Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
New England Anti-Vivisection Society v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Yerkes National Primate Research Center 208 F. Supp. 3d 142 (D.D.C. 2016) New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to animal-welfare, brought suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for issuing an export permit to Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Yerkes). NEAVS filed suit against FWS arguing that FWS had violated the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. NEAVS argued that FWS had violated the acts by allowing Yerkes to export chimpanzees in exchange for making a financial donation that would be put towards a program to help with “habitat destruction and disease, which face wild chimpanzees in East Africa.” The court reviewed the case and determined that it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to address the claims made by NEAVS. The court found that NEAVS was not able to establish standing under Article III of the Constitution because NEAVS had not “suffered an injury in fact.” Ultimately, the court held that NEAVS was unable to show that it had a “concrete and particularized injury in fact that is actual or imminent” and that is “traceable” to FWS’ actions. As a result, the court granted summary judgment in favor of FWS.
Balch v. Newberry 208 Okla. 46, 253 P.2d 153, 35 A.L.R.2d 1267, 1953 OK 23

In this Oklahoma case, plaintiff purchased a pointer dog for a payment of $800 cash, whom he purchased for breeding purposes. Plaintiff alleged, that for several years prior to March 24, 1947, defendant was engaged in the business of breeding and selling thoroughbred pointer bird dogs at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that plaintiff had for many years been engaged in the business of operating kennels. In affirming the judgment for plaintiff, the court held that the purchase of a dog with the knowledge of the seller that it is bought exclusively for breeding purposes gives rise to a warranty of fitness for such purpose where the buyer relies upon the seller's skill and judgment that the dog is fit for such purpose. Where a sale of highly bred stud dog for breeding purposes is rescinded for breach of an implied warranty, because of sterility, the purchaser can recover what he paid under the contract and expenses necessarily incident to caring for the dog but he cannot, in addition, recover damages for the breach of the implied warranty of the dog's usefulness for breeding purposes.

Davert v. Larson 209 Cal.Rptr. 445 (1985)

On April 6, 1982, plaintiffs sued defendant Thomas Larson and others owned by defendant and others as tenants in common, for damages for negligence after plaintiffs' automobile collided with a horse.  On October 21, 1983, the trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment finding he owed no duty of care to plaintiffs as a landowner because his 1/2500th interest in the property was small and he exercised no control over the management of the property.  The Court of Appeal reversed , holding that tenants in common of real property who delegate the control and management of the property to a separate legal entity should not be immunized from liability to third parties in the case of common area torts.  The Court found that it was clear that considerations of public policy require that any departure from the common law rule of liability of individual owners of property in common cannot operate to the substantial detriment of third parties. 

DuBois v. Quilitzsch 21 A.3d 375 (R. I. 2011)

After a dog injured a city inspector during an inspection of a property, the inspector sued the homeowners. Inspector alleged strict liability, premises liability, and negligence. The Supreme Court entered summary judgment for the defendants on the premises-liability and negligence claims because the inspector failed to show that homeowners had knowledge of their dog's vicious propensities. These claims were subject to the common law one-bite rule (and not strict liability) because the injuries occurred within an enclosed area on the owner’s property.

Red Wolf Coalition v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service 210 F. Supp. 3d 796 (E.D.N.C. 2016) The plaintiffs, Red Wolf Coalition, filed suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) alleging that USFWS had violated Sections 4, 7, and 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and also failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it allowed for the lethal or non-lethal taking of red wolves on private land. In response to the plaintiffs’ claim, USFWS asked the court to limits its review to the administrative record arguing that any discovery outside the administrative record would violate the Administrative Procedure Act’s scope and standard or review. The court decided not to limit the scope of review, stating that the plaintiffs’ claims fell under the citizen suit provision of the ESA and those types of law suits allow for discovery. Also, plaintiffs made a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop USFWS from conducting or authorizing the take of wild red wolves on private land whether or not the wolf has been a threat to humans, pets, or livestock. In order for the plaintiffs’ to succeed on this motion, the plaintiffs needed to make a clear showing of four elements: (1) plaintiffs’ are likely to succeed on the merits of the claim, (2) plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, (3) the balance of equities tips in plaintiffs’ favor, and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. The court found that the plaintiffs’ were able to establish the first element because plaintiffs demonstrated that USFWS failed to adequately provide for the protection of red wolves by allowing for the taking of red wolves on private land, which may jeopardize the population’s survival in the wild. Next, the court held that plaintiffs’ were able to establish the irreparable harm requirement based on the fact that the threat to the red wolf population would clearly decrease their ability to enjoy red wolves in the wild and the possibility of the “decline or extinction of the species would cause them to suffer irreparable harm.” Lastly, the court found that granting the preliminary injunction would be in the public interest because “the equitable scales are always tipped in favor of the endangered or threatened species.” For those reasons, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
Bess v. Bracken County Fiscal Court 210 S.W.3d 177 (Ky.App.,2006)

