slip Copy, 2011 WL 327416 (C.A.4 (S.C.),2011)||
Defendant-appellants appealed their convictions following guilty pleas to offenses relating to illegal cockfighting and gambling activities. On appeal, they challenged the denial of their motion to dismiss for selective prosecution or, in the alternative, for discovery in support of their selective prosecution claim. In particular, appellants contend that district court should have dismissed the indictment or granted leave to obtain discovery because they, as Caucasians, were prosecuted federally, while two Hispanic co-conspirators and thirty-six Hispanic people arrested in connection with another cockfighting ring in Hampton County, South Carolina, faced only state charges. The Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, found that appellants failed to show that they were similarly situated to the Hispanic defendants who were not prosecuted on federal charges.
|Sentencia C-889, 2012||Sentencia C-889/12||Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality.|
|Sentencia C-666, 2010||Sentencia C-666/10||The Constitutional Court decided on an unconstitutionality claim against Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection Ley 84 of 1989 that corresponds to the exceptions to the duty of animal protection. This decision established the conditions that must be met for the exceptions of Article 7 to apply. Put in different words, through Decision C-666, the court limits the scope of the legality of bullfighting, establishing certain requirements. In its holding, the Court stated that the seven practices in Article 7 would not violate the Constitution, so long as they were done within the following parameters: (1) As long as it is understood that these animals should, in all cases, obtain special protection against suffering and pain during the execution of these activities. This exception allows the continuation of cultural expressions and entertainment with animals, so long as exceptionally cruel acts against these animals are eliminated, or lessened in the future in a process of adaptation between cultural expressions and duties of protection to animals; (2) These practices can only take place in municipalities and districts in which the practices are themselves a manifestation of a regular, periodic and uninterrupted tradition, and therefore their execution responds to a certain regularity; (3) These practices can only take place during occasions in which they have commonly taken place and in the municipalities and districts where they are authorized; (4) These are the only practices that are authorized to be part of the exception in Article 7 to the constitutional duty to protect animals; and (5) Municipal authorities cannot economically support the construction of installations for the exclusive execution of the activities listed in Article 7 with public funds.|
|Sentencia C-041, 2017||Sentencia C-041, 2017||Sentencia C-041 is one of the most important court decisions on bullfighting. On this occasion, the court held unconstitutional Article 5 of Ley 1774 of 2016 that referred to the Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection. Article 7 contains the seven activities that involve animals for entertainment that are exempted from the duty of animal protection. The practices permitted correspond to rejoneo, coleo, bullfighting, novilladas, corralejas, becerradas and tientas (all variations of bullfighting), cockfighting and all the related practices. Even though the court held that the legislature had fallen into a lack of constitutional protection towards animals, and stated that bullfighting was cruel and inhumane, it deferred the effects of its sentence and gave Congress a two-year period to decide whether bullfighting and the other exception established in Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection will continue to be legally allowed. If after this period, the Congress has not legislated on the matter, decision C-041, 2017 will take full effect and bullfighting along with all the practices established in Article 7 will be considered illegal.|
|R (on the application of Patterson) v. RSPCA||EWHC 4531||The defendants had been convicted of a number of counts of animal cruelty in 2011, to include unnecessary suffering pursuant to Section 4, and participation in a blood sport under Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Patterson was found to have breached an attached disqualification order under Section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, on which this appeal is based. The order covered all types of animals for a period of five years. This prohibited him from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or being a party to an arrangement under which he would be entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are kept. A number of animals were found and seized at the home. The appeal was allowed on the basis that Mr Patterson was not entitled to control or influence the way in which the animals were kept by his wife on the facts.|
