Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
California Veterinary Medical Ass'n v. City of West Hollywood 61 Cal. Rptr. 3d 318 (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.
Humane Society of United States v. State Board of Equalization 61 Cal.Rptr.3d 277 (Cal. App. 1 Dist., 2007)

Humane society and four state taxpayers brought action attacking government waste, requesting injunctive and declaratory relief that would bar implementation of tax exemptions for farm equipment and machinery as they applied to “battery cage” chicken coops that allegedly violated animal cruelty laws. State Board of Equalization demurred. Superior Court sustained without leave to amend the complaint and dismissed the case, which the Court of Appeal affirmed, stating that the plaintiffs did not allege a valid cause of action attacking government waste.

Roose v. State of Indiana 610 N.E.2d 256 (1993)

Defendant was charged with criminal mischief and cruelty to an animal after dragging it with his car. The court concluded that, although some of the photos admitted were gruesome, the municipal court validly admitted the photos of the dog that defendant injured into evidence because the photos clearly aided the jury in understanding the nature of those injuries and the veterinarian's testimony as to the medical attention that the dog received.

People v. Speegle 62 Cal.Rptr.2d 384 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1997)

The prosecution initially charged defendant with 27 counts of felony animal cruelty (Pen. Code, § 597, subd. (b)) and 228 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect (Pen. Code, § 597f, subd. (a)). Ultimately, the jury convicted her of eight counts of felony animal cruelty, making the specific finding that she subjected the animals to unnecessary suffering (Pen. Code, § 599b), and one count of misdemeanor animal neglect. Following a hearing, the court ordered her to reimburse the costs of impounding her animals in the amount of $265,000. The Court of Appeal reversed the misdemeanor conviction for instructional error and otherwise affirmed. The court held that the prohibitions against depriving an animal of “necessary” sustenance, drink, or shelter; subjecting an animal to “needless suffering”; or failing to provide an animal with “proper” food or drink (Pen. Code, § 597, subd. (b)) are not unconstitutionally vague. The court also held that the confiscation of defendant's animals for treatment and placement, and the filing of a criminal complaint afterward, did not amount to an effort to punish her twice for the same conduct in violation of double jeopardy principles.

Humane Soc. of U.S., Inc. v. Brennan 63 A.D.3d 1419, 881 N.Y.S.2d 533 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2009)

In this New York case, the petitioners, various organizations and individuals generally opposed to the production of foie gras (a product derived from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese who were force fed prior to slaughter) submitted a petition to respondent Department of Agriculture and Markets seeking a declaration that foie gras is an adulterated food product within the meaning of Agriculture and Markets Law §§ 200. The respondent Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets refused to issue a statement to the requested declaration. On review to this court, petitioners sought a judicial pronouncement that foie gras is an adulterated food product. This court held that petitioners lacked standing because they did not suffer an injury within the zone of interests protected by State Administrative Procedure Act §§ 204.

Ford v. Com. 630 S.E.2d 332 (Va. 2006)

In this Virginia case, the defendant was convicted of maliciously shooting a companion animal of another “with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill,” contrary to Va. Code § 18.2-144, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The Court held that the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions, where the defendant admitted he drove the vehicle witnesses saw by the barn where the dog was shot and one witness saw him shoot toward the barn. 

Humane Soc. of Rochester and Monroe County for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. v. Lyng 633 F.Supp. 480 (W.D.N.Y.,1986)

Court decided that the type of branding mandated by Secretary of Agriculture constitutes cruelty to animals because other less painful and equally effective alternatives exist and therefore freed dairy farmers to use other branding methods like freeze branding.

Siegel v. State 635 S.W.3d 313 (Ark., 2021), reh'g denied (Jan. 13, 2022) Defendant Karen Siegel was convicted of 31 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty based on 31 breeding dogs that were seized from her home. At issue here on appeal by defendant is whether the underlying statutes that allows seizure of the animals, Arkansas Code Annotated sections 5-62-106 and 5-62-111, are constitutional. In addition, defendant argues that by not ordering return of the seized dogs to defendant and compensating defendant for her loss of property was error. The first circuit court criminal case was dismissed on speedy-trial grounds and that ruling was upheld in later appeal. The issues on the instant appeal relate to the status of the seized dogs. Siegel argues that the circuit court erred by not ordering the return of her seized property and also not assigning a value for the property that was destroyed or damaged. The court here looked at the language of the seizure statute and found that Siegel failed to post a bond to care for the dog as is contemplated by the statute. The statute provides no award of damages to a defendant and the county that seized the dog is not a party in the criminal action brought by the state. Thus, the lower court was correct in stating that Siegel's remedy was a separate civil action. As to Siegel's challenges to the constitutionality of those statutes, this court found the argument moot since review of the issue would have no practical legal effect upon a then-existing controversy. The case was affirmed in part and dismissed as moot in part.
McDonald v. State 64 S.W.3d 86 (Tex. App. 2001)

