Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Kyles v. Great Oaks Interests (unpublished) Not Reported in Cal.Rptr.3d, 2007 WL 495897 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

A California appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ nuisance claim, which was based on the defendants’ alleged failure to cease activity that resulted in the attraction of feral and domestic cats to the plaintiffs’ backyard, survived summary judgment.  The plaintiffs were members of a family residing in a home located next to an apartment complex.  Upon moving into the home, the family noticed that many domestic and feral cats were defecating and urinating in the plaintiffs’ yard.  The plaintiffs claimed that the cats were attracted due to the failure of the neighboring apartment complex to ensure that its tenants placed lids on the trash receptacles.  The appellate court partially reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, holding that the defendants could, in fact, be liable under a nuisance theory for damages arising from actions that caused “the presence of [a] large number of cats on Plaintiffs’ property.”

Stamm v. New York City Transit Authority Not Reported in F.Supp.2d 2011 WL 1315935 (E.D.N.Y., 2011) Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and New York State and New York City laws, alleging that the New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”) and the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (“MaBSTOA”) (collectively, “Defendants”) failed to ensure that their vehicles and facilities were accessible to her and other persons with disabilities who utilize service animals. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff (1) was not disabled, (2) was not entitled to use a “service animal,” (3) was seeking to bring dogs which do not qualify as “service animals” onto Defendants' vehicles; had not made out a Title II claim and (5) could not make out a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted only with respect to that portion of the eleventh cause of action that alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress. The parties were also directed to submit supplemental briefing.
New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. Farmer Boy AG, Inc. Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2000 WL 33125128 (S.D.Ind.)

Lightning struck a hog breeding facility, which disabled the ventilation system and killed pregnant sows. Plaintiff Insurance Company sued defendant for damages. The Court held that evidence of damages relating to the lost litters and subsequent generations was excluded because damages for future unborn litters are not recoverable when damages are recovered for the injury to or destruction of the pregnant sows.

Reams v. Irvin Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2008 WL 906005 (N.D.Ga.)

The plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C 1983 action against police officers she claimed violated her civil rights under the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution when they impounded 46 of her horses on suspicion of animal abuse.  Upon a summary judgement motion by the defendants, the court dismissed all of the plaintiff's claims.  Responding to the Fourth Amendment claim in particular, the court held that  an old dairy barn, which was being used to hide dead horses, was neither within the curtilage of the home nor protected by the Fourth Amendment.    After applying the  Dunn  factors, the court determined that the barns distance of 150 yards from the dwelling on the farm, its use for the commercial production of dairy products, its lacks of enclosure, and its missing doors all militated against it being part of the curtilage of the home and it did not enjoy Fourth Amendment privacy protection.

Mahtani v. Wyeth Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2011 WL 2609857 (D.N.J.)

After some plaintiffs alleged their dogs suffered harmed as a result of using a tick and flea treatment medication, while others alleged the product was ineffective, plaintiffs sought to gain class certification in their lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company. Since the district court found that individual inquiry into questions of fact predominated over inquiry into facts common to class members regarding the plaintiffs’ New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Warranty claims, the plaintiff’s motion for class certification was denied.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2013 WL 1191736 (C.D.Cal.)

The matter before the court concerns Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings with respect to subject-matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs (ALDF and others) petitioned the USDA and FSIS to promulgate regulations condemning force-fed foie gras as an adulterated food product under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”). FSIS refused to do so, concluding that foie gras was not adulterated or diseased; Plaintiffs then filed the instant lawsuit claiming that decision was arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the APA. The Court determined that the instant action is not about promulgating rules, but about banning force-fed foie gras. Such a decision falls under the USDA's discretion by law.

Palila v. Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2013 WL 1442485 (D.Hawai'i)

Fearing potential prosecution under a county ordinance and a state statute for carrying out a Stipulated Order that protects an endangered species (the Palila), defendants, joined substantially by the plaintiffs, sought a motion for declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court granted the defendants’ motion because federal law, the Stipulated Order, preempted both state and county law. The court therefore stated that so long as defendants, or their duly-appointed agents, were acting to enforce the specific terms of the Stipulated Order, they may conduct an aerial sighting over the Palila's critical habitat and shoot any ungulates sighted in that area without fear of violating (1) Hawaii County Code §§ 14–111, –112, & 1–10(a); or (2) HRS § 263–10.