|Sentencia C-1192, 2005||C-1192/05||Decision C-1192/05 decides on a claim of unconstitutionality against Articles 1, 2, 22 and 80 of the Taurine Regulatory Statute ley 916 of 2004. In this occasion, the court upheld the constitutionality of this law confirming bullfighting as an artistic expression allowed by the Constitution: “A manifestation of Colombia’s diversity, as intangible good that symbolizes one of the many historical-cultural traditions of the Nation.” The Court stated that since bullfighting is a cultural manifestation of the nation, children do not need to be protected from this practice. The Court believes “children should be provided the opportunity to attend these events so that they can learn and judge for themselves if bullfighting is an art form, or an outdated violent practice. For that reason, the statute does not violate the fundamental rights of children. The court also held that bullfighting is not part of the interpretation of Article 12 that corresponds to the prohibition of torture. The text of the norm speaks about violence and cruel treatment as an “anthropological vision of the human being” the court asserts. With this decision, the Constitutional Court affirms that animals, in this case bulls, are not entitled to any rights. The court considered tradition and culture of a higher value than animal protection.|
|Hernandez-Gotay v. United States||985 F.3d 71 (1st Cir. Jan. 14, 2021)||Plaintiffs filed suit to enjoin the enforcement and challenge the constitutionality of Section 12616 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Section 12616”), which bans the “sponsor[ship]” and “exhibit[ion]” of cockfighting matches in Puerto Rico. The district court upheld Section 12616 as a valid exercise of Congress's Commerce Clause power. On appeal here, the court first determined whether the plaintiffs had sufficient standing to challenge the law. It concluded that plaintiff Ángel Manuel Ortiz-Díaz, the owner of two cockfighting venues and a breeder and owner of more than 200 gamecocks, has standing to challenge Section 12616. Ortiz faces a credible threat of prosecution under Section 12616 because he regularly sponsors and exhibits cockfighting matches. Finding standing, the court considered plaintiffs' claim that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting Section 12616. The court found that cockfighting is an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce and Congress passing Section 12616 was a legitimate exercise of Commerce Clause power. Finally, plaintiffs contend that Section 12616 infringes on their First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. In rejecting this argument, the court held that plaintiffs failed to identify the necessary "expressive element" in cockfighting activities that would render it subject to First Amendment protections and, even if they made such a showing, Section 12616 is a permissible restraint on such speech. Finally, nothing in Section 12616 infringes on the associational right to assemble since it does not prevent individuals from gathering to express their views on cockfighting. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.|
|Lee v. State||973 N.E.2d 1207 (Ind.App. 2012)||
An attendant of a dog fight was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor under section 35-46-3-4 of the Indiana Code. On appeal, the defendant-appellant argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and that the statute invited arbitrary law enforcement, which violated the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution. Though the appeals court found the defendant-appellant had waived her constitutional claims by not filing a motion at the bench trial, the appeals court found her claims lacked merit. The defendant-appellant’s conviction was therefore upheld.
|Ware v. State||949 So. 2d 169 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006)||
In this Alabama case, defendant Walter Tyrone Ware was indicted on six counts of owning, possessing, keeping, and/or training a dog for fighting purposes, and one count of possessing a controlled substance. Police were dispatched to defendant's residence after receiving an anonymous tip about alleged dogfighting. Upon arriving, police found a bleeding dog on the ground next to an SUV, a puppy in the SUV, and 22 more pit bull dogs in the backyard. Most of the dogs were very thin or emaciated, and at least two dogs had fresh cuts or puncture wounds. On appeal, defendant claimed that there was no evidence that he had attended a dog fight or hosted one. However, the court observed that Alabama's dogfighting statute does not require such direct evidence; rather, a case was made based on evidence of training equipment, injured dogs, and the dogs' aggressive behavior exhibited at the animal shelter after seizure.
|Snead v. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Pennsylvania||929 A.2d 1169 (Pa.Super., 2007)||
This Pennsylvania case involves cross-appeals following a jury trial in which defendant SPCA, was found liable for euthanizing the dogs belonging to plaintiff Snead, who was awarded damages in the amount of $154,926.37, including $100,000 in punitive damages. The facts stemmed from a seizure several dogs at a seemingly abandoned property owned by Snead where Snead was arrested on dog fighting charges, which were then dropped the next day. However, Snead was not aware that the charges were dropped and that the dogs were therefore available to be reclaimed. The dogs were ultimately euthanized after Snead went to reclaim them. On appeal, this court first held that the SPCA does not operate as a branch of the Commonwealth and therefore, does not enjoy the protection of sovereign immunity or protection under the Pennsylvania Tort Claims Act. The court held that there was sufficient evidence presented for Snead's Sec. 1983 to go to the jury that found the SPCA has inadequate procedures/policies in place to safeguard Snead's property interest in the dogs. As to damages, the court found the there was no evidence to impute to the SPCA evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of Snead sufficient for an award of punitive damages.
