Anti-Cruelty: Related Cases
|Town of Plainville v. Almost Home Animal Rescue & Shelter, Inc.
|182 Conn. App. 55 (Conn. App. Ct., 2018)
|This is an appeal by the town of Plainville following the lower court's granting of defendant's motion to strike both counts of the plaintiffs' complaint. The complaint raised one count of negligence per se for defendant's failure to provide care for animals at its rescue facility. Count two centered on unjust enrichment for defendant's failure to reimburse the town for expenditures in caring for the seized animals. The facts arose in 2015 after plaintiff received numerous complaints that defendant's animal rescue was neglecting its animals. Upon visiting the rescue facility, the plaintiff observed that the conditions were unsanitary and the many animals unhealthy and in need of medical care. The plaintiff then seized 25 animals from defendant and provided care for the animals at the town's expense. Soon thereafter, plaintiffs commenced an action to determine the legal status of the animals and requiring the defendant to reimburse the town for care expenses. Prior to a trial on this matter, the parties reached a stipulation agreement that provided for adoption of the impounded animals by a third party, but contained no provision addressing reimbursement by the defendant to the town. Because there was no hearing on the merits of plaintiff's petition as to whether defendant had neglected or abused the animals for reimbursement under the anti-cruelty law, the court had no authority to order the defendant to reimburse the plaintiffs. Plaintiff then filed the instant action and the lower court held that each count failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, the court held that, with respect to count one on negligence per se under § 53–247, the statute does not impose such liability on one who violates the law. Further, unjust enrichment is only available is there is no adequate remedy at law, and another law, § 22–329a (h), provides the exclusive remedy for the damages sought by the town. On appeal here, this court held that the court properly determined that the plaintiffs were not among the intended beneficiaries of § 53–247 and that that determination alone was sufficient to strike count one. The court found "absolutely no language in the statute, however, that discusses costs regarding the care of animals subjected to acts of abuse or neglect or whether violators of § 53–247 have any obligation to compensate a municipality or other party." Thus, plaintiffs could not rely upon § 53–247 as a basis for maintaining a negligence per se case against the defendant. As to count two, the court rejected plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim. Because the right of recovery for unjust enrichment is equitable in nature, if a statute exists that provides a remedy at law, the equitable solution is unavailable. The court found that Section 22–329a provides a remedy for a municipality seeking to recover costs expended in caring for animals seized as a result of abuse and neglect. The stipulation agreement signed and agreed to by the parties contained no provision for reimbursement and settled the matter before there was an adjudication that the animals were abused or neglected. As a result, the judgment was affirmed.
|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.
|State v. Goodall
|175 P. 857 (Or. 1918)
This case involved an appeal from this conviction. The trial court found that the defendant rode the animal while it had a deep ulcerated cut on its back, and supplied it with insufficient food. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.
|State v. Butler
|175 N.H. 444, 293 A.3d 191 (2022)
|Defendant Kevin Butler was convicted of criminal negligence after he left his dog inside a parked vehicle for 45 minutes when the temperature was over 90 degrees outside. The charge came after a neighbor noticed a dog in the vehicle that was "scratching at the windows and the door" and appeared to be in distress. After calling the police, an animal control officer removed the animal from the unlocked car and transported the distressed dog to a local veterinary clinic. At trial, the defendant testified that he was out running errands on a "very hot" day, and asked his son to get the dog out of the car as Defendant's hands were full. An important phone call distracted him from following up on the dog's removal and only after the police knocked on his door did he realize the dog must still be in the car. On appeal here, Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to establish the mens rea of criminal negligence for both charges. The State must prove that a defendant “fail[ed] to become aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct" and that this risk constitutes a gross deviation from conduct performed by a reasonable person. Here, the court found that the record supports the trial court's conclusion that the defendant failed to become aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the dog would overheat in the car and that his failure to perceive this risk constituted a gross deviation from reasonable care. The temperature was high that day, the car was parked in direct sunlight with all the windows up, and the dog was left for around an hour. The fact that Defendant relied upon his 8-year-old son to remove the dog under these circumstances constituted a gross deviation from reasonable care. This was not "mere inattention" as Defendant claimed. The conviction was affirmed.
