Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases
|Vavrecka v. State||2009 WL 179203, 4 (Tex.App.-Hous. (Tex.App.-Houston [14 Dist.],2009).||
Defendant appealed a conviction for cruelty to animals after several dogs that appeared malnourished and emaciated with no visible food or water nearby were found on Defendant’s property by a police officer and an Animal Control officer. The Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, 14th District confirmed the conviction, finding that Defendant waived any error with respect to her motion to suppress evidence by affirmatively stating at trial that Defendant had “no objection” to the admission of evidence. Finally, the Court’s denial of Defendant’s request to show evidence of Defendant’s past practice and routine of caring for stray animals and nursing them to health did not deprive Defendant of a complete defense.
|R. (on the application of Petsafe Ltd) v Welsh Ministers||2010 WL 4503327||
Pet product manufacturer challenged a Welsh ban on the use of electric collars on cats and dogs under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2010. The High Court held that the Regulations were not beyond the powers of the Welsh Ministers, and that the ban was not irrational, unreasonable or perverse. The High Court also held that any restriction on the free movement of goods under Article 34 of the EU Treaty was proportional and necessary, due to the fact that it was not targeted at trade, but rather meant to further social policy promoting animal welfare. Similarly, any interference with Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was also justifiable.
|Kankey v. State||2013 Ark. App. 68, Not Reported in S.W.3d (Ark.App.,2013)||
A district court found the appellant’s animals had been lawfully seized, and then divested appellant of ownership of the animals and vested custody to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The appellant filed an appeal in the civil division of the circuit court, but the circuit court dismissed the appeal as untimely and not properly perfected. Upon another appeal, the Arkansas Court of Appeals found it had no jurisdiction and therefore dismissed the case.
|US v. Richards||2014 WL 2694225||
*1 The First Amendment restrains government to “make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.” U.S. Const. amend. I.
|In re Priv. Crim. Complaint Filed by Animal Outlook||2022 WL 588181, 2022 PA Super 37 (Feb. 28, 2022)||Animal Outlook (“AO”) appealed from the order that dismissed its petition for review of the disapproval of the Franklin County District Attorney's Office (“DA”) of multiple private criminal complaints. The requested charges stem from information obtained from an undercover agent who was employed at Martin Farms, where she captured video of cruel mistreatment of animals on the farm that AO contends constituted criminal animal cruelty. These data were complied into a table of 327 incidents, a letter of support from a veterinarian, and a legal memorandum that detailed how these incidents violated Pennsylvania law. AO submitted the gathered information to the pertinent authorities in January 2019 and the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) initiated an investigation which concluded more than a year later. Ultimately, the PSP issued a press release in March 2020 that indicated that the District Attorney had declined prosecution. After this, AO drafted private criminal complaints that were submitted to the Magisterial District Judge who concluded that the DA correctly determined that there was not enough evidence for prosecution. AO then filed a petition of review of the disapproval of its private complaints pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 506(B)(1) before the trial court, which again dismissed AO petition for review. AO filed this appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. In reviewing the trial court's decision, the Superior Court found that the trial court committed multiple errors of law. First, the trial court did not view the evidence in the light most favorable to moving forward with a prosecution and gave too much credit to the evidence from the Martin Farms veterinarian versus the undercover agent's testimony. The trial court went beyond its role of determining whether the evidence proffered supported each element of the crime charged and instead gave impermissible weight and credibility to Martin Farms evidence. Second, the court made a point of noting that Martin Farms voluntarily changed its practices after the investigation, which had no bearing on the legal sufficiency for criminal charges. The trial court also addressed "only a hand-picked few of the alleged instances of abuse," especially with regard to ignoring the non-anesthetized dehorning of calves. Thus, this court found that AO provided sufficient evidence to show prima facie cases of neglect, cruelty, and aggravated cruelty with respect to the incidents. The court then analyzed whether the record supported a defense of "normal agricultural operations" defense that would counter the charges. This court found that incidents like the dehorning of cattle that already had horns fused to the skull and extreme tail twisting and shocking were sufficient to overcome the affirmative defense. The trial court's dismissal of AO's petition for review was reversed and the trial court was ordered to direct the DA to accept and transmit charges for prosecution.|
|GALBREATH v. THE STATE||213 Ga. App. 80 (1994)||
The police found marijuana seedlings and plants in various stages of growth around the homes of defendant and co-defendant. The court upheld the trial court's determination that the items were admissible within the "plain view" exception to the requirement of a search warrant. The court concluded that the police were not trespassers when they walked around to the back of co-defendant's house to determine whether anyone was home after receiving no response at the front door.