The primary issue in this Kentucky case is whether a Bracken County ordinance which bans the possession of pit bull terriers is inconsistent with the state law that addresses dangerous dogs. The lower court denied the plaintiff's motion and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the ban of breed was a legitimate exercise of police power and did not deny dog owners procedural due process. Further, the ordinance did not infringe on constitutional right to travel because traveling with a pet is not a fundamental right and the ordinance does not treat residents and non-residents differently.

Pacific Ranger, LLC v. Pritzker 211 F. Supp. 3d 196 (D.D.C. 2016) Pacific Ranger, LLC, a deep-sea commercial fishing vessel, filed suit arguing that a decision made by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) should be set aside by the court. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) filed an action against Pacific Ranger for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) after the vessel set its fishing net on whales during five tuna-fishing expeditions. After the hearing, the ALJ determined that Pacific Ranger had violated the MMPA and was liable for $127,000 in civil penalties. Pacific Ranger argued that these penalties should be set aside because the MMPA was unconstitutionally vague about what was considered an “incidental” taking and the ALJ’s findings could not be supported by substantial evidence. Ultimately, the court reviewed the arguments made by Pacific Ranger and found them to be without merit. First, the court determined that the MMPA was not vague with regard to incidental takings. The court held that incidental takings under the MMPA were restricted to takings that occurred without any knowledge and that this provision needed to be read narrowly in order to give effect to Congress’ intent that maintaining the “healthy populations of marine animals comes first.” The court found that because Pacific Ranger had knowledge that whales were in the area at the time that they were fishing, the taking that occurred could not be considered incidental. Lastly, the court reviewed Pacific Ranger’s argument that the ALJ’s decision could not be supported by substantial evidence. The court rejected this argument, pointing to expert testimony that said that there was no possible way for the Pacific Ranger not to have seen that whales were in the area at the time the takings occurred. As a result, the court affirmed the ALJ’s decision.
People v. Spence 212 Cal.App.4th 478 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2012)

In this California case, a jury convicted James Spence of two counts of sexual offenses against a child 10 years old or younger (his housemate's daughter). He was sentenced to a total term of 55 years to life. Among other issues on appeal, Spence argues the court erred by allowing a therapy dog or support canine to be present at the child's feet while she testified, and contends this was “overkill” with the additional support person present on the witness stand. Section 868.5 of the Evidence Code allows up to two support persons during testimony. The court found that the dog was not a "person" for purposes of the code. The trial judge's decision to allow the dog was discretionary. The jury was given instructions to base its decision solely on the evidence presented at trial and not on any sympathies. Further, the court found even if more specific express findings of necessity would have been proper prior to allowing both the dog and support person on the the witness stand, any error was harmless.

Farm Sanctuary, Inc. v. Veneman 212 F.Supp.2d 280 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)

Plaintiffs Farm Sanctuary, Inc. and Michael Baur filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment holding that the Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and the United States Department of Agriculture must classify all downed livestock as adulterated pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 342(a) and an injunction prohibiting the USDA from allowing non-ambulatory animals to be used for human consumption. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint, inter alia, on the grounds that plaintiffs lack standing to sue. For the reasons discussed, the Government's motion is granted.

