Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Hoffmann v. Marion County, Tex. 592 F. App'x 256 (5th Cir. 2014) Plaintiffs operated a derelict-animal “sanctuary” on their ten-acre property in Marion County, Texas, where they held over one hundred exotic animals, including six tigers, several leopards, and a puma. Plaintiffs were arrested and charged with animal cruelty and forfeited the animals. Afterward, plaintiffs sued many of those involved in the events under a cornucopia of legal theories, all of which the district court eventually rejected. On appeal, plaintiffs argued Marion County and the individual defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by illegally searching their property and seizing the animals. The court held, however, that government officials may enter the open fields without a warrant, as the defendants did here, because “an open field is neither a house nor an effect, and, therefore, the government's intrusion upon the open fields is not one of those unreasonable searches proscribed by the text of the Fourth Amendment.” One plaintiff further alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; however, the court dismissed this claim because the plaintiff failed to allege how he was excluded from a government benefit or effective service as a result of not having an interpreter during the investigation or arrest. The other claims were either dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, not being properly appealed, or not stating a proper cause of action. The district court’s grant of summary judgment was therefore affirmed.
State v. Peck 93 A.3d 256 Defendant appealed a judgment entered in the District Court after a bench trial found she committed the civil violation of cruelty to animals. Defendant contended that the court abused its discretion in quashing a subpoena that would have compelled one of her witnesses to testify; that the cruelty-to-animals statute is unconstitutionally vague; and that the record contains insufficient evidence to sustain a finding of cruelty to animals and to support the court's restitution order. The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, however, disagreed and affirmed the lower court's judgment.
Town of Bethlehem v. Acker 102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014) Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.
"Let the Animals Live" Assiciation;et al. v. Israel Institute of Technology et al. After pressures from multiple animal rights organizations, an Israeli airline stopped flying monkeys to Israeli research institutions. Multiple Israeli research institutions then filed suit, asking the court to present the airline with a permanent order to fly animals as per their requests, including monkeys, for bio-medical research purposes. In the present case, the question to be decided was whether to allow several animal protection organizations to be added to the claim (whether the airline was bound to fly animals for experiments or not) as defendants or as amicus curiae. The court held that the animal protection organizations should be allowed to join the proceedings as defendants because they could bring before the court a more complete picture of the issue before it was decided; they filed their request at a very early stage; and they spoke and acted for the animals in the face of a verdict that might directly affect the legal rights of the animals.
"Let the Animals Live" Assiciation;et al. v. Israel Institute of Technology et al. (in Hebrew) After pressures from multiple animal rights organizations, an Israeli airline stopped flying monkeys to Israeli research institutions. Multiple Israeli research institutions then filed suit, asking the court to present the airline with a permanent order to fly animals as per their requests, including monkeys, for bio-medical research purposes. In the present case, the question to be decided was whether to allow several animal protection organizations to be added to the claim (whether the airline was bound to fly animals for experiments or not) as defendants or as amicus curiae. The court held that the animal protection organizations should be allowed to join the proceedings as defendants because they could bring before the court a more complete picture of the issue before it was decided; they filed their request at a very early stage; and they spoke and acted for the animals in the face of a verdict that might directly affect the legal rights of the animals.
Adams v Reahy [2007] NSWSC 1276

The first respondent claimed that despite their best efforts their dog was unable to gain weight and appeared emaciated. When proceedings were instituted, the first respondent was successful in being granted a permanent stay as the appellant, the RSPCA, failed to grant the first respondent access to the dog to determine its current state of health. On appeal, it was determined that a permanent stay was an inappropriate remedy and that the first respondent should be granted a temporary stay only until the dog could be examined.

Allen v. Municipality of Anchorage 168 P.3d 890 (Alaska App., 2007)

Krystal R. Allen pleaded no contest to two counts of cruelty to animals after animal control officers came to her home and found 180 to 200 cats, 3 dogs, 13 birds, and 3 chickens in deplorable conditions. She was sentenced to a 30-day jail term and was placed on probation for 10 years. One of the conditions of Allen's probation prohibits her from possessing any animals other than her son's dog. In first deciding that its jurisdictional reach extends to claims not just based on the term of imprisonment, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by restricting Allen's possession of animals during the term of her probation.  

