Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Madero v. Luffey 439 F. Supp. 3d 493 (W.D. Pa. 2020), clarified on denial of reconsideration, No. 2:19-CV-700, 2020 WL 9815453 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 13, 2020) Ronald Madero allegedly took care of abandoned cats in his neighborhood by giving them food, shelter, and occasional medical care. Madero lived in a duplex in which his son owned both halves of the building. A neighbor contacted Animal Care and Control (ACC) and complained about abandoned kittens in front of her residence. On or about June 15, 2017, Officer Christine Luffey of the Pittsburgh Police Department arrived at Madero’s residence with a non-officer volunteer, Mary Kay Gentert. Officer Luffey requested to inspect the inside of both sides of the duplex. Madero refused and Luffey claimed she had a search warrant. Madero believed that Gentert was present to assist with spay and neuter services for the cats and consented to allow Gentert to inspect the premises while Luffey waited outside. Gentert took photographs inside. Some time afterwards, Luffey executed a search warrant. Madero asserted that the information gathered and photographs taken by Gentert were used to obtain the search warrant. A total of forty-two cats were seized. Madero asserts that after the cats were seized the cats were left for hours on the hot concrete in direct sunlight with no water and that snare catch poles were used to strangle the cats and force them into carriers or traps. Madero further asserted that the cats were not provided with veterinary care for several weeks and were kept in small cages in a windowless room. Some of the cats were ultimately euthanized. On August 7, 2017, Officer Luffey filed a criminal complaint against Madero accusing him of five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and thirty-seven summary counts of cruelty to animals. Madero pled nolo contendere to twenty counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to ninety days of probation for each count with all twenty sentences to run consecutively. Madero filed a complaint asserting various causes of action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law alleging illegal search and wrongful seizure of the cats against Officer Luffey, Homeless Cat Management Team (“HCMT”), Provident, and Humane Animal Rescue (“HAR”). The defendants each filed Motions to Dismiss. Madero pled that the cats were abandoned or stray cats, however, he also pled that the cats were his property and evidenced this by pleading that he fed the cats and provided shelter as well as veterinary care. The Court found that Madero pled sufficient facts to support ownership of the cats to afford him the standing to maintain his claims under section 1983 and common law. The Court held that Madero pled a plausible claim against Luffey on all counts of his complaint. Madero alleged that Officer Luffey violated his Fourth Amendment rights by lying about having a search warrant and securing consent by threatening to bust his door down. As for Madero’s state law claims, the court dismissed his negligent misrepresentation claim against Luffey as well as his claims for concerted tortious conduct. Madero failed to plead a threshold color of state law claim against the HAR defendants. There can be no violation of constitutional rights without state action. Madero’s claims for conversion and trespass to chattel against the HAR defendants were also dismissed. All claims against Provident were dismissed, however, Madero’s claim against HCMT for conspiracy was able to proceed. The Court ultimately denied in part and granted in part Officer Luffey’s Motion to Dismiss, Granted HAR’s Motion to Dismiss, and denied in part and granted in part HCMT’s and Provident’s Motion to Dismiss.
Mahan v. State 51 P.3d 962, 963 (Alaska Ct. App. 2002) Mahan had over 130 animals on her property. Alaska Equine Rescue went to check on the condition of the animals at the request of her family members. The animals were in poor health and were removed by Alaska State Troopers and the Rescue. The animals were then placed in foster homes. The defendant's attorney requested a writ of assistance to require law enforcement to assist and force the foster families to answer a questionnaire. The appellate court held that the families were under no legal obligation to answer the questionnaire unless the court were to issue a deposition order and the families were to be properly subpoenaed. The district court's denial of the writ was upheld. Mahan's attorney also asked for a change of venue due to the publicity the case garnered. The court held the defendant was not