Larsen v. McDonald 212 N.W.2d 505 In this case twelve neighbors brought a private nuisance claim against another neighbor for keeping numerous dogs in a residential area. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald rescued unwanted dogs by keeping them on their property; Ms. McDonald provided food and shelter and attempted to place the animals in new adoptive homes. At the time of trial there were 40 dogs on the property. The neighbors had called the police and complained of frequent barking and the smell of urine. The McDonalds argue that they had priority of location over the defendants. When they moved to the neighborhood in 1952 it had been sparsely settled. However, over the years the neighborhood had become residential, and while many of the neighbors also had dogs, none of them exceeded three dogs. Ultimately the court held that for the McDonalds to be operating a shelter or kennel style facility was inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood, and after reviewing the testimony, the evidence in this case was sufficient to show a normal person would find the situation was a nuisance. The court upheld the lower court’s injunction to limit the number of dogs that the McDonalds could keep.
Safari Club International v. Jewell 213 F. Supp. 3d 48 (D.D.C. 2016) Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association filed suit challenging the federal government’s suspension of imports of trophies from elephants sport-hunted in Zimbabwe. In April of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“the Service”) suspended imports of trophies from elephants on the basis that the Service could no longer make the finding required under its regulations “that the killing of the animal whose trophy is intended for import would enhance survival of the species.” Safari Club asserted four main arguments against the Service’s suspension of imports: (1) the agency violated APA rulemaking requirements by not providing for notice and comment; (2) the agency applied prohibited guidelines and the wrong standard in making its findings; (3) the agency failed to overcome a statutory presumption in Section 9(c)(a) of the Endangered Species Act; and (4) the agency violated the APA by failing to explain why it maintained the enhancement finding requirement in the Special Rule after the requirement was eliminated from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The court reviewed Safari International’s arguments and granted summary judgment only with respect to the argument that the Service had failed to publish notice of the changed Zimbabwe enhancement finding in the Federal Register until May 12, 2014. The court dismissed the remaining arguments put forth by Safari International and granted summary judgment in favor of the Service. The court found that the Service had violated its commitment to publish any notice of a change in the Federal Register before the change can take effect. The Service violated this commitment by publishing notice of the suspension of imports of trophies in the Federal Register on May 12, 2014 but making the effective date of the suspension April 4, 2014. For this reason, the court found that the effective date of the suspension must be changed to May 12, 2014. With respect to Safari International’s other arguments, the court found that Safari International was unable to meet its burden and held in favor of the Service.
GALBREATH v. THE STATE 213 Ga. App. 80 (1994)

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

Moore v. Knower 214 So.3d 165 (La.App. 4 Cir., 2017) Bruce Moore and Amy Knower were in a relationship and decided to adopt a dog together. Bruce alleged that they both jointly adopted Abby, a Boston Terrier in 2010. The couple jointly shared expenses for the care and management of the dog. After the parties broke up, they agreed to an arrangement in which each party alternated possession of Abby every week. The parties continued this arrangement even during their brief reconciliation up until July of 2015 when Amy Knower refused to exchange the dog with Bruce Moore. Moore filed suit and the trial court found for him and awarded him the use and management of Abby. Knower alleged that she was the sole owner of Abby. Knower appealed, alleging five assignments of error: (1) the trial court erred in finding that she failed to support her claim of full ownership; (2) the trial court erred in finding that she co-owned Abby with Moore; (3) the trial court erred in failing to accept the testimony of Sheila Ford of the Mississippi Boston Terrier Rescue; (4) the trial court erred by stating that there was no basis in law for her to decide the custody of a dog and then doing just that; (5) the trial court erred by exercising jurisdiction over the matter. The Court determined that the trial court did in fact have jurisdiction over the matter. The Court did not find any errors in the trial court’s findings. It concluded that Abby was indeed co-owned by Moore and Knower and ultimately held that Knower had no right to unilaterally end the arrangement. Knower did not supply sufficient proof to support her claim of full ownership. Moore was awarded Abby and the right to solely determine use and management of the dog.
Luper v. City of Wasilla 215 P.3d 342 (Alaska,2009)

Plaintiff appealed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Wasilla, Alaska's enforcement action over zoning ordinances. The facts stem from the City's denial of plaintiff's application for a use permit in 2005 to run an eighteen-dog kennel. Plaintiff argued on appeal that Wasilla's former three-dog limit infringed on her property rights in both her land and her dog. This court agreed with the lower court that the provision here bore a "fair and substantial relationship" the government purposes of controlling dog noise, reducing dog odor and pollution, and preventing loose dogs. Further, the court found that it was not reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the city clerk's statement that she only needed a kennel license to operate a hobby kennel.

People v. Flores 216 Cal. App. 4th 251, 156 Cal. Rptr. 3d 648 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.), review denied (Aug. 21, 2013)

