Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases

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

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

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

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

Com. v. Trefry 51 N.E.3d 502 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 475 Mass. 1104, 60 N.E.3d 1173 (2016) The Defendant Trefry, left her two sheepdogs, Zach and Kenji, alone on the property of her condemned home. An animal control officer noticed that Kenji was limping badly and took him to a veterinarian. Both dogs were removed from the property three days later. The Defendant was convicted of two counts of violating statute G.L. c. 140, § 174E(f ), which protects dogs from cruel conditions and inhumane chaining or tethering. The Defendant appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Barnstable held that: (1) neither outside confinement nor confinement in general is an element of subjecting dogs to cruel conditions as prohibited by statute; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support finding that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions. The Appeals Court reasoned that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions in violation of the statute because by the time they were removed, the dogs were “incredibly tick-infested” and “matted,” and Kenji had contracted Lyme disease and sustained a soft shoulder injury to his leg. An animal control officer also testified that the defendant's home was cluttered on the inside and overgrown on the outside. The yard also contained items that posed a danger to the animals. There was also sufficient evidence to infer that, while the dogs could move in and out of the condemned house, the dogs were confined to the house and fenced-in yard. The area to which the dogs were confined presented with every factor listed in § 174E(f)(1) as constituting “filthy and dirty” conditions. Also, "Zach's and Kenji's emotional health was further compromised by being left alone virtually all day every day" according to the court. Therefore the Defendant’s conviction was affirmed.
Com. v. Zalesky 906 N.E.2d 349, (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)
In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, in violation of G.L. c. 272, § 77. On appeal, the defendant contended that the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt; specifically, that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions exceeded what was necessary and appropriate to train the dog. A witness in this case saw defendant beat his dog with a plastic "whiffle" bat on the head about 10 times. The defendant told the officer who arrived on the scene that he had used the bat on previous occasions, and did so to “put the fear of God in [the] dog.” At trial, a veterinarian testified that the dog suffered no trauma from the bat, but probably experienced pain if struck repeatedly in that manner. The court found that defendant's behavior fell under the ambit of the statutes because his actions were cruel, regardless of whether defendant viewed them as such. Judgment affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Arcelay 190 A.3d 609 (Pa. Super. Ct. June 12, 2018) The appellant Arcelay appeals his conviction for the summary offense of cruelty to animals after he left his two small Yorkie dogs were found inside of his vehicle on an 87 to 90 degree day for approximately two hours at Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The dogs were rescued from the car and survived (law enforcement gave the dogs water and placed them inside an air conditioned building). After receiving a citation for leaving the animals, appellant entered a plea of not guilty and appeared for the Magisterial Judge. He was found guilty and assessed fines and costs of $454.96. At a Summary Appeal de novo hearing, the officers who responded to the scene presented evidence, including testimony on the dogs being in the car for two hours and photographs of the area showing no shade was available. Appellant testified that he was retired from the Reserves and was at the base to set up for a family picnic. During the morning, he indicated that he checked on the dogs every fifteen minutes. Appellant testified that "he believes the public overreacts when they see dogs in a car" and he was upset that someone had gone into his vehicle to remove the dogs. The court ultimately found appellant guilty of the summary offense, but put appellant on a probation for three months in lieu of fines and costs, taking into account Appellant's lack income. On the instant appeal, appellant first questions whether the Court of Common Pleas had jurisdiction to hear this matter since it occurred on a military installation. Appellant also raises whether the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law for the cruelty to animals conviction. As to the jurisdictional argument, the court here found the issuance of the summary citation at the military base was appropriate. The court observed that it is well-settled that military and non-military courts may exercise concurrent subject matter jurisdiction for criminal matters. The court also found that there was sufficient evidence to support appellant's conviction, where his conduct in leaving the dogs in a closed car on a hot, summer day presented an unreasonable risk of harm. The judgment was affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Bishop 67 Mass.App.Ct. 1116 (2006)

