Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases
|Wolff v. State||87 N.E.3d 528 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017)||This Indiana case addresses the status of animals seized in conjunction with a criminal animal cruelty case. Specifically, the appeal addresses whether the trial court erred in granting a local animal rescue the authority to determine disposition of the seized animals. The animals were seized after county authorities received complaints of animal cruelty and neglect on defendant's property in late 2016. As a result of the charges, five horses, two mules, and two miniature donkeys were impounded and placed with a local animal rescue. Following this, the state filed a notice with the court that estimated costs of continuing care for the impounded animals. About a month later, the state filed an Amended Motion to Determine Forfeiture/Disposition of Animals, requesting the trial court issue an order terminating defendant's ownership rights in the animals. Alternatively, the state requested that defendant could seek to have his posted bond money apportioned to cover the costs associated with the animals' care. The court ultimately entered an order that allowed the rescue agency full authority to determine disposition of the animals after defendant failed to respond. In his current appeal of this order, defendant first claims that the trial court erred in giving the animal rescue such authority because defendant paid $20,000 in bail. The appellate court found that this money was used to secure defendant's release from jail and he did not request that the jail bond be used for the care of the animals. The court found that the legislature clearly intended the bail and bond funds are used for "separate and distinct purposes," so there was no way for the trial court to automatically apply this money to the animal care costs. Defendant had to affirmatively exercise his rights concerning the disposition of the animals pending trial, which he failed to do. As to defendant's other issue concerning an investigation and report by a state veterinarian, the appellate court found defendant waived this issue prior to appeal. The decision was affirmed.|
|Windridge Farm Pty Ltd v Grassi|| NSWSC 335||
The defendants entered the plaintiff's land, containing a piggery, with the intention of taking photographs and film footage to establish that the plaintiff failed to meet certain standards. The defendants' argument that the plaintiff was not entitled to injunctive relief because of 'unclean hands' was dismissed by the court. The court also found that the defensive argument based on 'implied freedom of political communication' did not have application in the circumstances.
|Wilkerson v. State||401 So. 2d 1110 (Fla. 1981)||
Appellant was charged with violating Florida's Cruelty to Animals statute, Fla. Stat. ch. 828.12 (1979). He pleaded nolo contendere, reserving his right to appeal the trial court's order, which denied his motion to dismiss and upheld the constitutionality of the statute. The supreme court affirmed. Appellant argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because the statute failed to provide guidance as to what animals were included and what acts were unnecessary. The supreme court concluded that people of common intelligence would have been able to discern what were and were not animals under the statute and that the legislature clearly intended that a raccoon be included. Additionally, just because the statute did not enumerate every instance in which conduct against an animal was unnecessary or excessive did not render the statute void for vagueness. The conduct prohibited was described in general language. Finally, because appellant's conduct was clearly proscribed by the statute, he did not have standing to make an overbreadth attack.
|Whitman v. State||2008 WL 1962242 (Ark.App.,2008)||
Appellant was tried by a jury and found guilty of four counts of cruelty to animals concerning four Arabian horses. On appeal, appellant raised a sufficiency of the evidence challenge and a Rule 404(b) challenge to the admission of testimony and pictures concerning the condition of appellant's dogs and her house. The court found the photographic evidence was admissible for purposes other than to prove appellant's character, e.g., to show her knowledge of neglect of animals within her house, and thereby the absence of mistake or accident concerning the horses that lived outside.
|Westfall v. State||10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)||
Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.
|Waters v. Meakin|| 2 KB 111||
The respondent had been acquitted of causing unnecessary suffering to rabbits (contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s. 1(1)) by releasing them into a fenced enclosure from which they had no reasonable chance of escape, before setting dogs after them. Dismissing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that the respondent's conduct fell within the exception provided for "hunting or coursing" by sub-s. (3) (b) of s. 1of the 1911 Act. From the moment that the captive animal is liberated to be hunted or coursed, it falls outwith the protection of the 1911 Act, irrespective of whether the hunting or coursing is humane or sportsmanlike.