|State v. Peterson
|174 Wash. App. 828, 301 P.3d 1060 review denied, 178 Wash. 2d 1021, 312 P.3d 650 (2013)
In this case, defendant appeals six counts of first degree animal cruelty charges. On appeal, the defendant argued that (1) the statute she was convicted under, RCW 16.52.205(6), was unconstitutionally vague; that (2) starvation and dehydration were alternative means of committing first degree animal cruelty and that (3) there was no substantial evidence supporting the horses suffered from dehydration. The defendant also argued that the Snohomish Superior court had no authority to order her to reimburse the county for caring for her horses. The appeals court, however, held that RCW 16.52.205(6) was not unconstitutionally vague; that starvation and dehydration were alternative means to commit first degree animal cruelty, but there was substantial evidence to support the horses suffered from dehydration; and that the superior court had authority to order the defendant to pay restitution to the county.
|Shotts v. City of Madison
|170 So. 3d 554 (Miss. Ct. App. 2014)
|Defendant was charged with animal cruelty after burning his girlfriend's dog while giving it a bath. He said it was an accident. There were no other witnesses, and the attending veterinarian testified that the dog's injuries were consistent with defendant's account. Defendant was nevertheless convicted after the county court suggested he could be guilty of animal cruelty if he had “carelessly” hurt the dog. Instead, the appeals court found the lower court applied the wrong legal standard. The 2011 animal cruelty statute, since repealed, that applied in this case required proof beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant acted maliciously. Since the prosecution failed to meet that burden, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed and rendered the defendant's conviction. Justice James dissents finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
|People v. Olary (On Appeal)
|170 N.W.2d 842 (Mich. 1969)
Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals. Specifically, defendant argued that the Court of Appeals erroneously upheld the conviction because of his inattention to the condition of the cows and failure to provide medical treatment, when such action or failure to act was not punishable under the anti-cruelty statute. The Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of cruelty to animals because as a farmer, defendant could have realized that his conduct was cruel.
|State v. Amos
|17 N.E.3d 9 (2017)
|After witnessing the 73 year old defendant-appellant emerge from area by the veterinary's dumpster holding an empty, wire cage animal trap, an employee of the clinic followed the defendant-appellant's car and obtained the vehicle's license plate number. Upon returning to the dumpster, the employee found a kitten with matted eyes that seemed unhealthy. The defendant-appellant was charged with one count of animal abandonment in violation of R.C. 959.01 and was found guilty. Defendant-appellant appealed her conviction and sentence on the grounds that the court erred in finding beyond a reasonable doubt that she was a keeper or, if she was a keeper, the court erred in determining that she abandoned the animal. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that once the defendant captured the animal in a cage, she assumed the responsibility that she would treat the animal humanely and could therefore be considered a “keeper.” Since Amos captured the animal and released it in another location without taking steps to make sure the animal would be found, the Ohio Court of Appeals also held that a reasonable person could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant-appellant had “abandoned” the animal. The judgment was therefore affirmed.
|Allen v. Municipality of Anchorage
|168 P.3d 890 (Alaska App., 2007)
Krystal R. Allen pleaded no contest to two counts of cruelty to animals after animal control officers came to her home and found 180 to 200 cats, 3 dogs, 13 birds, and 3 chickens in deplorable conditions. She was sentenced to a 30-day jail term and was placed on probation for 10 years. One of the conditions of Allen's probation prohibits her from possessing any animals other than her son's dog. In first deciding that its jurisdictional reach extends to claims not just based on the term of imprisonment, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by restricting Allen's possession of animals during the term of her probation.
|State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell
|167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005)
Police seized 120 neglected horses pursuant to a search warrant and a Circuit Court Judge allowed humane societies to dispose of the horses. The owner of the horses sought a writ of mandamus against the Circuit Court Judge. The Missouri Supreme Court held the Circuit Court Judge had jurisdiction to permit the seized horses to be disposed of and the impoundment statute was not unconstitutionally vague.
|State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell
|167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo. 2005)
After a judge granted two humane societies permission to dispose of nearly 120 severely emaciated and malnourished horses, the horses' owner, instead of posting a bond or security, filed for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The appeals court issued a stop order and transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Here, the horses’ owner argued two points, but the Missouri Supreme Court found that (1) the spoliation of evidence doctrine does not apply at this juncture and that (2) the statute was not unconstitutionally vague, nor does the owner allege that the statute discriminates based upon classification or that the statute discriminates in its application so as to violate the equal protection clause. The stop order was therefore dissolved and the petition for the writ of mandamus was denied.
|Brown v. State
|166 So. 3d 817 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015)
|Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
|Rohrer v. Humane Soc'y of Washington Cty.
