Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
People v. Gordon 85 N.Y.S.3d 725, (N.Y.Crim.Ct. Oct. 4, 2018) This New York case reflects Defendant's motion to dismiss the "accusatory instrument" in the interests of justice (essentially asking the complaint to be dismissed) for violating Agricultural and Markets Law (AML) § 353, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals or Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals. Defendant's primary argument is that she is not the owner of the dog nor is she responsible for care of the dog. The dog belongs to her "abusive and estranged" husband. The husband left the dog in the care of their daughter, who lives on the second floor above defendant. When the husband left for Florida, he placed the dog in the backyard attached to his and defendant's ground floor apartment. The dog did not have proper food, water, or shelter, and slowly began to starve resulting in emaciation. While defendant asserts she has been a victim of domestic violence who has no criminal record, the People counter that defendant was aware of the dog's presence at her residence and allowed the dog to needlessly suffer. This court noted that defendant's motion is time-barred and must be denied. Further, despite the time bar, defendant did not meet her burden to dismiss in the interests of justice. The court noted that, even viewing animals as property, failure to provide sustenance of the dog caused it to suffer needlessly. In fact, the court quoted from in Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery (in which denied a writ of habeas corpus for two chimpanzees) where the court said "there is not doubt that [a chimpanzee] is not merely a thing." This buttressed the court's decision with regard to the dog here because "he Court finds that their protection from abuse and neglect are very important considerations in the present case." Defendant's motion to dismiss in the interest of justice was denied.
People v. Harris --- P.3d ---- 2016 WL 6518566 (Colo.App.,2016) Harris was convicted for twenty-two counts of cruelty to animals after dozens of malnourished animals were found on her property by employees of the Humane Society. On appeal, Harris raised two main issues: (1) that the animal protection agent who was an employee of the Humane Society was not authorized to obtain a search warrant to investigate her property and (2) that the mistreatment of the twenty-two animals constituted one continuous course of conduct and that the lower court violated her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause by entering a judgment on twenty-two counts of animal cruelty. The Court of Appeals reviewed the issue of whether the animal protection agent had the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property and determined that the agent did not have the proper authority. The Court looked to the state statute that specifically stated that only “state employees” were able to investigate livestock cases. In this case, the animal protection agent was employed by the Humane Society and was not a state employee; therefore, he did not have the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property. However, the Court found that there was no constitutional violation with regard to the search warrant because it was still obtained based on probable cause. For this reason, the Court denied Harris’ request to suppress evidence that was submitted as a result of the search warrant. Finally, the Court reviewed Harris’ argument regarding her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Court found that under the statute dealing with animal cruelty, the phrases “any animal” and “an animal” suggests that a person commits a separate offense for each animal that is mistreated. Essentially, the Court held that the language of the statute “demonstrates that the legislature perceived animal cruelty not as an offense against property but as an offense against the individual animal.” As a result, Harris’ rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause were not violated and the Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
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.

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.

People v. Hock 919 N.Y.S.2d 835 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct., 2011)

Defendant was denied his motion to set aside convictions under New York animal cruelty statute.  The Criminal Court, City of New York, held that the 90 day period for prosecuting a Class A misdemeanor had not been exceeded. It also held that the jury was properly instructed on the criminal statute that made it a misdemeanor to not provide an animal with a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air, food, shelter, or water. It would be contrary to the purpose of the law and not promote justice to require that all four necessities be withheld for a conviction.

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. 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.

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.

People v. Land 955 N.E.2d 538 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2011)

In 2009, Jenell Land was found guilty by jury of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal, a Class 4 felony under Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act. Specifically, Land placed a towing chain around the neck of her pit bull, which caused a large, gaping hole to form in the dog’s neck (the dog was later euthanized). The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the defendant’s conviction and, in so doing, rejected each of Land’s four substantive arguments on appeal. Among the arguments raised, the appellate court found that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury that the State had to prove a specific intent by Land to injure her dog did not rise to the level of "plain error."