|Savage v. Prator||921 So.2d 51 (La., 2006)||
Two Louisiana "game clubs" filed an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against parish commission and parish sheriff's office after being informed by the sheriff that an existing parish ordinance prohibiting cockfighting would be enforced. The clubs contended that the ordinance was violative of the police power reserved explicitly to the state (the state anti-cruelty provision is silent with regard to cockfighting). The First Judicial District Court, Parish of Caddo granted the clubs' request for a preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court reversed the injunction and remanded the matter, finding that the parish ordinance prohibiting cockfighting did not violate general law or infringe upon State's police powers in violation of Constitution.
|Savage v. Prator||921 So.2d 51 (La. 2006)||
After being informed by the Caddo Sheriff's Office that a 1987 Parish ordinance prohibiting cockfighting would be enforced, two organizations, who had held cockfighting tournaments since the late 1990s and the early 2000s, filed a petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. After the trial court granted the organizations' request for a preliminary injunction, the Parish commission appealed and the court of appeals affirmed. Upon granting writ of certiorari and relying on the home rule charter, the Supreme Court of Louisiana found that local governments may authorize or prohibit the conduct of cockfighting tournaments within municipal boundaries. The case was therefore reversed and remanded to the district court with the injunction being vacated.
|Edmondson v. Oklahoma||91 P.3d 605 (Okla. 2004)||
Petitioners sought relief from a temporary injunction for the Respondents, which prevented petitioners from enforcing the statute banning cockfighting. The Supreme Court assumed original jurisdiction and held that the statute did not violate the Oklahoma State Constitution, and was not unconstitutionally overbroad. Relief granted for petitioners.
|Claddie Savage v. Prator||886 So.2d 523 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2004)||
A Parish Sheriff informed game clubs the parish ordinance against cockfighting would be enforced, despite the fact that cockfighting tournaments had been held at the game clubs since 1991. The game clubs filed for and received a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the parish ordinance. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court decision. Reversed by Savage v. Prator , 921 So.2d 51 (La., 2006).
|People v. Bergen||883 P.2d 532 (Col. Ct. App. Div. III 1994)||
Defendant, a journalist, attempted to film a dogfight for an investigative story on dogfighting following the passage of a Denver ordinance forbidding the ownership of bull terriers (pitbulls). Defendant videotaped two separate fights and dogs "training" by running on treadmills. After the story aired, public outcry lead to a police investigation as to the source of the dogfighting footage, which lead to the arrest of the defendant and her cameramen for dogfighting and perjury.
|McNeely v. U.S.||874 A.2d 371 (D.C. App. 2005)||Defendant McNeely was convicted in a jury trial in the Superior Court of violating the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act. On appeal, t he Court of Appeals, held that the Act did not deprive defendant of fair warning of the proscribed conduct, as the defendant here was required to know that he owned pit bulls in order to be convicted under the Act; and the prosecutor's improper comment was rendered harmless by the trial court's curative instructions.|
|Minter-Smith v. Florida||864 So. 2d 1141 (Fla. 2003)||
Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog engage in dogfighting and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) statute under which appellant was convicted was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant was in violation of the statute that was not unconstitutional on ground that it was ex post facto as applied to defendant; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible. Affirmed.
|State v. Hartrampf||847 P.2d 856 (Oregon 1993)||
Defendant appealed a conviction for attempted involvement in animal fighting, arguing that the statutes at issue were unconstitutionally vague. Since the defendant admitted he knowingly was among spectators at farm hosting a cockfighting event, the Court of Appeals held that a person of common intelligence could discern that defendant's conduct constituted a substantial step toward involvement in animal fighting.