The act of finding a sick puppy and intentionally abandoning it in a remote area, without food or water or anyone else around to accept responsibility for the animal, was unreasonable and sufficient to support a conviction for animal cruelty.

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.

Cross v. State 646 S.W.2d 514 (Tex. App. 1982).

"Necessary food" in the animal cruelty statute means food sufficient in both quantity and quality to sustain the animal in question.

Morgan v. State 656 S.E.2d 857(Ga.App., 2008)

Deputy removed sick and malnourished animals from Defendant's property, initiated by a neighbor's call to the Sheriff.  Defendant was convicted in a jury trial of cruelty to animals.  He appealed, alleging illegal search and seizure based on lack of exigent circumstances to enter his property.  The court found that deputy's entry into the home was done with Morgan's lawful consent, and, as such, the subsequent seizure of the dogs in the home was based on the deputy's plain view observations in a location where he was authorized to be.

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.

Mejia v. State 681 S.W.2d 88 (Tex. App. 1984).

Rooster fighting case. Testimony from the defendant's witness, a sociologist that argued cockfighting is not generally thought of as an illegal activity, was irrelevant in cruelty to animals conviction. Statute is not unconstitutionally vague.

State v. Griffin 684 P.2d 32 (Or. 1984)

Appeal of a conviction in district court for cruelty to animals.  Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals after having been found to have recklessly caused and allowed his dog to kill two cats, and he appealed. The Court of Appeals held that forfeiture of defendant's dog was an impermissible condition of probation.

State v. Mauer 688 S.E.2d 774 (N.C.App., 2010)

In this North Carolina case, Defendant appealed her conviction for misdemeanor animal cruelty. Defendant primarily argued that the “evidence failed to establish that mere exposure to the living conditions constituted torment as defined by § 14-306(c).” The Court disagreed, finding that the stench of defendant's residence required the fire department to bring breathing apparatus for the animal control officers and urine and feces coated "everything" in the house, including the cats, was sufficient to support a conclusion by a reasonable jury that defendant “tormented” cat C142, causing it unjustifiable pain or suffering. The Court, however, vacated the order of restitution for $ 259.22 and remanded for a hearing on the matter because there was no evidence presented at trial supporting the award.

Dunham v. Kootenai County 690 F.Supp.2d 1162 (D.Idaho, 2010)

This matter involves the Defendant Kootenai County's motion for summary judgment this federal civil rights case filed by Dunham. The facts underlying the case stem from 2008, when county animal control officers went to Dunham's residence to investigate complaints of possible animal cruelty. During their investigation, Defendants entered Dunham's property to ascertain the condition of the horses residing there in a round-pen. Despite the conditions of the horses which necessitated their removal and relocation to an equine rescue facility, Dunham was ultimately charged and found not guilty of charges of animal cruelty. Dunham claims that Defendants violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they searched her property and seized her horses without a warrant. Defendants counter that the search was constitutional based on the open fields doctrine, and that the seizure was constitutional based on the plain view doctrine. Based on the open fields doctrine, the Court concluded that Dunham did not have an expectation of privacy in the searched area.

Fabrikant v. French 691 F.3d 193 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 2012)

After multiple negative reports came in about the living conditions of her animals, an animal rescue organization seized many of the plaintiff-appellant's dogs; she was then charged with five counts of animal cruelty, but was later acquitted at a state trial. Subsequently, the plaintiff-appellant and her state trial attorney filed a federal civil rights suit against the animal organization and others.  After losing at the district level, on the first appeal, and on remand from the first appeal, the plaintiff-appellant appealed the case for a second time. On this appeal, the Second Circuit held that though the animal organization was a state actor, it had qualified immunity, which protected it from the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. Additionally, the court held that investigator’s had probable cause to seize the dogs, which also defeated the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed, but for different reasons.

