Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Gluckman v. American Airlines, Inc. 844 F.Supp. (151 S.D.N.Y., 1994)

Plaintiff sued American Airlines for emotional distress damages, inter alia , after his dog suffered a fatal heatstroke while being transported in the cargo hold of defendant's airliner (the temperature reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit in violation of the airline's cargo hold guidelines).  Plaintiff relied on the state case of Brousseau v. Rosenthal  and Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., Inc  in support of his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim.  The court observed that none of the decisions cited by plaintiff, including Corso, recognize an independent cause of action for loss of companionship, but rather, they provide a means for assessing the "intrinsic" value of the lost pet when the market value cannot be determined.  As a result, the court rejected plaintiff's claim for loss of companionship as well as pain and suffering without any prior authority that established the validity of such claims. 

U.S. v. Rioseco 845 F.2d 299 (11th Cir. 1988)

After defendant was found fishing in the Cay Sal Bank area of the Bahamas, Coast Guard officers informed appellant that possession of a Bahamian fishing license was necessary to fish in those waters and that failure to possess such a license would render such fishing a contravention of the United States Lacey Act.  On appeal, defendant contended that the Lacey Act is unconstitutional in that it incorporates foreign law, thereby delegating legislative power to foreign governments.  The court found that the Lacey Act which prohibited the possession or importation of fish and wildlife taken in violation of foreign laws, was not an improper delegation of legislative power simply by its reference to foreign law.

Commonwealth v. Austin 846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)

Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog.  The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.

Shumate v. Drake University 846 N.W.2d 503 (Iowa. 2014) Plaintiff Shumate was barred from bringing a dog that she was training, into the classroom and to another school event. Shumate worked as a service dog trainer, while she was a student at Drake University Law School, the Defendant in this case. In 2011, Shumate filed a lawsuit alleging that Drake University discriminated against her as a service dog trainer in violation of Iowa Code chapter 216C. She alleged that chapter 216C, implicitly provided service dog trainers with a private right to sue. The Supreme Court of Iowa held that the statute does not provide service dog trainers with a private right to sue, nor did it include them under the coverage of chapter 216. The Court reasoned that although Shumate trained dogs to assist the disabled, she was not covered because she is not a person with a disability. The Court stated that closely related statutes expressly created private enforcement actions to aid the disabled while chapter 216C does not. Because an implied right of action would circumvent the procedures of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa legislature purposely omitted a private right to sue from chapter 216C. The court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Shumate's petition with prejudice.
University Towers Associates v. Gibson 846 N.Y.S.2d 872 (N.Y.City Civ.Ct. 2007)
In this New York case, the petitioner, University Towers Associates commenced this holdover proceeding against the rent-stabilized tenant of record and various undertenants based on an alleged nuisance where the tenants allegedly harbored pit bulls. According to petitioner, the pit bull is an alleged “known dangerous animal” whose presence at the premises creates an threat. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that the landlord's notice of termination did not adequately apprise the tenant of basis for termination; further, the notice of termination and the petition in the holdover proceeding did not allege objectionable conduct over time by the tenant as was required to establish nuisance sufficient to warrant a termination of tenancy.
Missouri ex rel. Koster v. Harris 847 F.3d 646 (9th Cir. 2017) After California passed Proposition 2 to mandate more humane housing standards for egg laying hens, the state then passed Assembly Bill 1437 to extend the applicability of Proposition 2’s standards to out of state egg producers. In response, six states, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa, filed suit against the Attorney General of California seeking to block enforcement of the regulations before they went into effect. The states asserted parens patriae standing on behalf of the egg producers within their borders that would face increasing production costs as a result of compliance with the requirements of Proposition 2 and Assembly Bill 1437. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice, finding that plaintiffs lacked standing. On appeal, the court found that plaintiffs failed to establish an interest apart from those of private egg producers within their borders, and acknowledged that those private egg producers could file a claim themselves. The allegations about the potential economic impact of the regulations were also found to be speculative, since the regulations had not yet gone into effect. Lastly, the court held that the regulations themselves are nondiscriminatory, since they apply to in state egg producers as well. However, because plaintiffs could file an amended complaint after the regulations go into effect that may be sufficient to establish standing, the case was dismissed without prejudice.
State v. Hartrampf 847 P.2d 856 (Oregon 1993)

Defendant appealed a conviction for attempted involvement in animal fighting, arguing that the statutes at issue were unconstitutionally vague.  Since the defendant admitted he knowingly was among spectators at farm hosting a cockfighting event, the Court of Appeals held that a person of common intelligence could discern that defendant's conduct constituted a substantial step toward involvement in animal fighting.