|163 A.3d 146 (Md., 2017)
|In this Maryland appeal, appellant Rohrer questions the authority of the Humane Society to act under CR § 10–615 (the law that allows an officer of a humane society to take possession of an animal from its owner). Rohrer also challenges the legal ownership of the animals in state custody. The seizure of Rohrer's animals began in 2014, when an anonymous tip led humane investigators to Rohrer's farm. Field officers and a local veterinarian observed cattle that were "extremely thin" on Rohrer's farm. These concerns led to a search warrant of appellant's property. Due to the presence of dead animal bodies intermingled with the living, high piles of animal feces, and goats with hooves so overgrown they could not walk, the Humane Society (HS) and Sheriff's office seized all the animals under the warrant. The actual "seizure" resulted in a transfer of some animals to foster farms and an agreement between HS and Rohrer to adequately care for remaining animals on the property. Rohrer was charged with 318 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, eventually being found guilty on only 5 counts and sentenced to supervised probation. During the initial proceedings, Rohrer filed a "petition for return of seized animals" under CR § 10–615(d)(2). When the District Court gave conclusions on the petition, it lamented on the "lack of guidance" in the statute and noted that that the "statute really doesn't say" whether Rohrer would lose ownership of the animals. After the criminal trial, Rohrer again sought return of the animals after negotiations with the HS failed. The Circuit Court upheld the District Court's denial of the Petition for Return, finding the ruling was not clearly erroneous and it was not in the best interests of the animals to return to Rohrer. On a writ of certiorari to this court, Rohrer raises three issues: (1) can the HS seize an animal already in state custody from a search warrant; (2) must the seizure by the HS be justified by the conditions at the time of seizure or may it be based on previously observed conditions; and (3) how does a denial of a petition to return the animals affect the owner's property rights in the animals? In looking at prior codifications of the law as well as surrounding legislative history, the court first held that a HS officer may notify the owner of animal seized by the state in connection with a criminal warrant of its intent to take possession of the animal upon its release from state custody. Secondly, a HS officer may rely on previously-observed conditions to justify seizure under Section 10-615. The court noted that, similar to a search warrant, the factors justifying seizure can become weaker with time. So, when an owner files a petition for return, the HS has the burden of showing the court the seizure was necessary under the statute. In Rohrer's case, this Court found the District and Circuit Courts did not reach the question of whether the necessity supporting HS' possession of the animals continued. Since the animals were released after the criminal trial concluded, this Court stated that the District Court may now consider this question. Finally, the Court weighed in on whether the denial of a Petition for Return affects ownership interests. This Court declined to adopt the standard of "best interests" of the animals. Instead, the Court found that the function of the Petition for Return is to determine who has the right to temporarily possess an animal in question and this does not vest ownership rights in the animal if the petition is denied. This case was remanded to Circuit Court so that court can determine whether the final disposition of the criminal case and subsequent release of the animals held under the search warrant affects the disposition of Rohrer's Petition for Return of this animals.
|People v. Olary
|160 N.W.2d 348 (Mich. 1968)
Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals. Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows. The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals.
|People v. 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.
|State v. Acker
|160 Conn. App. 734 (2015)
|Defendant, the director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut, Inc., was charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty for failing to give animals “proper care by exposing [them] to conditions that placed [them] at risk of hypothermia, dehydration, or to conditions injurious to [their] well-being....” Defendant was the director of a nonprofit animal rescue organization and housed rescued dogs in an uninsulated outdoor barn heated solely by space heaters. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of 15 counts and acquitted of the remaining 48 counts of animal cruelty. On appeal, the defendant claimed that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction and (2)C.G.S.A. § 53-247(a) was unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case. The appellate court rejected defendant’s claims and affirmed the trial court’s decision.