State v. Spade 695 S.E.2d 879 (W.Va., 2010)

In 2006, appellant was charged with one count of animal cruelty after 149 dogs were seized from her rescue shelter. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that, since the appellant (1) entered into a valid plea agreement which "specifically and unequivocally reserved a restitution hearing" and (2) "attempted on numerous occasions to challenge the amounts she was required by the magistrate court to post in separate bonds," that the final order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley County should be reversed. Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiff was entitled to a restitution hearing to determine the actual reasonable costs incurred in providing care, medical treatment, and provisions to the animals seized.

Commonwealth v. Duncan 7 N.E.3d 469, cert. denied sub nom. Duncan v. Massachusetts, 135 S. Ct. 224, 190 L. Ed. 2d 170 (2014) This case deals specifically with the issue of whether or not the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment extends to police action undertaken to render emergency assistance to animals. In this particular case, police officers were called to defendant’s property after a neighbor reported that two of defendant’s dogs were deceased and a third dog looked emaciated after being left outside in inclement weather. After showing up to the defendant’s home, police contacted animal control who immediately took custody of all three dogs, despite defendant not being present. The court held that the emergency aid exception did apply to the emergency assistance of animals because it is consistent with public policy that is “in favor of minimizing animal suffering in a wide variety of contexts.” Ultimately, the court determined that the emergency aid exception could be applied to emergency assistance of animals if an officer has an “objectively reasonable basis to believe that there may be an animal inside [the home] who is injured or in imminent danger of physical harm.” The matter was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Gonzalez v. Royalton Equine Veterinary Services, P.C. 7 N.Y.S.3d 756 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Veterinarian contacted State Police after allegedly observing deplorable conditions in Plaintiff's barn. The premises were subsequently searched, and a horse and three dogs were removed and later adopted. Plaintiff commenced an action in City Court for, inter alia, replevin, and several defendants asserted counterclaims based on Lien Law § 183. The Lockport City Court entered partial summary judgment in favor of owner and ordered return of animals. On appeal, the Niagara County Court, reversed and remanded. Owner appealed to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York. The Court found the Niagara County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. (SPCA) was not required to bring a forfeiture action to divest Plaintiff of ownership of the seized animals because the animals were kept in unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings, the plaintiff was not properly caring for them, and the plaintiff failed to redeem the animals within five days before the SPCA was authorized to make the animals available for adoption. The city court’s order was affirmed as modified.
State v. Ziemann 705 N.W.2d 59 (Neb.App.,2005)

The petitioner-defendant challenged her criminal conviction for cruelly neglecting several horses she owned by asserting that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated. However, the court of appeals side stepped the petitioners claim that she had a legitimate expectation of privacy in a farmstead, that she did not own or reside on, because she leased the grass on the farmstead for a dollar by invoking the “open fields” doctrine.    The court held that even if such a lease might implicate the petitioners Fourth Amendment rights in some circumstances, the petitioner here was only leasing a open field, which she cannot have a legitimate expectation of privacy in.

People v. Rogers 708 N.Y.S.2d 795 (N.Y. 2000) Defendant was convicted following jury trial in the Criminal Court of the City of New York of abandonment of animals.  On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Term, held that the warrantless entry into pet shop was justified under emergency doctrine and sufficient evidence supported his convictions.
People v. Scott 71 N.Y.S.3d 865 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. Mar. 13, 2018) This case dealt with a man charged with two counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Sustenance, in violation of section 353 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (“AML”). On September 11, 2017, two Police Officers were called to an apartment building because tenants of the apartment building were complaining about a foul odor coming from the defendant's apartment unit. It was suspected that a dead body might be in the apartment based on the Officers' experience with dead body odors. Upon arrival the Officers could hear a dog on the other side of the door pacing and wagging its tail against the door. The Officers entered the apartment after getting no response from the tenant under the emergency doctrine. The Officers searched the apartment for a dead body but did not find one, but instead found a male German Shepard dog and a domestic shorthair cat, both of which were malnourished and emaciated. Their food and water bowls were empty and there was wet and dry feces and urine saturating the apartment unit floor. The police seized the animals and the vet that examined the animals concluded that the animals were malnourished and emaciated, and had been in those conditions for well over 12 hours. The defendant challenged the seizure of the animals and the subsequent security posting for costs incurred by the ASPCA for care of the dog for approximately 3 months. The court held that the defendant did violate a section of Article 26 of the AML, and that there was a valid warrant exception applicable to this case. Further, the court held that $2,567.21 is a reasonable amount to require the respondent/defendant to post as security.
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.