|People v. Minutolo||215 A.D.3d 1260 (N.Y. App. Div. 2023)||Defendant appealed from a judgment convicting him of animal cruelty in violation of New York Agriculture and Markets Law § 353. The conviction stemmed from defendant's action in repeatedly striking one of his dogs out of "frustration" after the dog failed to come when called. On appeal, defendant called into question the authentication of surveillance video from a nearby gas station showing him striking the dog. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division found the portion of surveillance video showing defendant repeatedly striking one of his dogs was sufficiently authenticated. Further, other evidence established that he "cruelly beat" the dog by punching the dog with a closed fist three to five times. Finally, defendant's challenge to the penalty imposed under Agriculture and Markets Law § 374 (8)(c) (the possession ban provision) that prohibits defendant from owning or otherwise having custody of any other animals for 10 years was rejected by the court. The judgment was unanimously affirmed.|
|Simons v. State||217 So. 3d 16 (Ala. Crim. App. 2016)||In this case, defendant was convicted of a Class C felony of cruelty to a dog or cat and was sentenced to twenty years in prison (the conviction stems from the beating a kitten to death with his bare fists). The lower court applied the Habitual Felony Offender Act (HFOA) which allowed the court to sentence defendant beyond the maximum penalty (defendant had 16 prior felony convictions). Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that HFOA did not apply to his Class C felony of cruelty to a dog or cat. Ultimately, the court held that HFOA did not apply to the Class C felony here. The court maintained that the animal cruelty statue was plainly written and explicitly stated that a first degree conviction of animal cruelty would not be considered a felony under HFOA. As a result, defendant's conviction was upheld but remanded for new sentencing.|
|Tiller v. State||218 Ga. App. 418 (1995)||
Defendant argued that being in "possession" of neglected, suffering animals was not a crime. The court held that where a veterinarian testified that the horses were anemic and malnourished and where defendant testified that he had not purchased enough to feed them, the evidence was sufficient to authorize the jury to find defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of seven counts of cruelty to animals. The court held the trial court did not err in admitting a videotape depicting the horses' condition and that of the pasture when the horses were seized, where the videotape was relevant to the jury's consideration.
|New Jersey Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Board of Education||219 A.2d 200 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1966)||
In this action, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, sought recovery against the Board of Education of the City of East Orange of penalties of the rate of $100 per alleged violation arising out of cancer-inducing experiments conducted by a student in its high school upon live chickens. By permission of the court, defendants, New Jersey Science Teachers’ Association and National Society for Medical Research Inc. were permitted by the court to participate as amicus curiae. The court found that because the board did not obtain authorization from the health department, an authorization which the health department did not think was needed, it was not thereby barred from performing living animal experimentation. The court concluded that the experiment at issue was not per se needless or unnecessary, and that such experiment did not fall within the ban of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:22-26 against needless mutilation, killing, or the infliction of unnecessary cruelty.
|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.
|Frye v. County of Butte||221 Cal.App.4th 1051 (2013), 164 Cal.Rptr.3d 928 (2013)||
After several administrative, trial court, and appeals hearings, the California court of appeals upheld a county’s decision to seize the plaintiffs’ horses for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.1(f). Notably, the appeals court failed to extend the law of the case, which generally provides that a prior appellate court ruling on the law governs further proceedings in the case, to prior trial court rulings. The appeals court also held that the trial court’s "Statement of Decision" resolved all issues set before it, despite certain remedies remaining unresolved and the court’s oversight of the plaintiffs' constitutionality complaint, and was therefore an appealable judgment. The appeals court also found the trial court lacked jurisdiction to extend the appeals deadline with its document titled "Judgment."