|State v. Jallow
|16 Wash. App. 2d 625, 482 P.3d 959 (2021)
|Defendant Jallow appeals his conviction of two counts of animal cruelty in the first degree, arguing that (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict him of animal cruelty, (2) the to-convict instruction omitted the element of causation, thus relieving the State of its burden of proof, and (3) because animal cruelty is an alternative means crime, violation of the unanimous jury verdict requires reversal of one of the animal cruelty convictions. The cruelty convictions stemmed from events first occurring in late 2016. An animal control officer (Davis) received a report on sheep and goats at defendant's property that were in poor condition. On the officer's second documented visit, he observed a a lifeless sheep. On a subsequent visit, the officer took a sheep that a neighbor has wrapped in a blanket to a local veterinarian who scored it very low on a health scale and ultimately had to euthanize the animal. After a couple more visits to bring food and monitor the animals, and after no contact from Jallow despite requests, Davis returned with a search warrant to seize the animals. Jallow was charged with three counts of first degree cruelty to animals and one count of bail jumping. At trial, Jallow contended that he contracted with another person (Jabang) to care for the animals after he went on an extended trip in October of 2016. After hearing testimony from both Jallow and Jabang (hired to care for the animals), Jallow was ultimately convicted of first degree cruelty. On appeal, Jallow first argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that he was not criminally negligent because he arranged for someone else to care for the animals. However, the evidence showed that despite being aware that his caretaker was not providing sufficient care, Jallow continued to rely on him and did not take further action. The court noted that a reasonable person in this situation would have found an alternate caretaker. "Although Jallow himself was not neglecting to feed and water the animals, he was directly responsible for not ensuring that his animals were properly cared for. Because any rational trier of fact could have found that Jallow acted with criminal negligence, sufficient evidence supported his conviction." As to Jallow's contention that the jury instruction was incorrect, the appellate court agreed. The omission of the language "as a result causes" removed an essential element of the crime and did not allow Jallow to pursue his theory that it was his employee Jabang's intervening actions that caused the injury to the sheep. Finally, defendant argued on appeal that first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime and thus, the trial court committed instructional error when it did not give particularized expressions of jury unanimity on each alternative means for commission of the crime. Notably, at the prosecution's urging, the court ultimately held that the previous case that held first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime was wrongly decided. However, the two instructional errors necessitated reversal of Jallow's conviction here. Reversed.
|Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos v. New York City Police Dept
|152 A.D.3d 113, 55 N.Y.S.3d 31 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017)
|Kaporos is a customary Jewish ritual which entails grasping a live chicken and swinging the bird three times overhead while saying a prayer. Upon completion of the prayer, the chicken's throat is slit and its meat is donated. The practice takes place outdoors, on public streets in Brooklyn. The Plaintiffs include the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and individual Plaintiffs who reside, work or travel, within Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Defendants included City defendants such as the New York City Police Department and non-City defendants such as individual Orthodox Jewish rabbis. The Plaintiffs alleged that Kaporos is a health hazard and cruel to animals. Plaintiffs requested the remedy of mandamus to compel the City Defendants to enforce certain laws related to preserving public health and preventing animal cruelty. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York affirmed the Supreme Court's dismissal of the proceedings against the City defendants. The Court reasoned that none of the laws or regulations that the Plaintiffs relied on precluded the City Defendants from deciding whether or not to engage in Kaporos. Also, the Plaintiffs did not have a “clear legal right” to dictate which laws are enforced, how, or against whom. The Court stated that determining which laws and regulations might be properly enforced against the non-City defendants without infringing upon their free exercise of religion could not be dictated by the court through mandamus.
|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.
|People v. Williams
|15 Cal. App. 5th 111 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017), reh'g denied (Sept. 20, 2017)
|In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.
|Broadway, &c., Stage Company v. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
|15 Abbott 51 (1873)
Part I is the initial civil case which was brought by the commercial powers of New York to stop Bergh from enforcing the criminal anti-cruelty law. The judge suggests the scope of the law and what Bergh must do to utilize the law. Part II is a second case brought several months latter when the corporate legal guns again try to get Bergh. This time for violating the judges prior opinion. Part III is the claim of one of the stage operators who Bergh personally asserted for overworking a horse. The claim against Bergh is for false arrest. The Judge holds against the stage driver, freeing Bergh. Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty
|Cat Champion Corp. v. Jean Marie Primrose
|149 P.3d 1276 (Or. Ct. App. 2006)
A woman had 11 cats which were in a state of neglect and were taken away from her and put with a cat protection agency. Criminal charges were dropped against the woman when it was found she was mentally ill and incapable of taking care of herself or her cats. The court found it could grant the cat protection agency ownership over the cats so they could be put up for adoption, even though the woman had not been criminal charged, and had not forfeited her cats.
|State v. Marcellino
|149 N.E.3d 927 (Ohio App. 11 Dist., 2019)
|Bianca Marcellino was charged and convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals after a search of her residence revealed two horses that were in need of emergency medical aid. Marcellino was ordered to pay restitution and she subsequently appealed. Marcellino argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the motion for a Franks hearing where there were affidavits demonstrating material false statements in the affidavit for the search warrant. The Court contended that the trial court did not err in failing to hold a Franks hearing because even if the Court sets aside the alleged false statements in the affidavit, there remained an overwhelming amount of sufficient statements to support a finding of probable cause. The Court also held that trial courts have the authority to order restitution only to the actual victims of an offense or survivors of the victim, therefore, the award of restitution to the humane society was not valid because humane societies are a governmental entity and cannot be victims of abuse. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the municipal court and reversed and vacated the order of restitution.