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

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

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

Commonwealth v. Deible 300 A.3d 1025 (2023) This case is an appeal from a judgment convicting appellant of animal cruelty for failure to groom her terrier dog. Appellant has owned the 17-year-old terrier dog since the dog was a puppy. At one point, the dog escaped from appellant’s home and was found by a bystander. This bystander testified that the dog’s fur was heavily matted, with objects stuck in its fur. The bystander took pictures of the dog and contacted a veterinary clinic to shave the dog. The dog was then left at an animal shelter, where a humane police officer examined the dog and found it matted so heavily it could not see, stand, or defecate properly. Appellant testified that the dog was aggressive when she attempted to groom him, and that the dog made itself dirty when it escaped appellant’s home. Appellant also argued that their veterinarian was supposed to groom the dog, but the dog’s veterinary records did not support this. The lower court found that there was sufficient evidence to charge appellant with animal cruelty, and ordered her to pay fines totaling $946.58 and forfeit ownership of the dog. Appellant filed this appeal to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence used to support her conviction of animal cruelty. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the cruelty charge, as the statute prohibits “ill-treatment” and the evidence of the condition of the dog supports that it was treated improperly. Appellant also argues that the court’s order for her to forfeit her dog was improper, but the court of appeals disagreed due to the pattern of neglect established by appellant’s history with the dog. Accordingly, the court of appeals affirmed the holding of the lower court.
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.
Commonwealth v. Epifania 951 N.E.2d 723 (Mass.App.Ct.,2011)

Defendant appealed his conviction of arson for setting fire to a dwelling house, and wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person. The Appeals Court held that testimony that the cat belonged to the victim was sufficient to support a conviction of wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person.

Commonwealth v. J.A. 478 Mass. 385, 85 N.E.3d 684 (2017) In this Massachusetts case, testimony alleged that a juvenile brutally attacked her friend's dog causing serious internal injuries. The Commonwealth elected to proceed against the juvenile under the state's youthful offender statute. The grand jury returned two youthful offender indictments for cruelty to animals and bestiality. The juvenile contends that the youthful offender indictments are not supported because "serious bodily harm" described in the law only relates to human beings and not animals. The juvenile court judge granted the juvenile's motion to dismiss and the Commonwealth appealed. On appeal, this court first examined the phrase "serious bodily harm" by looking at its plain meaning and other related statutes. In doing so, the court held that Legislature did not intend "serious bodily harm" language of the youthful offender law to apply to animal victims. When looking at the legislative history, the court found that the inclusion of the language reflected a growing concern about juveniles committing violent crimes (specifically, murder) and did not touch upon animals. The court noted while the crime here raises "grave concerns about the juvenile's mental health," the juvenile's conduct toward an animal did not meet the statutory requirements. The order granting the motion to dismiss was affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Kneller 999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)

Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.

Commonwealth v. Lee 2007 WL 4555253 (Pa. Super. 2007)

Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization.  Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed.  The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.

COMMONWEALTH v. MASSINI 188 A.2d 816 (Pa.Super 1963)

In this Pennsylvania case, defendant was prosecuted for killing a cat that belonged to his neighbor. The section under which he was prosecuted prohibited the killing of a 'domestic animal of another person.' However, a cat was not one of the animals defined as a ‘domestic animal’ by the Act. Using rules of statutory interpretation, the court found that the omission of 'cat' from the listed species of the penal code provision was intentional by the legislature, and thus the defendant's sentence was discharged.