|Milburn v. City of Lebanon||221 F. Supp. 3d 1217 (D. Or. 2016)||
Plaintiff Milburn was acquitted of misdemeanor animal abuse on appeal, but a Lebanon police officer removed Milburns’ dog from her possession. While the appeal was pending, the Defendant, City of Lebanon, gave the dog to an animal shelter. The dog was later adopted by a new owner. The Linn County Circuit Court ordered the City to return the dog to Milburn after the acquittal but the Defendant City failed to comply. Milburn then brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 against the City of Lebanon. The City moved for dismissal for failure to state a claim, and the United States District Court, for the District of Oregon, granted that motion while giving leave for Milburn to amend her complaint. In the Amended Complaint, Milburn contended that the City’s refusal to return her dog pursuant to the state court order deprived her of property without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Milburn also asserted a violation of her procedural due process rights. The United States District Court, for the District of Oregon, reasoned that while Milburn alleged a state-law property interest in her dog, she failed to allege that the Defendant City deprived her of that interest without adequate process. Milburn also did not allege state remedies to be inadequate. Those two omissions in combination were fatal to Miburn's procedural due process claim. Also, Milburn's assertion that the court issued an order and that the City did not comply with, is an attack on the result of the procedure. The court reasoned that attacking the result instead of the process of a procedure does not state a procedural due process claim. Milburn’s procedural due process claim was then dismissed. The Court also held that it did not have jurisdiction over Milburn’s injunctive relief claim. Therefore, Milburn's request for injunctive relief was dismissed with prejudice. However, the court held that Milburn could seek monetary damages. While Defendant City’s second motion to dismiss was granted, Milburn was granted leave to amend her complaint within 90 days with regard to her claim for actual and compensatory damages.
|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.
|State v. Smith||223 P.3d 1262 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2009)||
In this Washington case, defendant Smith appealed his conviction for first degree animal cruelty following the death of his llama. Smith claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to (1) discover information before trial that may have explained the llama's death and (2) seek a lesser included instruction on second degree animal cruelty. This court agreed. It found that defense counsel's "all or nothing strategy" was not a legitimate trial tactic and constituted deficient performance where counsel presented evidence to call into question the State's theory on starvation, but not evidence related to the entire crime. The court found that the jury was "left in an arduous position: to either convict Smith of first degree animal cruelty or to let him go free despite evidence of some culpable behavior." The case was reversed and remanded.
|Volosen v. State||227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex. Crim. App., 2007)||
Appellant killed neighbor's miniature dachshund with a maul when he found it among his chickens in his backyard, and he defends that Health & Safety Code 822 gave him legal authority to do so. At the bench trial, the judge found him guilty of animal cruelty, but on appeal the court reversed the conviction because it found that the statute gave him legal authority to kill the attacking dog. However, this court held that appellant did not meet his burden of production to show that the statute was adopted in Colleyville, TX and found as a matter of fact that the dog was not "attacking."
|Silver v. State||23 A.3d 867 (Md. App., 2011)||
Defendants were sentenced by the District Court after pleading guilty to one count of animal cruelty. After defendants were convicted in the Circuit Court, they petitioned for a writ of certiorari. The Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court could order that defendants pay restitution for the euthanasia cost for the deceased horse, but it was beyond the court’s authority to order defendants pay restitution for costs of caring for the two surviving horses because defendants had not been convicted in those cases. The court also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to strike officer's testimony for prosecutor's failure to provide the officer's written report prior to trial. Finally, photos and testimony regarding the surviving horses were “crime scene” evidence and not inadmissible “other crimes” evidence because the neglect of the surviving horses was part of the same criminal episode.
|People v. Lewis||23 Misc.3d 49, 881 N.Y.S.2d 586 (N.Y.Sup.App.Term,2009)||Defendants were charged in separate informations with multiple counts of injuring animals and failure to provide adequate sustenance. Plaintiff, the People of the State of New York, appealed the lower court’s decision to grant Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence obtained when a special agent of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals approached one of the defendants at his home upon an anonymous tip and inquired about the condition of the animals and asked the defendant to bring the animals outside for inspection, while the incident was videotaped by a film crew for a cable television show. The Supreme Court, Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th, 13 Judicial Districts reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that Plaintiff met its burden of establishing that the defendant voluntarily consented to the search based on the fact that the defendant was not in custody or under arrest at the time of the search, was not threatened by the special agent, and there was no misrepresentation, deception or trickery on the special agent’s part.|
|Ford v. Wiley||23 QBD 203||
A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.