Allen v. Pennsylvania Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals 488 F.Supp.2d 450 (M.D.Pa., 2007)

This is a § 1983 civil rights action brought by Robert Lee Allen against certain state actors arising from their search of his property, seizure of his farm animals, and prosecution of him for purported violations of Pennsylvania's cruelty-to-animals statute. The animals Allen typically acquires for his rehabilitation farm are underweight, in poor physical condition, and suffer from long-standing medical issues. After receiving a telephone complaint regarding the condition of the horses and other livestock on Allen's farm, humane officers visited Allen's property to investigate allegations. Subsequently, a warrant to seize eight horses, four goats, and two pigs was executed on a day when the officers knew Allen would be away from his farm with "twenty five assorted and unnecessary individuals."  The court held that the farmer's allegations that state and county humane societies had a custom, policy or practice of failing to train and supervise their employees stated § 1983 claims against humane societies. Further, the defendants were acting under color of state law when they searched and seized farmer's property.

Anderson v Ah Kit [2004] WASC 194

In proceedings for defamation, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant published information giving rise to the imputations that the plaintiff left animals to starve and that the Northern Territory government had to intervene to feed those animals. The defendant pleaded, inter alia, the defences of Polly Peck and fair comment. The Court ruled that the Polly Peck defense was sufficiently justified to survive the plaintiff's strike out application. It was held, however, that although animal welfare generally was a matter of public interest, the welfare of some animals held on private property was not, and could not be made by extensive media coverage, a matter of public interest.

Anderson v Moore [2007] WASC 135

The appellant ignored advice to make available reasonable amounts of food to feed sheep. The appellant claimed to be acting under veterinary advice and further that the trial judge erred in taking into account the subjectivity of the appellant's actions. All claims were dismissed.

Anderson v. State (Unpublished) 877 N.E.2d 1250 (Ind. App. 2007)

After shooting a pet dog to prevent harm to Defendant's own dog, Defendant challenges his animal cruelty conviction.  Defendant argues that since he was attempting to kill the dog, he did not intend to torture or mutilate the dog within the meaning of the statute.  The court affirms his conviction, reasoning that the evidentiary record below supported his conviction.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Mendes 72 Cal.Rptr.3d 553 (Cal.App. 5 Dist., 2008)

Appellants ALDF asserted causes of action for violation of Penal Code section 597t for confining calves without an “adequate exercise area,” and for commission of unfair business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq. In affirming the lower court's decision to dismiss the action, this court held that there is no private cause of action pursuant to Penal Code section 597t under the present circumstances, and none of the appellants have shown an ability to allege any facts of economic injury.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Woodley 640 S.E.2d 777; 2007 WL 475329 (N.C.App., 2007)

In this North Carolina Case, Barbara and Robert Woodley (defendants) appeal from an injunction forfeiting all rights in the animals possessed by defendants and the removal of the animals from defendants' control, and an order granting temporary custody of the animals to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. On 23 December 2004, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions under North Carolina's Civil Remedy for Protection of Animals statute (Section 19A). N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A-1 et seq. (2005). Plaintiff alleged that defendants abused and neglected a large number of dogs (as well as some birds) in their possession. On appeal, defendants argue that Section 19A is unconstitutional in that it purports to grant standing to persons who have suffered no injury, and that it violates Article IV, Section 13 of the N.C. Constitution by granting standing through statute. The court held that Article IV, Section 13 merely “abolished the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity," rather than placing limitations on the legislature's ability to create actions by statute, contrary to defendants' interpretation.

Animal Liberation (Vic) Inc v Gasser (1991) 1 VR 51

Animal Liberation were injuncted from publishing words claiming animal cruelty in a circus or demonstrating against that circus. They were also found guilty of nuisance resulting from their demonstration outside that circus. On appeal, the injunctions were overturned although the finding of nuisance was upheld.

Animal Liberation Ltd v Department of Environment & Conservation [2007] NSWSC 221

The applicants sought to restrain a proposed aerial shooting of pigs and goats on interlocutory basis pending the outcome of a suit claiming the aerial shooting would constitute cruelty. It was found that the applicants did not have a 'special interest' and as such did not have standing to bring the injunction. The application was dismissed.

