Animal Fighting: Related Cases
|Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (Peninsula Humane Soc.)||267 Cal.Rptr. 755 (1990)||
In this California case, the owner of a dog that had been seized pending criminal dogfighting charges sought a writ of mandate challenging a county hearing officer's decision finding that puppies born to the dog while she was impounded were dangerous animals. The trial court denied the writ. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that there was insufficient evidence that the puppies were “dangerous animals." The evidence received by the hearing officer relates mainly to appellant's actions and his mistreatment of the parent animal, and the only evidence relevant to the puppies' “inherent nature” was the observed aggressive behavior toward each other while caged together and certain possible assumptions about their nature from the condition and use of their mother.
|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.
|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.
|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.|
|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.|
|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. 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.|
|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.|
|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.
|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.
|Stephens v. State||247 Ga. App. 719 (2001)||
Defendant was accused and convicted of 17 counts of cruelty to animals for harboring fighting dogs in deplorable conditions. Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and the probation terms. The appellate court found, in light of the evidence, any rational trier of fact could have found the elements of cruelty to animals beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, defendant failed to overcome the presumption that the probation the trial court imposed was correct.
|State v. Woods||2001 WL 224519 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)||Defendant was indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, and one count of kidnapping in an incident following a dogfight. Following a jury trial, d efendant was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. The court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.|
|State v. Weeks||1992 Ohio App. LEXIS 1090||Defendant was convicted of violating Ohio's animal fighting statute, and appealed. He challenged the conviction, arguing that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court upheld the conviction. The court ruled that although a portion of the statute was overly vague and broad, that portion was severable from the remainder. The court also held that defendant did not demonstrate that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to him.|
|State v. Scott||2001 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 561||The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.|
|State v. Nelson||219 P.3d 100 (Wash.App. Div. 3, 2009)||
Defendants in this Washington case appeal their convictions of animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel. They contend on appeal that the trial judge abused her discretion by allowing an expert from the Humane Society to render an opinion on whether the evidence showed that the defendants intended to engage in dogfighting exhibitions. The Court of Appeals held that the judge did not abuse her discretion in admitting the expert's opinion. The opinions offered by the expert were based on the evidence and the expert's years of experience. The court found that the expert's opinion was a fair summary and reflected the significance of the other evidence offered by the prosecution. Further, the expert's opinion was proffered to rebut defendants' contention that the circumstantial evidence (the veterinary drugs, training equipment, tattoos, etc.) showed only defendants' intent to enter the dogs in legal weight-pulling contests. Defendants convictions for animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel were 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.
|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.
|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.|
|State v. Crew||--- S.E.2d ----, 2022 WL 151341 (N.C.App.,2022)||Defendant Daniel Crew appealed his convictions for dogfighting, felony cruelty to animals, misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Crew also challenges the trial court's restitution orders totaling $70,000, which the trial court immediately converted to civil judgments. The arrest and conviction of defendant stemmed from an investigation at defendant's residence, where 30 pit bulls were recovered with injuries "similar to injuries a dog would sustain through dogfighting." In addition, publications and notes on preparing for a fight were found, as well as dogfighting training equipment such as a "jenny," staging area for fights, and weight scales for weighing dogs. The State charged Crew with fifteen counts of engaging in dogfighting, one count of allowing property to be used for dogfighting, five counts of felony cruelty to animals, twenty-five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and sixteen counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Ultimately, Crew was convicted by the jury of eleven counts of dogfighting, three counts of felony cruelty to animals, fourteen counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and two counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. The trial court imposed six consecutive active sentences of 10 to 21 months each along with several suspended sentences. The trial court also ordered Crew to pay Orange County Animal Services $10,000 in seven separate restitution orders that were then entered as civil judgments, totaling $70,000 in restitution (testimony at trial indicated that the cost to house the dogs alone was a "a littler over $80,000"). Defendant appealed his criminal judgment and petitioned for a writ of certiorari for the award of restitution entered as civil judgments. On appeal, this court rejected defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence of dogfighting. The police found training equipment, medication commonly used in dogfighting operations, and a dogfighting "pit" or training area as well as the notes preparing dogs to fight. A reasonable juror could have concluded that Crew intended to engage in dogfighting. However, as to the restitution order converted to civil judgments, the court found that the trial court lacked the statutory authority to immediately convert those restitution orders into civil judgments. The court found no error concerning the criminal convictions, but vacated the conversion of the restitution to civil judgments against defendant.|
|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.