Defendant Flores appeals his conviction under Penal Code section 399 for allowing a " mischievous animal" owned by him to cause serious injury to another person. In this case, defendant's pit bull dog, "Blue,"attacked defendant's almost 90-year old neighbor on his own property causing deep injuries to his leg. Blue had been previously involved in three other incidents where he either tried to attack other dogs or acted aggressively toward other humans. As a result of these incidents, Sonoma County officials issued defendant a issued a potentially dangerous animal warning. On appeal, defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence that he acted without ordinary care in keeping his dog and that the victim-neighbor did not suffer a serious injury as defined by statute. The court found both of these arguments without merit. While defendant suggested that he acted with "ordinary care" by keeping the dog tethered and chained outside on the day of the incident, the court found the evidence showed Blue had broken free in the past and had "massive strength." Further, even though the potentially dangerous dog designation by the county did not mandate that Blue be kept inside or in a secure enclosure, the ordinance language provides this requirement. Leaving a dog with a history of unprovoked attacks chained next to a public sidewalk in a residential neighborhood supported the jury's conclusion that defendant did not act as reasonably careful person would in the same situation. As to the serious bodily injury claim, the court noted that although the law does not define the term, there was substantial medical evidence to support the jury's determination. Affirmed.

Lundy v. California Realty 216 Cal.Rptr. 575 (Cal.App.4.Dist.)

The Court of Appeals held that an owner of a dog may be held liable for injuries inflicted by it on another person without any showing the dog had any especially dangerous propensities or that the owner knew of any such dangerous propensities. However, to impose liability on someone other than the owner, even a keeper, previous knowledge of the dog's vicious nature must appear. Aside from the rental agreement, the property owners knew nothing whatever about the dog. Thus, the facts before the trial court fell far short of creating a triable issue of fact as to defendant property owners' knowledge of any dangerous propensities on the part of the tenant's dog. "Neither do we believe judicial notice may be taken that all German shepherds are dangerous. Nor can defendants' knowledge of any dangerous propensity of the dog be inferred simply because they knew his name was Thunder."

City of La Marque v. Braskey 216 S.W.3d 861 (Tex. Ct. App. 2007)

A city's ordinance did not allow a kennel, defined as a place containing more than four dogs and cats, to be operated within 100 feet of a residence, school, or church. A woman kept as many as 100 cats at a time in a shelter within 100 feet of three homes, and she was criminally charged under the ordinance. The court found that the ordinance did not violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights because there was no right to use her property in any manner that she chose.

Ducote v. Boleware 216 So. 3d 934 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/17/16), writ denied, 2016-0636 (La. 5/20/16), 191 So. 3d 1071 This appeal arises from a personal injury lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Ducote, stemming from injuries she suffered as the result of a bite by defendant's cat. Plaintiff was walking down the sidewalk in New Orleans in the early evening when defendant's cat jumped on her left side and bit her hand causing injury. Plaintiff opted for the rabies immunoglobulin and the vaccine at the emergency room after defendant was unable to produce a rabies certificate (though the cat was later successfully quarantined). The trial court granted summary judgment upon motion for defendant and his homeowner's insurer. Plaintiff now appeals that decision. On appeal, the majority observed that liability of an animal owner (other than a dog) is provided by La. C.C. art. 2321, which gives a negligence standard based on knowledge of an animal's vicious propensities. The court found that there was no scienter on defendant's part as to the cat's dangerous nature (in fact, the cat was known to be a friendly cat with no previous incidents). Plaintiff suggests that liability should be based on a theory of negligence per se. Due to defendant's violation of city ordinances related to proof of rabies vaccination, he should be liable for damages. The court, however, rejected this, as Louisiana law does not recognize statutory negligence per se. Instead, in looking at negligence based on the set of facts, the court found plaintiff did not meet her burden. The trial court's decision was affirmed.
U.S. v. Bronx Reptiles, Inc. 217 F.3d 82 (2nd Cir. 2000)

After defendant received a shipment of dead frogs, he was convicted of violating a portion of the Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 42(c), which made it a misdemeanor to knowingly cause or permit any wild animal to be transported to the United States under inhumane or unhealthful conditions. Defendant appealed, and judgment was reversed and remanded with instructions to enter a judgment of not guilty. The government failed to meet its burden to prove not only that the defendant knowingly caused or permitted the transportation to the United States of a wild animal, but also that the defendant knew the conditions under which the frogs was transported were "inhumane or unhealthful."

Wells v. Brown 217 P.2d 995 (Cal.App.4.Dist. 1950)

In this California case, damages were assessed beyond the purchase price of a dog involved in a hit and run case where the defendant negligently ran over and killed a 15 month old pure-bred Waeimaraner. After the defendant ran over the dog, he shot the dog and buried it. The next morning he contacted the veterinarian listed on the collar, as well as the owner of the dog. The court upheld the jury verdict of $1,500 since the purchase price was determined to not reflect the market value at the time of the dog’s death.