People v. Larson 885 N.E.2d 363 (Ill.App. 2008) In December 2005, defendant Alan J. Larson was found guilty of possession of a firearm without a firearm owner's identification card and committing aggravated cruelty to an animal when he shot and killed the Larsons’ family dog Sinai in October 2004. Evidence included conflicting testimony among family members as to the disposition of the dog and whether he had a history of biting people, and a veterinarian who concluded that a gunshot to the brain was a conditionally acceptable method of euthanasia. Defendant appealed his conviction on the grounds that the aggravated-cruelty-to-an-animal statute was unconstitutionally vague because it fails to address how an owner could legally euthanize their own animal. The appellate court rejected this argument and affirmed defendant’s conviction.
People v. Leach Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2006 WL 2683727 (Mich.App.)

Defendant's conviction arises from the killing of a rabbit during the execution of a civil court order at defendant's home on April 15, 2004. Because the court did not find MCL 750.50b unconstitutionally vague and further found sufficient evidence in support of defendant's conviction, defendant's conviction was affirmed. The evidence showed that defendant killed the rabbit in a display of anger arising from the execution of a court; thus, the terms, "[m]alicious", "willful", and "without just cause" are sufficiently specific terms with commonly understood meanings such that enforcement of the statute will not be arbitrary or discriminatory."

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.
People v. Lohnes 112 A.D.3d 1148, 976 N.Y.S.2d 719 (N.Y. App. Div., 2013)

After breaking into a barn and stabbing a horse to death, the defendant plead guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals; burglary in the third degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. On appeal, the court found a horse could be considered a companion animal within New York's aggravated cruelty statute if the horse was not a farm animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes and the horse was normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or the person who cared for it. The appeals court also vacated and remitted the sentence imposed on the aggravated cruelty charge because the defendant was entitled to know that the prison term was not the only consequence of entering a plea.

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.

People v. Meadows 54 Misc. 3d 697, 46 N.Y.S.3d 843 (N.Y. City Ct. 2016), rev'd, No. 17-AP-002, 2017 WL 4367065 (N.Y. Co. Ct. Aug. 3, 2017)

Defendant Amber Meadows allegedly neglected to provide dogs Athena, Buddy, and Meeko, with air, food, and water, and confined them in a bedroom where feces was found on the floor and furniture. Meadows was prosecuted for three counts of the unclassified misdemeanor of failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal in violation of § 356 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML). Meadows moved to dismiss the Information as facially insufficient and stated that the Supporting Deposition indicated that the dogs were “in good condition.” The People of the State of New York argued that the allegations in both the Information and Deposition, taken together, provide a sufficient basis to establish the elements of the crime. The Canandaigua City Court, Ontario County, held that: (1) “impounded” as stated in § 356 of the Agriculture and Markets Law does not apply to individual persons, and (2) even if the statute applied to individual persons, the allegations in the Information were not facially sufficient. The court reasoned § 356 does not apply to individual persons, but instead applies only to “pounds” operated by not-for-profit organizations, or kennels where animals are confined for hire. The court also stated that even if § 356 were to apply to individuals, under no construction of the facts here could the charge be sustained, as it appeared that the animals were properly cared for in the Defendant's apartment up to the point where she was forcibly detained. The conditions observed by law enforcement authorities on the date alleged in the Information were apparently several days after Meadow's incarceration and after which she was unsuccessful in securing assistance for the dogs while incarcerated. The Information was dismissed with prejudice, and the People's application for leave to file an amended or superseding Information was denied.

People v. Minney 119 N.W. 918 (Mich. 1909)

Defendant was convicted of mutilating the horse of another.  He argued on appeal that the trial court's jury instructions, which read that malice toward the owner of the horse was not necessary, were incorrect.  The court agreed and found that although the general malice of the law of crime is sufficient to support the offense, the trial court must instruct that malice is an essential element of the offense.

People v. Minutolo 215 A.D.3d 1260, 188 N.Y.S.3d 297 (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.
People v. O'Rourke 83 Misc.2d 175 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct. 1975)

The owner of a horse was guilty of cruelty to animals for continuing to work a horse he knew was limping. The court found that defendant owner was aware that the horse was unfit for labor, and was thus guilty of violating N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 353 for continuing to work her.

People v. Olary 160 N.W.2d 348 (Mich. 1968)

Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows.  The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals. 