|Warren v. Commonwealth||822 S.E.2d 395 (Va. Ct. App., 2019)||Warren, the defendant in this case, videotaped on his cell phone sexual encounters he had with K.H. and her dog. The videos showed the dog's tongue penetrating K.H.'s vagina while K.H. performed oral sex on Warren. In March of 2017, Deputy Sheriff Adam Reynolds spoke to Warren about an unrelated matter. Warren asked if "bestiality type stuff" was "legal or illegal," described the cellphone videos, and offered to show them to Reynolds. Reynolds contacted Investigator Janet Sergeant and they obtained a search warrant and removed the videos from Warren's cellphone. Warren was indicted and moved to dismiss the indictment arguing that Code § 18.2-361(A), which criminalizes soliciting another person to "carnally know a brute animal or to submit to carnal knowledge with a brute animal," is facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to him. "He argued that the conduct depicted in the videos could not be subject to criminal sanction because it amounted to nothing more than consensual conduct involving adults." The trial court denied Warren's motion to dismiss. The trial court convicted Warren of the charged offense. Warren appealed again challenging the constitutionality of the offense and that it violated his due process rights. Warren relied on a Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, which held that two adults engaging in consensual homosexual sexual practices was protected by the due process clause. He argued that the reasoning of Lawrence applies with equal force to his case. The Court of Appeals reasoned that although Code § 18.2-361(A) cannot criminalize sodomy between consenting adults, it can continue to regulate other forms of sodomy, like bestiality. "If Lawrence, which involved a prohibition on same-sex sodomy, did not facially invalidate the anti-sodomy provision of then Code § 18.2-361(A), it defies logic that it facially invalidates the bestiality portion of the statute that existed before the 2014 amendment and is all that remains after that amendment." Even though Warren claims his right as "the right of adults to engage in consensual private conduct without intervention of the government," the court concluded that the right he is actually asserting is the right to engage in bestiality. Code § 18.2-361(A) "does not place any limitation on the rights of consenting adults to engage in private, consensual, noncommercial, sexual acts with each other." The only act it prohibits is sexual conduct with a brute animal. Therefore, the only right the statute could possibly infringe on wold be the right to engage in bestiality. The Commonwealth has a legitimate interest in banning sex with animals. The Court of Appeals held that the General Assembly's prohibition of bestiality does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The Court rejected Warren's challenge to the constitutionality of the statute and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.|
|Ward v RSPCA|| EWHC 347 (Admin)||RSPCA inspectors attended Mr Ward’s smallholding to find two horses in a severely distressed condition, with a worm infestation. Veterinarian advice had not been sought following failed attempts to home treat. The farmer was convicted of unnecessary suffering pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or controlling or influencing the way horses or cattle are kept for a three year period, pursuant to section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The defendant brought an appeal to the Crown Court and the High Court in respect of the disqualification. The High Court dismissed the appeal and held that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was intended to promote the welfare of animals and part of the mechanism of protection is the order of disqualification following convictions for offences under the Act.|
|Volosen v. State||192 S.W.3d 597(Tex.App.-Fort Worth, 2006)||
In this Texas case, the trial court found Appellant Mircea Volosen guilty of animal cruelty for killing a neighbor's dog. The sole issue on appeal is whether the State met its burden of presenting legally sufficient evidence that Volosen was "without legal authority" to kill the dog. By statute, a dog that "is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked ... fowls may be killed by ... any person witnessing the attack." The court found that no rational trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog was not attacking or had not recently attacked chickens in a pen in Volosen's yard; thus, the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that Volosen killed the dog "without legal authority" as required to sustain a conviction for animal cruelty. Judgment Reversed by Volosen v. State , 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex.Crim.App., 2007).
|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."
|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.
|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.
|United States v. Gideon||United States v. Gideon, 1 Minn. 292 (1856).||
The Defendant was convicted in the District Court of Hennepin county for the unlawfully malice killing of a dog. The Defendant appealed the descision to the Supreme Court of Minnesota to determine whether a dog has value and thus would be cover by the Minnesota cruelty to animal statute. The Supreme Court of Minnesota found that a dog has no value and would not be covered by the statute.
|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.|
|U.S. v. Stevens||533 F.3d 218, 2008 WL 2779529 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2008)||Note that certiorari was granted in 2009 by --- S.Ct. ----, 2009 WL 1034613 (U.S. Apr 20, 2009). In this case, the Third Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 48, the federal law that criminalizes depictions of animal cruelty, is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The defendant in this case was convicted after investigators arranged to buy three dogfighting videos from defendant in sting operation. Because the statute addresses a content-based regulation on speech, the court considered whether the statute survived a strict scrutiny test. The majority was unwilling to extend the rationale of Ferber outside of child pornography without direction from the Supreme Court. The majority found that the conduct at issue in § 48 does not give rise to a sufficient compelling interest.|
|U.S. v. Stevens||130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010)||
Defendant was convicted of violating statute prohibiting the commercial creation, sale, or possession of depictions of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court held that the statute was unconstitutional for being substantially overbroad: it did not require the depicted conduct to be cruel, extended to depictions of conduct that were only illegal in the State in which the creation, sale, or possession occurred, and because the exceptions clause did not substantially narrow the statute's reach. (2011 note: 18 U.S.C. § 48 was amended following this ruling in late 2010).