|People v. Cumper||83 Mich. App. 490 (Mich. 1978)||
Defendants were convicted of being spectators at a fight or baiting between dogs and appealed, charging that the "spectator" portion of the statute was impermissibly vague and unconstitutionally overbroad. The court found that the statute was constitutional because it punished attendance as a spectator at an event legitimately prohibited by law and defendants had fair notice of the conduct proscribed. The defendants also claimed that there was insufficient evidence however, the court found ample evidence upon which the jury rendered their decision.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||817 A.2d 451 (Pa. 2003)||
The issue before the Court in this consolidated appeal was whether the trial court properly determined that 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511(h.1)(6), which criminalizes an individual's attendance at an animal fight "as a spectator," is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Specifically, appellees contended that the statute criminalized "mere presence" at a dog fight. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding the evidence showed appellees were active spectators at the fight (as seen in the videotape evidence). The court concluded that the statute is constitutionally sound, thereby reversing the lower court's decision that the statute imposed strict liability on mere presence.
|32 Pit Bulldogs and Other Property v. County of Prentiss||808 So.2d 971 (Miss. S.C. 2002)||
While a criminal trial regarding alleged dog-fighting was pending, the Circuit Court, Prentiss County, ordered the humane euthanization of 18 of 34 seized pit bulldogs. The alleged dog owner appealed. The Supreme Court held that allegations the dogs had been trained to fight, could not be rehabilitated as pets, and posed serious threat to other animals and people, related to the "physical condition" of the dogs, as statutory basis for humane euthanization. Affirmed.
|Rogers v. State||760 S.W.2d 669 (Tex. App. 1988).||
Dog fighting case. Where the dog fighting area was in an open section of woods near the defendant's home, police officers were not required to obtain a search warrant before entering the defendant's property because of the "open fields" doctrine.
|Silver v. United States||726 A.2d 191 (D.C. App. 1999)||
Appellants were each convicted of cruelty to animals, in violation of D.C. Code Ann. § 22-801 (1996), and of engaging in animal fighting, in violation of § 22-810. On appeal, both appellants contended that the evidence was insufficient to support convictions of animal cruelty, and of animal fighting. The appellate court found that the proof was sufficient. Each appellant also contended that his convictions merged because animal cruelty was a lesser-included offense of animal fighting. The appellate court found that each crime required proof of an element that the other did not. Appellants' convictions did not merge.
|Phillip v. State||721 S.E.2d 214 (Ga.App., 2011)||
Defendant was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment after entering a non-negotiated guilty plea to 14 counts of dogfighting and two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Upon motion, the Court of Appeals held that the sentence was illegal and void because all counts, which were to run concurrently, had the maximum prison sentence of five years.
|Mejia v. State||681 S.W.2d 88 (Tex. App. 1984).||
Rooster fighting case. Testimony from the defendant's witness, a sociologist that argued cockfighting is not generally thought of as an illegal activity, was irrelevant in cruelty to animals conviction. Statute is not unconstitutionally vague.
|U.S. v. Lawson||677 F.3d 629 (4th Cir., 2012)||Defendants appealed their conviction of violating, and conspiring to violate, the animal fighting prohibition of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The Court of Appeals granted a new trial, but held, in part, that the AWA is a constitutional exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, and that the provision of different elements of the crime in jurisdictions permitting animal fighting does not violate equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment.|
|U.S. v. Gibert||677 F.3d 613 (4th Cir. 2012)||The primary question in this appeal was whether Congress exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause in enacting a criminal prohibition against animal fighting. Defendants were indicted, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, for their roles in organizing, operating, and participating in “gamefowl derbies,” otherwise known as “cockfighting.” Upon the 4th Circuit’s review of the parties' arguments, it held that the animal fighting statute was a legitimate exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. It also held that the statute did not require the government to prove the defendants' knowledge regarding the particular venture's nexus to interstate commerce. Accordingly, the district court’s decision was affirmed.|
|State v. Gaines||64 Ohio App. 3d 230 (Oh App. 1990)||
Defendant, who pleaded guilty to 2 counts of dogfighting, challenged the constitutionality of the dogfighting statute and appealed a court-imposed forfeiture of cash and other seized items. The Court of Appeals ruled that: (1) dogfighting statute was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad; (2) statute did not violate equal protection or constitute cruel and unusual punishment on ground that violation constitutes fourth-degree felony while violation of statute prohibiting other animal fights is only a fourth-degree misdemeanor; and (3) despite guilty plea, forfeiture of cash and other items was erroneous absent establishment of direct connection with defendant's illegal dogfighting activities.