|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.
|People v. Tessmer
|137 N.W. 214 (Mich. 1912)
Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing the horse of another. Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because there was no proof of malice toward the owner of the horse. The court held that the general malice of the law of crime was sufficient to support the conviction.
|U.S. v. Stevens
|130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010)
Defendant was convicted of violating statute prohibiting the commercial creation, sale, or possession of depictions of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court held that the statute was unconstitutional for being substantially overbroad: it did not require the depicted conduct to be cruel, extended to depictions of conduct that were only illegal in the State in which the creation, sale, or possession occurred, and because the exceptions clause did not substantially narrow the statute's reach. (2011 note: 18 U.S.C. § 48 was amended following this ruling in late 2010).
|Lawson v. Pennsylvania SPCA
|124 F. Supp. 3d 394 (E.D. Pa. 2015)
|Upon an investigation of numerous complaints, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty obtained a warrant and searched plaintiffs’ house. As a result, plaintiffs were charged with over a hundred counts that were later withdrawn. Plaintiffs then filed the present case, asserting violations of their federal constitutional rights, as well as various state-law tort claims. Defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion in part as to: (1) false arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution of one plaintiff and as to 134 of the charges against another plaintiff, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy; and (2) to the following claims in Count One: verbal abuse, security of person and property, false arrest/false imprisonment, due process and equal protection, and failure to train or discipline as the result of a policy or custom. The District Court denied the motion with respect to (1) the following claim in Count One: unreasonable search and seizure and the individual defendants' request for qualified immunity in connection with that claim; and (2) with respect to one plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim, but only to the charge relating to the puppy's facial injuries.
|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. Minney
|119 N.W. 918 (Mich. 1909)
Defendant was convicted of mutilating the horse of another. He argued on appeal that the trial court's jury instructions, which read that malice toward the owner of the horse was not necessary, were incorrect. The court agreed and found that although the general malice of the law of crime is sufficient to support the offense, the trial court must instruct that malice is an essential element of the offense.
|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.
|People v. Sanchez
|114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)
Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.
|People v. Lohnes
|112 A.D.3d 1148, 976 N.Y.S.2d 719 (N.Y. App. Div., 2013)
After breaking into a barn and stabbing a horse to death, the defendant plead guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals; burglary in the third degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. On appeal, the court found a horse could be considered a companion animal within New York's aggravated cruelty statute if the horse was not a farm animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes and the horse was normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or the person who cared for it. The appeals court also vacated and remitted the sentence imposed on the aggravated cruelty charge because the defendant was entitled to know that the prison term was not the only consequence of entering a plea.
|State v. McDonald
|110 P.3d 149 (Ut. 2005)
A woman was convicted of fifty-eight counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found fifty-eight diseased cats in her trailer. The trial court sentenced the woman to ninety days of jail time for each count, but revised the sentence to include two days of jail time, two years of formal probation, and twelve and a half years of informal probation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, but found that fourteen and a half years probation exceeded the court's statutory authority.
|People v. Youngblood
|109 Cal.Rptr.2d 776 (2001)
|Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat. The court found that the conviction could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering. Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.
|Town of Bethlehem v. Acker
|102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014)
|Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.
|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.
|Westfall v. State
|10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)
Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.
|People v. Tinsdale
|10 Abbott's Prac. Rept. (New) 374 (N.Y. 1868)
This case represents one of the first prosecutions by Mr. Bergh of the ASPCA under the new New York anti-cruelty law. That this case dealt with the issue of overloading a horse car is appropriate as it was one of the most visible examples of animal abuse of the time. This case establishes the legal proposition that the conductor and driver of a horse car will be liable for violations of the law regardless of company policy or orders.Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty
|State v. Murphy
|10 A.3d 697 (Me.,2010)
Defendant appeals her convictions for assault of an officer, refusing to submit to arrest, criminal use of an electronic weapon, and two counts of cruelty to animals. In October 2009, a state police trooper was dispatched to defendant's home to investigate complaints that she was keeping animals despite a lifetime ban imposed after her 2004 animal cruelty conviction. The appellate found each of her five claims frivolous, and instead directed its inquiry as to whether the trial court correctly refused recusal at defendant's request. This court found that the trial court acted with "commendable restraint and responsible concern for Murphy's fundamental rights," especially in light of defendant's outbursts and provocations.
|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.