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Otter Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 4623943 (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2015) The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and various other organizations and individuals, challenge Idaho Code § 18–7042 as unconstitutional. Section 18-7042 criminalizes undercover investigations of agricultural production facilities. ALDF alleges that § 18–7042 has both the purpose and effect of stifling public debate about modern agriculture and raises two substantive constitutional challenges against the State: (1) violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment; and (2) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court first found that § 18–7042 is both content and viewpoint based, and thus, must survive the highest level of scrutiny. The Court held that the law does not survive strict scrutiny because it "would contravene strong First Amendment values to say the State has a compelling interest in affording these heavily regulated facilities extra protection from public scrutiny." Even if the interests in property and privacy of these industries is compelling, the law is not narrowly tailored as it restricts more speech than necessary and poses a "particularly serious threat to whistleblowers' free speech rights." Finally, the Court found that the law also violated the Equal Protection clause because the law was spurred by an improper animus toward animal welfare groups, furthers no legitimate or rational purpose, and classifies activities protected by the First Amendment based on content. ALDF's motion for summary judgment was granted.
Hartlee v. Hardey Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 5719644 (D. Colo. Sept. 29, 2015)

Plaintiffs filed suit against a veterinarian and a number of police officers who were involved in their prosecution of animal cruelty. Plaintiffs Switf and Hatlee worked together on a Echo Valley Ranch where they provided care and boarding for horses. In February 2012, Officer Smith went to Echo Valley Ranch to conduct a welfare check on the horses. Officer Smith noticed that the horses seemed to be in poor condition, so he requested that a veternarian visis the ranch to inspect the horses. Dr. Olds, a local veterinarian, visited the ranch and wrote a report that suggested that the horses be seized due to their current state. Officer Smith initially served plaintiffs with a warning but after returning to the ranch and noticing that the horses’ condition had worsened, the horses were seized and plaintiffs were charged with animal cruelty. In this case, plaintiffs argued that the veterinarian had wrote the medical report for a “publicity stunt” and that this report influenced Officer’s Smith’s decision to seize the horses and charge plaintiffs with animal cruelty. The court ultimately found that the veterinarian’s report was not made as a “publicity stunt,” especially due to the fact that the report was filed privately and not made available to the public. Also, the court found that there was no evidence to suggest that the veterinarian and the officers were working with one another in a “conspiracy” to seize the horses and charge plaintiffs with animal cruelty.

Peklun v. Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association, Inc. Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 8029840 (S.D. Fla., 2015) On cross-motions, Defendant Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association, Inc.'s (“TDM") and Plaintiffs, (Personal Representatives of the Estate of Sergey Peklun) seek Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs assert that denial of Sergey Peklun's request for a reasonable accommodation for his dog Julia "resulted in Peklun's increasingly despondent attitude, ultimately culminating in his decision to end his life." As such, plaintiffs’ claim Defendants are liable under theories of intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Florida and Federal Fair Housing Acts. This conflict over Julia first emerged in 2011 and lasted until Peklun's death in 2015. In 2011, Peklun first acquired Julia the dog, who he claimed was being trained as a cardiac service dog. While the training as a service dog was never substantiated, the Board did approve the dog as an emotional support animal for Peklun in 2011. The composition of the Board changed in coming years and the issue arose after another tenant, Frank Speciale, demanded the dog's removal due to stated allergies. TDM warned Peklun if he did not remove Julia within the period provided, it would initiate arbitration against him in accord. Julia was never removed and, on July 16, 2013, TDM commenced arbitration against Peklun with the Florida Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. Speciale also moved for an injunction barring Peklun from keeping Julia on the premises, which was granted on March 11, 2014. During this time, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Office of Equal Opportunity organized an extensive investigation into TDM's purported discrimination and found "reasonable grounds to believe that [TDM] discriminated against [Peklun] on the basis of his disability.” Following this, on August 11, 2014, TDM approved Peklun's request for a reasonable accommodation as an emotional support animal. Despite this, Speciale continued to seek Julia's eviction, filing a motion in state court, seeking contempt and sanctions. Plaintiffs contended that this behavior reflected "a campaign of harassment." As to TDM instant motion for summary judgment, it claims the decision was reasonable because Peklun failed to provide TDM with the requested information necessary to verify his disability and that Julia was not a trained service animal. Also, TDM asserts Peklun was not a “qualified individual” under the FHA. The District Court found that while Peklun's various cardiac and organ problems did not constitute a "handicap" under the FHA, the submissions of Peklun's treating physicians are sufficient to establish that Peklun's sleep apnea interfered with a major life activity. As a result, there was sufficient evidence that Peklun was handicapped within the meaning of the FHA. Further, the absence of any certification or training did not permit TDM to immediately deny the request for Peklun's assistance animal. In fact, the court observed that Peklun was previously granted an accommodation for Julia on the basis that she was an “emotional support animal” in 2011; that knowledge of the 2011 accommodation was imputed to TDM's current board. The court did note that Section 3604(9) states there is no obligation to honor a request that would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other tenants. However, the court noted that determining this threat is a question of fact, not a question of law. The issue of Speciale's allergies "is contentious and the Court declines to grant judgment based on a hotly debated factual dispute." As a result, the cross motions for summary judgment by each party were denied.
State v. Anello Not Reported in N.E.2d, 2007 WL 2713802 (Ohio App. 5 Dist.)