People v. Olary (On Appeal) 170 N.W.2d 842 (Mich. 1969)

Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, defendant argued that the Court of Appeals erroneously upheld the conviction because of his inattention to the condition of the cows and failure to provide medical treatment, when such action or failure to act was not punishable under the anti-cruelty statute.  The Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of cruelty to animals because as a farmer, defendant could have realized that his conduct was cruel. 

People v. Panetta --- N.Y.S.3d ----, 2018 WL 6627442, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 28404 (N.Y. App. Term. Dec. 13, 2018) Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, inadequate shelter, and failing to seek veterinary care for her numerous dogs. After an initial seizure of two dogs, defendant was served with a notice to comply with care and sheltering of her remaining dogs. Following inspections about a month later, inspectors found that defendant had failed to comply with this order, and dogs suffering from broken bones and other injuries (including one dog with "a large tumor hanging from its mammary gland area") were seized and subsequently euthanized. As a result, defendant was arrested and charged with 11 violations of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 and local code violations. Defendant then moved to suppress the physical evidence and statements taken during the initial warrantless entry onto her property and the evidence obtained after that during the execution of subsequent search warrants, arguing that the initial warrantless entry tainted the evidence thereafter. At the suppression hearing, a building contractor who had visited defendant's residence testified that he contacted the Office for the Aging because he had concerns for defendant. An official at the Office for the Aging also testified that the contractor told her that he observed 6 dogs in the home and about 50-100 dogs in outdoor cages. The investigating officer who ultimately visited defendant's property reported that there were nearly 100 dogs living in "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property. Upon encountering defendant that day, the officer testified that defendant demanded a search warrant for further investigation (which the officer obtained and executed later that day). Following this hearing, the City Court held that while the officer's entry violated defendant's legitimate expectation of privacy, his actions were justified under the emergency exception warrant requirement and, thus, denied defendant's motion to suppress. On appeal here, defendant argues that the prosecution failed to establish the officer had reasonable grounds to believe there was an immediate need to protect life or property and that all the evidence obtained thereafter should have been suppressed. Relying on previous holdings that allow the emergency exception in cases where animals are in imminent danger of health or need of protection, this court found that the prosecution failed to establish the applicability of the emergency doctrine. In particular, the court was troubled by the fact that, on the first visit, the officers crossed a chain fence that was posted with a no trespassing sign (although they testified they did not see the sign). Because the officers only knew that there were "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property in a house that the contractor testified that he thought should be "condemned," this did not support a conclusion of a "substantial threat of imminent danger" to defendant or her dogs. While in hindsight there was an emergency with respect to the dogs, the court "cannot retroactively apply subsequently obtained facts to justify the officers' initial entry onto defendant's property." As a result, the court remitted the matter to the City Court for a determination of whether the seizures of evidence after the initial illegal entry occurred under facts that were sufficiently distinguishable from the illegal entry so to have purged the original taint.
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.

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.

People v. Proehl (unpublished) Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2011 WL 2021940 (Mich.App.)

Defendant was convicted of failing to provide adequate care to 16 horses. On appeal, Defendant first argued that, to him, nothing appeared to be wrong with his horses and, consequently, no liability can attach. The court disagreed, explaining: "Defendant's personal belief that his horses were in good health . . . was therefore based on fallacy, and has no effect on his liability under the statute." Defendant also maintained that he is an animal hoarder, which is a "psychological condition" that mitigates his intent. Rejecting this argument, the court noted that Defendant’s "hoarding" contention is based upon a non-adopted bill which, in any event, fails to indicate whether animal hoarding may serve as a proper defense.