|Turner v Cole|| TASSC 72||
RSPCA officers found a horse belonging to the applicant on the applicant's property and, after preparing the horse for transport, had to euthanise the animal when it collapsed. The applicant was convicted of failing to feed a horse which led to its serious disablement and eventual euthanisation. The applicant was unsuccessful on all issues on appeal and was liable for a fine of $4000 and prevention from owning 20 or more horses for five years.
|Trimble v. State||848 N.E.2d 278 (Ind., 2006)||
In this Indiana case, the defendant was convicted after a bench trial of cruelty to an animal and harboring a non-immunized dog. On rehearing, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant abandoned or neglected dog left in his care, so as to support conviction for cruelty to an animal. The court held that the evidence of Butchie's starved appearance, injured leg, and frost bitten extremities was sufficient to allow the trial judge to discount Trimble's testimony and infer that Trimble was responsible for feeding and caring for Butchie, and that he failed to do so.
|Town of Plainville v. Almost Home Animal Rescue & Shelter, Inc.||182 Conn. App. 55 (Conn. App. Ct., 2018)||This is an appeal by the town of Plainville following the lower court's granting of defendant's motion to strike both counts of the plaintiffs' complaint. The complaint raised one count of negligence per se for defendant's failure to provide care for animals at its rescue facility. Count two centered on unjust enrichment for defendant's failure to reimburse the town for expenditures in caring for the seized animals. The facts arose in 2015 after plaintiff received numerous complaints that defendant's animal rescue was neglecting its animals. Upon visiting the rescue facility, the plaintiff observed that the conditions were unsanitary and the many animals unhealthy and in need of medical care. The plaintiff then seized 25 animals from defendant and provided care for the animals at the town's expense. Soon thereafter, plaintiffs commenced an action to determine the legal status of the animals and requiring the defendant to reimburse the town for care expenses. Prior to a trial on this matter, the parties reached a stipulation agreement that provided for adoption of the impounded animals by a third party, but contained no provision addressing reimbursement by the defendant to the town. Because there was no hearing on the merits of plaintiff's petition as to whether defendant had neglected or abused the animals for reimbursement under the anti-cruelty law, the court had no authority to order the defendant to reimburse the plaintiffs. Plaintiff then filed the instant action and the lower court held that each count failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, the court held that, with respect to count one on negligence per se under § 53–247, the statute does not impose such liability on one who violates the law. Further, unjust enrichment is only available is there is no adequate remedy at law, and another law, § 22–329a (h), provides the exclusive remedy for the damages sought by the town. On appeal here, this court held that the court properly determined that the plaintiffs were not among the intended beneficiaries of § 53–247 and that that determination alone was sufficient to strike count one. The court found "absolutely no language in the statute, however, that discusses costs regarding the care of animals subjected to acts of abuse or neglect or whether violators of § 53–247 have any obligation to compensate a municipality or other party." Thus, plaintiffs could not rely upon § 53–247 as a basis for maintaining a negligence per se case against the defendant. As to count two, the court rejected plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim. Because the right of recovery for unjust enrichment is equitable in nature, if a statute exists that provides a remedy at law, the equitable solution is unavailable. The court found that Section 22–329a provides a remedy for a municipality seeking to recover costs expended in caring for animals seized as a result of abuse and neglect. The stipulation agreement signed and agreed to by the parties contained no provision for reimbursement and settled the matter before there was an adjudication that the animals were abused or neglected. As a result, the judgment was affirmed.|
|Town of Bethlehem v. Acker||102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014)||Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.|
|Towers-Hammon v Burnett|| QDC 282||
The respondent pleaded guilty to bashing several cats with an iron bar causing four deaths. The dead cats, along with one severely beaten but still alive kitten, were placed in a bag and disposed of in a charity clothing bin. On appeal, it was held that the trial judge failed to have sufficient regard to the callous nature of the respondent's actions and the respondent was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.
|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.
|Tilbury v. State||890 S.W.2d 219 (Tex. App. 1994).||
Cruelty conviction of defendant who shot and killed two domesticated dogs. Defendant knew dogs were domesticated because they lived nearby, had demeanor of pets, both wore collars, and had been previously seen by defendant.