|U.S. v. Hackman||630 F.3d 1078 (8th Cir. 2011)||Defendants appealed sentences arising out of a Missouri-based dog-fighting conspiracy. Each man pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in animal fighting ventures in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and one Defendant additionally pleaded guilty to engaging in animal fighting ventures in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2156. When sentencing each defendant, the district court applied an upward departure provision found in the application notes to United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG or Guidelines). Each appellant argued that his relevant conduct was not sufficiently cruel to warrant the upward departure. The 8th Circuit found, however, that the district court had properly considered conduct that was legally relevant to Defendants' sentencing under the Guidelines. The court also found that Defendants' conduct amounted to more than just possessing fighting pit bulls. Defendants bred, raised, trained, sold, and fought them knowing that the dogs would be allowed, if not required, to fight until severely injured or dead. Thus, the ordinary cruelty inherent in dog fighting justifies base offense level, while the extraordinary cruelty of Defendants' crimes separately justified the upward departure. The district court's judgment was affirmed.|
|Rego v. Madalinski||63 N.E.3d 190 (Ohio Ct. App., 2016)||In this case, appellee's dog attacked appellant's dog while on appellee's property. Veterinary bills were over $10,000, and the municipal court capped compensatory damages at the fair market value of animal of $400, reasoning that animals are considered personal property. On appeal, this court discusses situations where veterinary costs are appropriate as damages, such as veterinary malpractice suits or where the animal had special characteristics like pedigree, training, or breeding income. Though this case does not fit into those categories, the court recognizes a ‘semi-property’ or 'companion property' classification of animals, and reverse the municipal court and remand for a damages hearing.|
|People v Beam||624 N.W.2d 764 (Mich. 2000)||
Defendant argues on appeal that his conviction under MCL 750.49, which punishes the owner of a dog trained or used for fighting that causes the death of a person, must be reversed because the statute is unconstitutionally vague; specifically, that the terms "trained or used for fighting," "without provocation," and "owner" are vague. The court disagreed and held that the statute is sufficiently clear and gives the defendant fair notice of the offense.
|Humane Society of U.S. v. U.S. Postal Service||609 F.Supp.2d 85 (D.D.C.,2009)||
The question in this case centers on whether a response from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) qualifies as a "final agency action" for purposes of judicial reviewability under the APA. At issue is the HSUS's petition to the USPS to declare a monthly periodical entitled The Feathered Warriror unmailable under the AWA. While the USPS has been broadly exempted from judicial review under the APA, there are exceptions, which include “proceedings concerning the mailability of matter." While the term "proceedings" is largely undefined in the Act, the Court held that it would not limit the term to the post hoc meaning ascribed by the USPS that limits it to only "formal" proceedings. Despite finding that the actions taken by the USPS were indeed judicially reviewable, the court remanded the matter because, after the Humane Society initiated this lawsuit, Congress amended § 2156 of the Animal Welfare Act again, further defining issue of nonmailable animal fighting material.
|White v. U.S.||601 F.3d 545 (C.A.6 (Ohio), 2010)||
The Plaintiff-Appellants are citizens (show bird breeders, feed store owners, and game bird judges) who allege that the AWA amendments to § 2156 concerning animal fighting ventures have caused them various individual and collective injuries. The plaintiffs-appellants allege that these provisions are unconstitutional insofar as they constitute a bill of attainder; violate the principles of federalism contained in, inter alia, the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Amendments to the United States Constitution; and unduly impinge on the plaintiffs-appellants' First Amendment right of association, constitutional right to travel, and Fifth Amendment right to due process for deprivations of property and liberty. The district court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit held that while economic injuries may constitute an injury-in-fact for the purposes of Article III standing, the plaintiffs' alleged economic injuries due to restrictions on cockfighting are not traceable only to the AWA. Additionally, because the AWA does not impose any penalties without a judicial trial, it is not a bill of attainder. The decision of the district court was affirmed.
|Hawaii v. Kaneakua||597 P.2d 590 (Haw. 1979)||
Defendants stipulated that they were involved in cockfights and were prosecuted for numerous violations of § 1109(1)(d), part of Hawaii's cruelty to animals statute. The reviewing court found that the statute was not vague, and was sufficiently definite to satisfy due process with regard to the charge against defendants; nor was the statute overly broad as applied to defendants.