Blankenship v. Commonwealth 71 Va.App. 608 (2020) Brandon Scott Blankenship showed up at Wally Andrews’ home although Blankenship had previously been ordered not to come onto Andrews’ property. Blankenship stood outside on Andrews’ property and continued to curse at Andrews and threaten to kill him. Andrews called law enforcement and when they arrived, Blankenship continued his cursing and yelling at the officers. Every time the officers attempted to arrest Blankenship he would ball up his fists and take a fighting stance towards the officers. At some point the officers released a police K-9 named Titan after Blankenship took off running. Blankenship kicked and punched Titan until he backed off. Titan ended up with a digestive injury in which he would not eat and seemed lethargic. Blankenship was indicted for three counts of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, one count of assault on a law enforcement animal, one count of assault and battery, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of animal cruelty. The Court struck one count of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, the count of assault on a law enforcement animal, and the count of obstruction to justice. Blankenship was convicted of the remaining four counts and he appealed assigning error to the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him. The Court found that Blankenship’s overt acts demonstrated that he intended to place the law enforcement officers in fear of bodily harm which in turn caused the officers to actually and reasonably fear bodily harm. The totality of the circumstances supported Blankenship’s conviction of assault and battery on both the law enforcement officers and Andrews. As for the animal cruelty conviction, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence from which the circuit court could find that Blankenship voluntarily acted with a consciousness that inhumane injury or pain would result from punching and kicking Titan. Blankenship had no right to resist the lawful arrest and his actions against Titan were not necessary, therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support Blankenship’s conviction for animal cruelty. The Court ultimately affirmed and remanded the case.
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.

Lopez v. State 720 S.W.2d 201 (Tex. App. 1986).

The court convicted the defendant of cruelty to animals where the defendant left his dog in the car on a hot, sunny, dry day with the windows only cracked an inch and a half. Such action was deemed "transporting or confining animal in a cruel manner."

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.

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.

Dauphine v. U.S. 73 A.3d 1029 (D.C.,2013)

Defendant, Dr. Nico Dauphine, was convicted of attempted cruelty to animals, contrary to D.C.Code §§ 22–1001, –1803 (2001). After an investigation, Dr. Dauphine was captured on surveillance video placing bromadialone, an anticoagulant rodenticide, near the neighborhood cats' food bowls. On appeal, Dauphine contended that there was insufficient evidence that she committed the crime "knowingly" with malice. This court found the inclusion of the word "knowingly" did not change the statute from a general to specific intent crime, and simply shows that the actor had no justification for his or her actions. The government met its burden to prove that appellant attempted to commit the crime of animal cruelty.

Hulsizer v. Labor Day Committee, Inc. 734 A.2d 848 (Pa.,1999)
This Pennsylvania case involves an appeal by allowance from orders of Superior Court which affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County and imposed counsel fees and costs upon the appellants, Clayton Hulsizer and the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Hulsizer, an agent of the PSPCA, filed this action in equity seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the appellee, Labor Day Committee, Inc., for their role in conducting an annual pigeon shoot. Hulsizer sought to have appellee enjoined from holding the shoot, alleging that it violates the cruelty to animals statute. At issue is whether Hulsizer has standing to bring an enforcement action in Schuylkill County. This court found no inconsistency in reading Section 501 and the HSPOEA (Humane Society Police Officer Enforcement Act) together as statutes that are in pari materia. Since the HSPOEA does not limit the jurisdiction of humane society police officers by requiring them to apply separately to the courts of common pleas in every county in Pennsylvania, the officer had standing to bring an enforcement action. The lower court's orders were reversed.
Farm Sanctuary, Inc. v. Department of Food & Agriculture 74 Cal.Rptr.2d 75 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,1998.)

Environmental group brought suit challenging regulation allowing ritual slaughter exception to statute requiring that animals be treated humanely. The Superior Courtupheld regulation and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeal, Masterson, J., held that: (1) group had standing to sue, and (2) regulation was valid.