|The Duck Shooting Case||(1997) 189 CLR 579||
The plaintiff was charged with being in an area set aside for hunting, during hunting season, without a licence. The plaintiff argued that he was there in order to collect dead and wounded ducks and endangered species and to draw media attention to the cruelty associated with duck shooting. The Court found that although the regulation under which the plaintiff was charged restricted the implied freedom of political communication, it was appropriate to protect the safety of persons with conflicting aims likely to be in the area.
|Texas Attorney General Opinion No. JC-0048||Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0048||
Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether city ordinances are preempted by statutes that govern the treatment of animals. Specifically, the opinion discusses pigeon shoots. The opinion emphasizes that organized pigeon shoots are prohibited under Texas cruelty laws but that present wildlife laws allow the killing of feral pigeons.
|Texas Attorney General Letter Opinion 94-071||Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. LO 94-071||
Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether staged fights between penned hogs and dogs constitutes a criminal offense. The Assistant Attorney General deemed these staged fights as violating the criminal cruelty laws.
|Taylor v. RSPCA|| EWHC Admin 103||
Two women, who had been disqualified from keeping horses by a court, transferred ownership of the horses to their niece, but had continued to make arrangements for the accommodation of the horses and to provide food and water for them. The women were convicted in the Magistrates' Court of the offence of "having custody" of the horses in breach of the disqualification order, and appealed. Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that, what amounted to "custody" was primarily a matter of fact for the lower court to decide, and that the local justices had been entitled to conclude that, notwithstanding the transfer of ownership, the two women had continued to be in control, or have the power to control, the horses.
|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.
|Takhar v Animal Liberation SA Inc|| SASC 400||
An ex parte injunction was granted against the applicants preventing distribution or broadcasting of video footage obtained while on the respondent's property. The applicants claimed they were not on the land for an unlawful purpose and that they were there to obtain evidence of breaches of the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act 1985 (SA). The injunction restraining distribution or broadcasting of the footage, which was applicable to the applicants only, was removed on the balance of convenience as the media outlets were at liberty to broadcast.
|T. , J. A. s/ infracción Ley 14.346||Id SAIJ: FA12340061||The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court that sentenced the Defendant to eleven months of imprisonment after finding him criminally responsible for acts of cruelty in violation of Article 1 of Ley 14.346 against a stray dog. The Defendant was found guilty of sexually abusing a dog, who he forced into his premises. The dog’s genital area was sheared and she had serious injuries, which the veterinarian concluded were clear signs of penetration. The Supreme Court referred to the Chamber of Appeals on Criminal Matters of Parana "B.J.L. s/ infracción a la Ley 14.346", of October 1, 2003, where the referred court stated that “the norms of Ley 14.346 protect animals against acts of cruelty and mistreatment, is not based on mercy, but on the legal recognition of a framework of rights for other species that must be preserved, not only from predation, but also from treatment that is incompatible with the minimum rationality." Further, "the definition of ‘person’ also includes in our pluralistic and anonymous societies a rational way of contact with animals that excludes cruel or degrading treatment."|
|Swilley v. State||465 S.W.3d 789 (Tex. App. 2015)||In the indictment, the State alleged Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting a dog with a crossbow, a state jail felony. The dog in question was a stray, which fell within the statutory definition of an “animal.” After a jury found Appellant guilty, the trial court assessed his punishment at two years' confinement in a state jail. On appeal, Appellant contended that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial after the jury heard evidence of an extraneous offense also involving cruelty to animals. Since the video that mentioned the extraneous offense was admitted without objection, the court held the Appellant waived the error and the trial court did not err by denying Appellant's motion for mistrial or by giving the instruction to disregard and overrule Appellant's first issue. Appellant further asserted the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. The court, however, held the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting it with a crossbow. The trial court's judgment was therefore affirmed.|
|Swartz v. Heartland Equine Rescue||940 F.3d 387 (7th Cir., 2019)||The Plaintiff, Jamie and Sandra Swartz, acquired several horses, goats, and a donkey to keep on their farm in Indiana. In April of 2013, the county’s animal control officer, Randy Lee, called a veterinarian to help evaluate a thin horse that had been observed on the Swartzes’ property. Lee and the veterinarian visited the Swartzes’ on multiple occasions. The veterinarian became worried on its final visit that the Swartzes’ were not properly caring for the animals. Lee used the veterinarian’s Animal Case Welfare Reports to support a finding of probable cause to seize the animals. Subsequently, the Superior Court of Indiana entered an order to seize the animals. On June 20, 2014, the state of Indiana filed three counts of animal cruelty charges against the Swartzes. However, the state deferred prosecuting the Swartzes due to a pretrial diversion agreement. The Swartzes filed this federal lawsuit alleging that the defendants acted in concert to cause their livestock to be seized