|Peck v. Dunn||574 P.2d 367 (Utah 1978)||
Subsequent to the game cockfighter's conviction for cruelty to animals, she sought a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was unconstitutional on the grounds: (1) that it was vague and uncertain in that innocent conduct of merely being a spectator could be included within its language; and (2) that presence at such a cockfight was proscribed, without requiring a culpable mental state. On review the court held that the board, in the exercise of its police power, had both the prerogative and the responsibility of enacting laws which would promote and conserve the good order, safety, health, morals and general welfare of society. The courts should defer to the legislative prerogative and should presume such enactments were valid and should not strike down legislation unless it clearly and persuasively appeared that the act was in conflict with a constitutional provision.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||572 Pa. 431 (Pa. S.C. 2003)||
Defendants who were charged with cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy for their attendance at a dogfight as spectators challenged the constitutionality of the dogfighting statute. The trial court found that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that since the statute only creates criminal liability for a person's conscious decision to attend a dogfight, it is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.
|U.S. v. Stevens||533 F.3d 218, 2008 WL 2779529 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2008)||Note that certiorari was granted in 2009 by --- S.Ct. ----, 2009 WL 1034613 (U.S. Apr 20, 2009). In this case, the Third Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 48, the federal law that criminalizes depictions of animal cruelty, is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The defendant in this case was convicted after investigators arranged to buy three dogfighting videos from defendant in sting operation. Because the statute addresses a content-based regulation on speech, the court considered whether the statute survived a strict scrutiny test. The majority was unwilling to extend the rationale of Ferber outside of child pornography without direction from the Supreme Court. The majority found that the conduct at issue in § 48 does not give rise to a sufficient compelling interest.|
|Louisiana v. Caillet, Jr.||518 So. 2d 1062 (La. App. 1987)||Twenty- six people where charged with dog fighting in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:102.5 for paying a fee to be spectators at a dog fight. They filed a motion to quash, urging that the indictments failed to charge a punishable offense; they were denied the motion. Thereafter, 11 defendants applied for supervisory writs, the appellate court granted the motion to quash, holding that § 14:102.5 did not proscribe paying a fee to be a spectator at a dog fight.|
|Oregon Game Fowl Breeders Ass'n v. Smith||516 P.2d 499 (Or. 1973)||
This is an appeal of an action by a fowl breeder's association to declare Oregon laws against cockfighting unconstitutional. Game fowl breeders brought an action against a district attorney and State Attorney General seeking judgment that statutes prohibiting cruelty to animals were unconstitutional and seeking an injunction against enforcement of statutes against breeders for cockfighting. The Court of Appeals held that the practice of breeding birds suitable for cockfighting did not qualify as 'good livestock husbandry' and that cockfighting was prohibited by statute.
|State ex rel. Miller v. Claiborne||505 P.2d 732 (Kan. 1973)||
The Kansas Attorney General had advised the cockfighter that cockfighting was illegal in Kansas under the provisions of § 21-4310 (Supp. 1972). The gamecock fighter believed the Attorney General was wrong and advised a county attorney that he intended to fight gamecocks on his farm so the State then sought a declaratory judgment. On appeal, the court found that cockfighting did not fall within the prohibition of § 21-4310 as constituting cruelty to animals, as Kansas statutes proscribing cruelty to animals had traditionally been directed toward protection of the four-legged animal, especially beasts of the field and beasts of burden.
|Jones v. State||473 So. 2d 1197 (Ala. App. 1985)||
Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog or dogs be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog, and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) dogfighting statute was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of animal cruelty investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant owned dogs after effective date of antidog-fighting statute; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities exhibited while lodged at animal shelter was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible.
|Commonwealth v. Gonzalez||403 Pa. Super. 157 (Pa. 1991)||Appellant was convicted of cruelty to animals for cockfighting. On appeal, appellant claimed that the delegation of police power to animal welfare agents was unconstitutional. The court found that appellant was without standing to complain because he failed to show an injury. Appellant also argued that the animal fighting statute was preempted by a federal statute, 7 U.S.C.S. § 2156. The court disagreed. Finally, appellant asserted that § 5511 was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court determined that appellant lacked standing to challenge the statute's overbreadth.|
|Slavin v. US||403 F.3d 522 (8th Cir. 2005)||
Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of the Animal Welfare Act after it created a regulation that prohibited the interstate or foreign commerce transport of birds that would be used in fighting ventures. She argued that the regulators did not consider whether fighting ventures were legal in the state where the birds were being transported to. However, the regulation was considered constitutional since under terms of section 2156(b), only the foreign and interstate transport of the birds was prohibited.