In this Ohio case, after police received a complaint about possible neglect of dogs located in a barn, an officer went to investigate and entered the barn through an unlocked door. The Humane Society then assisted the department in seizing forty-two dogs. Defendant-Anello was convicted by jury of two counts of animal cruelty. On appeal, defendant contended that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence: to wit, the dogs from the barn. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the barn was not included within the curtilage of the residence since it was leased by a different person than the owner of the house (who had moved out of state). Further, the plain view/exigent circumstances exceptions came into play where the officers heard barking, smelled "overwhelming" urine odors, and observed through a window seventeen animals confined in cages that were stacked three high while the temperature outside was eighty degrees with high humidity. 

O'Keefe v. Stevenson Not Reported in N.E.3d, 2017 WL 3776595 (Mass. Land Ct. Aug. 22, 2017) In this case, the plaintiffs appealed a Zoning Board that granted their neighbor a special permit allowing four dogs to be kept at Ms. Sullivan's home. The dogs—pedigreed Eurasiers—are Ms. Sullivan's personal pets and live with Ms. Sullivan inside her house, have someone with them at all times, and spend most of their time indoors. When they are outside, they are confined to a chain-link fenced-in area behind the house. The permit has some conditions that must be met for the dogs to remain on the property, one of which is the dogs not become a nuisance. The court affirmed the grant of the special permit based on the testimony and exhibits admitted at trial after assessing the credibility, weight, and appropriate inferences to be drawn from that evidence. The Board's decision granting the special permit was AFFIRMED.
Reid v. Kramer Not Reported in N.W. Rptr., 2019 WL 2866091 (Mich. Ct. App. July 2, 2019) In July of 2017, Alpena County Animal Control Officer Michelle Reid, filed a complaint against the respondents alleging that a black and tan German Shepherd named Bruiser had attacked or bit a person. The victim, Joshua Henderson, testified that as he was jogging past the respondents’ house, Bruiser ran toward him and bit his left bicep and left forearm. The Respondents stated that Bruiser had never attacked or bitten anyone before and was raised around children. The prosecutor clarified that euthanization was not being sought at the time, however, the district court found that Bruiser had caused serious injury to Henderson and noted the possibility of Bruiser injuring children in the future and ordered Bruiser to be destroyed. The Respondents appealed to the circuit court, which affirmed the district court’s decision. The Respondents then appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Respondents argued that the circuit court erred in determining that Bruiser was a dangerous animal and that the evidence did not support a finding that Bruiser caused death or serious injury or that he was likely to do so in the future. The Court of Appeals concluded that Bruiser fit the definition of a dangerous animal under the statute, however, the Court agreed with the Respondents that the evidence was insufficient to support a conclusion that Bruiser caused serious injury or was likely to cause death or serious injury in the future. In order for an animal to be destroyed, it must be more than dangerous. Henderson’s injuries consisted of scrapes, puncture wounds, and three stitches. Those injuries did not rise to the level of a “serious injury” as defined under MCL 287.321(e) which defines serious injury as permanent, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of bodily function. The district court did not properly interpret MCL 287.322 and based their decision solely on the fact that Bruiser had bitten someone once and concluded that because of that, the court knew that Bruiser was more likely to do so again. The circuit court erred by affirming the district court’s order because the evidence did not support a finding that Bruiser had caused serious injury or death to a person or that he was likely to do so in the future. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the district court.
People v. Leach Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2006 WL 2683727 (Mich.App.)