Commonwealth v. Russo 218 N.E.3d 116, review granted, 493 Mass. 1104, 223 N.E.3d 741 (2023) This is a case regarding an animal cruelty charge brought against defendant, the owner of an elderly, terminally ill dog. First, defendant’s family brought the fourteen-year-old dog to an animal hospital. The staff at the hospital examined the dog, which had a large mass on his side, and recommended that the dog have surgery to remove the mass. Defendant did not authorize the surgery, and instead took the dog home. Three weeks later, defendant brought the dog back to the animal hospital, where the staff noticed that his condition had worsened significantly. At this point, the veterinarian recommended humane euthanasia to end the dog’s suffering, but defendant declined and requested the surgery. The veterinarian declined, claiming the dog would not survive the surgery, and defendant took the dog home saying they would have another vet euthanize the dog. The veterinarian reported defendant to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, who conducted a welfare check on the dog and found it in very poor health. When the Animal Rescue League asked defendant to euthanize the dog or get him medical attention, defendant declined and insisted the dog would die at home. Defendants were charged with violating the animal cruelty statute, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint was granted, and this appeal followed. The question on appeal is whether defendant’s conduct in refusing to euthanize the dog constitutes animal cruelty under the statute. The Commonwealth argues that the animal cruelty statute covers the conduct of one who has charge of an animal but, rather than inflicting the harm directly, “authorizes or permits” the animal “to be subjected to” harm, and that keeping the dog in a state of suffering rather than euthanizing the dog fits this definition. However, after examining case law, the court could not find a case in which a person's failure to euthanize an animal was interpreted as “subjecting” an animal to harm, and did not want to extend the statute that far. The court affirmed the holding of the lower court.
Commonwealth v. Stefanowicz --- A.3d ---- 2024 WL 1918371, 2024 PA Super 90 (May 2, 2024) Appellant Stefanowicz appeals from the judgment entered in the Tioga County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. Appellant and his wife co-owned a deer farm ("Awesome Whitetails") where they are legally licensed to operate and sell trophy bucks which are kept in a fenced-in enclosure on their property. Appellant's neighbor, Ms. Smith, owned two German Shepherd dogs, which Appellant testified frequently entered his property and had previously harassed the animals he raises there. Appellant and his wife submitted a complaint to the state dog warden who then warned Smith of the statewide requirements on confining dogs. The warden also advised Appellant of the legal right to kill a dog that is “in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing” Appellant's animals. In fall of 2020, Smith's dogs entered Appellant's property and were chasing the deer from outside the fence. This deer began to panic, causing one to get stuck in the fence where one of the dogs then stared biting it. Appellant tried to yell at the dogs to no avail, so he then shot and killed the dogs. Appellant testified that one deer had a bloody gash, two more had bloody faces, and one deer died of a broken neck. Ultimately, Smith was sent a citation for failing to confine the dogs and Appellant was charged with two counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and convicted of one of those counts. On appeal, Appellant raises several issues. The first two issues challenge the sufficiency of the evidence for the Aggravated Cruelty conviction. The court found sufficient evidence for the conviction as Appellant acted in an intentional manner to kill the dogs. Next, Appellant asserts that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence because of his legal defense. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to kill certain dogs in the act of pursuing or wounding "domestic animals" (which includes farm-raised deer). The trial judge here gave an instruction on the defense, but added that "under the laws of this Commonwealth, harassing an animal through a fence without any contact does not constitute pursuing, wounding, or killing an animal." Here, the jury heard that instruction and found the defense inapplicable for one dog. There was testimony from Appellant that he saw one of the two dogs biting a deer caught in the fence, not both dogs. Since the jury was free to evaluate the testimony and infer guilt, the reviewing court will not disturb the lower court's determination. After disposing of the remaining issues related to jury selection and ineffective assistance of counsel, the court affirmed Appellant's sentence.
Commonwealth v. Szewczyk 53 N.E.3d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2016) In this Massachusetts case, defendant was charged with animal cruelty after he shot a dog that had wandered onto his property with a pellet gun. The pellet was lodged in the dog’s leg and caused significant pain and discomfort to the dog. Following conviction, defendant appealed the District Court’s ruling arguing that the judge erred in denying three of his eleven requests for rulings of law.Specifically, defendant's principal argument was that he had a lawful purpose in shooting (to scare the dog off his property), his intent was justified (to insure his wife's safety on the property), and the pain inflicted by defendant shooting the dog does not fit the statutory meaning of "cruel." At the close of evidence, defendant submitted a written request for ruling under Mass. R.Crim. P.26 setting out these issues. The court held that the District Court judge correctly denied the three requests because they were clearly outside the scope of rule 26 because they called upon the judge as a fact finder to weigh the evidence presented at trial. Next, the court reviewed the facts of the case to determine whether or not a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the court held that a rational trier of fact would have been able to find that defendant did commit animal cruelty by shooting the dog. The court focused on the fact that the defendant could have used other means to ensure that the dog did not enter the property again without causing pain and suffering to the dog by shooting the dog in the leg. The judgment was affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Thorton Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873)

The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog.  The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Turner Commonwealth v. Turner, 14 N.E. 130 (Mass. 1887).