Simons v. State 217 So. 3d 16 (Ala. Crim. App. 2016) In this case, defendant was convicted of a Class C felony of cruelty to a dog or cat and was sentenced to twenty years in prison (the conviction stems from the beating a kitten to death with his bare fists). The lower court applied the Habitual Felony Offender Act (HFOA) which allowed the court to sentence defendant beyond the maximum penalty (defendant had 16 prior felony convictions). Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that HFOA did not apply to his Class C felony of cruelty to a dog or cat. Ultimately, the court held that HFOA did not apply to the Class C felony here. The court maintained that the animal cruelty statue was plainly written and explicitly stated that a first degree conviction of animal cruelty would not be considered a felony under HFOA. As a result, defendant's conviction was upheld but remanded for new sentencing.
Tiller v. State 218 Ga. App. 418 (1995)

Defendant argued that being in "possession" of neglected, suffering animals was not a crime. The court held that where a veterinarian testified that the horses were anemic and malnourished and where defendant testified that he had not purchased enough to feed them, the evidence was sufficient to authorize the jury to find defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of seven counts of cruelty to animals. The court held the trial court did not err in admitting a videotape depicting the horses' condition and that of the pasture when the horses were seized, where the videotape was relevant to the jury's consideration.

David v. Lose 218 N.E.2d 442 (Ohio 1966)
Syllabus by the Court
1. In order to establish a prima facie case against a bailee in an action sounding in contract, a bailor need prove only (1) the contract of bailment, (2) delivery of the bailed property to the bailee and (3) failure of the bailee to redeliver the bailed property undamaged at the termination of the bailment.
2. In an action by a bailor against a bailee based upon a breach of the contract of bailment, where the bailor proves delivery of the bailed property and the failure of the bailee to redeliver upon legal demand therefor, a prima facie case of want of due care is thereby established, and the burden of going forward with the evidence shifts to the bailee to to explain his failure to redeliver. (Agricultural Ins. Co. v. Constantine, 144 Ohio St. 275, 58 N.E.2d 658, followed.)
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.

State v. Nelson 219 P.3d 100 (Wash.App. Div. 3, 2009)

Defendants in this Washington case appeal their convictions of animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel. They contend on appeal that the trial judge abused her discretion by allowing an expert from the Humane Society to render an opinion on whether the evidence showed that the defendants intended to engage in dogfighting exhibitions. The Court of Appeals held that the judge did not abuse her discretion in admitting the expert's opinion. The opinions offered by the expert were based on the evidence and the expert's years of experience. The court found that the expert's opinion was a fair summary and reflected the significance of the other evidence offered by the prosecution. Further, the expert's opinion was proffered to rebut defendants' contention that the circumstantial evidence (the veterinary drugs, training equipment, tattoos, etc.) showed only defendants' intent to enter the dogs in legal weight-pulling contests. Defendants convictions for animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel were affirmed.

Zelman v. Cosentino 22 A.D.3d 486 (N.Y. 2005)

A repairman was knocked over by a dog while working on a telephone line in the neighbor's yard.  The repairman brought claims against the dog's owner under under theories of strict liability and negligence.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the dog's owner and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

U.S. v. Hayashi 22 F.3d 859 (1993)

Appellant challenged the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, which convicted him of taking a marine mammal in violation of the MMPA.  The court reversed appellant's conviction for taking a marine mammal under the MMPA.  It held that the MMPA and the regulations implementing the act did not make it a crime to take reasonable steps to deter porpoises from eating fish or bait off a fisherman's line. 

Brooks v. Jenkins 220 Md. App. 444, 104 A.3d 899 (Md. Ct. Spec. App., 2014) County deputies went to a home with a warrant to arrest a couple's son. While many facts in this case were in dispute, the undisputed result was that a deputy shot the family's chocolate Labrador retriever. While the couple left the house to take the dog to the vet, the deputies entered the house—contrary to the couple's express instructions— and arrested the son. The couple filed a complaint in the Circuit Court seeking damages, on a number of theories, for the wounding of the dog and the officers' alleged unlawful entry into their home. After a trial, the couple prevailed against the deputies and the jury awarded damages totaling $620,000 (reduced, after remittitur, to $607,500). The deputies appeal. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held the issue of whether deputy acted with gross negligence in shooting dog was for the jury; CJ § 11–110 did not limit the couple's total recovery for the constitutional tort to the capped value of their pet's vet bills; the $200,000 jury award in non-economic damages to the couple on their constitutional tort claim was not excessive in light of the evidence; the deputies were entitled to immunity from the constitutional trespass claim; and the couple could not recover emotional damages on the common law trespass claim. The lower court's decision was therefore affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
Barrett v. State 220 N.Y. 423 (N.Y. 1917)