|People v. Tom||231 Cal. Rptr. 3d 350 (Ct. App. Apr. 13, 2018)||Defendant stabbed, beat, strangled, and then attempted to burn the dead body of his girlfriend's parent's 12-pound dog. Police arrived on the scene as defendant was trying to light the dead dog on fire that he had placed inside a barbeque grill. Defendant was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty contrary to Pen. Code, § 597, subds. (a) and (b), as well as other counts of attempted arson and resisting an officer. While defendant does not dispute these events underlying his conviction, he contends that he cannot be convicted of subsections (a) and (b) of Section 597 for the same course of conduct. On appeal, the court considered this challenge as a matter of first impression. Both parties agreed that subsection (a) applies to intentional acts and subsection (b) applies to criminally negligent actions. Subsection (b) contains a phrase that no other court has examined for Section 597: “Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) . . .” Relying on interpretations of similar phrasing in other cases, this court found that the plain language of section 597, subdivision (b) precludes convictions for violating subdivisions (a) and (b) based on the same conduct. The court was unconvinced by the prosecutor's arguments on appeal that the two convictions arose from separate conduct in this case. However, as to sentencing, the court found that defendant's subsequent attempt to burn the dog's body involved a different objective than defendant's act in intentionally killing the dog. These were "multiple and divisible acts with distinct objectives" such that it did not violate section 645 or due process in sentencing him for both. The court held that defendant's conviction for violating section 597, subdivision (b) (count two) was reversed and his modified judgment affirmed.|
|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.
|State v. Siliski||238 S.W.3d 338 (Tenn.Crim.App., 2007)||
The defendant operated a dog breeding business, “Hollybelle's Maltese,” in which she bred purebred Maltese dogs in her Franklin home, advertised the resulting puppies on an Internet website, and shipped the puppies to buyers located around the country. She was convicted by a Williamson County Circuit Court jury of eleven counts of animal cruelty. The main issue on appeal concerned the imposition of sentence, which included both consecutive terms of probation and a permanently prohibition from engaging in any commercial activity involving animals. The appellate court affirmed the defendant's convictions but concluded that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive periods of probation in conjunction with concurrent sentences. However, the court found that the trial court's permanent prohibition against her buying, selling, breeding, or engaging in any commercial activity involving animals was authorized by the animal cruelty statute. As the court stated, "Given this proof and the court's findings, we cannot conclude that the trial court erred in ordering that the defendant be permanently barred from engaging in commercial activity with respect to dogs."
|Animal Legal Defense Fund v. California Exposition and State Fairs||239 Cal. App. 4th 1286 (2015)||Plaintiffs brought a taxpayer action against defendants based on allegations that defendants committed animal cruelty every summer by transporting pregnant pigs and housing them in farrowing crates at the state fair. One defendant, joined by the other, demurred, contending plaintiffs' complaint failed to state a cause of action for three distinct reasons, including that California's animal cruelty laws were not enforceable through a taxpayer action. The trial court agreed on all accounts, and sustained the demurrer without leave to amend. The Court of Appeals addressed only one of plaintiffs' claims, that contrary to the trial court's conclusion, plaintiffs could assert a taxpayer action to enjoin waste arising out of defendants' alleged violation of the animal cruelty laws. Like the trial court, the appeals court rejected plaintiffs' contention, concluding that they could not circumvent the prohibition recognized in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Mendes (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 136, which concluded that recognition of a private right of action under West's Ann.Cal.Penal Code § 597t would be inconsistent with the Legislature's entrustment of enforcement of anti-cruelty laws to local authorities and humane societies, by couching their claim as a taxpayer action. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.|