Cavallini v. Pet City and Supply 848 A.2d 1002 (Pa. 2004)

Appellant, Pet City and Supplies, Inc. appealed from the judgment in the amount of $1,638.52 entered in favor of Appellee, Christopher A. Cavallini following a bench trial. The trial court determined that Cavallini was entitled to damages due to Pet City's violations of the Dog Purchaser Protection provisions of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). Cavallini purchased a Yorkshire terrier puppy from Pet City that was represented as a pure bred. After several attempts, Pet City failed to supply Cavallini with the requisite registration papers. On appeal, Pet City contended that the trial court erred as a matter of law by determining a private action can be brought under the Dog provisions of the UTPCPL, and erred as a matter of law by imposing a civil penalty against Pet City under the UPTCPL. In finding that the statute does provide a private cause of action, the court looked to the purpose of the statute rather than the plain language. However, the court found the inclusion of a civil penalty in the part that allows a private action was inconsistent with the statute.

Trimble v. State 848 N.E.2d 278 (Ind., 2006)

In this Indiana case, the defendant was convicted after a bench trial of cruelty to an animal and harboring a non-immunized dog. On rehearing, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant abandoned or neglected dog left in his care, so as to support conviction for cruelty to an animal. The court held that the evidence of Butchie's starved appearance, injured leg, and frost bitten extremities was sufficient to allow the trial judge to discount Trimble's testimony and infer that Trimble was responsible for feeding and caring for Butchie, and that he failed to do so.

Larry BARD et al., Appellants, v. Reinhardt JAHNKE, Individually And Doing Business as Hemlock Valley Farms, Respondent, et al., Defendant. 848 N.E.2d 463 (N.Y., 2006)

The accident underlying this litigation occurred on a dairy farm owned and operated by defendant. Plaintiff Larry Bard, a self-employed carpenter, arrived at the farm to meet defendant John Timer, another self-employed carpenter to repair of the dairy barn. While working, Bard was seriously injured by a bull. Bard, with his wife suing derivatively, commenced an action against both Jahnke and Timer to recover damages for his personal injuries, alleging causes of action sounding in strict liability and negligence. In affirming the Appellate Division's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, this court found that Jahnke was not liable for Bard's injuries unless he knew or should have known of the bull's vicious or violent propensities. The Court noted that the record contained no such evidence.

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

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

Hass v. Money 849 P.2d 1106 (Okla. Civ. App. 1993)

While the Moneys (Defendants) were on vacation, they boarded their dog at Peppertree Animal Clinic (Peppertree). On June 16, 1990, Julie Hass (Plaintiff), an employee of Peppertree, was bitten by the dog while walking him.  The Court reverses the Defendants' summary judgment and remands to the trial court because the dog bite statute applies a strict liability standard and that the owner of a dog is only the person who has legal right to the dog. 

Loy v. Kenney 85 Cal. App. 5th 403, 301 Cal. Rptr. 3d 352 (2022), reh'g denied (Dec. 2, 2022) The background of the case involves buyers who sued alleged sellers of dogs for falsely advertising their pets as healthy when they were actually sick and died soon after. The buyers claimed that this violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The Superior Court in Los Angeles County granted the buyers' motion for a preliminary injunction, which prevented the sellers from selling or advertising dogs. However, the sellers appealed this decision. The sellers' main issue at the the Court of Appeal was whether there was sufficient evidence to support the claim that the buyers purchased the puppies in question from the sellers. The court found relying on the buyers' declarations to establish the sellers' identities did not result in any harm. In addition, the buyers had provided adequate evidence to support their allegations that the puppies had been dyed brown. The court found the objections raised by the sellers regarding the evidentiary foundations for allegations relating to the dogs' ages, vaccinations, and causes of death were not relevant to the preliminary injunction. Substantial evidence existed to suggest that the buyers would likely succeed in their claim against the sellers and the balance of harms favored granting the preliminary injunction. Lastly, the sellers' persistence in their routine indicated that the public interest favored the grant of the preliminary injunction. Therefore, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision.
Irwin v. Degtiarov 85 Mass.App.Ct. 234 (2014) In this case, Degtiarov's unleashed dog attacked Irwin's dog without provocation. Though Irwin's dog survived, there were significant veterinary costs. Irwin brought this suit for damages in the form of veterinary costs, which were granted by the district court and affirmed by the appellate court. The sole issue on appeal considers whether damages should be capped at the market value of the dog, despite the reasonableness of the veterinary costs necessary to treat the dog's injuries. The appellate court affirms the damages for reasonable veterinary costs that were incurred for damage caused by a dog, even if these costs exceed the market or replacement value of the animal injured by the dog.
People v. Gordon 85 N.Y.S.3d 725, (N.Y.Crim.Ct. Oct. 4, 2018) This New York case reflects Defendant's motion to dismiss the "accusatory instrument" in the interests of justice (essentially asking the complaint to be dismissed) for violating Agricultural and Markets Law (AML) § 353, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals or Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals. Defendant's primary argument is that she is not the owner of the dog nor is she responsible for care of the dog. The dog belongs to her "abusive and estranged" husband. The husband left the dog in the care of their daughter, who lives on the second floor above defendant. When the husband left for Florida, he placed the dog in the backyard attached to his and defendant's ground floor apartment. The dog did not have proper food, water, or shelter, and slowly began to starve resulting in emaciation. While defendant asserts she has been a victim of domestic violence who has no criminal record, the People counter that defendant was aware of the dog's presence at her residence and allowed the dog to needlessly suffer. This court noted that defendant's motion is time-barred and must be denied. Further, despite the time bar, defendant did not meet her burden to dismiss in the interests of justice. The court noted that, even viewing animals as property, failure to provide sustenance of the dog caused it to suffer needlessly. In fact, the court quoted from in Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery (in which denied a writ of habeas corpus for two chimpanzees) where the court said "there is not doubt that [a chimpanzee] is not merely a thing." This buttressed the court's decision with regard to the dog here because "he Court finds that their protection from abuse and neglect are very important considerations in the present case." Defendant's motion to dismiss in the interest of justice was denied.
N.Y. Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of N.Y. 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017)