|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. Arnold||147 N.C. App. 670 (N.C. App. 2001)||
Defendant appealed from a conviction of participating as a spectator at an exhibition featuring dog fighting alleging that the statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad and an invalid exercise of police power. The appellate court found the statute to be constitutional. Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charge for insufficient evidence, however the appellate court found that there is substantial evidence to support the conviction.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Slavin v. United States||2005 WL 742707 (8th Cir. 2005)||
An Arkansas woman who raises gamefowl brought an action challenging the constitutionality of the Animal Welfare Act which prohibits the interstate transportation of birds for the purposes of fighting. The trial court dismissed the woman's claim and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding the statute is not vague.
|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.
|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-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.|
|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.|
|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.
|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.’|
|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.
|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.|
|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.|
|Queen v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2021 WL 4471099 (Miss. Sept. 30, 2021)||Defendant Tommie Queen was convicted of three counts of dog fighting contrary to Mississippi law. The resulting conviction began with in 2017 after a sheriff's officer received a call about dogs barking and possibly fighting. After being dispatched to defendant's property, the officer encountered multiple dogs on chains and dogs that were actively fighting each other. The officer obtained a search warrant and seized numerous items including heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous (IV) bags containing saline, medicine bottles, vials of vitamins, muscle milk and other muscle-building items, several scales, and a treadmill. Approximately five or six badly injured dogs were taken to a veterinarian and humanely euthanized. The veterinarian visited the property the next day and euthanized three more dogs that were seriously injured. Defendant was convicted on three of the nine indicted counts of animal fighting and sentenced to three years on each count to run consecutively. On appeal here, defendant raised three issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by tendering Kyle Held as an expert in the field of animal cruelty and dog fighting; (2) whether the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Queen of dog fighting; and (3) whether the trial court erred by denying Queen's motion to recuse. As to the first issue on qualification of the expert witness, the proffered expert, Kyle Held, had been employed by the ASPCA for approximately ten years as the director of investigations. Not only was Held certified by the National Animal Control Association, but he had investigated dog fighting operations "probably a few hundred" times according to his testimony. This included the largest organized dog fighting seizure in history. Moreover, Held indicated he testified in approximately 100 animal cruelty or animal fighting cases and has been qualified as an expert six times in previous dog fighting cases. While defendant argued that Held should not be qualified as an expert because he did not hold any college degrees, this court found that argument without merit. Defendant's second argument challenged the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence to support conviction. In particular, defendant notes that the evidence was only circumstantial and no direct evidence showed that defendant was present when the dogs were fighting and injured. However, the court noted that defendant did not dispute that he was the owner of the property where the dogs were recovered (and over 40 other dogs found) and evidence of dog fighting (heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous bags, scales, weight gain powders, treadmills, etc.) were found there. Based on Held's observations, training, and experience, Queen's property was used as a dog-fighting training yard. Further, the veterinarian who performed euthanasia on the dogs testified that there were bite wounds consistent with dog fighting This Court observed that it previously recognized that things like treadmills, dietary supplements, and break sticks of indicative of dog fighting enterprises. Finally, the way the dogs were tied out in the yard with the chains and minimal space between the dogs is “typical on almost every yard that [he] had been on” and was indicative of dog fighting training. Defendant's last contention is that the trial court erred by denying his motion for recusal because Judge Debra Blackwell was previously employed as an assistant attorney general in the district where defendant's indictment was returned. The court found no evidence that created a reasonable doubt as to the validity of the presumption that Judge Blackwell was both qualified and unbiased. Defendant's convictions and sentences were affirmed.|
|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.