Defendant's conviction arises from the killing of a rabbit during the execution of a civil court order at defendant's home on April 15, 2004. Because the court did not find MCL 750.50b unconstitutionally vague and further found sufficient evidence in support of defendant's conviction, defendant's conviction was affirmed. The evidence showed that defendant killed the rabbit in a display of anger arising from the execution of a court; thus, the terms, "[m]alicious", "willful", and "without just cause" are sufficiently specific terms with commonly understood meanings such that enforcement of the statute will not be arbitrary or discriminatory."

People v. Proehl (unpublished) Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2011 WL 2021940 (Mich.App.)

Defendant was convicted of failing to provide adequate care to 16 horses. On appeal, Defendant first argued that, to him, nothing appeared to be wrong with his horses and, consequently, no liability can attach. The court disagreed, explaining: "Defendant's personal belief that his horses were in good health . . . was therefore based on fallacy, and has no effect on his liability under the statute." Defendant also maintained that he is an animal hoarder, which is a "psychological condition" that mitigates his intent. Rejecting this argument, the court noted that Defendant’s "hoarding" contention is based upon a non-adopted bill which, in any event, fails to indicate whether animal hoarding may serve as a proper defense.

State v. Jensen Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2015 WL 7261420 (Neb. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 2015) Defendant was convicted of convicted of two counts of mistreatment of a livestock animal in violation of Neb.Rev.Stat. § 54–903(2) (Reissue 2010) and four counts of neglect of a livestock animal in violation of § 54–903(1). Defendant owned and maintained a herd of over 100 horses in Burt County, Nebraska. After receiving complaints, the local sheriff's office investigated the herd. An expert veterinarian witness at trial testified that approximately 30% of the herd scored very low on the scale measuring a horse's condition and there were several deceased horses found with the herd. On appeal, defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support several of his convictions. Specifically, defendant challenged whether the state proved causation and intent under the statute. The court found that the prosecution proved through testimony that defendant caused the death of the horses subject to two of the convictions. With regard to intent, the court found that the evidence showed it would have taken weeks or month for a horse to reach to the low levels on the scale. The court found that defendant was aware of the declining condition of the herd over a significant amount of time, and failed to adequately feed, water, or provide necessary care to his horses. The convictions were affirmed.
Eureka Township v. Petter Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2017 WL 3863144 (Minn.Ct.App. 2017) In this case, the Township brought action against property owners to enjoin the owners from possessing exotic animals on the property, operating an animal exhibition on the property, and operating a business pelting exotic animals on the property. The District Court invalidated the township's exotic animal ordinance as conflicting with state statute, determined that an animal exhibition was not a permissible use under the township's zoning ordinance, and permanently enjoined the owners from operating an animal exhibition and conducting any retail sales, except for horticultural products produced on the property. This court held that the exotic animals ordinance did not conflict with state statute nor was it preempted. Further, this court held that the property owners' grandfathered possession and exhibition of exotic animals was limited to one wolf; animal control officer exception to exotic animal possession was limited to temporary possession of exotic animals in conjunction with owner's work as an animal control officer; township was not estopped from enforcing its exotic animal ordinance; and interpreting zoning ordinance's language to require sale of horticultural products from the land itself was not inherently unreasonable. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded; motion dismissed.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected v. State, Dep't of Nat. Res. Not Reported in N.W.2d2016 WL 6905923 (2016) Plaintiff, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), appealed an order of the Court of Claims concluding that PA 281 does not violate Michigan's Constitution or statutes, and the granting of summary disposition in favor of defendants, the State of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Natural Resources Commission. The issue began in 2011 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal list of endangered species, returning management of wolf populations to Michigan. In 2012, the governor of Michigan signed PA 520 into law, which added the wolf to the definition of "game" animals. Plaintiff KMWP organized a statewide referendum petition drive to reject PA 520 at the November 4, 2014 general election, which would have rendered PA 520 ineffective unless approved by a majority of voters. In 2013, Michigan's Governor signed into law PA 21 and PA 22, which granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) authority to manage wolves. In addition, the laws also gave qualified members of the military free game and fish licenses. Another