entitled to a change of venue when 15 jurors had been excused and there was no reason to doubt the impartiality of the jurors who were left after the selection process. There was no indication that the jurors were unable to judge the case fairly. Mahan's attorney also filed a motion to suppress a majority of the evidence, claiming that the Rescue and law enforcement unlawfully entered the property. The judge stated he would rule on the motion if it was appropriate to do so. The judge never ruled on the motion. To preserve an issue for appeal, the appellant must obtain an adverse ruling, thus it constituted a waiver of the claim. Mahan was also prohibited from owning more than one animal. She offered no reason why this condition of probation was an abuse of the judge's discretion, therefore it was a waiver of this claim. Lastly, although the Rescue received donations from the public to help care for the animals, that did not entitle Mahan to an offset. Restitution is meant to make the victims whole again and also to make the defendant pay for the expense caused by their criminal conduct.
Maldonado v. Franklin Not Reported in S.W. Rptr., 2019 WL 4739438 (Tex. App. Sept. 30, 2019) Trenton and Karina Franklin moved into a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas in September of 2017. Margarita Maldonado lived in the home immediately behind the Franklins’ house and could see into the Franklins’ backyard. Maldonado began complaining about the Franklins’ treatment of their dog. The Franklins left the dog outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter what the weather was like. Maldonado also complained that the dog repeatedly whined and howled which kept her up at night causing her emotional distress. Maldonado went online expressing concern about the health and welfare of her neighbor’s dog, without naming any names. Mr. Franklin at some point saw the post and entered the conversation which lead to Mr. Franklin and Maldonado exchanging direct messages about the dog. Maldonado even placed a dog bed in the backyard for the dog as a gift. In December of 2017, the Franklins filed suit against Maldonado for invasion of privacy by intrusion and seclusion alleging that Maldonado was engaged in a campaign of systemic harassment over the alleged mistreatment of their dog. While the suit was pending, Maldonado contacted Animal Control Services several times to report that the dog was outside with the heat index over 100 degrees. Each time an animal control officer responded to the call they found no actionable neglect or abuse. In June of 2018, Maldonado picketed for five days by walking along the neighborhood sidewalks, including in front of the Franklins’ house, carrying signs such as “Bring the dog in,” and “If you’re hot, they’re hot.” The Franklins then amended their petition adding claims for slander, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. The trial court granted a temporary injunction against Maldonado, which was ultimately vacated on appeal. Maldonado filed a Anti-SLAPP motion and amended motion to dismiss the Franklins’ claims as targeting her First Amendment rights. The trial court did not rule on the motions within thirty days, so the motions were denied by operation of law. Maldonado appealed. The Court began its analysis by determining whether Maldonado’s motions were timely. Under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA) a motion to dismiss must be filed within sixty days of the legal action. The sixty-day deadline reset each time new factual allegations were alleged. Due to the fact that the Franklins had amended their petition three times and some of the amended petitions did not allege any new factual allegations, the only timely motions that Maldonado filed were for the Franklins’ claims for slander and libel. The Court then concluded that Maldonado’s verbal complaints to the Animal Control Service and online posts on community forums about the Franklins’ alleged mistreatment of their dog were communications made in connection with an issue related to a matter of public concern and were made in the exercise of free speech. Therefore, the TCPA applied to the Franklins’ slander and libel claims. The Court ultimately concluded that although Maldonado established that the TCPA applied to the slander and libel claims, the Franklins met their burden to establish a prima facie case on the slander and libel claims. Therefore, the Court ultimately concluded that Maldonado’s motion to dismiss the slander and libel claims were properly denied. The Court affirmed the trial court’s order and remanded the case to the trial court.
Malloy v. Cooper 592 S.E.2d 17 (N.C. 2004)