This case concerns a New York law that protected beavers and their habitat in New York by stating that no one "shall molest or disturb any wild beaver or the dams, houses, homes or abiding places of same."  The claimants owned land that endured considerable commercial destruction due to the beavers that were present.  Claimants were initially awarded damages and alleged on appeal that the law represented an unconstitutional exercise of police power and, that, since the beavers were "owned" by the state at the time of the destruction, the state is liable for the damage.  The Court disagreed, finding the ownership of wildlife is in the state in its sovereign capacity, for the benefit of all the people.  As a result, the state was acting in its proper police power authority and is not liable for the damage that ensued from "liberating" the beaver.

Strickland v. Davis 221 Ala 247 (1930)

A case involving an automobile accident in which the court declared that photographs may be authenticated by a party having personal knowledge of the location and who can verify that the photos substantially represent the conditions as they existed at the time in question.

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

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

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.

 

Hansen v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 221 F.3d 1342 (8th Cir. 2000) Judie Hansen petitions for review of a final decision of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture. Because the 8th Circuit has no jurisdiction over the matter, the petition is dismissed.
City of Houston v. Levingston 221 S.W.3d 204 (Tx.App.-Hous.(1 Dist.) 2006)

This opinion substitutes City of Houston v. Levingston, 2006 WL 241127 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.)), which is withdrawn.

Kaufman v. Langhofer 222 P.3d 272 (Ariz.App. Div. 1, 2009)

This Arizona based appeal arises out of a veterinary malpractice action filed by plaintiff/appellant David Kaufman against defendants/appellees, William Langhofer, DVM, and Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic over the death of Salty, Kaufman's scarlet macaw. The main issue on appeal is whether a pet owner is entitled to recover emotional distress and loss of companionship damages over the death of his or her pet. Plaintiff argues that the court here should “expand” Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress damages and damages for loss of companionship in a veterinarian malpractice action. While the court acknowledged the emotional distress Kaufman suffered over Salty's death, it noted that Dr. Langhofer's negligence did not directly harm Kaufman. Thus, the court felt that it would not be appropriate to expand Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress or loss of companionship damages because that would offer broader compensation for the loss of a pet than for the loss of a human.

Gibson v. Babbitt 223 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2000)

Defendant, a Native American, challenged the constitutionality of the limitation of eagle parts through the permit system to members of federally recognized tribes.  The limitation under the federal eagle permit system to federally recognized Indian tribes does not violate RFRA because the government has a compelling interest in protecting a species in demise and fulfilling pre-existing trust obligations to federally-recognized tribes in light of the limited supply of eagle parts.  For further discussion on free exercise challenges under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Bone v. Vill. Club, Inc. 223 F.Supp. 3d 1203 (M.D. Fla. 2016) This case dealt with a woman's request to have her emotional-support dog live with her before purchasing land in a mobile home community, known as Brookhaven. Prior to purchasing her lot, the plaintiff allegedly received permission from the president of Brookhaven's board of directors to keep her dog, even though the plaintiff was purchasing a lot in the "no pet" section of Brookhaven. The plaintiff provided the president of the board with the documentation requested, and the president told plaintiff she had been approved by the board to have her dog. Approximately one year after plaintiff purchased her lot, Brookhaven's attorney sent a letter requesting that plaintiff remove her dog, citing Brookhaven's policies disallowing her dog. After several letters sent back and forth between plaintiff's attorney and Brookhaven's attorney concerning requirements of the Fair Housing Act and the party's respective actions, both parties cross-moved for summary judgement. The court held that 1) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether tenant had an actual disability; 2) landlord was not prejudiced by tenant's untimely disclosure of expert report; 3) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether landlord constructively denied tenant an accommodation; and 4) genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether landlord retaliated against tenant for requesting a disability accommodation. As a result, all motions for summary judgement were denied.
State v. Smith 223 P.3d 1262 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2009)

In this Washington case, defendant Smith appealed his conviction for first degree animal cruelty following the death of his llama. Smith claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to (1) discover information before trial that may have explained the llama's death and (2) seek a lesser included instruction on second degree animal cruelty. This court agreed. It found that defense counsel's "all or nothing strategy" was not a legitimate trial tactic and constituted deficient performance where counsel presented evidence to call into question the State's theory on starvation, but not evidence related to the entire crime. The court found that the jury was "left in an arduous position: to either convict Smith of first degree animal cruelty or to let him go free despite evidence of some culpable behavior." The case was reversed and remanded.