In 2015, New York City enacted a group of laws aimed at dealing with problems associated with the companion animal business in the city by regulating the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops. On the day the laws were to go into effect, the New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA) filed suit challenging two of the laws. The first law, the “Sourcing Law,” required that pet shops sell only animals acquired from breeders holding a Class A license issued under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The second law law, the “Spay/Neuter Law,” required that pet shops sterilize each animal before releasing it to a consumer. NYPWA argued that the Sourcing Law violated the “dormant” Commerce Clause and is preempted by the AWA, and that the Spay/Neuter Law is preempted by New York law. The district court dismissed NYPWA’s complaint and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision. First, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Sourcing Law did not violate the Commerce Clause because it did not discriminate against interstate commerce. The 2nd Circuit found that the Sourcing Law may make it difficult for certain out of state breeders to sell to city shops, but so long as breeders from other states are allowed to sell in the city, then it is not considered to be discriminatory. Also, the 2nd Circuit found that NYPWA was unable to show that any incidental burden that the Sourcing Law placed on out of state breeders was excessive and therefore the law passed under the Pike Balancing test. Lastly, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Spay/Neuter Law was not preempted by New York Law because NYPWA failed to identify a single New York statute or case that suggests that the new law would be preempted in any way. As a result, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.

Revock v. Cowpet Bay West Condominium Association 853 F.3d 96 (3d Cir. 2017) Homeowners brought action against thier condominium association and other homeowners, claiming that the association failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for homeowners' disability in the form of emotional support animals, and that the other homeowners interfered with the fair exercise of their fair housing rights, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Court of Appeals held that: 1) Fair Housing Act claims survive the death of a party; 2) issue of fact as to whether association reviewed homeowners' paperwork for an emotional support animal precluded summary judgment on claims association failed to make a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act; 3) issue of fact as to whether association reviewed homeowners' paperwork for an emotional support animal precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims; 4) issue of fact as to whether neighbor's comments about homeowners were sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with homeowners' Fair Housing Act rights precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims; and 5) issue of fact as to whether neighbor's blog posts about homeowners were sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with homeowners' Fair Housing Act rights precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims. Reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish v. United States Department of the Interior 854 F.3d 1236 (10th Cir. 2017) Defendant, The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released two Mexican gray wolf pups on federal land in New Mexico without a permit. Their goal was to increase the recovery of the wolf population more rapidly. The Plaintiff, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish ("Department") brought action against FWS and the United States Department of Interior. The Department requested declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit FWS from releasing more Mexican gray wolves within New Mexico’s borders. Other wildlife organizations and various states also intervened as Defendants. The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, entered an order granting the Department a preliminary injunction. The Defendants appealed. The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, reversed and remanded. The Court held that: (1) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to its wildlife management efforts, and (2) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to New Mexico’s sovereignty.
Zimmerman v. Robertson 854 P.2d 338 (Mont. 1993)

Defendant-veterinarian was contracted to castrate plaintiff’s horse. Post-surgical care resulted in a fatal infection of the horse.  The court found that, indeed, expert testimony is required in malpractice cases, as negligence cannot be inferred from the existence of a loss.  The court disagreed with plaintiff that defendant’s own "admissions" in his testimony at trial provided sufficient evidence of deviation from the standard of care to withstand a directed verdict by defendant.  As to plaintiff’s argument regarding a lack of informed consent, the court noted that a medical malpractice claim premised on a theory of lack of informed consent is a separate cause of action rather than an "element" in an otherwise specifically alleged claim of professional negligence.

Zimmerman v. Robertson 854 P.2d 338 (Mont. 1993)

Plaintiff horse owner sought review of a judgment by the District Court of Yellowstone County, Thirteenth Judicial District (Montana), which entered a directed verdict in favor of defendant veterinarian on the owner's claims of professional negligence. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's decision, holding that the owner was required to prove the veterinarian's negligence by expert testimony, and that he failed to do so.  In addition, the court The court found that the "defendant's admissions" exception to the expert testimony requirement did not apply because the veterinarian did not admit that he deviated from the standard of care.