without probable cause and distributed the animals to a sanctuary and equine rescue based on false information contrary to the 4th and 14th amendments. The district court dismissed the Swartzes' claims to which, they appealed. The Court of Appeals focused on whether the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the Swartzes’ claims. The Court applied the Rooker-Feldman doctrine which prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by those who lose in state court challenging state court judgments. Due to the fact that the Swartzes’ alleged injury was directly caused by the state court’s orders, Rooker-Feldman barred federal review. The Swartzes also must have had a reasonable opportunity to litigate their claims in state court for the bar to apply. The Court, after reviewing the record, showed that the Swartzes had multiple opportunities to litigate whether the animals should have been seized, thus Rooker-Feldman applied. The case should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine at the outset. The Court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.|
|Stephens v. State||Stephans v. State, 3 So. 458 (Miss. 1887) (Arnold J. plurality).||
The Mississippi Cruelty to Animal statute was applied to the Defendant who killed several hogs that were eating his crops. The lower court refused to instruct the Jury that they should find him not guilty, if they believed that he killed the hogs while depredating on his crop and to protect it, and not out of a spirit of cruelty to the animals. The Supreme Court of Mississippi found it to be an error by the court to refuse to give such instructions because if the defendant was not actuated by a spirit of cruelty, or a disposition to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering, he was not guilty under the statute.
|Stephens v. State||247 Ga. App. 719 (2001)||
Defendant was accused and convicted of 17 counts of cruelty to animals for harboring fighting dogs in deplorable conditions. Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and the probation terms. The appellate court found, in light of the evidence, any rational trier of fact could have found the elements of cruelty to animals beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, defendant failed to overcome the presumption that the probation the trial court imposed was correct.
|State v. 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.
|State v. Wood||2007 WL 1892483 (N.C. App.)||
Plaintiff entered an oral agreement for defendant to board and train her horse, Talladega. The horse died within two months from starvation, and the Harnett County Animal Control found three other horses under defendant's care that were underfed, and seized them. The jury trial resulted in a conviction of two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty from which the defendant appeals. However, this court affirms the jury's conviction, stating that the assignment of error is without merit and would not have affected the jury's conviction.
|State v. Witham||876 A.2d 40 (Maine 2005)||
A man ran over his girlfriend's cat after having a fight with his girlfriend. The trial court found the man guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court, holding the aggravated cruelty to animals statute was not unconstitutionally vague.
|State v. Wilson||464 So.2d 667 (Fla.App. 2 Dist.,1985)||
In this Florida case, the state appeals a county court order that granted appellee's motion to dismiss two counts of an information and which also declared a state statute to be unconstitutional. Defendant-appellee was arrested for having approximately seventy-seven poodles in cages in the back of a van without food, water and sufficient air. In her motion to dismiss, defendant-appellee alleged that the phrases “sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water” and “[k]eeps any animals in any enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air” as contained in sections 828.13(2)(a) and (b) were void for vagueness. In reversing the lower court, this court held that the prohibitions against depriving an animal of sufficient food, water, air and exercise, when measured by common understanding and practice, are not unconstitutionally vague.
|State v. Walker||841 N.E.2d 376 (Ohio 2005)||
A dog owner was placed on probation which limited him from having any animals on his property for five years. While on probation, bears on the owner's property were confiscated after getting loose. The trial court ordered the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the confiscated bears, but the Court of Appeals reversed holding the trial court did not the authority to require the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the bears because the forfeiture of animals penalty did not apply to conviction for failure to confine or restrain a dog.
|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.
|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.
|State v. Silver||391 P.3d 962 (2017)||
In this case, the defendant was found guilty on multiple counts of animal abuse after failing to provide minimally adequate care for his herd of alpacas. The defendant was charged with a felony count (Count 1) and a misdemeanor count (Count 6) of first-degree animal abuse. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by not merging the multiple guilty verdicts into a single conviction. The state agreed that the trial court did err in its decision not to merge the verdicts; however, the state argued that the mistake should not require resentencing. The defendant argued that the court should follow its previous decisions and order a remand for resentencing. Ultimately, the court remanded the case for resentencing under ORS 138.222(5)(b). The state argued that language of ORS 138.222(5)(b) should be interpreted not to include merger errors. The court disagreed with this argument and relied on its decision in previous cases that interpreted the language of the statute more broadly. Additionally, the court held that if the state’s disapproval of the ORS 138.222(5)(b) is something that should be dealt with by the legislature and not the court.