Defendant released a fox from his possession and a number of other people then released various dogs, which pursued and killed the fox. Defendant was charged and brought to trial. Defendant moved to dismiss the charge on the basis that there was no such crime, which the trial court denied. Defendant also moved to dismiss for lack of evidence, which the trial court also denied. Defendant was convicted and he appealed. The court found that there was a statutory basis for the charge and that the word "animal" in Mass. Pub. Stat. ch. 207, § 53 encompassed wild animals in the custody of a man. The court denied the exceptions brought by defendant and affirmed the order of the trial court, which convicted defendant of willfully permitting a fox to be subjected to unnecessary suffering.

Commonwealth v. Waller 58 N.E.3d 1070 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 476 Mass. 1102, 63 N.E.3d 387 (2016) Tasha Waller was convicted of animal cruelty for starving her dog to death. As a result of this conviction, Waller was placed on probation which prohibited her from owning animals and allowed for random searches of her property. Waller appealed this decision for the following reasons: (1) the animal cruelty statute under which she was convicted was unconstitutionally vague; (2) the expert witness testimony was improper and insufficient to support her conviction; (3) she may not as a condition of her probation be prohibited from owning animals, and the condition of probation allowing suspicions searches should be modified. The court reviewed Waller’s arguments and determined the statute was not unconstitutionally vague because it is common for animal cruelty statutes to only refer to “animals” in general and not specifically mention dogs. The court noted that dogs are commonly understood to fall within the category of animals and therefore the statute was not vague. Also, the court held that the expert witness testimony from the veterinarian was not improper because the veterinarian was capable of examining the dog and making a determination as to how the dog had died. Lastly, the court held that it was not improper to prohibit Waller from owning animals, but did agree that the searches of her property should only be warranted if authorities have reasonable suspicion to search the property. Ultimately, the court upheld Waller’s conviction and probation but modified the terms in which authorities are able to search her property.
Commonwealth v. Whitson 151 N.E.3d 455 (2020) This case involves an appeal of an animal cruelty conviction after defendant repeatedly stabbed a dog named Smokey, a three-year old pit bull. The incident in question occurred on a street outside of defendant's barber shop. Smokey was on-leash walking with his owner when an unleashed smaller dog ran at Smokey and began biting his ankles. Smokey responded playfully, not aggressively. The defendant responded to calls of assistance from the smaller dog's owner and helped separate the dogs. After this, the defendant returned briefly to his barbershop and came back with a knife that he used to repeatedly stab Smokey with while he restrained the dog with his other arm. The police eventually responded and defendant was taken to the hospital for a laceration on his hand where he yelled, "I'm glad I killed the [expletive] dog." Smokey survived the attack and defendant was charged and convicted. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments challenging the verdict. In particular, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that he stabbed Smokey repeatedly to release the dog from biting his hand. The appellate court found that no defense witnesses testified that Smokey bit defendant and the no medical records corroborated defendant's version of events. Defendant also argued that the judged erred in denying his motion in limine regarding Smokey prior and subsequent "bad acts," which, defendant claimed, were relevant to the issue of Smokey as the initial aggressor. This court found that the proffered evidence of bad acts was inadmissible hearsay and the acts subsequent to Smokey's stabbing occurred too remotely to have any probative value. Finally, the court found no substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the judge failed to give a sua sponte necessity defense. The judgment was affirmed.
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.