Plaintiff owned a Gun Club and sponsored a pigeon shoot.   He challenged the constitutionality of a statute prohibiting the intentional wounding or killing of animals.  Held:  unconstitutionally vague.

Maloney v. State 1975 OK CR 22 (Ok. App. 1975)

The State charged defendant with maliciously placing a dog in a pit with another dog and encouraging the dogs to fight, injure, maim, or kill one another. The trial court convicted defendant of cruelty to animals pursuant to Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1685 (1971) and fined defendant. Defendant appealed. On appeal, the court held that Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1682 (1971) was constitutional as applied to the case but reversed and remanded the case because the court determined that the defendant had been improperly convicted under the anti-cruelty statute rather than the dogfighting statute.

Mansbridge v Nichols [2004] VSC 530

The appellant was convicted of seven offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) related to the appellant's treatment of merino sheep in her care. The appellant was successful in overturning three of the charges on the basis that they were latently duplicitous or ambiguous. The appellant was unsuccessful in arguing that the trial judge failed to give adequate reasons.

Martinez v. State 48 S.W.3d 273 (Tex. App. 2001).

A jury may infer a culpable mental state ("intentionally and knowingly") from the circumstances surrounding the offense of cruelty to animals.

Matter of Ricco v Corbisiero 565 N.Y.S.2d 82 (1991)

Petitioner harness race-horse driver was suspended by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, Harness Racing Division for 15 days for failing to drive his horse to the finish. The driver argued that whipping the horse had not improved his performance. Considering that the horse had equaled his best time, and had lost by only two feet, and that it would have been a violation of the New York anti-cruelty law (Agriculture and Markets Law ( § 353) to overdrive the horse, the court overturned the suspension.

Matter of Ware --- P.3d ----, 2018 WL 3120370 (Wash. Ct. App. June 26, 2018) After the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office's decided not to issue charges in an animal abuse case, two private citizens sought to independently initiate criminal charges. One person filed a petition for a citizen's complaint in district court and, after that was denied, another person filed a petition to summon a grand jury. On appeal, those appellants argue that the lower court erred in not granting their petitions. The animal cruelty claim stems from an incident in 2016, where a woman filed a report with police stating that a neighbor had killed her mother's cat by throwing a rock at the cat and stabbing it with a knife. Witnesses gave similar account of the abuse of the cat by the neighbor. The responding police officer then determined that there was probable cause to arrest the suspect for first degree animal cruelty. The officer found the cat's body and photographed the injuries, although the officer could not determine whether the cat had been stabbed. Subsequently, the prosecuting attorney's office declined to file charges because the actions related to the animal's death were unclear. Additionally, the cat's body was not collected at the scene to sustain a charge.
McCall v. Par. of Jefferson 178 So. 3d 174 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2015) Defendant appeals a judgment from the 24th Judicial District Court (JDC) for violations of the Jefferson Parish Code. In 2014, a parish humane officer visited defendant's residence and found over 15 dogs in the yard, some of which were chained up and others who displayed injuries. Initially, defendant received a warning on the failure to vaccinate charges as long as he agreed to spay/neuter the animals. Defendant failed to do so and was again found to have numerous chained dogs that did not have adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. He was ordered to surrender all dogs in his possession and was assessed a suspended $1,500 fine. On appeal, defendant claims he was denied a fair hearing because he was denied the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. This court disagreed, finding that the JDC functioned as a court of appeal on the ordinance violations and could not receive new evidence. Before the JDC hearing, this court found defendant was afforded a hearing that met state and local laws. The JDC judgment was affirmed.
McCall v. State 540 S.W.2d 717 (Tex. Crim. App. 1976).

Open fields doctrine; warrantless seizure. It was not unreasonable for humane society members to enter defendant's land and seize dogs where the dogs were kept in an open field clearly in view of neighbors and others, and where it was apparent that the dogs were emaciated and not properly cared for.

McCausland v. People McCausland v. People, 145 P. 685 (Colo. 1914) Action by the People of the State of Colorado against William J. McCausland.  From a judgement overruling defendant's motion to dismiss and finding him guilty of cruelty to animals, he brings error.  Affirmed.
McClendon v. Story County Sheriff's Office 403 F.3d 510 (8th Cir. 2005)

A farmer was neglecting her horses and the entire herd confiscated by animal control officers.  The farmer brought a section 1983 claim against the animal control officers for acting outside of the scope of their warrant by removing more than just the sick horses.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court in part, holding the animal control officers were entitled to qualified immunity and seizure of all the horses was not unreasonable or outside the scope of the warrant. 

McDonald v. State 64 S.W.3d 86 (Tex. App. 2001)

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

McGinnis v. State 541 S.W.2d 431 (Tex. Crim. App. 1976).

In an animal cruelty prosecution, the trial court should first instruct the jury on the definition of torture of an animal. Then, the court can permit the jury to determine whether the acts and circumstances of the case showed the torture of an animal.