|State v. Avella
|--- So.3d ----, 2019 WL 2552529 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. June 21, 2019)
|The Defendant was charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license and for cruelty to animals. The Defendant made a homemade device attempting to treat his dog for a problem because he did not have the money to take his dog to the vet. The home treatment ended up injuring the dog and he took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian stated that the dog needed to be taken to an advanced care veterinary facility, however, the Defendant could not do so due to lack of funds. The trial court dismissed the charges brought against the Defendant and the State of Florida appealed. Florida law forbids a person from practicing veterinary medicine without a license. The Defendant was not a veterinarian. The Defendant relied upon statutory exemptions in Florida’s statue that permit a person to care for his or her own animals and claims that he was just trying to help his dog, Thor. The Defendant also argued that the purpose of the statute was to prevent unlicensed veterinary care provided to the public rather than to criminalize the care an owner provides to his or her animals. The Court held that the trial court did not err in dismissing Count I for unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine given the stated purpose of the statute and the statutory exemptions. As for Count II, animal cruelty, the State argued that the Defendant’s conduct in using a homemade tool to remove bone fragments from the dog’s rectum and then failing to take the dog to an advanced care clinic fits under the Florida animal cruelty statute. Although the Defendant argued that he had no intention of inflicting pain upon his dog and was only trying to help him, the Court agreed with the State’s argument that “the statute does not require a specific intent to cause pain but punishes an intentional act that results in the excessive infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.” Ultimately the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Count I, reversed the trial court’s dismissal of Count II and remanded for further proceedings on the animal cruelty charge.
|State v. Archer
|--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 6579053 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018)
|This appeal concerns the lower court's granting of a motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. In April of 2017, a Ponce Inlet Police Department officer responded to defendant's residence after receiving a call about possible animal abuse. The caller described hearing sounds of a dog yelping and being beaten. Upon arrival, Officer Bines heard dog commands and the sounds of "striking flesh." He then knocked on defendant Archer's front door and began speaking with him on the front porch. Officer Bines told Archer that he was there to investigate a complaint of possible animal abuse to which Archer acknowledged that his dog bit him after he disciplined the dog for making a mess, so he "hit him a couple times." The officer then told Archer he had "probable cause" to enter the house or he could seek a warrant. Ultimately, Bines followed Archer to the backyard where Archer pointed to a dog in the corner that had its tongue out and was bloodied. Shortly thereafter, Bines determined the dog was dead. Archer was then cuffed and advised of his Miranda rights. After placing Archer in the police vehicle, Bines and other officers re-entered the home and yard to take pictures of the crime scene and to secure the canine's remains. After being charged with violating the cruelty to animals law (Section 828.12), Archer moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the warrantless entry of his home. The trial court granted and denied the motion in part, finding that while there were exigent circumstances to justify the warrantless entry, the exigency was over once it was determined that the dog was dead. The State of Florida appeals here. The appellate court first noted that while warrantless searches of homes are presumed illegal, an officer may enter when there are exigent circumstances including medical emergencies related to animals. Despite Archer's attempts to distinguish the instant facts from previous cases because there were no signs of blood or smells to indicate an emergency, the totality of the facts showed police received a call of animal cruelty in progress and the Officer Bines heard sounds of striking flesh. In addition, Archer advised Bines that he had struck the dog. Thus, the court found the officer "had reasonable grounds to believe that there was an urgent and immediate need to check on the safety and well-being of the dog and to connect the feared emergency to the house that they entered." As to suppression of the evidence found in plain view after entry onto the property, the appellate court also found the lower court erred in its decision. Under existing case law, once entry is allowed based on exigent circumstances, items found in plain view may be lawfully seized. The officer saw the dog in the corner before he knew the dog was dead, and thus, the exigency still existed. With respect to the photographs taken and the bodycam footage, the court held that re-entry into the home after Archer was in the patrol car did not require a warrant. Once an exigency that justified a warrantless search is over, law enforcement cannot go back and conduct further searches. However, in this case, the re-entry into Archer's house was a continuation of photographing evidence that was already found in plain view while the exigency existed (e.g., before the officers knew the dog was dead). The motion to suppress was affirmed in part and reversed in part.
|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.
|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.