|State v. Siliski||Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1931814 (Tenn.Crim.App.)||
In this Tennessee case, the defendant, Jennifer Siliski, was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Williamson County Animal Control took custody of over two hundred animals forfeited by the defendant as a result of her criminal charges and convictions. Third parties claiming ownership of some of the animals appeared before the trial court and asked for the return of their animals. This appeal arises from third parties claiming that they were denied due process by the manner in which the trial court conducted the hearing regarding ownership of the animals and that the trial court erred in denying their property claims. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not have jurisdiction in the criminal case to dispose of the claims, and reversed the judgment.
|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."
|State v. Sego||2006 WL 3734664 (Del.Com.Pl. 2006) (unpublished)||
Fifteen horses were seized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) because the animals were in poor condition. The SPCA sent bills to the owners for feeding, upkeep, and veterinary care, but the owners did not pay the bills. After 30 days of nonpayment, the SPCA became the owners of the horses, and the prior owners were not entitled to get the horses back.
|State v. Scott||2001 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 561||The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.|
|State v. Schuler||--- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 1894482 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019)||Appellant is appealing an animal cruelty conviction. A deputy dog warden received a report from a deputy sheriff who observed a pit bull on appellant's property who was unable to walk and in poor condition while responding to a noise complaint. Appellant released the dog to the deputy and the dog was later euthanized. While the deputy was on appellant's property she observed two other dogs that were extremely thin which prompted the deputy to return to the appellant's house the next day, but the appellant was in the hospital. The deputy later returned to the appellant's home a few days later and the appellant's ex-wife allowed the deputy to perform an animal welfare check on the property. Two Australian cattle dogs were very muddy and in an outdoor kennel with no food or water. Numerous chickens, rabbits, mice, snakes, and raccoons were also observed inside and outside the house all living in cramped, filthy conditions. The deputy went to the hospital and the appellant signed a waiver releasing the raccoons and snakes to the wildlife officer, but the appellant refused to release the other animals to the deputy. As a consequence a search warrant was obtained. "Two raccoons, 3 black rat snakes, 8 dogs, 7 chickens, 3 roosters, 17 rabbits, 5 rats, 200 mice, and 2 guinea pigs were removed from the property." Appellant was charged by complaints with five counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of cruelty to companion animals. An additional complaint was filed charging appellant with one count of cruelty to a companion animal (the euthanized pit bull). The appellant raised 3 errors on appeal. The first error is that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict him of animal cruelty. The Court found that the complaint charging the appellant with animal cruelty in counts B, C, and D were not valid because it did not set forth the underlying facts of the offense, did not provide any of the statutory language, and failed to specify which of the 5 subsections the appellant allegedly violated. Therefore, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict the appellant and the animal cruelty conviction regarding the three counts for the rabbits was vacated. The second error appellant raised was that his conviction for cruelty to companion animals for the two Australian cattle dogs was not supported by sufficient evidence. The Court overruled appellant's second error because it found that the state had presented sufficient evidence to show that the appellant negligently failed to provide adequate food and water for the Australian cattle dogs. The third error the appellant raised was that the Court erred by ordering him to pay $831 in restitution. The Court also overruled appellant's third error since the appellant stipulated to paying the restitution. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed in all other respects.|
|State v. Roche||State v. Roche. 37 Mo App 480 (1889)||
The defendants were convicted and sentenced upon an information under section 1609, Revised Statutes of 1879, charging them with unlawfully, wilfully and cruelly overdriving a horse, and thereupon prosecute this appeal. The court held that the evidence that a horse was overdriven does not warrant a conviction under Revised Statutes, 1879, section 1609, in the absence of proof, that the overdriving was wilful and not accidental. Thus, the court reversed the lower court.
|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.
|State v. Pierce||State v. Pierce, 7 Ala. 728 (1845)||
The Defendant was charge with cruelty to animals for the killing of a certain spotted bull, belonging some person to the jurors unknow. The lower court found the Defendant guilty. The Defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court seeking review of whether the defense of provocation could be used. The Court determined the answer to be yes. Thus the Court reversed and remanded the case.