People v. Arcidicono 75 Misc. 2d 294 ((N.Y.Dist.Ct. 1973)

The court held the bailee of a horse liable for failing to provide necessary sustenance to the horse, even though the owner of the horses had refused to pay for the necessary feed.  

State v. Morival 75 So.3d 810 (Fla.App. 2 Dist., 2011)

Defendant moved to dismiss charges of two felony counts of animal cruelty. The District Court of Appeal held that systematically depriving his dogs of nourishment was properly charged as felony animal cruelty rather than misdemeanor.  Defendant fed his dogs so little that they suffered malnutrition over an extended period of time. This amounted to repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.

People v. Haynes 760 N.W.2d 283 (Mich.App.,2008)

In this Michigan case, the defendant pleaded no contest to committing an “abominable and detestable crime against nature” with a sheep under MCL 750.158. In addition to sentencing consistent with being habitual offender, the trial court found that defendant's actions evidenced sexual perversion, so the court ordered defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (“SORA”). The Court of Appeals reversed the order, holding that while sheep was the “victim” of the crime, registration was only required if the victim was a human being less than 18 years old. SORA defines “listed offense” as including a violation of section 158 if a victim is an individual less than 18 years of age. Relying on the plain and ordinary meaning of "victim," the court concluded that an animal was not intended to be considered a victim  under the statute.

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.

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.

People v. Henderson 765 N.W.2d 619 (Mich.App.,2009)

The court of appeals held the owner of 69 emaciated and neglected horses liable under its animal cruelty statute, even though the owner did not have day-to-day responsibility for tending to the horses.

State v. Gerberding 767 S.E.2d 334 (N.C. Ct. App. 2014) After stabbing and slicing a dog to death, defendant was indicted for felonious cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit felonious cruelty to animals. She was tried and found guilty of both counts before a jury. The trial court sentenced defendant to a term of 5 to 15 months for the felonious cruelty to animal conviction, and 4 to 14 months for the conspiracy conviction with both sentences suspended for a term of 18 months probation. Defendant appealed on the basis that the trial court erred on its instructions to the jury. After careful consideration, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the trial court properly instructed the jury according to the North Carolina pattern jury instructions. Further, the trial court responded appropriately to the question posed by the jury regarding the jury instructions. Accordingly, the appeals court held that the defendant received a fair, error-free trial. Judge Ervin concurs in part and concurs in result in part by separate opinion.
United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga, Tenn. 768 F.3d 464 (6th Cir. 2014) In June 2010, a private non-profit corporation that contracted with the City of Chattanooga to provide animal-welfare services, received complaints of neglect and unsanitary conditions at a mall pet store. Investigations revealed animals in unpleasant conditions, without water, and with no working air conditioner in the store. Animals were removed from the store, as were various business records, and the private, contracted non-profit began to revoke the store's pet-dealer permit. Pet store owners brought a § 1983 suit in federal district court against the City of Chattanooga; McKamey; and McKamey employees Karen Walsh, Marvin Nicholson, Jr., and Paula Hurn in their individual and official capacities. The Owners alleged that the removal of its animals and revocation of its pet-dealer permit without a prior hearing violated procedural due process and that the warrantless seizure of its animals and business records violated the Fourth Amendment. Walsh, Nicholson, Hurn, and McKamey asserted qualified immunity as a defense to all claims. On appeal from district court decision, the Sixth Circuit held the following: Hurn, acting as a private animal-welfare officer, could not assert qualified immunity as a defense against suit in her personal capacity because there was no history of immunity for animal-welfare officers and allowing her to assert qualified immunity was not consistent with the purpose of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Walsh and Nicholson acting both as private animal-welfare officers and as specially-commissioned police officers of the City of Chattanooga, may assert qualified immunity as a defense against suit in their personal capacities. With respect to entitlement to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity in the procedural due-process claims: Walsh and Nicholson are entitled to summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the animals, Nicholson is entitled to summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the permit, and Walsh is denied summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the permit. Regarding entitlement to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claims: Walsh and Nicholson are entitled to summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the animals, Nicholson is entitled to summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the business records, and Walsh is denied summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of the business records.Because qualified immunity was not an available defense to an official-capacity suit, the court held that employees may not assert qualified immunity as a defense against suit in their official capacities. The district court’s entry of summary judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
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.