Animal Liberation Ltd v National Parks & Wildlife Service [2003] NSWSC 457

The applicants sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain the respondent from conducting an aerial shooting of goats as part of a 'cull'. The applicants claimed that the aerial shooting constituted cruelty as the goats, once wounded, would die a slow death. An injunction was granted to the applicants pending final hearing of the substantive action against the aerial shooting.

Australian Wool Innovation Ltd v Newkirk (No 2) [2005] FCA 1307

The respondents, including PETA, engaged in a campaign to boycott the Australian wool industry on the bases of the cruelty incurred by the practice of mulesing and because of its link to the live export industry. The applicants, including Australian Wool Innovation who represented the Australian wool industry, sought to bring an action against the respondents for hindering trade under the Trade Practices Act (Cth) s 45DB and conspiring to injure the applicants by unlawful means. The respondents were successful in having these claims struck out.

Bandeira and Brannigan v. RSPCA CO 2066/99

Where a person has sent a dog into the earth of a fox or sett of a badger with the result that a confrontation took place between the dog and a wild animal, and the dog experienced suffering, it will be open to the tribunal of fact to find that the dog has been caused unnecessary suffering and that an offence has been committed under section 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

Barnard v. Evans [1925] 2 KB 794

The expression "cruelly ill-treat"" in s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 means to "cause unnecessary suffering" and "applies to a case where a person wilfully causes pain to an animal without justification for so doing". It is sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the animal was caused to suffer unnecessarily, and the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant knew that his actions were unnecessary.

Bartlett v. State 929 So.2d 1125, (Fla.App. 4 Dist.,2006)

In this Florida case, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction for felony cruelty to animals after the defendant shot an opossum "countless" times with a BB gun after the animal had left defendant's home. As a result, the animal had to be euthanized. The court wrote separately to observe that the felony cruelty section (828.12) as written creates a potential tension between conduct criminalized by the statute and the lawful pursuit of hunting. The commission of an act that causes a "cruel death" in Section 828.12 applies to even the unintended consequence of a lawful act like hunting.

Bell v. State 761 S.W.2d 847 (Tex. App. 1988)

Defendant convicted of cruelty to animals by knowingly and intentionally torturing a puppy by amputating its ears without anesthetic or antibiotics. Defense that "veterinarians charge too much" was ineffective.

Black Hawk County v. Jacobsen (Unpublished) 2002 WL 1429365 (Iowa App. 2002) (Not Reported in N.W. 2d)

In this case, Donna Jacobsen appealed a district court order finding she had neglected fifty-six dogs in the course of her operation of a federal and state licensed kennel in Jesup.  On appeal, Jacobsen contended that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because federal law (the Animal Welfare Act) preempts state regulations of federally licensed kennels.  The court disagreed, finding the Act expressly contemplates state and local regulation of animals.  Further, a plain reading of the Animal Welfare Act shows that Congress demonstrated no express or implied intent to preempt state or local government from regulating in this area.

Boling v. Parrett 536 P.2d 1272 (Or. 1975)

This is an appeal from an action claiming conversion when police officers took animals into protective custody.  Where police officers acted in good faith and upon probable cause when a citation was issued to an animal owner for cruelty to animals by neglect, then took the animals into protective custody and transported them to an animal shelter, there was no conversion.

Brackett v. State 236 S.E.2d 689 (Ga.App. 1977)

In this Georgia case, appellants were convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals upon evidence that they were spectators at a cockfight. The Court of Appeals agreed with the appellants that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction, and the judgment was reversed. The court found that the statute prohibiting cruelty to animals was meant to include fowls as animals and thus proscribed cruelty to a gamecock. However, the evidence that defendants were among the spectators at a cockfight was insufficient to sustain their convictions.

Brayshaw v Liosatos [2001] ACTSC 2

The appellant had informations laid against him alleging that he, as a person in charge of animals, neglected cattle 'without reasonable excuse' by failing to provide them with food. The appellant had been informed by a veterinarian that his treatment of the cattle was potentially a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 (ACT) and that they were in poor condition. The evidence admitted did not rule out the possibility that the appellant's feeding of the cattle accorded with 'maintenance rations' and the convictions were overturned.