|People v. Harris
|--- P.3d ---- 2016 WL 6518566 (Colo.App.,2016)
|Harris was convicted for twenty-two counts of cruelty to animals after dozens of malnourished animals were found on her property by employees of the Humane Society. On appeal, Harris raised two main issues: (1) that the animal protection agent who was an employee of the Humane Society was not authorized to obtain a search warrant to investigate her property and (2) that the mistreatment of the twenty-two animals constituted one continuous course of conduct and that the lower court violated her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause by entering a judgment on twenty-two counts of animal cruelty. The Court of Appeals reviewed the issue of whether the animal protection agent had the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property and determined that the agent did not have the proper authority. The Court looked to the state statute that specifically stated that only “state employees” were able to investigate livestock cases. In this case, the animal protection agent was employed by the Humane Society and was not a state employee; therefore, he did not have the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property. However, the Court found that there was no constitutional violation with regard to the search warrant because it was still obtained based on probable cause. For this reason, the Court denied Harris’ request to suppress evidence that was submitted as a result of the search warrant. Finally, the Court reviewed Harris’ argument regarding her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Court found that under the statute dealing with animal cruelty, the phrases “any animal” and “an animal” suggests that a person commits a separate offense for each animal that is mistreated. Essentially, the Court held that the language of the statute “demonstrates that the legislature perceived animal cruelty not as an offense against property but as an offense against the individual animal.” As a result, Harris’ rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause were not violated and the Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
|People v. Restifo
|--- N.Y.S.3d ----, 220 A.D.3d 1113, 2023 WL 7028284 (N.Y. App. Div. 2023)
|This is an appeal of a verdict to convict defendant of aggravated cruelty to animals. Defendant was walking his two pit bull dogs and allowed the dogs enough leash space to reach a pet cat resting on the steps of its owner’s porch. The cat’s owners, who were witnesses to this event, watched as the pit bulls mauled their pet cat. When the witnesses asked defendant to stop his dogs, defendant attempted to flee with his dogs still carrying the cat’s body in its mouth. The witnesses pursued and eventually, the dog dropped the deceased cat’s body. Defendant was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and failure to provide proper sustenance. Defendant was convicted, and appealed the aggravated animal cruelty charge. Defendant argues that the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence. The court here found that defendant was well aware that the dogs were aggressive, even keeping them separate from his young son because of their propensity to attack smaller animals. There was also testimony from another neighbor of defendant allowing his dogs to chase feral cats off her porch without stopping them, and testimony regarding defendant’s dog previously mauling a smaller dog without defendant intervening to stop them. Defendant was warned by animal control to muzzle them, but refused to do so. Defendant also bragged to co-workers about how he let his pit bulls go after other dogs and attack wild and old animals. Accordingly, the court found that defendant was aware of the dogs’ aggressive behavior and affirmed the holding of the lower court.
|People v. 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. Panetta
|--- N.Y.S.3d ----, 2018 WL 6627442, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 28404 (N.Y. App. Term. Dec. 13, 2018)
|Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, inadequate shelter, and failing to seek veterinary care for her numerous dogs. After an initial seizure of two dogs, defendant was served with a notice to comply with care and sheltering of her remaining dogs. Following inspections about a month later, inspectors found that defendant had failed to comply with this order, and dogs suffering from broken bones and other injuries (including one dog with "a large tumor hanging from its mammary gland area") were seized and subsequently euthanized. As a result, defendant was arrested and charged with 11 violations of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 and local code violations. Defendant then moved to suppress the physical evidence and statements taken during the initial warrantless entry onto her property and the evidence obtained after that during the execution of subsequent search warrants, arguing that the initial warrantless entry tainted the evidence thereafter. At the suppression hearing, a building contractor who had visited defendant's residence testified that he contacted the Office for the Aging because he had concerns for defendant. An official at the Office for the Aging also testified that the contractor told her that he observed 6 dogs in the home and about 50-100 dogs in outdoor cages. The investigating officer who ultimately visited defendant's property reported that there were nearly 100 dogs living in "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property. Upon encountering defendant that day, the officer testified that defendant demanded a search warrant for further investigation (which the officer obtained and executed later that day). Following this hearing, the City Court held that while the officer's entry violated defendant's legitimate expectation of privacy, his actions were justified under the emergency exception warrant requirement and, thus, denied defendant's motion to suppress. On appeal here, defendant argues that the prosecution failed to establish the officer had reasonable grounds to believe there was an immediate need to protect life or property and that all the evidence obtained thereafter should have been suppressed. Relying on previous holdings that allow the emergency exception in cases where animals are in imminent danger of health or need of protection, this court found that the prosecution failed to establish the applicability of the emergency doctrine. In particular, the court was troubled by the fact that, on the first visit, the officers crossed a chain fence that was posted with a no trespassing sign (although they testified they did not see the sign). Because the officers only knew that there were "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property in a house that the contractor testified that he thought should be "condemned," this did not support a conclusion of a "substantial threat of imminent danger" to defendant or her dogs. While in hindsight there was an emergency with respect to the dogs, the court "cannot retroactively apply subsequently obtained facts to justify the officers' initial entry onto defendant's property." As a result, the court remitted the matter to the City Court for a determination of whether the seizures of evidence after the initial illegal entry occurred under facts that were sufficiently distinguishable from the illegal entry so to have purged the original taint.