petition drive was initiated by plaintiff and required signatures were collected to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot. However, in December 2013, before this, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM) circulated a petition to initiate the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Management Act also known as PA 281. This new law would reenact PA 520 and 21, giving the NRC authority for designating game animals, offering free military hunting and fishing licenses, and appropriating $1 million to manage invasive species. In May of 2014, the CPWM certified this initiative petition and submitted directly it to the Legislature to enact or reject the law. The Legislature adopted the law, which became known as PA 281. Notably, at the November 2014 election, a majority of voters rejected PA 520 and PA 21. Regardless, PA 281, which included the voter-rejected designation of the wolf as a game species, was signed into law and the NRC designated wolves as a game species effective March 2015. Following this, plaintiff filed the underlying complaint that challenged the constitutionality of PA 281, specifically that it violated the Title–Object Clause of Michigan's Constitution, Const 1963, art 4, § 24, which states that (1) a law must not embrace more than one object, and (2) the object of the law must be expressed in its title. The Court of Claims granted defendants' summary disposition motion, holding the the general purpose of PA 281 is to “manage fish, wildlife, and their habitats” and that all of the law's provisions relate to this purpose, and concluded that the law did not violate the single-object requirement of the Title–Object Clause. The Court of Appeals found that some provisions of PA 281 did not violate the Title-Object Clause including (1) free licenses to military and (2) appropriating $1 million to respond to the threat of invasive fish species. However, the court did find that the free licenses to members of the military has no necessary connection to the scientific management of fish, wildlife, and their habitats violating the single-object rule of the Title-Object Clause. While the court noted that there is a severability option with provisions of laws that violate the Title-Object Clause, the court cannot conclude the Legislature would have passed PA 281 without the provision allowing free hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for active members of the military. Thus, this provision cannot be severed from PA 281, and, consequently, the court found PA 281 is unconstitutional. The court noted that its decision rests solely under an analysis of the Michigan Constitution and related cases. However, the court noted that plaintiff's assertion that the initiating petition by defendant put "curb appeal" of free military licenses and invasive species control to "surreptitiously" reenact a provision that would ensure wolves would be on the game species list was an "accurate" assessment. The court even said that PA 281 "conjures up images of a Trojan Horse, within which the ability to hunt wolves was cleverly hidden." The order granting summary judgment for defendants was reversed and the matter was remanded.
Sexton v. Brown Not Reported in P.3d, 147 Wash.App. 1005, 2008 WL 4616705 (Wash.App. Div. 1)

In this Washington case, Valeri Sexton and Corey Recla sued Kenny Brown, DVM, for damages arising from the death of their dog. Plaintiffs alleged a number of causes of action including negligence, breach of bailment, conversion, and trespass to chattels. The incident occurred after plaintiff's dog ran away while plaintiff was camping Marblemount area. Another party found the Yorkshire terrier and took it to defendant-veterinarian's office, the Pet Emergency Center (PEC). After being examined first by a one veterinarian, defendant-veterinarian Brown took over care and determined that the dog suffered from a life threatening condition; he then told the finders that if they did not want to pay for further care, they could have the dog euthanized. This court affirmed the trial court's decision that the medical malpractice act does not apply to veterinarians. It also affirmed the dismissal of Sexton's breach of bailment claim, finding that Brown was not a finder under relevant Washington law. The court did find that there were material issues of fact about the measure of damages, and reversed the decision to limit damages to the fair market or replacement value of the dog. Further, the court found genuine issues of material fact about whether Brown's actions were justified when viewed under the requirements of Washington's veterinary practice laws.

Brinton v. Codoni Not Reported in P.3d, 2009 WL 297006 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2009)

This unpublished Washington case stems from an attack on plaintiff's dog by a neighbor's dog. Plaintiff sued for damages, alleging negligence and nuisance. The trial court ruled on partial summary judgment that the plaintiff's damages were limited, as a matter of law, to the dog's fair market value. The plaintiff argued that she was entitled to damages based on the dog's intrinsic value (i.e., utility and service and not sentimental attachment) and her emotional distress. On appeal, this court held that since the plaintiff failed to carry her burden of showing that her dog had no fair market value, the trial court properly limited damages to that value. Further, because the plaintiff's nuisance claims were grounded in negligence, she was not entitled to damages beyond those awarded for her negligence claim.