Brinkley v. County of Flagler 769 So. 2d 468 (2000)

Appellee county sought to enjoin appellant from mistreating animals by filing a petition against her under Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073 (1997). The animals on appellant's property were removed pursuant to Fla. Stat. ch. 828.073, a statute giving law enforcement officers and duly appointed humane society agents the right to provide care to animals in distress. The entry onto appellant's property was justified under the emergency exception to the warrant requirement for searches. The hearing after seizure of appellants' animals was sufficient to satisfy appellant's due process rights.

Broadway, &c., Stage Company v. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 15 Abbott 51 (1873)

 Part I is the initial civil case which was brought by the commercial powers of New York to stop Bergh from enforcing the criminal anti-cruelty law. The judge suggests the scope of the law and what Bergh must do to utilize the law. Part II is a second case brought several months latter when the corporate legal guns again try to get Bergh. This time for violating the judges prior opinion. Part III is the claim of one of the stage operators who Bergh personally asserted for overworking a horse. The claim against Bergh is for false arrest. The Judge holds against  the stage driver, freeing Bergh. Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty

Brown v. State --- So.3d ----, 2015 WL 72231 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
Browning v. State 2007 WL 1805918 (Ind.App.)

The Brownings were each charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty and convicted of five counts for their failure to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary care to their horses and cattle.  As a result, Cass County seized and boarded several of their animals at a significant cost to the county.  Although only five of those horses and cattle were ultimately deemed to be the subject of the defendants' cruelty, the appellate court affirmed the order requiring the Brownings to reimburse the county for boarding and caring for the horses and cattle during the proceedings totaling approximately $14,000 in fines and costs.

Bueckner v. Hamel 886 S.W.2d 368 (Tex. App. 1994).

Texas law allows persons to kill without liability dogs that are attacking domestic animals. However, the attack must be in progress, imminent, or recent. This defense does not apply to the killing of dogs that were chasing deer or non-domestic animals.

California Veterinary Medical Ass'n v. City of West Hollywood 61 Cal.Rptr.3d 318 Cal.App. 2 Dist., 2007)

This California case centers on an anti-cat declawing ordinance passed by the city of West Hollywood in 2003.  On cross-motions for summary judgment the trial court concluded West Hollywood's anti-declawing ordinance was preempted by section 460 and entered judgment in favor of the CVMA, declaring the ordinance invalid and enjoining further enforcement.  On appeal, however, this Court reversed, finding section 460 of the veterinary code does not preempt the ordinance.  Although section 460 prohibits local legislation imposing separate and additional licensing requirements or other qualifications on individuals holding state licenses issued by agencies of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), it does not preclude otherwise valid local regulation of the manner in which a business or profession is performed.

Cat Champion Corp. v. Jean Marie Primrose 149 P.3d 1276 (Or. Ct. App. 2006)

A woman had 11 cats which were in a state of neglect and were taken away from her and put with a cat protection agency. Criminal charges were dropped against the woman when it was found she was mentally ill and incapable of taking care of herself or her cats. The court found it could grant the cat protection agency ownership over the cats so they could be put up for adoption, even though the woman had not been criminal charged, and had not forfeited her cats.

Celinski v. State 911 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. App. 1995).

Criminal conviction of defendant who tortured cats by poisoning them and burning them in microwave oven. Conviction was sustained by circumstantial evidence of cruelty and torture.

Chambers v. Justice Court Precinct One 95 S.W.3d 874 (Tex.App.-Dallas, 2006)

In this Texas case, a justice court divested an animal owner of over 100 animals and ordered that the animals be given to a nonprofit organization. The owner sought review of the forfeiture in district court. The district court subsequently dismissed appellant's suit for lack of jurisdiction. Under the Texas Code, an owner may only appeal if the justice court orders the animal to be sold at a public auction. Thus, the Court of Appeals held that the statute limiting right of appeal in animal forfeiture cases precluded animal owner from appealing the justice court order.