Powell v. Johnson 855 F. Supp. 2d 871, 877 (D. Minn. 2012) Blu, a pit bull was shot in the head and killed after Officer Johnson entered the pit bull’s yard. The Plaintiffs, who were owners of Blu, filed a complaint asserting a: violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by shooting and killing Blu (Count I); violation of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to the City's failure to adequately hire, train, and supervise Johnson (Count II); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count III); negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of Johnson (Count IV); vicarious liability (Count V); and trespass and conversion (Count VI). The Defendants, Officer Johnson and the City of Minneapolis, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The court held that the Motion would be granted in part. The court reasoned that Blu was property, rather than a person, for Fourth Amendment purposes and the officer's shooting and killing of Blu constituted a “seizure.” However, the court concluded that Officer Johnson was entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim. The court reasoned that it was not unreasonable for the Officer to perceive a threat to his safety when the large pit bull jogged up behind him. The court also held that The Motion for summary judgment was granted as to the remaining claims because the evidence in the record, failed to establish a constitutional violation by Defendants.
Powell v. Johnson 855 F.Supp.2d 871 (D. Minn. 2012) While searching for a person involved in a shooting, a police officer happened upon the plaintiff’s home and noticed the garage door and opening to the backyard were open. Upon finding nothing suspicious, he began to leave the area. The plaintiff’s dog caught sight of the officer and began walking toward him, eventually running towards him, the officer claimed. The officer then pulled out his service revolver and fired one shot, killing the dog instantly. The plaintiff claimed, inter alia, violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and supervision on the part of the officer and municipality. The court held that the plaintiff did not meet his burden in defeating the officer’s qualified immunity, as the officer’s account of the incident constituted a reasonable seizure.
Van Kleek v. Farmers Insurance Exchange 857 N.W.2d 297 (Neb., 2014) Plaintiff agreed to watch a couple’s dog while they were out of town. While plaintiff was caring for the dog, the animal bit her on her lower lip. Plaintiff filed a claim with the couple's insurance company. The insurance company rejected the claim because the plaintiff was also "insured," defined to include “any person ... legally responsible” for covered animals, and the policy excluded coverage for bodily injuries to "insureds." Plaintiff filed an action for declaratory judgment against the insurance company, seeking a determination that the policy covered her claim. The insurance company moved for summary judgment, and the district court sustained the insurance company's motion, reasoning that plaintiff was “legally responsible” for the dog because she fed and watered the animal and let it out of the house while the couple was away. The Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed and held the insurance company was entitled to summary judgment.
Winingham v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. 859 F.Supp. 1019 (1994)

Ostrich owners sued to recover actual and exemplary damages, attorney fees, costs and interests for gross negligence after an airship flew over their property at  low altitude, which frightened interfered with the ostriches’ breeding. The District Court held that: (1) allegations of fright and temporary loss of libido failed to allege compensable injury absent proof of physical injury; and (2) owners were not entitled to recover speculative value of unborn offspring; and (3) absent actual damages, exemplary damages could not be awarded.

DICKERSON v. BRITTINGHAM. 86 A. 106 (Del.Super. 1913)

In this Delaware case, the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant to recover damages for the death of plaintiff's horse, alleged to have been caused by the negligent driving by the defendant of his team. This resulted in a head-on collision, which caused the death of the horse days after. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, the court held that if the jury believed from the evidence presented that the defendant was driving without ordinary care, the verdict should stand for the plaintiff.

Gannon v. Conti 86 A.D.3d 704 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2011)

In 2008, defendants' dog allegedly left their yard by passing through an underground "invisible" electrical fence system and bit the plaintiff who was sitting on her bike on the adjacent property. Plaintiff filed suit seeking damages for injury based on common-law negligence and strict liability. The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the fact that they had no prior knowledge of the dog's alleged vicious propensities. On appeal, the court found that even defendants' own depositions raised an issue of fact as to notice of their dog's alleged vicious propensities. Specifically, one defendant admitted he used a "bite sleeve" obtained through his employment as a police officer to encourage the dog to bite and hold a perpetrator's arm. This evidence that the dog was encouraged to leap up and bite a human arm created a sufficient issue of fact for the jury despite defendants' claim that this was a "play activity" for the dog.