|Leider v. Lewis||243 Cal. App. 4th 1078 (Cal. 2016)||Plaintiffs, taxpayers Aaron Leider and the late Robert Culp, filed suit against the Los Angeles Zoo and Director Lewis to enjoin the continued operation of the elephant exhibit and to prevent construction of a new, expanded exhibit. Plaintiffs contend that the Zoo's conduct violates California animal cruelty laws and constitutes illegal expenditure of public funds and property. The case went to trial and the trial court issued limited injunctions relating to forms of discipline for the elephants, exercise time, and rototilling of the soil in the exhibit. On appeal by both sides, this court first took up whether a taxpayer action could be brought for Penal Code violations or to enforce injunctions. The Court held that the earlier Court of Appeals' decision was the law of the case as to the argument that the plaintiff-taxpayer was precluded from obtaining injunctive relief for conduct that violated the Penal Code. The Court found the issue was previously decided and "is not defeated by raising a new argument that is essentially a twist on an earlier unsuccessful argument." Further, refusing to apply this Civil Code section barring injunctions for Penal Code violations will not create a substantial injustice. The Court also found the order to rototill the soil was proper because it accords with the "spirit and letter" of Penal Code section 597t (a law concerning exercise time for confined animals). As to whether the exhibit constituted animal cruelty under state law, the Court found no abuse of discretion when the trial court declined to make such a finding. Finally, the Court upheld the lower court's ruling that declined further injunctive relief under section 526a (a law that concerns actions against state officers for injuries to public property) because the injury prong could not be satisfied. As stated by the Court, "We agree with the trial court that there is no standard by which to measure this type of harm in order to justify closing a multi-million dollar public exhibit."|
|SIRMANS v. THE STATE||244 Ga. App. 252 (2000)||
Criminal defendant was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty and one count of simple assault. The motion to suppress was properly denied, because the search was authorized under the "plain view" doctrine and any objections regarding photographs were subsequently waived when they were tendered into evidence without objection. The trial court did not have authority to deprive defendant of animals which the State failed to demonstrate were neglected or abused, because such animals were not contraband or evidence of a crime.
|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.
|People v. Koogan||256 A.D. 1078 (N.Y. App. Div. 1939)||
Defendant was guilty of cruelty to animals for allowing a horse to be worked he knew was in poor condition.
|State v. Dicke||258 Or. App. 678, 310 P.3d 1170 review allowed, 354 Or. 597, 318 P.3d 749 (2013)||
This case is the companion case to State v. Fessenden,258 Or. App. 639, 310 P.3d 1163 (2013) review allowed, 354 Or. 597, 318 P.3d 749 (2013) and aff'd, 355 Or. 759, 333 P.3d 278 (2014). Defendant was convicted of first-degree animal abuse, ORS 167.320, in association with having allowed her horse to become so severely emaciated that it was at imminent risk of dying. On appeal, defendant challenged the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained through a warrantless search of the horse. In affirming the lower court, this court found that the warrant exception that allows officers to assist seriously injured people extends to animals under certain circumstances. Citing Fessenden, this court found that a warrantless seizure will be valid when officers have "objectively reasonable belief, based on articulable facts, that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals that have suffered, or which are imminently threatened with suffering . . ."
|Jenkins v. State||262 P.3d 552 (Wyo.,2011)||
Defendant was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Defendant appealed, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Court held that he was not entitled to a reversal, because he failed to demonstrate that his counsel failed to render reasonably competent assistance that prejudiced him to such an extent that he was deprived of a fair trial. The Court held that it was not ineffective assistance to 1) fail to object to testimony regarding defendant's arrest and incarceration, and 2) fail to object to defendant's brother testifying while wearing a striped prison suit.
|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. Gruntz||273 P.3d 183 review denied (Or.App.,2012)||
Defendant moved to suppress evidence after being charged with multiple counts of animal neglect. The Court of Appeals held that the warrant affidavit permitted reasonable inference that neglect continued to exist at time of warrant application. The warrant affiant stated her observations four months prior to the warrant application that horses appeared to be malnourished and severely underweight.
|State v. Fackrell||277 S.W.3d 859 (Mo.App. S.D.,2009)||
In this Missouri case, defendant appealed her conviction for animal abuse. The facts underlying defendant's conviction involve her care of her dog from July 2004 to December 2004. When defendant's estranged husband stopped by her house to drop off their children for visitation in December, he noticed that the dog was very sick and offered to take the dog to the vet after defendant stated she could not afford a vet bill. Because it was the worst case the vet had seen in twenty-seven years of practice, he contacted law enforcement. On appeal, defendant claimed that there was insufficient evidence presented that she “knowingly” failed to provide adequate care for Annie. The court disagreed. Under MO ST 578.012.1(3), a person is guilty of animal abuse when he or she fails to provide adequate care including "health care as necessary to maintain good health." Evidence showed that defendant was aware of the fact the dog was sick over the course of several months and even thought the dog had cancer.