Chase v. State --- S.W.3d ----2014 WL 6478511 (Tex. Crim. App. Nov. 19, 2014) Appellant and his wife were walking their two dogs when two neighbor dogs attacked the group. After the attack, appellant slashed the attacking dog's throat with a knife, which resulted in the dog's death. Appellant was then charged with and convicted of cruelty to non-livestock animals under Texas law. The appellant appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals and the case was reversed and remanded. The State filed a petition for discretionary review with the Court of Criminal Appeals. The issue before that court was whether § 822.013(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a non-penal code, provided a defense to criminal prosecution. The court held that § 822.013(a)—which allows an attacked animal's owner or a person witnessing an attack to kill a dog that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked a domestic animal—is a defense against cruelty to non-livestock animals. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was therefore affirmed. The dissenting opinion disagreed. The dissent argued the goal of this statute was to protect farmers and ranchers against the loss of their livelihood by allowing them to protect their livestock from attacking dogs without fear of liability to the dog's owner, not to allow individuals in residential neighborhoods to kill a neighbor's dog after an attack with criminal impunity.
Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah 508 U.S. 520 (1993)

Local ordinance prohibiting animal sacrifices under the guise of an anti-cruelty concern was an unconstitutional infringement on church's First Amendment rights because (1) ordinances were not neutral; (2) ordinances were not of general applicability; and (3) governmental interest assertedly advanced by the ordinances did not justify the targeting of religious activity.

Citizens for Responsible Wildlife Management v. State 71 P.3d 644 (Wash. 2003)

A citizen groups filed a declaratory judgment action against the State of Washington seeking a determination that the 2000 initiative 713 barring use of body-gripping traps, sodium fluoroacetate, or sodium cyanide to trap or kill mammals was unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court found that appellants did not show beyond a reasonable doubt that Initiative 713 violated the constitution, and thus affirmed the superior court's denial of the summary judgment motion.  The court also held that the initiative was exempt from the constitutional provision prohibiting legislation that revises or amends other acts without setting them forth at full length.

City of Boston v. Erickson 877 N.E.2d 542 (Mass.2007)

This very short case concerns the disposition of defendant Heidi Erickson's six animals (four living and two dead) that were seized in connection with an animal cruelty case against her. After Erickson was convicted, the city withdrew its challenge to the return of the living animals and proceeded only as to the deceased ones. A single justice denied the city's petition for relief, on the condition that Erickson demonstrate “that she has made arrangements for [t]he prompt and proper disposal [of the deceased animals], which disposal also is in compliance with health codes.” Erickson challenged this order, arguing that it interfered with her property rights by requiring her to discard or destroy the deceased animals. However, this court found no abuse of discretion, where it interpreted the justice's order to mean that she must comply with all applicable health codes rather than forfeit her deceased animals.

City of Garland v. White 368 S.W.2d 12 (Tex. Civ. App. 1963).

Police officers were trespassers and could be held civilly liable for damages when they entered a dog owner's property with the intent to unlawfully kill the dog. Reports had been made that the dog was attacking other animals but because the attacks were not imminent, in progress, or recent, the killing of the dog was not lawful.

City of Houston v. Levingston Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 241127 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.))

A city veterinarian who worked for the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) brought an action against the city, arguing that he was wrongfully terminated under the Whistleblower’s Act. The vet contended that he reported several instances of abuses by BARC employees to the division manager. In upholding the trial court’s decision to award Levingston over $600,000 in damages, the appellate court ruled the evidence was sufficient to support a finding that the veterinarian was terminated due to his report . Contrary to the city’s assertion, the court held that BARC was an appropriate law enforcement authority under the Act to report violations of section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code committed by BARC employees. Opinion Withdrawn and Superseded on Rehearing by City of Houston v. Levingston , 221 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App., 2006).

City of Houston v. Levingston 221 S.W.3d 204 (Tx.App.-Hous.(1 Dist.) 2006)

This opinion substitutes City of Houston v. Levingston, 2006 WL 241127 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.)), which is withdrawn.

Com. v. Barnes 427 Pa.Super. 326, 629 A.2d 123 (Pa.Super.,1993)

In this case, the defendants argued that the police powers granted to a private entity, the Erie Humane Society, was an improper delegation of government authority. On appeal, the defendants’ asserted several arguments including a claim that Pennsylvania’s delegation of government authority is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution The appeals court rejected each of defendants’ four arguments. Specifically, the court rejected defendants' assertion that the Erie Humane Society operates as "vigilantes," finding that the Society's actions are regulated by the Rules of Criminal Procedure with requirements of probable cause and the constraints of case law.