Britton v. Bruin Not Reported in P.3d, 2016 WL 1019213 (N.M. Ct. App., 2016) In this case, plaintiff appealed a decision by the district court denying her petition for a writ of mandamus. Plaintiff petitioned the court for a writ of mandamus to stop the City of Albuquerque's effort to control a large population of feral cats in its metropolitan area by “trapping, neutering them, and then returning them” to the location at which they were found. The district court denied the petition for a writ of mandamus because the court held that there was “a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law.” Also, the court held that because the city’s program did not result in any unconstitutional action, the writ of mandamus was not appropriate. The court affirmed the district court’s ruling, looking only at whether or not there was “a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law.” The court did not address the issue of whether or not the city’s population control effort was appropriate and should continue. The district court's order denying Petitioner's application for a writ of mandamus is affirmed.
Smith v. Com. Not Reported in S.E.2d, 2013 WL 321896 (Va.App.,2013)

The defendant was charged for violation of Virginia’s Code § 3.2–6570(F) after he shot the family dog; he was later convicted by a jury.  Upon appeal, the defendant argued the trial court erred in denying his proffered self-defense jury instructions. The appeals court agreed, reasoning that more than a scintilla of evidence supported giving the proffered self-defense instructions, that determining whether this evidence was credible and actually supported a conclusion that the defendant acted in self-defense or defense of others was the responsibility of the jury, not that of the trial court, and that the proffered jury instructions properly stated the law. The case was thus reversed and remanded.