|State v. Nix||283 P.3d 442 (Or.App., 2012)||
Upon receiving a tip that animals were being neglected, police entered a farm and discovered several emaciated animals, as well as many rotting animal carcasses. After a jury found the defendant guilty of 20 counts of second degree animal neglect, the district court, at the sentencing hearing, only issued a single conviction towards the defendant. The state appealed and argued the court should have imposed 20 separate convictions based on its interpretation of the word "victims" in ORS 161.067(2). The appeals court agreed. The case was remanded for entry of separate convictions on each guilty verdict.
|People v. Garcia||29 A.D.3d 255 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2006)||
In this New York case, the court, as a matter of first impression, considered the scope of the aggravated cruelty law (§ 353-a(1)) in its application to a pet goldfish. Defendant argued that a goldfish should not be included within the definition of companion animal under the statute because there is "no reciprocity in affection" similar to other companion animals like cats or dogs. In finding that the statute did not limit the definition as such, the court held that defendant's intentional stomping to death of a child's pet goldfish fell within the ambit of the statute. Accordingly, the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County that convicted defendant of attempted assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, assault in the third degree (three counts), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and aggravated cruelty to animals in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a(1) was affirmed.
|State v. Branstetter||29 P.3d 1121 (Or. 2001)||
In a state prosecution for animal neglect, the trial court ordered forfeiture of the animals to a humane agency. An appeal by the owner of the animals was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and held that the statutes controlling appealable judgments allowed the animal owner to appeal the forfeiture of the animals.
|State v. Kingsbury||29 S.W.3d 202 (Texas 2004)||
A cruelty to animals case. The State alleged that the appellees tortured four dogs by leaving them without food and water, resulting in their deaths. Examining section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code, Cruelty to Animals, the Court found that “torture” did not include failure to provide necessary food, care, or shelter. The Court held that the criminal act of failing provide food, care and shelter does not constitute the felony offense of torture.
|State v. Mumme||29 So.3d 685 (La.App. 4 Cir.,2010.)||
In this unpublished Louisiana case, the defendant was charged with “cruelty to an animal, to wit, a bat, belonging to Julian Mumme, by beating the animal with a bat causing the animal to be maimed and injured.” After the first witness was sworn at trial, the State moved to amend the information to strike the phrase “to wit: a bat." On appeal, defendant alleged that this was improper, a mistrial should have been declared, and the State should be prohibited from trying him again. The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit disagreed with defendant, holding that the amendment corrected a defect of form, not a defect of substance (as allowed by La.C.Cr.P. art. 487), and that the trial court correctly allowed the bill to be amended during trial.
|Sebek v. City of Seattle||290 P.3d 159 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012)||
Two Seattle taxpayers filed a taxpayer action lawsuit against the city of Seattle for violating Washington’s animal cruelty statute and Seattle’s animal cruelty ordinance with regard to a zoo’s elephant exhibit. After the lawsuit was dismissed by the King County Superior Court for lack of taxpayer standing, plaintiffs appealed the court’s decision. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision because the plaintiffs’ complaint alleged the zoological society, not the city, acted illegally and because the operating agreement between the city and the zoological society made it clear that the zoological society, not the city, had exclusive control over the operations of the elephant exhibit. Significantly, the appeals court found that a city’s contractual funding obligations to a zoological society that cares and owns an animal exhibit at a zoo is not enough to allege a city violated animal cruelty laws.
|Taub v. State of Maryland||296 Md. 439 (Md.,1983)||
Maryland Court of Appeals held that animal-cruelty statute did not apply to researchers because there are certain normal human activities to which the infliction of pain to an animal is purely incidental and unavoidable.
|People v. Iehl||299 N.W.2d 46 (Mich. 1980)||
Defendant appealed his conviction for killing another person's dog. On appeal, defendant contended that the term "beast" provided by the anti-cruelty statue did not encompass dogs. The court disagreed, finding the statute at issue covered dogs despite its failure to explicitly list "dogs" as did a similar statute.
|People v. Preston||300 N.W. 853 (Mich. 1941)||
Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing three cows. The issue considered on review was: "Are the circumstances and testimony here, aliunde the confession of the respondent, sufficient to create such a probability that the death of the cattle in question was intentionally caused by human intervention and to justify the admission in evidence of the alleged confession of the respondent?" The court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction.