Com. v. Erickson 905 N.E.2d 127 (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)

In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty involving one dog and five cats after a bench trial. On appeal, defendant challenged the warrantless entry into her apartment and argued that the judge erred when he failed to grant her motion to suppress the evidence gathered in the search. The Court of Appeals found no error where the search was justified under the "emergency exception" to the warrant requirement. The court found that the officer was justified to enter where the smell emanating from the apartment led him to believe that someone might be dead inside. The court was not persuaded by defendant's argument that, once the officer saw the dog feces covering the apartment that was the source of the smell, it was then objectively unreasonable for him to conclude the smell was caused by a dead body. "The argument ignores the reality that there were in fact dead bodies in the apartment, not merely dog feces, to say nothing of the additional odor caused by the blood, cat urine, and cat feces that were also found."

Com. v. Hackenberger 836 A.2d 2 (Pa.2003)
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to 6 months to 2 years jail following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of cruelty to animals resulting from his shooting of a loose dog more than five times. On appeal, appellant contends that the use of a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement provision does not apply to a conviction for cruelty to animals since the purpose is to punish only those offenses where the defendant has used a deadly weapon against persons. The Commonwealth countered that the purpose behind the provision is immaterial because the plain language applies to any offense where the defendant has used a deadly weapon to commit the crime, save for those listed crimes where possession is an element of the offense. This Court agreed with the Commonwealth and held that the trial court was not prohibited from applying the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals.
Com. v. Kneller 971 A.2d 495 (Pa.Super.,2009) Defendant appealed a conviction for criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after Defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit Defendant’s child.   The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the conviction, finding the relevant animal cruelty statute to be ambiguous, thus requiring the reversal under the rule of lenity.   Concurring and dissenting opinions were filed, in which both agreed that the statute is unambiguous as to whether a dog owner may destroy his or her dog by use of a firearm when that dog has attacked another person, but disagreed as to whether sufficient evidence was offered to show that the dog in fact attacked another person. (See Supreme Court order - Com. v. Kneller, 978 A.2d 716, 2009 WL 5154265 (Pa.,2009)).
Com. v. Kneller 987 A.2d 716 (Pa., 2009)

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up this appeal involving the defendant's criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after the defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit the defendant’s child. The Supreme Court vacated the order of the Superior Court and remanded the case to the Superior Court (--- A.2d ----, 2009 WL 215322) in accordance with the dissenting opinion of the Superior Court's order. The Court further observed that the facts revealed no immediate need to kill the dog and that there was "unquestionably malicious beating of the dog" prior to it being shot.

Com. v. Linhares 957 N.E.2d 243 (Mass.App.Ct., 2011)

Defendant intentionally hit a duck with his car and was convicted of cruelty to animals. The conviction was upheld by the Appeals Court because all that must be shown is that the defendant intentionally and knowingly did acts which were plainly of a nature to inflict unnecessary pain. Specific intent to cause harm is not required to support a conviction of cruelty to animals.

Com. v. Zalesky 906 N.E.2d 349, (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)
In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, in violation of G.L. c. 272, § 77. On appeal, the defendant contended that the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt; specifically, that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions exceeded what was necessary and appropriate to train the dog. A witness in this case saw defendant beat his dog with a plastic "whiffle" bat on the head about 10 times. The defendant told the officer who arrived on the scene that he had used the bat on previous occasions, and did so to “put the fear of God in [the] dog.” At trial, a veterinarian testified that the dog suffered no trauma from the bat, but probably experienced pain if struck repeatedly in that manner. The court found that defendant's behavior fell under the ambit of the statutes because his actions were cruel, regardless of whether defendant viewed them as such. Judgment affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Bishop 67 Mass.App.Ct. 1116 (2006)

David Bishop was convicted of animal cruelty and failing to provide a sanitary environment for his five dogs. He was ordered to pay over $60,000 in order to provide for the medical expenses that his dogs needed after they were taken away from him. While defendant argued that the amount of restitution was excessive, the court found that each of the five dogs had medical bills in excess of $10,000. Defendant was sentenced to three months in a house of corrections, and ten years probation.

Commonwealth v. Brown Commonwealth v. Brown, 66 Pa. Super. 519 (1917).

The defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals for the use of acid on some horses' feet.  The defendant appealed the descision because the lower court had found the Commonwealth's circumstantial evidence to be enough to submit the question of quilt to the jury.  The Superior Court found that some of the evidence was improperly admitted by the lower court.  Thus, the Superior Court reversed the judgement.

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