Katsaris v. Cook 225 Cal.Rptr. 531 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 1986)

Plaintiff's neighbor, a livestock rancher, shot plaintiff's sheepdogs after they escaped and trespassed on his property.  As a matter of first impression, the court construed the California Food and Agricultural Code provision that allows one to kill a dog that enters an enclosed or unenclosed livestock confinement area with threat of civil or criminal penalty.  The court affirmed defendant's motion with regard to the code provision, finding it gave them a privilege to kill the trespassing dogs.  Further, the court found defendants owed no duty to plaintiff thereby denying the claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a result of negligence in supervising the ranchhand who killed the dogs.  With regard to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, plaintiffs cite the manner in which the dogs were killed and then dumped in a ditch and the fact defendant denied knowing the fate of the dogs.  Relying on the "extreme and outrageous conduct" test, the court held that the defendant's conduct did not fall within the statutory privilege and remanded the issue to the trial court for consideration. 

People v. Chenault 227 Cal. App. 4th 1503, review filed (Aug. 25, 2014) Darrell Chenault was convicted on 13 counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age and sentenced to 75 years to life in prison. On appeal he contended that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing a support dog to be present during the testimony of two child witnesses without individualized showings of necessity, and that the presence of the dog was inherently prejudicial and violated his federal constitutional rights to a fair trial and to confront the witnesses against him. The appellate court concluded that a trial court has authority under Evidence Code section 765 to allow the presence of a therapy or support dog during a witness’s testimony.” The court did “not believe that the presence of a support dog is inherently more prejudicial than the presence of a support person,” citing the New York case of Tohom. Chinault argued that “individualized showings of necessity” should have been required for F. and C. before the support dog could be present in the courtroom. The appellate court concluded however that “a case-specific finding that an individual witness needs the presence of a support dog is not required by the federal Constitution,” for which Tohom was again cited. Based on the court's review of the record, the appellate court concluded that the trial court made implicit findings that the presence of Asta, the support dog, would assist or enable F. and C. to testify completely and truthfully without undue harassment or embarrassment. The court also took measures to reduce any possible prejudice to Chenault by setting forth logistics for the entry, positioning, and departure of the support dog, along with F. and C., during jury recesses so the dog was as unobtrusive and least disruptive as reasonably possible. The judgment was affirmed.
Idaho Dairymen's Ass'n, Inc. v. Gooding County 227 P.3d 907 (Idaho 2010)

After Gooding County adopted an ordinance regulating confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), cattle ranching and dairy associations brought suit challenging the constitutionality and validity of provisions within the ordinance and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.  The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the county, and the associations appealed.  The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court's findings. 

Volosen v. State 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex. Crim. App., 2007)

Appellant killed neighbor's miniature dachshund with a maul when he found it among his chickens in his backyard, and he defends that Health & Safety Code 822 gave him legal authority to do so.  At the bench trial, the judge found him guilty of animal cruelty, but on appeal the court reversed the conviction because it found that the statute gave him legal authority to kill the attacking dog.  However, this court held that appellant did not meet his burden of production to show that the statute was adopted in Colleyville, TX and found as a matter of fact that the dog was not "attacking."

Volosen v. State 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tx.Crim.App. 2007)

The appellant/defendant mauled a miniature dachshund to death after the dog entered a yard where the appellant kept his chickens. The State of Texas prosecuted the appellant/defendant for cruelty to animals on the ground that the appellant/defendant killed the dog without legal authority. The appellant/defendant, however, argued that section 822.033 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, an entirely different statute, provided that authority. After the appeals court reversed the district court’s decision to convict the defendant/appellant, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that the appellant/defendant had failed to meet his burden of production to show the applicability of his claimed defense and thus reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and remand the case back to that court.

Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept. 228 Cal.Rptr. 101 Cal.App. (2 Dist.,1986)

In this case, the owners of dog petitioned for writ of mandamus requesting vacation of destruction order and declaration that ordinances under which the dog was seized were unconstitutional.  The Court of Appeal held that due process required that owners have hearing prior to seizure of or destruction of dog (a property interest) and that a "courtesy hearing" did not satisfy due process requirements.  Further, the court concluded that the ordinances here were unconstitutional for failing to provide for notice and a hearing either before or after the seizure of an uncontrollable biting or vicious dog. 

Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors 229 Cal.Rptr.3d 159 (Cal. Ct. App., 2018) The plaintiff in this case applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property, but the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application. In her application, plaintiff indicates that the project would include three tiger enclosures, a 13,500-square-foot arena with a roof over 14 feet in height at its highest point, with the area surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain link fence encompassing over seven acres. The captive tigers would be used in the entertainment industry: movie sets, television commercials, and still photography. In denying the application, the Board found that the plaintiff failed to prove two elements necessary for a CUP: the project is compatible with the planned uses in the general area, and the project is not detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. The court noted that plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating her entitlement to the permit. In fact, the court noted that while plaintiff claims "an unblemished safety record," she submitted videos showing tigers "roaming freely in the backyard of her Beverly Hills home" and tigers posing with plaintiff and her sister on the beach. The court observed that, "[h]er well-intentioned desire to own [the tigers] does not trump her neighbors' right to safety and peace of mind." The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.
Steiner v. U.S. 229 F.2d 745 (9th Cir. 1956)

Defendants were charged with knowingly and willfully, with intent to defraud the United States, smuggling and clandestinely introducing into the United States merchandise, namely, psittacine birds, which should have been invoiced; by fraudulently and knowingly importing merchandise and by knowingly receiving, concealing and facilitating the transportation and concealment of such merchandise after importation, knowing the same to have been imported into the United States contrary to law.  Appellants contend that the birds mentioned in count 1 were not merchandise, within the meaning of 18 U.S.C.A. § 545. The court found there was no merit in this contention.  Further, this importation subjected defendants to the felony provision of the Lacey Act and defendants were properly sentenced under the felony conspiracy portion of the Act.

Silver v. State 23 A.3d 867 (Md. App., 2011)

Defendants were sentenced by the District Court after pleading guilty to one count of animal cruelty. After defendants were convicted in the Circuit Court, they petitioned for a writ of certiorari. The Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court could order that defendants pay restitution for the euthanasia cost for the deceased horse, but it was beyond the court’s authority to order defendants pay restitution for costs of caring for the two surviving horses because defendants had not been convicted in those cases. The court also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to strike officer's testimony for prosecutor's failure to provide the officer's written report prior to trial. Finally, photos and testimony regarding the surviving horses were “crime scene” evidence and not inadmissible “other crimes” evidence because the neglect of the surviving horses was part of the same criminal episode.

Institute of Marine Mammal Studies v. National Marine Fisheries Service 23 F. Supp. 3d 705 (S.D. Miss. 2014), appeal dismissed (Feb. 27, 2015) The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) brought action against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and others, alleging that NMFS regulations did not properly implement the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and that the NMFS was improperly administering placement list for rehabilitated sea lions that could not be reintroduced into the wild. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment. After considering the parties' arguments, the administrative record, and the relevant law, the District Court found that the IMMS lacked standing to bring its claim that NMFS regulations did not properly implement the Marine Mammal Protect Act ("MMPA"). Further, the Court found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction of IMMS' claims that the NMFS was improperly administering a placement list for non-releasable sea lions. However, the Court found it may review the claims concerning the permit allowing IMMS to "take" sea lions. The Court found that a term included in IMMS' permit improperly delegated federal authority to third parties. The permit was therefore remanded to the agency for reconsideration. Each summary judgment motion was granted in part and denied in part.
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Espy 23 F.3d 496 (C.A.D.C.,1994)
In this case, animal welfare groups and two individuals challenged the regulation promulgated by Department of Agriculture that failed to include birds, rats, and mice as “animals” within meaning of Federal Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (FLAWA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, denied defendant's motion to dismiss, and subsequently granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs could not demonstrate both constitutional standing to sue and statutory right to judicial review under the APA. The Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded the case with directions to dismiss.
People v. Lewis 23 Misc.3d 49, 881 N.Y.S.2d 586 (N.Y.Sup.App.Term,2009) Defendants were charged in separate informations with multiple counts of injuring animals and failure to provide adequate sustenance.   Plaintiff, the People of the State of New York, appealed the lower court’s decision to grant Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence obtained when a special agent of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals approached one of the defendants at his home upon an anonymous tip and inquired about the condition of the animals and asked the defendant to bring the animals outside for inspection, while the incident was videotaped by a film crew for a cable television show.   The Supreme Court, Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th, 13 Judicial Districts reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that Plaintiff met its burden of establishing that the defendant voluntarily consented to the search based on the fact that the defendant was not in custody or under arrest at the time of the search, was not threatened by the special agent, and there was no misrepresentation, deception or trickery on the special agent’s part.

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