Dancy v. State 287 So. 3d 931 (Miss. 2020) The Justice Court of Union County found Michael Dancy guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and ordered the permanent forfeiture of Dancy’s six horses, four cats, and three dogs. Dancy appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court ordered that the animals be permanently forfeited and found Dancy guilty. The circuit court also ordered Dancy to pay $39,225 for care and boarding costs for the horses. Dancy subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi. Essentially, Dancy failed to provide adequate shelter, food, and water for the animals. The Court found that the circuit court properly released the animals to an animal protection organization. The Court also found that the reimbursement order was permissible. Two of Dancy’s three convictions were for violations of the same statute regarding simple cruelty, one for his four cats and one for his three dogs. The Court held that, according to the statute's plain language, Dancy’s cruelty to a combination of dogs and cats occurring at the same time "shall constitute a single offense." Thus, the State cannot punish Dancy twice for the same offense without violating his right against double jeopardy. For that reason, the court vacated Dancy’s second conviction of simple cruelty. The court affirmed the permanent forfeiture and reimbursement order and his other cruelty conviction.
Daniele v Weissenberger 2002 WL 31813949,136 A Crim R 390

Court uphold conviction for failure to provide food and water for horses. Even thought not the owner, he was the responsible party. Sentence of $3,000 fine and suspended 3 month was not excessive.

Dart v Singer [2010] QCA 75

The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.

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.

Davis v. A.S.P.C.A. Davis v. A.S.P.C.A. 75 N.Y. 362 (1873).

Plaintiff hog slaughterers challenged the trial court (New York) judgment in favor of defendants, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and director, in an action seeking to enjoin defendants from arresting them for cruelty to animals pursuant to 1867 N.Y. Laws 375. The hog slaughterers asserted that they were innocent of the alleged statutory violations. The court affirmed the judgment in favor of defendants, denying the request of the hog slaughterers for an injunction to prevent defendants from arresting them for violating a statute prohibiting cruelty to animals.

Department of Local Government and Regional Development v Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd Western Australia Magistrates Court, 8 February 2008, Magistrate C.P. Crawford

The central allegation was that the defendants transported the sheep in a way likely to cause unnecessary harm. Magistrate Crawford found that the sheep, some of which died from inanition, suffered distress and harm and that this harm was unnecessary. Proof of actual harm, however, was unnecessary as it only had to be shown that it was likely that the sheep would suffer harm. This required evidence pointing only to the conditions onboard the ship, and voyage plan, as at the first day. The defences of necessity and honest and reasonable belief were both dismissed.

Dixon v. State 455 S.W.3d 669 (Tex. App. 2014), petition for discretionary review refused (Apr. 29, 2015) An owner of a non-profit cat sanctuary, which housed over 200 cats taken care of by one employee, was convicted by a jury of four counts of non-livestock animal cruelty. The trial court placed the owner under community supervision for five years' on each charge, to be served concurrently. In her first issue on appeal, the owner contended the evidence was legally insufficient to support her convictions. Based on evidence that the owner only had one employee to take care of the cats, however, the Texas court of appeals overruled this issue. In her second issue on appeal, the owner contended that the trial court erred by overruling her motion to dismiss the indictments where the State alleged a felony by commission of elements defined as a misdemeanor under the animal cruelty statute. On this issue, the court stated that it was true that the State had to prove that appellant failed to provide food, water, or care to the cats, but it also had to prove death or serious bodily injury to the cat that was committed in a cruel manner, i.e., by causing unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering. In other words, the failure to provide food, water, or care is the manner and means by which appellant killed the cats, causing them unjustified pain or suffering, which raised the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The second issue was therefore affirmed. The appeals court also overruled the owner’s other issues and thereby affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
Duncan v. State 975 N.E.2d 838 (Ct. App. Ind. 2012)

A complaint regarding the welfare of horses led to the defendant being convicted of 6 charges of animal cruelty, all of which were class A misdemeanors. Upon appeal, the defendant argued that he had not knowingly waived his right to a jury trial, that Indiana’s animal cruelty law was unconstitutionally vague and that there was no sufficient evidence to overcome a defense of necessity. The appeals court agreed that the defendant did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial and therefore reversed and remanded the case on that issue; however, the appeals court disagreed with the defendant on the other issues.  The case was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

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.

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. 

Erie County Society ex rel. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Hoskins 91 A.D.3d 1354 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2012)

In this action, plaintiff animal society appeals from an order to return 40 horses to defendant after they were seized pursuant to a warrant. The issue of whether the Court has the authority to order return of animals to the original owner was raised for the first time on appeal. Despite the  procedural impropriety, the Court found plaintiff's contention without merit. The Court held that the return of the horses is based on principles of due process, not statutory authority.