Brown v. Kemp 86 F.4th 745 (7th Cir. 2023) This is a case brought by a group of hunting opponents against Wisconsin state employees to challenge Wisconsin’s hunter harassment statute. The challenged statute criminalizes those who photograph or videotape hunting activities with intent to interfere with the hunting. The challengers, who intended to use the footage to spur public debate about hunting and ensure hunters are following state taking limits, allege that the law violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutionally vague. The trial court granted summary judgment to the state employees after finding that the statute did not violate the First Amendment, and the hunting opponents appealed. On appeal, the court found that the statutory provisions on visual/physical proximity and approaching/confronting hunters were unconstitutionally vague, the photographing/recording provision was unconstitutionally overbroad, and the entire statute was an unconstitutional viewpoint-based regulation of speech.
Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Soc. 860 F. Supp. 2d 1216 (W.D. Wash. 2012) rev'd, 708 F.3d 1099 (9th Cir. 2013) and rev'd, 725 F.3d 940 (9th Cir. 2013) The Institute of Cetacean Research, a Japanese whaling group, sued the direct action environmental protection organization Sea Shepherd, claiming that Sea Shepherd’s actions taken against the whaling group’s vessels in the Antarctic are violent and dangerous. The Institute claimed that Sea Shepherd had rammed whaling ships, thrown dangerous objects on to the ships, attempted to prevent them from moving forward, and navigated its vessels in such a way as to endanger the Japanese ships and their crews. The Institute’s request for an injunction was denied when the Court held that the Institute did not establish the necessary factors. The Court did state, however, that though Sea Shepherd’s acts did not constitute piracy, it did not approve of the organization’s methods or mission.
Animal Protection Institute of America v. Hodel 860 F.2d 920 (C.A.9 (Nev.),1988)

The Ninth Circuit held that the Secretary could not transfer title to a private individual whom the secretary knows will commercially exploit the adopted horse. The Secretary argued that the WFRHBA placed only one requirement on the transfer of title: the private individual must humanely care for and maintain the horse for one year prior to title transfer.  The court, however, concluded that the statute commands the secretary to not only determine that the animal has been well cared for, but also that the adopter remains a qualified individual.  Given the statute’s prohibition of commercial exploitation of wild horses as well as its concern with their humane treatment, the court concluded that a private individual cannot remain a “qualified individual” if he or she intends to commercially exploit the horse after they obtain title.

Commonwealth v. Gosselin 861 A.2d 996 (Pa. 2004)

A woman was convicted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for owning a domesticated squirrel.  The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction  They reasoned since the squirrel was domesticated in South Carolina, and South Carolina does not have any prohibition against the taking and domestication of squirrels, the trial court could not rely on the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting such.

Christensen v. Lundsten 863 N.Y.S.2d 886, 2008 WL 4118071 (N.Y.Dist.Ct.)

In this New York case, the parent of child injured by a dog brought an action seeking to have the dog declared a “dangerous dog” under the relevant law. The Court conducted a trial of the “dangerous dog” petition filed and rendered an oral decision that declared the respondents' Chesapeake Bay Retriever “Nellie” to be a dangerous dog under New York Agricultural and Markets Law § 121. The parties contested the appropriateness of a finding of “negligence” and “strict liability” and the entry of judgment. The District Court held that the court would not resolve issue of negligence because the issue was not properly joined for disposition; however, the owners were strictly liable for child's unreimbursed medical expenses.

Minter-Smith v. Florida 864 So. 2d 1141 (Fla. 2003)

Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog engage in dogfighting and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) statute under which appellant was convicted was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant was in violation of the statute that was not unconstitutional on ground that it was ex post facto as applied to defendant; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible. Affirmed.

Pepper v. Triplet 864 So.2d 181 (La. 2004)

Neighbor sued dog owner for injuries resulting from dog bite.  Supreme Court held that a plaintiff must show that, first, that the injuries could have been prevented by the dog owner and that the plaintiff did not provoke the dog to attack, second, that the dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm, and third, that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care.  Plaintiff did not accomplish this.  Reversed. (Extensive history of state dog bit law.)

Earth Island Institute v. Brown 865 F. Supp. 1364 (1994)

Plaintiffs sought to prevent the Secretary of Commerce from allowing the American Tunaboat Association ("ATA") to continue killing northeastern offshore spotted dolphins that had been listed as depleted.  Defendants argued that such killings were permissible under the ATA's permit, and that the MMPA provisions relied on by the plaintiffs were irrelevant to the dispute.  The court concluded that Congress did not intend to allow the continued taking of dolphin species or stock, once the Secretary had determined that their population level was depleted. 