McNeely v. U.S. 874 A.2d 371 (D.C. App. 2005) Defendant McNeely was convicted in a jury trial in the Superior Court of violating the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act.  On appeal, t he Court of Appeals, held that the Act did not deprive defendant of fair warning of the proscribed conduct, as the defendant here was required to know that he owned pit bulls in order to be convicted under the Act; and the prosecutor's improper comment was rendered harmless by the trial court's curative instructions.
Mejia v. State 681 S.W.2d 88 (Tex. App. 1984).

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

Milburn v. City of Lebanon 221 F. Supp. 3d 1217 (D. Or. 2016)

Plaintiff Milburn was acquitted of misdemeanor animal abuse on appeal, but a Lebanon police officer removed Milburns’ dog from her possession. While the appeal was pending, the Defendant, City of Lebanon, gave the dog to an animal shelter. The dog was later adopted by a new owner. The Linn County Circuit Court ordered the City to return the dog to Milburn after the acquittal but the Defendant City failed to comply. Milburn then brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 against the City of Lebanon. The City moved for dismissal for failure to state a claim, and the United States District Court, for the District of Oregon, granted that motion while giving leave for Milburn to amend her complaint. In the Amended Complaint, Milburn contended that the City’s refusal to return her dog pursuant to the state court order deprived her of property without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Milburn also asserted a violation of her procedural due process rights. The United States District Court, for the District of Oregon, reasoned that while Milburn alleged a state-law property interest in her dog, she failed to allege that the Defendant City deprived her of that interest without adequate process. Milburn also did not allege state remedies to be inadequate. Those two omissions in combination were fatal to Miburn's procedural due process claim. Also, Milburn's assertion that the court issued an order and that the City did not comply with, is an attack on the result of the procedure. The court reasoned that attacking the result instead of the process of a procedure does not state a procedural due process claim. Milburn’s procedural due process claim was then dismissed. The Court also held that it did not have jurisdiction over Milburn’s injunctive relief claim. Therefore, Milburn's request for injunctive relief was dismissed with prejudice. However, the court held that Milburn could seek monetary damages. While Defendant City’s second motion to dismiss was granted, Milburn was granted leave to amend her complaint within 90 days with regard to her claim for actual and compensatory damages.

 

Mills v. State 848 S.W.2d 878 (Tex. App. 1993).

In an animal cruelty conviction, the law requires that sentences arising out of same criminal offenses be prosecuted in single action and run concurrently.

Mills v. State 802 S.W.2d 400 (Tex. App. 1991).

In criminal conviction for cruelty to animals, statute requires that sentences arising out of same criminal offenses be prosecuted in single action and run concurrently.

Mississippi State University v. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. 992 So.2d 595 (Miss., 2008)

PETA, an animal rights group, sought disclosure of records pursuant to the Public Records Act from Mississippi State University regarding the IAMS's company care of animals used in research, which was conducted at university. After the lower court granted the request, the University and company appealed. The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that substantive portions of company's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol forms were exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The court found that PETA failed to rebut the evidence presented by MSU and Iams that the data and information requested in the subject records constituted trade secrets and/or confidential commercial and financial information of a proprietary nature developed by MSU under contract with Iams. Therefore, the data and information requested by PETA is exempted from the provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Act.

Mitchell v. State 118 So.3d 295 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2013)

The defendant in this case was convicted of animal cruelty for injuries his dog sustained after his dog bit him. Upon appeal, the court found that the prosecutor had erred by framing the argument in a manner that improperly shifted the burden of proof from whether the defendant had intentionally and maliciously inflicted injuries on the dog to whether the State's witnesses were lying. Since the court found this shift in burden was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded the defendant's conviction.