F. c/ Sieli Ricci, Mauricio Rafael s/ maltrato y crueldad animal FUNDAMENTOS DE SENTENCIA Nº1927 "Poli" was a mutt dog that was tied to the bumper of a car by the defendant and dragged at high speed for several miles. Poli sustained severe injuries as a result of being dragged by the car. After the incident, the defendant untied her and left on the road to die. The defendant was found guilty of the crime of animal cruelty, under "ley 14.346." the judge held that this law "protects animals as subjects of rights, and the defendant's conduct was not against an object or a "thing," but rather against a subject deserving of protection." The defendant was sentenced to 6 months of suspended imprisonment for the crime of "animal mistreatment and cruelty." In addition, the judge ordered the defendant to provide food weekly for the animals in A.M.P.A.R.A (The ONG that filed the police report), with the purpose of giving the defendant the opportunity to learn firsthand that “all animals in general, and dogs, in particular, are sentient beings, that have feelings, suffer, cry, and that their right to live, freedom, and integrity has to be respected…” this, with the purpose to prevent the defendant from committing animal cruelty crimes in the future.
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.

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.

Ferguson v. Birchmount Boarding Kennels Ltd. 2006 CarswellOnt 399

In August 2002, plaintiffs’ dog escaped while being exercised at defendant-kennel’s boarding facility. Birchmount appeals from the judgment claiming the court applied the wrong standard of care, and that the court erred in law in awarding the plaintiffs damages for pain and suffering. The reviewing court found that the evidence would likely have led to the same conclusion regardless of whether a “bailment” standard was used. Further, this court was satisfied that the trial judge did not err in law or in fact in making findings and in awarding general damages where there was evidence that the plaintiffs experienced pain and suffering upon learning of the dog’s escape.

Fleet v District Court of New South Wales [1999] NSWCA 363

The appellant's dog was removed by police officers and later euthanised. The dog was emaciated and suffering from numerous ailments. The appellant was charged and convicted with an animal cruelty offence and failure to state his name and address when asked. On appeal, it was found that the court had failed to address the elements of the animal cruelty offence and that the charge of failing to state name and address could not stand.

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. 

Ford v. Wiley 23 QBD 203

A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.

Freel v. Downs Freel v. Downs, 136 N.Y.S. 440 (1911)

Cleveland H. Downs and Walter Smith were informed against for cruelty to animals, and they move to quash complaints. Complaint quashed against defendant Smith, and defendant Downs held to answer.

Friesen v. Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 2008 CarswellSask 438

An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

Frye v. County of Butte 221 Cal.App.4th 1051 (2013), 164 Cal.Rptr.3d 928 (2013)

After several administrative, trial court, and appeals hearings, the California court of appeals upheld a county’s decision to seize the plaintiffs’ horses for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.1(f).  Notably, the appeals court failed to extend the law of the case, which generally provides that a prior appellate court ruling on the law governs further proceedings in the case, to prior trial court rulings. The appeals court also held that the trial court’s "Statement of Decision" resolved all issues set before it, despite certain remedies remaining unresolved and the court’s oversight of the plaintiffs' constitutionality complaint, and was therefore an appealable judgment. The appeals court also found the trial court lacked jurisdiction to extend the appeals deadline with its document titled "Judgment."

Futch v. State 314 Ga.App. 294 (2012)

Defendant appealed conviction of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a neighbor's dog. The Court of Appeals held that the restitution award of $3,000 was warranted even though the owner only paid $750 for the dog. The dog had been trained to hunt and retrieve, and an expert testified that such a dog had a fair market value between $3,000 and $5,000.