|City of Cleveland v. Turner
|--- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 3974089 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019)
|Defendant was convicted by bench trial of one count of sexual conduct with an animal (bestiality) in violation of R.C. 959.21(B). He was sentenced to 90 days in jail (with credit for time served), a $750 fine, with five years of inactive community control that included no contact with animals and random home inspections by the Animal Protection League (APL). The evidence supporting his conviction came from explicit letters defendant wrote to his boyfriend (who was incarcerated at the time) that described acts of bestiality. Defendant was also a sex offender parolee at the time of the letter writing. The letter, which was intercepted by jail officials, recounted a sexual act defendant engaged in with a dog that was under his care. Other similarly explicit letters were entered as evidence. In addition to the letters, the dog's owner testified that she left her dog with defendant and, after picking up the dog, the dog's behavior markedly changed from friendly to anxious and afraid. In addition, the dog was skittish for many days after, licked her genitals excessively, and was uncomfortable with any person near her backside, including the veterinarian. On appeal, defendant contends that the court erred by admitting his extrajudicial statements without independent evidence of a crime. Specifically, defendant contends the city failed to establish the corpus delicti to permit introduction of his purported confession. The court noted that this was a case of first impression since there is no Ohio case law that has analyzed the corpus delicti issue in the context of R.C. 959.21. Relying on the Indiana case of Shinnock v. State, 76 N.E.3d 841 (Ind.2017), this court found that while there was no direct evidence of a crime against the dog, the circumstantial evidence corroborates defendant's statements in his letter. The corpus delicti rule requires that the prosecution supply some evidence of a crime to admit the extrajudicial statements. Here, the city did that with the dog owner's testimony concerning the dog's altered behavior after being left alone with defendant. The court also found the evidence, while circumstantial, withstood a sufficiency of evidence challenge by defendant on appeal. On the issue of sentencing and random home inspections as a condition of his community control sanctions, the court found that the trial court did not have "reasonable grounds" to order warrantless searches of real property for a misdemeanor conviction. The finding of guilt for defendant's bestiality conviction was affirmed, but the condition of community control sanction regarding random home inspections was reversed and remanded.
|State v. Schuler
|--- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 1894482 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019)
|Appellant is appealing an animal cruelty conviction. A deputy dog warden received a report from a deputy sheriff who observed a pit bull on appellant's property who was unable to walk and in poor condition while responding to a noise complaint. Appellant released the dog to the deputy and the dog was later euthanized. While the deputy was on appellant's property she observed two other dogs that were extremely thin which prompted the deputy to return to the appellant's house the next day, but the appellant was in the hospital. The deputy later returned to the appellant's home a few days later and the appellant's ex-wife allowed the deputy to perform an animal welfare check on the property. Two Australian cattle dogs were very muddy and in an outdoor kennel with no food or water. Numerous chickens, rabbits, mice, snakes, and raccoons were also observed inside and outside the house all living in cramped, filthy conditions. The deputy went to the hospital and the appellant signed a waiver releasing the raccoons and snakes to the wildlife officer, but the appellant refused to release the other animals to the deputy. As a consequence a search warrant was obtained. "Two raccoons, 3 black rat snakes, 8 dogs, 7 chickens, 3 roosters, 17 rabbits, 5 rats, 200 mice, and 2 guinea pigs were removed from the property." Appellant was charged by complaints with five counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of cruelty to companion animals. An additional complaint was filed charging appellant with one count of cruelty to a companion animal (the euthanized pit bull). The appellant raised 3 errors on appeal. The first error is that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict him of animal cruelty. The Court found that the complaint charging the appellant with animal cruelty in counts B, C, and D were not valid because it did not set forth the underlying facts of the offense, did not provide any of the statutory language, and failed to specify which of the 5 subsections the appellant allegedly violated. Therefore, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict the appellant and the animal cruelty conviction regarding the three counts for the rabbits was vacated. The second error appellant raised was that his conviction for cruelty to companion animals for the two Australian cattle dogs was not supported by sufficient evidence. The Court overruled appellant's second error because it found that the state had presented sufficient evidence to show that the appellant negligently failed to provide adequate food and water for the Australian cattle dogs. The third error the appellant raised was that the Court erred by ordering him to pay $831 in restitution. The Court also overruled appellant's third error since the appellant stipulated to paying the restitution. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed in all other respects.