People v. Restifo --- N.Y.S.3d ----, 220 A.D.3d 1113, 2023 WL 7028284 (N.Y. App. Div. 2023) This is an appeal of a verdict to convict defendant of aggravated cruelty to animals. Defendant was walking his two pit bull dogs and allowed the dogs enough leash space to reach a pet cat resting on the steps of its owner’s porch. The cat’s owners, who were witnesses to this event, watched as the pit bulls mauled their pet cat. When the witnesses asked defendant to stop his dogs, defendant attempted to flee with his dogs still carrying the cat’s body in its mouth. The witnesses pursued and eventually, the dog dropped the deceased cat’s body. Defendant was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and failure to provide proper sustenance. Defendant was convicted, and appealed the aggravated animal cruelty charge. Defendant argues that the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence. The court here found that defendant was well aware that the dogs were aggressive, even keeping them separate from his young son because of their propensity to attack smaller animals. There was also testimony from another neighbor of defendant allowing his dogs to chase feral cats off her porch without stopping them, and testimony regarding defendant’s dog previously mauling a smaller dog without defendant intervening to stop them. Defendant was warned by animal control to muzzle them, but refused to do so. Defendant also bragged to co-workers about how he let his pit bulls go after other dogs and attack wild and old animals. Accordingly, the court found that defendant was aware of the dogs’ aggressive behavior and affirmed the holding of the lower court.
People v. Robards 97 N.E.3d 600 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 12, 2018) This case is an appeal from an animal cruelty conviction against defendant Ms. Regina Robards. She seeks appeal on the grounds that the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Robards was charged with aggravated animal cruelty when her two dogs, Walker and Sparky, were discovered in her previous home emaciated, dehydrated, and dead. She had moved out of the home and into Ms. Joachim’s home in July 2014, telling Joachim that she was arranging for the dogs to be taken care of. However, when Joachim went over to the prior home in November 2014, she discovered Walker’s emaciated body on the living room floor. She called the police, who discovered Sparky’s body in a garbage bag in the bedroom. Robards’ conviction required that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally committed an act that caused serious injury or death to her two dogs, and failing to seek adequate medical care for them. On appeal, Robards concedes that the dogs both died from dehydration and starvation, and that she was the only person responsible for the dogs’ care. However, she argues that for her conviction to stand, the prosecutor must prove that she intended to cause serious injury or death to the dogs. The court disagrees, stating that for conviction only the act need be intentional, and that the act caused the death or serious injury of an animal. Notably, the court observed that "defendant is very fortunate to have only received a sentence of 12 months' probation for these heinous crimes," and criticized the circuit court for its "unjustly and inexplicably lenient" sentence simply because defendant only caused harm to an animal and not a human being.
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. Romano 908 N.Y.S.2d 520 (N.Y.Sup.App.Term,2010)

Defendant appealed a conviction of animal cruelty under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to groom the dog for a prolonged period of time and failing to seek medical care for it. Defendant argued that the term “unjustifiably injures” in the statute was unconstitutionally vague, but the Court held the term was not because a person could readily comprehend that he or she must refrain from causing unjustifiable injury to a domestic pet by failing to groom it for several months and seeking medical care when clear, objective signs are present that the animal needs such care.

People v. Sanchez 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)

Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

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.
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.

People v. Tessmer 137 N.W. 214 (Mich. 1912)

Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing the horse of another.  Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because there was no proof of malice toward the owner of the horse.  The court held that the general malice of the law of crime was sufficient to support the conviction. 

People v. Tinsdale 10 Abbott's Prac. Rept. (New) 374 (N.Y. 1868)

This case represents one of the first prosecutions by Mr. Bergh of the ASPCA under the new New York anti-cruelty law. That this case dealt with the issue of overloading a horse car is appropriate as it was one of the most visible examples of animal abuse of the time. This case establishes the legal proposition that the conductor and driver of a horse car will be liable for violations of the law regardless of company policy or orders.Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty

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.
People v. Williams 15 Cal. App. 5th 111 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017), reh'g denied (Sept. 20, 2017) In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.
People v. Youngblood 109 Cal.Rptr.2d 776 (2001) Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat.  The court found that the conviction could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering.  Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.
Pet Fair, Inc. v. Humane Society of Greater Miami 583 So.2d 407 (Fl. 1991) The owner of allegedly neglected or mistreated domestic animals that were seized by police could not be required to pay for costs of animals' care after it was determined that owner was in fact able to adequately provide for the animals, and after the owner declined to re-possess the animals. The Humane Society can require an owner to pay it costs associated with caring for an animal if the owner re-claims the animal, but not if the animal is adopted out to a third party.
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.

Pine v. State 889 S.W.2d 625 (Tex. App. 1994).

Mens rea in cruelty conviction may be inferred from circumstances. With regard to warrantless seizure, the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit seizure when there is a need to act immediately to protect and preserve life (i.e. "emergency doctrine").

Pitts v. State 918 S.W.2d 4 (Tex. App. 1995).

Right of appeal is only available for orders that the animal be sold at public auction. The statutory language does not extend this right to seizure orders.