|State v. Pinard||300 P.3d 177 (Or.App.,2013), review denied, 353 Or. 788, 304 P.3d 467 (2013)||
In this Oregon case, Defendant shot his neighbor's dog with a razor-bladed hunting arrow. The neighbor euthanized the dog after determining that the dog would not survive the trip to the veterinarian. Defendant was convicted of one count of aggravated first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.322 (Count 1) and two counts of first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.320 (Counts 3 and 4). On appeal, Defendant contends that he was entitled to acquittal on Counts 1 and 4 because there was no evidence that the dog would have survived the wound. The court here disagreed, finding "ample evidence" from which a trier of fact could have found that the arrow fatally wounded the dog. As to Defendant's other issues the the merging of the various counts, the accepted one argument that Counts 3 and 4 should have merged, and reversed and remanded for entry of a single conviction for first-degree animal abuse.
|People v. McKnight||302 N.W.2d 241 (Mich. 1980)||
Defendant was convicted of willfully and maliciously killing animals for kicking a dog to death. Defendant argued on appeal that dogs were not included under the statute punishing the willful and malicious killing of horses, cattle, or other beasts of another. The court found that the term "other beasts" includes dogs. Further, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of the requisite willful and malicious intent to kill the dog. The court disagreed and held that inferences from the surrounding circumstances were sufficient to support a finding of malicious intent. The court affirmed his convictions.
|Hammer v. American Kennel Club||304 A.D.2d 74 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2003)||
Plaintiff Jon Hammer is the owner of a pure-bred Brittany Spaniel which has a natural, undocked tail approximately ten (10) inches long. He contends that tail docking is a form of animal cruelty, and that the practical effect of defendant American Kennel Club's tail standards for Brittany Spaniels is to effectively exclude his dog from meaningfully competing shows unless he complies with what he perceives as an unfair and discriminatory practice. Specifically, his amended complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that the complained-of standard (1) unlawfully discriminates against plaintiff by effectively precluding him from entering his dog in breed competitions, (2) is arbitrary and capricious, (3) violates Agriculture and Markets Law § 353, and (4) is null and void as in derogation of law; he further seeks an injunction prohibiting defendants from applying, enforcing or utilizing the standard. The court held that plaintiff lacked standing to obtain any of the civil remedies he sought for the alleged violation of Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353. The Legislature's inclusion of a complete scheme for enforcement of its provisions precludes the possibility that it intended enforcement by private individuals as well. The dissent disagreed with the majority's standing analysis, finding that plaintiff's object is not to privately enforce § 353, insofar as seeking to have the defendants' prosecuted for cruelty. Rather, plaintiff was seeking a declaration that the AKC's standard for judging the Brittany Spaniel deprives him of a benefit of membership on the basis of his unwillingness to violate a state law and, thus, he wanted to enjoin defendants from enforcing that standard against him. The dissent found that whether tail docking for purely cosmetic reasons violates § 353 is solely a question of law and entirely appropriate for a declaratory judgment. Cosmetic docking of tails was wholly unjustifiable under the law in the dissent's eyes. While plaintiff pointed out that docking may serve some purposes for hunting dogs, it is not a justification for docking the tails of non-hunting dogs, such as plaintiff's, for purposes of AKC competitions.
|People v. Johnson||305 N.W.2d 560 (Mich. 1981)||
Defendant claimed the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals, arguing that there was not proof that the horses were under his charge or custody. While the court agreed and reversed his conviction because he could not be convicted under the statute merely as the owner of the horses, absent proof of his care or custody of the horses, it further explained that the "owner or otherwise" statutory language was designed to punish cruelty to animals without regard to ownership.
|State v. Criswell||305 P.3d 760 (Mont.,2013)||
Defendants were convicted of aggravated animal cruelty for subjecting ten or more animals (cats) to mistreatment or neglect by confining them in a cruel manner and/or failing to provide adequate food and water. On appeal, defendants raise two main issues: (1) whether the State presented sufficient evidence and (2) whether the District Court abused its discretion in denying their motions for mistrial. As to the sufficiency argument, the Supreme Court held that the testimony from veterinary experts as well as the individuals involved in the rescue of the 400-plus cats removed from the three travel trailers was sufficient. On the mistrial issue, the Supreme Court agreed with the District Court that the remarks were improper. However, there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court's ruling that the comments were not so egregious to render the jury incapable of weighing the evidence fairly.