Lindsey v. Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners Not Reported in S.W. Rptr., 2018 WL 1976577 (Tex. App., 2018) In 2015, Kristen Lindsey, who is a licensed veterinarian, killed a cat on her property by shooting it through the head with a bow and arrow. Lindsey had seen the cat fighting with her cat and defecating in her horse feeders and believed the cat to be a feral cat. However, there was evidence that the cat actually belonged to the neighbor and was a pet. Lindsey posted a photo of herself holding up the dead cat by the arrow. The photo was shared repeatedly and the story ended up reported on several news outlets. The Board received more than 700 formal complaints and more than 2,700 emails about the incident. In 2016 the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (the Board) initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lindsey seeking to revoke her license and alleging violations of the Veterinary Licensing Act and Administrative Rules. While the proceeding was pending, Lindsey filed a petition for declaratory judgment and equitable relief in the trial court. The grand jury declined to indict her for animal cruelty. Due to this, Lindsey asserted that the Board lacked the authority to discipline her because she had not been convicted of animal cruelty and her act did not involve the practice of veterinary medicine. The administrative law judges in the administrative-licensing proceeding issued a proposal for decision and findings of fact and conclusions of law which the Board adopted and issued a final order suspending Lindsey's license for five years (with four years probated). Lindsey then filed a petition for judicial review in trial court after the Board denied her motion for a rehearing. The trial court affirmed the Board's final order. This case involves two appeals that arise from the disciplinary proceeding filed against Lindsey by the Board. Lindsey appeals the first case (03-16-00549-CV) from the trial court denying her motion for summary judgment and granting the Board's motion for summary judgment and dismissing her suit challenging the Board's authority to bring its disciplinary action. In the second case (17-005130-CV), Lindsey appeals from the trial court affirming the Board's final decision in the disciplinary proceeding. Even though Lindsey was not convicted of animal cruelty, the Court of Appeals held that the Board possessed the authority to determine that the offense of animal cruelty was sufficiently connected to the practice of veterinary medicine. Lindsey also did not have effective consent from the neighbor to kill the cat. The Board had sufficient evidence that Lindsey tied her profession to the shooting of the cat through the caption that she put on the photo that was posted on social media. The Court of Appeals ultimately overruled Lindsey's challenges to the Board's authority to seek disciplinary action against her veterinary license in both appeals as well as her challenges regarding the findings of fact and conclusions by the administrative law judges. The Court affirmed the judgment in both causes of action.
Maldonado v. Franklin Not Reported in S.W. Rptr., 2019 WL 4739438 (Tex. App. Sept. 30, 2019) Trenton and Karina Franklin moved into a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas in September of 2017. Margarita Maldonado lived in the home immediately behind the Franklins’ house and could see into the Franklins’ backyard. Maldonado began complaining about the Franklins’ treatment of their dog. The Franklins left the dog outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter what the weather was like. Maldonado also complained that the dog repeatedly whined and howled which kept her up at night causing her emotional distress. Maldonado went online expressing concern about the health and welfare of her neighbor’s dog, without naming any names. Mr. Franklin at some point saw the post and entered the conversation which lead to Mr. Franklin and Maldonado exchanging direct messages about the dog. Maldonado even placed a dog bed in the backyard for the dog as a gift. In December of 2017, the Franklins filed suit against Maldonado for invasion of privacy by intrusion and seclusion alleging that Maldonado was engaged in a campaign of systemic harassment over the alleged mistreatment of their dog. While the suit was pending, Maldonado contacted Animal Control Services several times to report that the dog was outside with the heat index over 100 degrees. Each time an animal control officer responded to the call they found no actionable neglect or abuse. In June of 2018, Maldonado picketed for five days by walking along the neighborhood sidewalks, including in front of the Franklins’ house, carrying signs such as “Bring the dog in,” and “If you’re hot, they’re hot.” The Franklins then amended their petition adding claims for slander, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. The trial court granted a temporary injunction against Maldonado, which was ultimately vacated on appeal. Maldonado filed a Anti-SLAPP motion and amended motion to dismiss the Franklins’ claims as targeting her First Amendment rights. The trial court did not rule on the motions within thirty days, so the motions were denied by operation of law. Maldonado appealed. The Court began its analysis by determining whether Maldonado’s motions were timely. Under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA) a motion to dismiss must be filed within sixty days of the legal action. The sixty-day deadline reset each time new factual allegations were alleged. Due to the fact that the Franklins had amended their petition three times and some of the amended petitions did not allege any new factual allegations, the only timely motions that Maldonado filed were for the Franklins’ claims for slander and libel. The Court then concluded that Maldonado’s verbal complaints to the Animal Control Service and online posts on community forums about the Franklins’ alleged mistreatment of their dog were communications made in connection with an issue related to a matter of public concern and were made in the exercise of free speech. Therefore, the TCPA applied to the Franklins’ slander and libel claims. The Court ultimately concluded that although Maldonado established that the TCPA applied to the slander and libel claims, the Franklins met their burden to establish a prima facie case on the slander and libel claims. Therefore, the Court ultimately concluded that Maldonado’s motion to dismiss the slander and libel claims were properly denied. The Court affirmed the trial court’s order and remanded the case to the trial court.
McAdams v. Faulk (unpublished) Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2002 WL 700956 (Ark.App.)

Dog owner brought dog to veterinarian’s office where someone choked the dog, causing injuries that led to its death. The Court of Appeals held that the owner stated a veterinary malpractice claim against veterinarian because owner alleged that dog was choked while in veterinarian's care, that veterinarian failed to diagnose neck injury that proved fatal, performed unnecessary treatment out of greed, and refused to provide owner with medical explanation of dog's condition and death, all in violation of the veterinary licensing statute. The Court also held that violating the cruelty to animals statute was evidence of negligence, and that damages included economic loss, compensation for mental anguish, including future anguish. and punitive damages.

City of Houston v. Levingston Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 241127 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.))

A city veterinarian who worked for the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) brought an action against the city, arguing that he was wrongfully terminated under the Whistleblower’s Act. The vet contended that he reported several instances of abuses by BARC employees to the division manager. In upholding the trial court’s decision to award Levingston over $600,000 in damages, the appellate court ruled the evidence was sufficient to support a finding that the veterinarian was terminated due to his report . Contrary to the city’s assertion, the court held that BARC was an appropriate law enforcement authority under the Act to report violations of section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code committed by BARC employees. Opinion Withdrawn and Superseded on Rehearing by City of Houston v. Levingston , 221 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App., 2006).

McElroy v. Carter Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 2805141 (Tenn.Ct.App.)