Porter v. DiBlasio 93 F.3d 301 (Wis.,1996)

Nine horses were seized by a humane society due to neglect of a care taker without giving the owner, who lived in another state, notice or an opportunity for a hearing. The owner filed a section 1983 suit against the humane society, the county, a humane officer and the district attorney that alleged violations of substantive and procedural due process, conspiracy, and conversion. The district court dismissed the claims for failure to state a viable claim. On appeal, the court found that the owner had two viable due process claims, but upheld the dismissal for the others.

Price v. State 911 N.E.2d 716 (Ind.App.,2009)

In this Indiana case, appellant-defendant appealed his conviction for misdemeanor Cruelty to an Animal for beating his 8 month-old dog with a belt. Price contended that the statute is unconstitutionally vague because the statute's exemption of “reasonable” training and discipline can be interpreted to have different meanings. The court held that a person of ordinary intelligence would also know that these actions are not “reasonable” acts of discipline or training. Affirmed.

Qaddura v. State 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 1493 The court held that the owner of livestock who placed them in the care of his tenant while he was on vacation for a month, but failed to provide his tenant with enough food for the livestock could be found guilty under the animal cruelty statute.   
QUATTROCCHIO WANDA S/ MALTRATO ANIMAL QUATTROCCHIO WANDA S/ MALTRATO ANIMAL (Expte. Nº PEX 292565/21) This is an animal cruelty case in which Wanda Quattrochio witnessed the defendant whipping the neighbor's dogs. Wanda recorded the events and filed a complaint about animal cruelty. The defendant was in charge of caring for the dogs while their owner was away. When the authorities arrived at the house to seize the dogs, they found six dogs in small dirty kennels, with unclean water and without food. After considering the testimony of witnesses and other evidence, the judge concluded that the defendant had violated articles 1-3 of the anti-cruelty law (Ley 14.346) and was found guilty of animal cruelty. In her analysis of the case, the judge stated that animals were not things or resources but rather living beings with the potential to be "subjects of life."
R (on the application of Patterson) v. RSPCA EWHC 4531 The defendants had been convicted of a number of counts of animal cruelty in 2011, to include unnecessary suffering pursuant to Section 4, and participation in a blood sport under Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Patterson was found to have breached an attached disqualification order under Section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, on which this appeal is based. The order covered all types of animals for a period of five years. This prohibited him from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or being a party to an arrangement under which he would be entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are kept. A number of animals were found and seized at the home. The appeal was allowed on the basis that Mr Patterson was not entitled to control or influence the way in which the animals were kept by his wife on the facts.
R v D.L. R. v. D.L., 1999 ABPC 41 In R v D.L. (1999 ABPC 41) the phrase “wilfully and without lawful excuse” found in s.446 was at issue. In this case, two individuals were charged under s. 445(a) s.446 (1)(a) for killing a cat after the cats’ owner told them to “get rid of it” which they took to mean kill it. The judge in this case found that having permission to kill an animal was not a sufficient “lawful excuse” and did not lawfully give the authority to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal. The accused was found not guilty on count 1 and guilty on count 2.
R v. Menard R v. Menard 1978 CarswellQue 25 The accused in R v. Menard had a business euthanizing animals by use of motor exhaust which caused pain and burns to the mucous membranes of the animals he was euthanizing. In a decision written by future Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice, Lamer J. overturned a decision from the lower courts and reinstated the original conviction. Lamer J. statements about the animal-human relationship have been influential in Canadian Animal case law.
R v. Shand R. v. Shand, 2007 ONCJ 317 In R v Shand 2007 ONCJ 317 (CanLII), the court examined the necessary elements required to established the “willful” mens rea component present in Canadian Federal Criminal Statute s. 429. The accused was charged with three counts of animal cruelty contrary to s.446 of the Criminal Code in relation to a dog in her care. The court found that on two of the counts that the accused was had acted "wilfully" because she was either "reckless or indifferent as to her dog's condition."
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.

R. v. Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, ex parte Tesco Stores Ltd. CO/467/93

Although a local authority may not adopt a policy of not enforcing certain laws or not enforcing them against certain types of parties, it may nevertheless make rational choices with respect to the use of its enforcement powers in order to deploy its limited resources in the most efficient and effective manner.

Pages