|State v. Fockler||308 Or. App. 765, 480 P.3d 960 (2021)||Defendant appeals his conviction of animal abuse in the second degree (ORS 167.315). Neighbors witnessed him throwing his dog to the ground and called police. He argues that the trial court erred in admitting evidence that he previously threw a cat to the ground 13-years prior to the current incident and submission of this evidence created unfair prejudice. The prosecution contended that this evidence was admitted for a noncharacter/nonpropsensity purpose under OEC 404(3) to establish defendant's subjective awareness of the risk of throwing pets the ground. On appeal, this court noted that animal abuse in the second degree requires the state to prove that defendant was “aware of and consciously disregard[ed] a substantial and unjustifiable risk.” At trial, the state introduced evidence that, in 2003, defendant threw a cat of his apartment window causing injury to the cat because it had defecated on the apartment floor. Defendant argued that there was an insufficient connection between the cat throwing incident and the current charge, and that the probative value of the evidence was at "best minimalistic." However, this court found that the cat throwing evidence was offered for a nonpropensity purpose of knowledge where it was reasonable to infer that defendant had a subjective awareness of the risks in throwing a pet to the ground. Therefore, the trial court did not err in determining that the evidence was relevant for the noncharacter purpose of establishing knowledge under OEC 404(3). The appellate court found that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence after hearing both sides and weighing the appropriate factors. Affirmed.|
|State v. Fessenden||310 P.3d 1163 (Or.App., 2013), review allowed, 354 Or. 597, 318 P.3d 749 (2013) and aff'd, 355 Or. 759 (2014)||
This Oregon case considers, as an issue of first impression, whether the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement applies to animals in need of immediate assistance. Defendant appealed her conviction for second-degree animal neglect (ORS 167.325) based on the condition of her horse. The court found that the emergency aid exception extends to nonhuman animals when law enforcement officers have an objectively reasonable belief that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals which are imminently threatened with suffering, serious physical injury or cruel death. Here, the deputy sheriff found that the horse was more emaciated than any other horse he had ever seen and there were signs of possible organ failure.
|Futch v. State||314 Ga.App. 294 (2012)||
Defendant appealed conviction of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a neighbor's dog. The Court of Appeals held that the restitution award of $3,000 was warranted even though the owner only paid $750 for the dog. The dog had been trained to hunt and retrieve, and an expert testified that such a dog had a fair market value between $3,000 and $5,000.
|State v. Josephs||328 Conn. 21, 176 A.3d 542 (2018)||In this Connecticut case, defendant, Delano Josephs appeals his judgment of conviction of a single violation of § 53–247(a). The incident stems from Defendant's shooting of his neighbor's cat with a BB gun. A witness heard the discharge of the BB gun, then saw a man he recognized as defendant walking with a BB gun in his hands in a "stalking" manner. Over a week later, defendant's neighbor noticed blood on her cat's shoulder and brought her cat to the veterinarian who found three or four metal objects that resembled BBs near the cat's spine. After receiving this diagnosis, the cat's owner reported to police that her neighbor was "shooting her cats." Animal control officers then interviewed defendant who admitted he has a BB gun and shoots at cats to scare them away, but "he had no means of hurting any cats." At the trial level, defendant raised the argument that § 53–247(a) requires specific intent to harm an animal. The trial court disagreed, finding the statute requires only a general intent to engage in the conduct. On appeal, defendant argues that since he was convicted under the "unjustifiably injures" portion of § 53–247(a), the trial court applied the wrong mens rea for the crime. In reviewing the statute, this court observed that the use of the term "unjustifiably" by the legislature is meant to distinguish that section from the section that says "intentionally." Thus, the legislature use of two different terms within the same subsection convinced the court that clause under which defendant was convicted is only a general intent crime. On defendant's void for vagueness challenge, the court found that this unpreserved error did not deprive him of a fair trial. A person of ordinary intelligence would understand that shooting a cat for trespassing is not a justifiable act. While the court agreed with defendant that "unjustifiably injures" is susceptible to other interpretations, in the instant case, defendant conduct in killing a companion animal is not permitted under this or other related laws. The judgment was affirmed.|