|United States v. Carrano||340 F.Supp.3d 388 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 2018)||Defendant Thomas Carrano was convicted after a jury trial of conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. In 2016, Carrano, who was president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association (“NYUGBA”), became the subject of an investigation by NYPD officers, ASPCA agents, and USDA agents for suspected cockfighting activities. In that investigation, these officers eventually searched Carrano's property and seized extensive animal fighting paraphernalia, some of which was covered in chicken blood. Defendant was indicted on a single count of conspiring to violate the AWA and was subsequently convicted by jury. In this appeal, defendant contends that the government failed to prove he joined a conspiracy to violate the AWA and failed to prove the interstate commerce requirement for the conspiracy. Defendant argues that the "substantial evidence against him, including the training videos, the vitamin supplements, the gaffs and postizas, and the dubbed birds" are consistent with showing chickens at a poultry show, rather than cockfighting. The court noted that the jury made permissible inferences as to the evidence that were consistent with cockfighting, and that a reviewing court will not substitute its judgment for that judgment. In addition, Facebook and text messages from defendant evidence the furtherance of a conspiracy. While defendant contends that the government failed to prove that he actually engaged in cockfighting during the relevant time period, the court stated that the conspiracy charge only required sufficient evidence showing defendant agreed to deal in chickens for a fight through interstate commerce. The court also found defendant's argument as to a defect in the superseding indictment was waived and meritless. Even considering the substance of the argument, the court found proof that defendant's conduct impacted interstate commerce. The court also held that defendant failed to prove his ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal. Defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal or in the alternative a new trial was denied.|
|Ash v. State||290 Ark. 278 (1986)||
Police raided defendant's home and found an area converted into an arena for dog fighting. Defendant was found guilty of promoting or engaging in dog fighting or possessing a dog for that purpose. On appeal, the court found that the based on the evidence a jury could have reasonably concluded that defendant was aware that on property owned by her and her husband an arena had been built for the purpose of clandestine dog fighting and that she was aware it was so being used.
|State v. Bonilla||28 A.3d 1005 (Conn.App.,2011)||
The issue before the court in this case is whether defendant's felony conviction for being a spectator at a cockfight (contrary to General Statutes § 53–247(c)) violates defendant's constitutional rights to assemble and associate, and his equal protection rights. In rejecting defendant's arguments, the court noted first that the right to assemble does not encompass the right to assemble for an unlawful purpose. Further, the right to associate was not infringed because "[a]ttending a cockfight as a spectator is neither a form of 'intimate association' nor a form of 'expressive association' as recognized by our courts or the United States Supreme Court . . ." As to defendant's claim of violation of equal protection, the court found that the aim of § 53–247(c)(4), criminalizing being a spectator at a cockfighting event, is rationally related to the legislative goal of preventing such fights from being staged.
|State v. Crosswhite||273 Or. App. 605 (2015)||After being tipped off about a dog fight, authorities seized several dogs from a home. Defendant was charged with one count of second-degree animal abuse and four counts of second-degree animal neglect. After the presentation of the state's evidence in circuit court, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts, arguing, as to second-degree animal neglect, that the state had failed to present sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that defendant had custody or control over the dogs. Circuit court denied the motion and defendant was convicted on all counts. Defendant appealed the denial of the motion, again arguing that the state failed to prove that he had “custody or control” over the dogs. The appeals court concluded that the plain text and context of ORS 167.325(1), together with the legislature's use of the same term in a similar statute, demonstrated that the legislature intended the term “control” to include someone who had the authority to guide or manage an animal or who directed or restrained the animal, regardless if the person owned the animal. Given the facts of the case, the court concluded that based on that evidence, a reasonable juror could find that defendant had control over the dogs, and the trial court had not erred in denying defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal.|