Humane Society of United States v. Zinke 865 F.3d 585 (D.C. Cir. 2017) Subspecies of the taxonomic species “gray wolf” were declared endangered by the federal government between 1966 and 1976. When the numbers of the wolves started rebounding, the federal government reclassified the gray wolf from its regional listings (Mexican wolf, Texas wolf, Timber Wolf, etc.) into a single species listing divided into two groups: Minnesota gray wolves and the gray wolf. The government determined that the Minnesota gray wolf had recovered to a point of only being threatened. The gray wolf remained endangered. In 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service (“The Service”) subdivided the gray wolf listing into an Eastern, Western, and a Southwestern segment. The Minnesota gray wolf and any gray wolf that existed in the Northeast region were included in the Eastern segment. The wolves in the Eastern and Western segments were listed as threatened by the Service rather than endangered. The wolves in the Southwestern segment were listed as endangered. In that same year, two district courts struck down the Rule’s attempted designation of those three population segments. The first one was a district court in Oregon which ruled that “by downlisting the species based solely on the viability of a small population within that segment, the Service was effectively ignoring the species’ status in its full range, as the Endangered Species Act requires.” Then a second district court in Vermont held that the Service designated and downlisted the Eastern segment of gray wolves impermissibly. Specifically, the Court stated that the Service should not have lumped the Northeast region into the Eastern region without first checking to see if there were any gray wolfs in the Northeast region. In 2007, the Service enacted a new rule which created a Western Great Lakes gray wolf population segment and at the same time removed that segment from the Endangered Species Act’s protections. A district court again vacated the rule. The Solicitor of the Department of the Interior issued a memorandum in 2008 that concluded that the Service has the statutory authority to identify a segment and then delist it. In 2009 the Service republished the 2007 rule without notice and comment. As result of this the rule was challenged and vacated after the Service acknowledged that it impermissibly enacted the rule without notice and comment. As a result of all of this, the status of the gray wolves remained in 2009 what it had been in 1978. In 2011, the Service issued a final rule that revised the boundaries of the Minnesota gray wolf population to include the wolves in all or portions of eight other states. The Service then delisted the segment. The Service used the solicitor’s opinion to back up its authority to delist the segment. The Humane Society filed suit alleging that the 2011 Rule violated both the Endangered Species Act and the APA. The District court vacated the 2011 Rule holding that the Service does not have the authority to designate a segment only to delist it. On appeal, the Court identified the main issue in this case as “whether the Endangered Species Act permits the Service to carve out of an already-listed species a distinct population segment for the purpose of delisting that segment and withdrawing it from the Act’s aegis.” The Court concluded that the Service’s interpretation of the statue allowing them to designate a distinct population segment within a listed species is reasonable. The statutory language expressly contemplates new designations and determinations that would require a revising of the listing. “The Service permissibly concluded that the Endangered Species Act allows the identification of a distinct population segment within an already-listed species, and further allows the assignment of a different conservation status to that segment if the statutory criteria for uplisting, downlisting, or delisting are met.” Although the Service had legal authority to act as it did, it did not properly assess the impact that extraction of the segment of gray wolves would have on the legal status of the remaining listed species. “[T]he Service's disregard of the remnant's status would turn that sparing segment process into a backdoor route to the de facto delisting of already-listed species, in open defiance of the Endangered Species Act's specifically enumerated requirements for delisting.” The Court found that although the Service’s interpretation of the word “range” was reasonable, the Service’s conclusion about the threat to the gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes segment was arbitrary and capricious. The service’s analysis wrongly omitted all consideration of lost historical range. The Court also held that the absence of conservation plans for gray wolves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana does not render the Service’s decision to delist the Western Great Lakes gray wolves arbitrary and capricious. The Court further found no improper political influence in this case. Due to the three major short comings: (i) the Service failing to address the effect on the remnant population of carving out the Western Great Lakes segment; (ii) the Service misapplied the Service’s own discreetness and significance tests; and (iii) the Service ignored the implications of historical range loss, the Court ultimately decided that vacating the 2011 rule was appropriate and, therefore, affirmed the district court’s ruling.
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign v. Perdue 865 F.3d 691 (D.C. Cir. 2017) This case involves a challenge by plaintiff-wild horse preservationists under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to a proposed management plan issued for wild horse territory (WHT) by the Forest Service (FS). Plaintiffs argue that the revision, which changed the borders by removing a middle section so that it was not a contiguous territory, was arbitrary and capricious. After the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment for the Forest Service, plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, FS contends that the unified territory was based on a cartographic error in the 1980s; in essence, FS argues that the 2013 change merely corrects an "administrative error" and returns management to the correct WHT boundary from 1975. However, this Court held that FS' decision to eliminate the middle section of the WHT was arbitrary and capricious because the plan failed to explain the change in policy. Further, FS did not adequately consider whether an Environmental Impact Statement was required under NEPA regarding this change. The Court was unconvinced by the FS's attempts to "shrug off" the inclusion of the Middle Section as an "administrative error" and stated that there is no "oops" exception for federal agencies. There were decades of data that relied on the "error" along with formal published plans that supported management activities and population studies. The court was unwilling to allow the FS to correct a past error by committing a new legal error: "[I]n administrative law, as elsewhere, two wrongs do not make a right." The court noted that FS may change its policies in the future, provided it reasonably supports those changes. Additionally, the Court found the FS' "Finding of No Significant Impact" in the environmental analysis was a "head-in-the-sand" approach that ignored real consequences of the boundary changes. Accordingly, this Court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in part and directed the district court to remand to the Service for further consideration.
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 867 A.2d 1147 (N.J. 2005)

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife executed an administrative order preventing the issuance of bear hunting permits.  Hunters and hunting organizations sought judicial review of the administrative decision.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey ultimately held it was within the authority of the Environmental Protection Commissioner to approve policies of the Fish & Wildlife Council and, therefore, execute the administrative order against bear hunting permits.