Salzer v. King Kong Zoo 773 S.E.2d 548 (N.C. Ct. App. July 7, 2015) The Plaintiffs appeal from an order granting dismissal of their complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In 2014, Plaintiffs filed a civil suit under North Carolina's anti-cruelty "citizen suit" provision, N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A–1, against King Kong Zoo. Plaintiffs contended that the zoo kept animals in "grossly substandard" conditions. King Kong Zoo is an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) licensed exhibitor of wild and domestic animals. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that the applicable law here is the AWA and “N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A–1 ... has no application to licensed zoo operations.” On appeal, this Court found in a matter of first impression that the AWA does not expressly preempt claims under N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A. Instead, the AWA "empowers Section 19A to work in conjunction with the AWA." The Court also found no conflict of law that would preclude bringing the action. The matter was reversed and remanded to the Cherokee County District Court for determination consistent with this opinion.
Elisea v. State 777 N.E.2d 46 (Ind. App. 2002)

Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals and practicing veterinary medicine without a license after cropping several puppies' ears with a pair of office scissors while under no anesthesia.  Defendant maintained that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction for cruelty to an animal because the State failed to present sufficient evidence to rebut and overcome his defense that he engaged in a reasonable and recognized act of handling the puppies. The court held that the evidence supported conviction for cruelty under the definition of "torture."  Further the evidence supported conviction for unauthorized practice where defendant engaged in a traditional veterinary surgical procedure and received remuneration for his services. 

People v. Arroyo 777 N.Y.S.2d 836 (N.Y. 2004)

This case presents the court with a novel question: Does a pet owner commit an act of cruelty, for which he or she could be prosecuted criminally, by not providing an ill pet (in this case, terminally ill) with medical care?  Defendant charged with violation of New York's anticruelty statute and moved for dismissal.  In engaging in statutory interpretation, the Court held that:  (1) provision prohibiting the deprivation of "necessary sustenance" was vague when applied to defendant, and (2) that the provision prohibiting "unjustifiably" causing pain to an animal was also vague when applied to defendant.  Motion granted.

People v. Garcia 777 N.Y.S.2d 846 (N.Y. 2004)

Defendant was convicted for violating the anti-cruelty statute toward animals.  On appeal, the Court held that the statute was not unconstitutionally vague when applied to defendant's crimes.  Motion denied.

State v. Fifteen Impounded Cats 785 N.W.2d 272 (S.D.,2010)

Under a statute that allowed an officer to impound animals without a warrant if exigent circumstances exist, fifteen unconfined cats, who were roaming around a vehicle, were impounded. At a hearing to ratify the impoundment, the court found a large number of unconfined cats that obstructed the defendant's view for driving constituted exigent circumstances under SDCL 40-1-5. After a motion was granted to transfer ownership of the cats to a local humane society for adoption, the defendant appealed. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

People v. Peters 79 A.D.3d 1274(N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2010)

A veterinarian was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to three years of probation based upon his alleged unjustifiable failure under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 to provide a mare and her foal with necessary sustenance, food and drink in September 2005. After conviction by jury, the lower court denied defendant-veterinarian's motion to vacate judgment of conviction. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division found that while defendant failed to preserve his challenge for sufficiency of the evidence, the jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence. In particular, the court found that the expert testimony contradicted the evidence that the foal was mistreated.

State v. Kuenzi 796 N.W.2d 222 (WI. App,, 2011)

Defendants Rory and Robby Kuenzi charged a herd of 30 to 40 deer with their snowmobiles, cruelly killing four by running them over, dragging them, and leaving one tied to a tree to die. The two men were charged with a Class I felony under Wisconsin § 951.02, which prohibits any person from “treat[ing] any animal ... in a cruel manner.” The Court concluded that the definition of “animal” included non-captive wild animals and rejected the defendants’ argument that they were engaged in “hunting.” The court reinstated the charges against the men.

IPPL v. Institute for Behavioral Research, Inc. 799 F.2d 934 (1986)

Private individuals and organizations brought action seeking to be named guardians of medical research animals seized from organization whose chief was convicted of state animal cruelty statute violations. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, John R. Hargrove, J., dismissed action, and individuals and organizations appealed. The Court of Appeals, Wilkinson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) individuals and organizations lacked standing to bring action, and (2) Animal Welfare Act did not confer private cause of action. Case discussed in topic: US Animal Welfare Act.

Pages