Mogensen v. Welch --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2023 WL 8756708 (W.D. Va. Dec. 19, 2023) Plaintiffs owned and operated a zoo containing about 95 animals. Following complaints about suspected abuse and neglect of these animals, defendant executed a search warrant of the zoo. The search led to the seizure of many of these animals, including a tiger in such poor health that it needed to be euthanized. Following the seizure of these animals, plaintiffs filed a motion to argue that their due process rights were violated because a civil forfeiture hearing must be held no more than ten business days after the state seized the animals, and plaintiffs argue that ten days is too little time to prepare for the hearing. To succeed on the claim, plaintiffs must show that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, which they were unable to do because plaintiffs still have the right to appeal if the hearing does not go in their favor. Therefore, the court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.
Morgan v. State 656 S.E.2d 857(Ga.App., 2008)

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

Moser v. Pennsylvania Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Slip Copy, 2012 WL 4932046 (E.D. Penn.)

After the defendants confiscated mare without a warrant and required that the plaintiff surrender another mare and a few other animals in order to avoid prosecution, the plaintiffs sued the defendants for violating the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Pennsylvania statutory and common law. However, the plaintiffs lost when the district court granted the defendants motion for summary judgment on all counts.

Mostek v. Genesee County Animal Control Slip Copy, 2012 WL 683430 (E.D., Mich. 2012)

Defendant officer removed a gravely-ill cat that needed veterinary care from Plaintiff's backyard. Plaintiff sued alleging Fourth Amendment claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff disclaimed ownership of the cat, thus her property rights were not violated by the seizure. Officer was shielded by the doctrine of qualified immunity, because animal control officers may enter property and remove animals that appear to be in danger.

Mouton v. State 513 S.W.3d 679 (Tex. App. 2016)

San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) responded to a call about 36 pit bull terriers that were chained, significantly underweight, and dehydrated. The dogs also had scarring consistent with fighting. Police obtained a search warrant and coordinated with ACS to seize the dogs. While the dogs were being secured, Appellant Terrence Mouton arrived at the residence. He told the officers that he had been living at the residence for a couple of weeks, but that he did not own all of the dogs and was holding them for someone else. Mouton was convicted in the County Court of cruelty to non livestock animals. On appeal, Mouton argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict because the Appellee, the State of Texas, failed to prove that the animals were in his custody. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court held that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Mouton was responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the dogs on his property and that the dogs were subject to his care and control, regardless of whether he was the actual owner of each animal. A reasonable jury could have also found that Mouton was “aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that he failed to provide proper nutrition, water, or shelter for the dogs.

Mouton v. State 2008 WL 4709232 (Tex.App.-Texarkana)

Defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, and sentenced to one year in jail, based upon witness testimony and photographs depicting several dogs in varying states of distress.   On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana, found that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motions for a directed verdict or for a new trial to the extent that both motions challenged evidentiary sufficiency, and that ineffective assistance of counsel had not been shown, because the Court could imagine strategic reasons on Defendant’s counsel’s part for not calling a particular witness to testify on Defendant’s behalf, and for allowing Defendant to testify in narrative form during the punishment phase.  

New Jersey Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Board of Education 219 A.2d 200 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1966)

In this action, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, sought recovery against the Board of Education of the City of East Orange of penalties of the rate of $100 per alleged violation arising out of cancer-inducing experiments conducted by a student in its high school upon live chickens. By permission of the court, defendants, New Jersey Science Teachers’ Association and National Society for Medical Research Inc. were permitted by the court to participate as amicus curiae. The court found that because the board did not obtain authorization from the health department, an authorization which the health department did not think was needed, it was not thereby barred from performing living animal experimentation. The court concluded that the experiment at issue was not per se needless or unnecessary, and that such experiment did not fall within the ban of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:22-26 against needless mutilation, killing, or the infliction of unnecessary cruelty.

North Carolina v. Nance 149 N.C. App. 734 (2002)

The appellate court held that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress the evidence seized by animal control officers without a warrant. Several days passed between when the officers first came upon the horses and when they were seized. The officers could have obtained a warrant in those days; thus, no exigent circumstances were present.

Nye v. Niblett [1918] 1 KB 23

Three boys who had killed two farm cats were charged with an offence which could only have been committed if the cats were kept for a "domestic purpose". Local justices had acquitted the boys, in part because there no evidence was before them that the cats that were killed had been kept for a domestic purpose. Allowing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that there was no need to prove that a particular animal was in fact kept for a domestic purpose if it belonged to a class of animals which were ordinarily so kept.