|People v. Zamora||--- N.E.3d ---- 2020 IL App (1st) 172011||Defendant Juan Zamora was found guilty of failing to provide humane care and treatment for, and abusing, his 10 dogs in violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act. On appeal, defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions because the it generally showed that he treated his dogs well and they had not sustained physical or psychological injuries. Additionally, he argues that section 3(a)(4) of the act, which criminalizes the failure to provide “humane care and treatment,” is unconstitutionally vague. The conviction stems from defendant's conduct with his 10 pit bull type dogs. When the investigating officer executed a search warrant on defendant's residence, they found the ten dogs heavily chained in the basement standing on newspaper completely saturated with feces and urine, along with breeding harnesses and training treadmills indicative of dog fighting. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, defendant suggests the evidence showed he was a "considerate dog owner with healthy dogs." However, the court was unconvinced, finding the slates of the metal and wooden makeshift cages were not appropriate for indoor or outdoor housing. Further, the accumulation of dog waste also supported the officer's testimony and the presence of dog fighting supplies supported a conclusion that "defendant's treatment of the dogs reflected something other than mere companionship." As to the vagueness challenge, the court found that defendant did not demonstrate that section 3(a)(4) fails to sufficiently enable a person of ordinary intelligence to understand what conduct the statute criminalizes or that it fails to provide police officers and the courts explicit standards. In fact, the court found that "defendant did not demonstrate compassion, sympathy or consideration for the dogs when he failed to provide an adequate habitat or ensure that bodily waste did not accumulate" and that this conduct fell squarely in the conduct addressed by the law. Thus, the court affirmed the lower court's judgment and rejected defendant's claims on appeal.|
|People v. Williams||15 Cal. App. 5th 111 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017), reh'g denied (Sept. 20, 2017)||In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.|
|People v. Richardson||155 A.D.3d 1595, 66 N.Y.S.3d 757 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017), leave to appeal denied, 30 N.Y.3d 1119 (2018)||In this New York case, defendant appeals from a three-county felony animal fighting conviction. Defendant's dog fighting activities came to light when police were dispatched to defendant's residence after defendant's wife reported a burglary in progress. Upon entry by consent, police found, in plain view, a wounded dog in a cage, several modified treadmills for use by dogs, blood on a water heater, and apparent dogfighting paraphernalia. After seeking a search warrant, the items were photographed and other evidence (supplements, training sticks, etc.) was collected. On appeal, the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress all of the physical evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree. The court noted that the dogfighting paraphernalia were observed in plain view by responding policy officers. Additionally, police officers remaining at the house after the protective sweep to prevent the destruction of evidence while the search warrant was issued did not render the search unlawful. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant intended to engage in dogfighting and that the dogs were deprived of medical treatment. In addition to the paraphernalia and collection of literature on dogfighting, defendant's dogs had extensive scarring and healing consistent with dogfighting and inconsistent with defendant's proffered "cat-scratch" and "broken window" explanations. Defendant's convictions and judgment of sentence were affirmed.|
|People v. Parker (Unpublished)||1999 WL 33435342 (Unpublished Mich. 1999)||
Defendants-appellees, who were bound over on the charge of knowingly attending an animal fight and of knowingly organizing, promoting, or collecting money for the fighting of an animal, filed a motion to suppress evidence and motions to quash the information. The trial court granted the motions and dismissed the case. The prosecution appealed and the appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact, and that evidence that had been obtained in violation of defendant Parker's Fourth Amendment rights was admissible against all defendants except Parker. Finally, as to the defendants' challenge that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, the court declared that it had already determined that the language was neither vague nor overbroad. Reversed and remanded for trial.
|People v. McCree||2002 WL 276134 (Cal. 2002)||
Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of eight counts of possession and training of a
fighting dog and two counts of causing a dogfight
for gain. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeal, held that: (1) prosecutor's cross-examination of defense witness was proper; (2) prosecutor's closing arguments were proper; and (3) evidence supported the convictions.
|People v. Lee (Unpublished)||2004 WL 2914207 (Mich. App.) (Unpublished)||
Known and suspected dogfighters, Roderick Lee, Shedrick Lee, and Demar Garvin were jointly tried before a single jury for drug-related offenses. The jury convicted each defendant of conspiracy to deliver or possess with intent to deliver 650 or more grams of a controlled substance. The trial court sentenced each defendant to a prison term of 30 to 60 years. Defendants appealed on equal protection grounds, on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, on grounds of insufficient evidence and of improper admission of prejudicial and/or irrelevant evidence, on grounds of improper jury instruction, and further argued that they were entitled to resentencing. The appellate court confirmed the convictions and sentences.
|People v. Cumper||268 N.W.2d 696 (Mich. 1978)||
Defendant was convicted under MCL 750.49 for being a spectator at a dog fight. He argued on appeal that the statute was impermissibly vague and unconstitutionally overbroad, for punishing an individual for mere presence at a dog fight. The court disagreed, finding that the statute was neither vague nor overbroad because it did not punish the mere witnessing of a dog fight, but attendance as a spectator to a legally prohibited dog fight. For more, see Detailed Discussion .
|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.
|People v. Berry||1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)||
In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, § 399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, § 597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, § 3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.
|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.
|People v. Beam||244 Mich.App. 103 (2000)||
Defendant was charged with owning a dog, trained or used for fighting, that caused the death of a person and filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that M.C.L. § 750.49(10); MSA 28.244(10) was unconstitutionally vague. The court granted defendant's motion, finding the terms "without provocation" and "owner" to be vague, and dismissed the case. The prosecutor appealed, and the Court of Appeals held that statute was not unconstitutionally vague. Reversed.