Gaetjens v. City of Loves Park 4 F.4th 487 (7th Cir. 2021), reh'g denied (Aug. 12, 2021) Plaintiff Gaetjens filed a § 1983 action against city, county, and various local government officials alleging that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated after officials entered and condemned her home and seized her 37 cats. Plaintiff was in the hospital at the time. Gaetjens lived in Loves Park, Illinois and bred cats in her home. On December 4, 2014, she visited her doctor and was told to go to the hospital because of high blood pressure. Later that day, the doctor could not locate Gaetjens, so she phoned Rosalie Eads (Gaetjens' neighbor who was listed as her emergency contact) to ask for help finding her. Eads called Gaetjens and knocked on her front door but got no response. The next day the neighbor could still not locate Gaetjens so Eads phoned the police from concern that Gaetjens might be experiencing a medical emergency. When police arrived, they asked Eads for Gaetjens key and entered the house. Intense odors of feces, urine, and a possibly decomposing body forced police back out of the home. The police called the fire department so that the home could be entered with breathing devices. While police did not find Gaetjens, they did find 37 cats. The house was ultimately condemned and animal control were able to impound the cats (except for four that died during or after impoundment). As it turns out, Gaetjens was at the hospital during this whole process. After learning of the impoundment, Gaetjens filed the instant action. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. On appeal here, the Seventh Circuit considered whether the warrantless entry into Gaetjens home was reasonable based on exigent circumstances. Relying on a recent SCOTUS case that found absence from regular church service or a repeated failure to answer a phone call supported an emergency exception for a warrant, the Court noted that the "litany of concerning circumstances" in the case at bar "more than provided" a reasonable basis for entry. As to Plaintiff's challenge to the condemnation, the court also found it too was supported by the expertise of officials at the scene. As to the confiscation of the cats, the court noted that previous cases support the warrantless seizure of animals when officials reasonably believe the animals to be in imminent danger. The court found the imminent danger to be plain due to condemnation order on the house from noxious fumes. While the use of the "cat grabber" did lead to an unfortunate death of one cat, the overall seizure tactics were necessary and reasonable. Thus, the Court affirmed the judgment of the district court.
GALBREATH v. THE STATE 213 Ga. App. 80 (1994)

The police found marijuana seedlings and plants in various stages of growth around the homes of defendant and co-defendant. The court upheld the trial court's determination that the items were admissible within the "plain view" exception to the requirement of a search warrant. The court concluded that the police were not trespassers when they walked around to the back of co-defendant's house to determine whether anyone was home after receiving no response at the front door.

Galindo v. State --- S.W.3d ----, 2018 WL 4128054 (Tex. App. Aug. 30, 2018) Appellant Galindo pleaded guilty to cruelty to nonlivestock animals and a deadly-weapon allegation from the indictment. The trial court accepted his plea, found him guilty, and sentenced him to five years in prison. The facts stem from an incident where Galindo grabbed and then stabbed a dog with a kitchen knife. The indictment indicated that Galindo also used and exhibited a deadly weapon (a knife) during both the commission of the offense and flight from the offense. On appeal, Galindo argues that the deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient because the weapon was used against a "nonhuman." Appellant relies on the recent decision of Prichard v. State, 533 S.W.3d 315 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017), in which the Texas Court of Appeals held that a deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient where the sole recipient of the use or exhibition of the deadly weapon is a nonhuman. The court here found the facts distinguishable from Prichard. The court noted that Prichard left open the possibility that a deadly-weapons finding could occur when the weapon was used or exhibited against a human during the commission of an offense against an animal. Here, the evidence introduced at defendant's guilty plea and testimony from sentencing and in the PSIR are sufficient to support the trial court's finding on the deadly-weapons plea (e.g., the PSI and defense counsel stated that Galindo first threatened his girlfriend with the knife and then cut the animal in front of his girlfriend and her son). The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
Geary v. Sullivan County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. 815 N.Y.S.2d 833 (N.Y., 2006)

In this New York case, plaintiffs surrendered their maltreated horse to defendant Sullivan County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. on March 4, 2005. Shortly thereafter, they commenced this action seeking return of the horse and damages, including punitive damages. Defendants' answer failed to respond to all paragraphs of the 38-paragraph complaint, which included six causes of action, prompting plaintiffs to move for summary judgment on the ground that defendants admitted "all" essential and material facts. At oral argument before this Court, plaintiffs' counsel consented to defendants filing an amended answer. The court found that since this amended pleading will presumably contain denials to all contested allegations in the complaint, plaintiffs' request for summary judgment on the procedural ground that defendants' failed to deny certain facts must fail. Moreover, as correctly noted by Supreme Court, conflicting evidence precludes summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor.

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