Ohio v. Hale 2005 WL 3642690 (Ohio App. 7 Dist.)

Defendant-Appellant, Norman Hale, appeals the decision of the Monroe County Court that found him guilty of multiple counts of cruelty to animals in violation of R.C. 959.13(A)(4). Hale argues that this statute is unconstitutionally vague, that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence, and that the trial court imposed improper sanctions upon him. The court disregard Hale's constitutional argument since he failed to provide legal argument in support of this claim. Hale's argument that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence also is meritless since the evidence in the record supports the trial court's decision that he recklessly failed to provide these dogs with wholesome exercise. Finally, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when imposing the sanctions since the conditions of his probation were related to the underlying offense and served the ends of rehabilitation. For these reasons, the trial court's decision was affirmed.

Oshannessy v Heagney [1997] NSWSC 482

The case focuses primarily on the procedural requirements for stating a case. However, there is also discussion concerning what are the appropriate steps that a motor vehicle driver, who has hit and injured an animal with their vehicle, must take. In this case, the trial judge found that a refusal to stop and inspect the animal did not constitute a failure to take reasonable steps to alleviate that animal's pain.

Pearson v Janlin Circuses Pty Ltd [2002] NSWSC 1118

The defendant deprived an elephant in a circus of contact with other elephants for years. On a particular day, the defendant authorised three other elephants to be kept in the proximity of the elephant for a number of hours. It was claimed that this act constituted an act of cruelty as it caused distress to the elephant. On appeal, it was determined that mens rea was not an element of a cruelty offence under the statute.

Peck v. Dunn 574 P.2d 367 (Utah 1978)

Subsequent to the game cockfighter's conviction for cruelty to animals, she sought a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was unconstitutional on the grounds: (1) that it was vague and uncertain in that innocent conduct of merely being a spectator could be included within its language; and (2) that presence at such a cockfight was proscribed, without requiring a culpable mental state. On review the court held that the board, in the exercise of its police power, had both the prerogative and the responsibility of enacting laws which would promote and conserve the good order, safety, health, morals and general welfare of society. The courts should defer to the legislative prerogative and should presume such enactments were valid and should not strike down legislation unless it clearly and persuasively appeared that the act was in conflict with a constitutional provision.

People v Arcidicono 360 N.Y.S.2d 156 (1974)

The defendant was properly convicted of cruelty when a horse in his custody and care had to be destroyed due to malnutrition. The defendant was in charge of feeding the gelding, and was aware of his loss of weight. He knew the diet was inadequate but failed to provide more food. The defendant was guilty of violating Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to provide proper sustenance to the horse. 

People v. Alvarado 2005 WL 120218 (Cal. 2005)

A man stabbed and killed his two dogs while drunk.  His girlfriend called the police after being informed of the situation by her brother.  The trial court convicted the man of violating an anti-cruelty statute (Sec. 597 of the Penal Code).  The Court of Appeals affirmed defendant's conviction, finding that Sec. 597 is a general intent crime and did not require a showing of specific intent to kill or harm the dog.

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

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

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

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

People v. Baniqued 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 835 (Cal.App.3 Dist.,2000).

Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, California, ordering their conviction for cockfighting in violations of animal cruelty statutes.  The court held that roosters and other birds fall within the statutory definition of "every dumb creature" and thus qualify as an "animal" for purposes of the animal cruelty statutes.

People v. Berry 1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)

In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, §   192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, §   399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, §   597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, §   3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.