Hill v. Coggins 867 F.3d 499 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 1003 (2018) In 2013, Plaintiffs visited Defendants' zoo, the Cherokee Bear Zoo, in North Carolina where they observed four bears advertised as grizzly bears in what appeared to Plaintiffs as substandard conditions. As a result, Plaintiffs filed a citizen suit in federal district court alleging the Zoo's practice of keeping the bears was a taking of a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In essence, Plaintiffs contend the Zoo's conduct was a form of harassment under the ESA, and so they sought injunctive relief. After denying the Zoo's motions for summary judgment, the district court held a bench trial where the court ruled against Plaintiffs on the issue of the Zoo's liability under the ESA. The manner in which the bears were kept did not constitute a taking for purposes of the ESA. On appeal to the Fourth Circuit, this Court first found Plaintiffs established Article III standing for an aesthetic injury. Second, the Court agreed with the district court that evidence showed these bears were grizzly bears. While the Defendant-Zoo's veterinarian testified at trial that they are European brown bears, the collective evidence including expert testimony, veterinary records, USDA reports, and the Zoo's own advertising justified the lower court's conclusion that the bears are threatened grizzly bears. As to the unlawful taking under the ESA, the Fourth Circuit vacated the lower court's holding and remanded the case to district court. The legal analysis used by the court was incorrect because the court did not first determine whether the Zoo's practices were "generally accepted" before it applied the exclusion from the definition of harassment. The lower court based its conclusion on the fact that the Zoo met applicable minimum standards under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and did not explore whether these standards were "generally accepted." Affirmed in part, vacated and remanded.
Kennedy v. Byas 867 So.2d 1195 (D. Fla. 2004)

Plaintiff filed for a Writ of Certiorari requesting that his case be transfered from circuit court to county court.  He was seeking damages for emotional distress, following alleged veterinary malpractice by the defendant.  The Court held that Florida would not consider pets to be part of an actual family, that damages for emotional distress will not be permitted, and therefore the plaintiff did not have sufficient damages to met the circuit court jurisdictional amount.   Petition denied..

ARFF, Inc. v. Siegel 867 So.2d 451 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004)

Resort developer and president of an animal performance company received an injunction against an animal rights group limiting their ability to both picket the resort and distribute pamphlets claiming that the big cats were abused.  Appellate court reversed, finding that the picketing regulations burdened more speech than necessary and that the restriction on distributing pamphlets was a prior restraint not justified by a compelling state interest.

Moore v. Myers 868 A.2d 954 (Md. 2005)

A twelve-year-old girl was running away from her neighbor's pit bull when she was struck by a car.  The girl's mother brought claims on behalf of her daughter and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the neighbors on all counts and submitted the question of the driver's negligence to the jury.  The Court of Appeals reversed in part holding questions of the dog owner's violation of county law, whether the fifteen year old son owed a duty to protect the girl from the dog, and whether actions by the son breached his duty to protect were all questions for the jury. 

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke 868 F.3d 1054 (9th Cir. 2017) In this case, the Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society (collectively “CBD”) challenged the determination of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle (“desert eagle”) is not a distinct population segment (“DPS”) eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act. There are two requirements for DPS status: (1) the discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species to which it belongs, and (2) the significance of the population segment to the species to which it belongs. Here, the parties agreed that the desert eagle population is discrete, but they disputed whether the population is significant. CBD argued that if FWS found that a population segment satisfies any of the four listed significance factors, it is required to conclude that the population segment is significant. The court held that FWS did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in concluding that the desert eagle did not satisfy significance requirement for being a DPS, even though it found that the desert eagle satisfied the persistence requirement and one significance factors. The district court's grant of summary judgment to FWS was affirmed.
Coroneos v. Montgomery County 869 A.2d 410 (Md. 2005)

Pursuant to a warrant, the police seized all un-cared for animals owned by a reptile distributor.   The distributor was told he could appeal the seizure, but must prepay the costs of boarding and caring for the animals pending the appeal.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor fo the county and the Court of Special Appeals reversed, holding the owner was not required by the county code to prepay the costs of care as a condition for an appeal.         

Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Jacques 869 A.2d 679 (Conn. 2005)

An environmental nonprofit organization sought an injunction to prevent a housing development from being constructed.  The nonprofit organization claimed the development was in violation of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act because it would destroy the habitat of an endangered rattlesnake.  The trial court held the development was lawful and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Wolff v. State 87 N.E.3d 528 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017) This Indiana case addresses the status of animals seized in conjunction with a criminal animal cruelty case. Specifically, the appeal addresses whether the trial court erred in granting a local animal rescue the authority to determine disposition of the seized animals. The animals were seized after county authorities received complaints of animal cruelty and neglect on defendant's property in late 2016. As a result of the charges, five horses, two mules, and two miniature donkeys were impounded and placed with a local animal rescue. Following this, the state filed a notice with the court that estimated costs of continuing care for the impounded animals. About a month later, the state filed an Amended Motion to Determine Forfeiture/Disposition of Animals, requesting the trial court issue an order terminating defendant's ownership rights in the animals. Alternatively, the state requested that defendant could seek to have his posted bond money apportioned to cover the costs associated with the animals' care. The court ultimately entered an order that allowed the rescue agency full authority to determine disposition of the animals after defendant failed to respond. In his current appeal of this order, defendant first claims that the trial court erred in giving the animal rescue such authority because defendant paid $20,000 in bail. The appellate court found that this money was used to secure defendant's release from jail and he did not request that the jail bond be used for the care of the animals. The court found that the legislature clearly intended the bail and bond funds are used for "separate and distinct purposes," so there was no way for the trial court to automatically apply this money to the animal care costs. Defendant had to affirmatively exercise his rights concerning the disposition of the animals pending trial, which he failed to do. As to defendant's other issue concerning an investigation and report by a state veterinarian, the appellate court found defendant waived this issue prior to appeal. The decision was affirmed.
In re Searight's Estate 87 Ohio App. 417 (1950) This Ohio case dealt with a deceased testator's will that bequeathed his dog to a certain person, including $1000 to be used for the care of the dog. The issues in this case were whether the testamentary bequest for the care of the dog was valid in Ohio as a proper subject of a "honorary trust," whether the bequest violated the rule against perpetuities, and whether the bequest was subject to the inheritance tax laws of Ohio. Ohio's Ninth District Court of Appeals held: 1) the testator's purpose was not capricious or illegal, and that such gift, whether designated as an 'honorary trust' or a gift with a power which is valid when exercised, is lawful; 2) such a bequest does not, by the terms of the will, violate the rule against perpetuities; and 3) a succession tax based on the amount of money expended for the care of the dog cannot lawfully be imposed, since the money is not property passing for the use of a "person, institution or corporation."
Gerofsky v. Passaic County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 870 A.2d 704 (N.J. 2005)

The President of the New Jersey SPCA brought an action to have several county SPCA certificates of authority revoked.  The county SPCAs brought a counterclaim alleging the revocation was beyond the state SPCA's statutory authority.  The trial court revoked one county's certificate of authority, but the Court of Appeals held the revocation was an abuse of discretion.

Toledo v. Tellings 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007)

In this Ohio case, the defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court, Lucas County, of violating the Toledo city ordinance that limited ownership to only one pit bull per household. On appeal by the City, the Supreme Court found the state and the city have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens against unsafe conditions caused by pit bulls. The evidence presented in the trial court supports the conclusion that pit bulls pose a serious danger to the safety of citizens. The statutes and the city ordinance are rationally related to serve the legitimate interests of protecting Ohio and Toledo citizens.

Park Pet Shop, Inc. v. City of Chicago 872 F.3d 495 (7th Cir. 2017) Local pet stores and breeders brought an action against the validity of a city ordinance limiting the sources from which they may obtain dogs, cats, and rabbits for resale. They stake their claim on the grounds that the ordinance goes beyond Chicago’s home-rule powers under the Illinois Constitution and violates the implied limits on the state power imposed by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Petitioners appeal the district court’s dismissal of case for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Illinois Constitution allows Chicago to regulate animal control and welfare concurrently with the state so long as no state statute specifically limits the municipality. Further, the court reject the argument that the ordinance discriminates against interstate commerce. The court of appeals affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit for failure to state a claim.
Sturgeon v. Frost 872 F.3d 927 (9th Cir. 2017) In this case, Sturgeon sought to use his hovercraft in a National Preserve to reach moose hunting grounds. Sturgeon brought action against the National Park Service (NPS), challenging NPS’s enforcement of a regulation banning operation of hovercrafts on a river that partially fell within a federal preservation area in Alaska. Alaskan law permits the use of hovercraft, NPS regulations do not; Sturgeon argued that Park Service regulations did not apply because the river was owned by the State of Alaska. Sturgeon sought both declaratory and injunctive relief preventing the Park Service from enforcing its hovercraft ban. On remand, the Court of Appeals held that regulation preventing use of hovercraft in federally managed conservation areas applied to the river in the National Preserve. While the hovercraft ban excludes "non-federally owned lands and waters" within National Park System boundaries, this court found that the waterways at issue in this case were within navigable public lands based on established precedent. The district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants was affirmed.

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