People v. Brinkley --- N.Y.S.3d ----, 2019 WL 3226728 (N.Y. App. Div. July 18, 2019) Defendant was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals. The Defendant appealed the judgment. Defendant and his nephew had purchased a puppy and continually used negative reinforcement, such as paddling or popping the dog on the rear end with an open hand, for unwanted behavior. On one occasion, when the dog was approximately 15 months old, the Defendant’s nephew found that the dog had defecated in the apartment. The nephew attempted to paddle the dog and the dog bit the nephew’s thumb as a result. When the Defendant had returned home, the nephew explained to him what had happened. The Defendant proceeded to remove the dog from his crate, put the dog’s face by the nephew’s injured thumb, and told him he was a bad dog. The dog then bit off a portion of the Defendant’s thumb. The Defendant attempted to herd the dog onto the back porch, but the dog became aggressive and continued to bite him. As a result, the Defendant repeatedly kicked the dog and used a metal hammer to beat the dog into submission. The dog later died due to his injuries. The Defendant argued that he had a justifiable purpose for causing the dog serious physical injury. The Defendant testified that he was in shock from the injury to his thumb and that he was trying to protect himself and his nephew. However, other evidence contradicted the Defendant's testimony. The dog was in a crate when the Defendant got home, and the Defendant could have left him there rather than take the dog out to discipline him. The Defendant was at least partially at fault for creating the situation that led him to react in such a violent manner. The Court reviewed several of the Defendant’s contentions and found them all to be without merit. The judgment was ultimately affirmed.
People v. Brunette 124 Cal.Rptr.3d 521 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Animal Services Authority (“Authority”) that cared for the dogs. The appellate court held that the imposition of an interest charge on the restitution award was not authorized by the statutes. It also held that the Authority was an indirect victim, and was not entitled to direct victim restitution. The Court held that the trial court had discretion to decline to apply comparative fault principles to apportion defendant's liability for restitution and also acted within its discretion in declining to apply an offset for adoption fees the Authority might have collected against the restitution award.

People v. Chung 185 Cal. App. 4th 247 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.), 110 Cal. Rptr. 3d 253 (2010), as modified on denial of reh'g (July 1, 2010)

Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. Defendant claimed officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they entered his residence without a warrant or consent to aid a dog in distress. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement applied because officers reasonably believed immediate entry was necessary to aid a dog that was being mistreated.

People v. Collier 160 N.E.3d 137 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
People v. Curcio 874 N.Y.S.2d 723 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct.,2008)

In this New York case, Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), a class A misdemeanor. The charge resulted from allegedly refusing to provide medical care for his dog, Sophie, for a prominent mass protruding from her rear end. This Court held that the statute constitutional as applied, the complaint facially sufficient, and that the interests of justice do not warrant dismissal. Defendant argued that the Information charges Defendant with failure to provide medical care for a dog, and that A.M.L. § 353 should not be read to cover this situation. However, the Court found that the complaint raises an “omission or neglect” permitting unjustifiable pain or suffering, which is facially sufficient.

People v. Curtis 944 N.E.2d 806 (Ill.App. 2 Dist., 2011)

Defendant owned five cats and housed 82 feral cats in her home. One of her pet cats developed a respiratory infection and had to be euthanized as a result of unsanitary conditions. Defendant was convicted of violating the duties of an animal owner, and she appealed. The Appellate Court held that the statute requiring animal owners to provide humane care and treatment contained sufficiently definite standards for unbiased application, and that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider defendant's conduct toward her pet cat to be inhumane.

People v. Flores 2007 WL 1683610 (Cal. App. 4 Dist.)

Defendants were tried for allegedly invading an eighty-year-old woman's home and stealing, at gun point, and holding ransom eight seven-week-old puppies and two adult female Yorkshire terriers which she bred for the American Kennel Club for about $3,000 each.  The jury held the defendants responsible for 18 counts of various crimes, including robbery, grand theft dog, elder abuse, conspiracy and cruelty to animals, inter alia.  The appellate court reversed the counts of grand theft dog which were improperly based on the same conduct as the robbery conviction, reduced the sentence on the counts for abuse of an elder, and otherwise found no additional errors. 

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

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

People v. Garcia 29 A.D.3d 255 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2006)

In this New York case, the court, as a matter of first impression, considered the scope of the aggravated cruelty law (§ 353-a(1)) in its application to a pet goldfish.  Defendant argued that a goldfish should not be included within the definition of companion animal under the statute because there is "no reciprocity in affection" similar to other companion animals like cats or dogs.  In finding that the statute did not limit the definition as such, the court held that defendant's intentional stomping to death of a child's pet goldfish fell within the ambit of the statute.  Accordingly, the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County that convicted defendant of attempted assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, assault in the third degree (three counts), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and aggravated cruelty to animals in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a(1) was affirmed.

Pages