In this Tennessee case, a man shot and wounded a cat owned by his neighbor as the animal exited from the bed of the man's prized pickup truck. The cat died from its wounds shortly thereafter. The neighbor sued for the veterinary bills she incurred for treatment of the cat's injuries. The truck owner counter-sued for the damage the cat allegedly caused to his truck by scratching the paint. After a bench trial, the court awarded the truck's owner $6,500 in damages, which it offset by a $372 award to the neighbor for her veterinary bills. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision finding that as a matter of law the cat's owner cannot be held liable for not keeping her cat confined when the damage the cat allegedly caused was not foreseeable.

Loban v. City of Grapevine Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2009 WL 5183802 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth,2009)

In this unpublished Texas case, Appellant Jason Loban appeals the trial court's judgment awarding appellee City of Grapevine $10,670.20 in damages. In 2006, Appellant's dogs were declared "dangerous" under the City's municipal ordinance. On appeal, Appellant argued that the trial court's award of $10,670.20 in damages to the City should be reversed because the City did not plead for monetary relief, the issue was not tried by consent, and there was no evidence to support the award. This Court agreed. In finding the monetary judgment void, the Court observed that the City did not put any request for a monetary award in its pleadings and there was no evidence in the record of the amount of the fine.

“ASOCIACIÓN DE FUNCIONARIOS Y ABOGADOS POR LOS DERECHOS DE LOS ANIMALES Y OTROS C/ GCBA S/ AMPARO” Orangutana Sandra-Sentencia de Cámara- Sala I del Fuero Contencioso Administrativo y Tributario CABA Courtroom I of the Chamber of Appeals in Contentious Administrative and Tax Matters of the City of Buenos Aires ruled that the technical reports presented by the experts for the improvement of the orangutan Sandra’s living conditions showed enough evidence to conclude that it was not in the best interest of the orangutan to transfer her to a sanctuary or to transfer her to her natural habitat. Thus, the court accepted and ordered a series of measures in order to guarantee her welfare conditions.
Orangutana, Sandra s/ Habeas Corpus Orangutana, Sandra s/ Habeas Corpus This decision was decided on an appeal of the writ of habeas corpus brought on behalf of an orangutan named Sandra after it was denied in its first instance. Pablo Buompadre, President of the Association of Officials and Attorneys for the Rights of Animals (AFADA) brought a writ of habeas corpus against the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and the City Zoological Garden of Buenos Aires on behalf of the hybrid of two different orangutan species, Sandra. AFADA sought the immediate release and relocation of Sandra to the primate sanctuary of Sorocaba, in the State of Sao Paulo in Brazil. AFADA argued that Sandra had been deprived illegitimately and arbitrarily of her freedom by the authorities of the zoo, and that her mental and physical health was at the time deeply deteriorated, with imminent risk of death. For the first time, basic legal rights were granted to an animal. In this case, Argentina’s Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation ruled that animals are holders of basic rights. The Court stated that “from a dynamic and non-static legal interpretation, it is necessary to recognize [Sandra] an orangutan as a subject of rights, as non-human subjects (animals) are holders of rights, so it imposes her protection."
R v. Menard R v. Menard 1978 CarswellQue 25 The accused in R v. Menard had a business euthanizing animals by use of motor exhaust which caused pain and burns to the mucous membranes of the animals he was euthanizing. In a decision written by future Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice, Lamer J. overturned a decision from the lower courts and reinstated the original conviction. Lamer J. statements about the animal-human relationship have been influential in Canadian Animal case law.
R v D.L. R. v. D.L., 1999 ABPC 41 In R v D.L. (1999 ABPC 41) the phrase “wilfully and without lawful excuse” found in s.446 was at issue. In this case, two individuals were charged under s. 445(a) s.446 (1)(a) for killing a cat after the cats’ owner told them to “get rid of it” which they took to mean kill it. The judge in this case found that having permission to kill an animal was not a sufficient “lawful excuse” and did not lawfully give the authority to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal. The accused was found not guilty on count 1 and guilty on count 2.
R v. Shand R. v. Shand, 2007 ONCJ 317 In R v Shand 2007 ONCJ 317 (CanLII), the court examined the necessary elements required to established the “willful” mens rea component present in Canadian Federal Criminal Statute s. 429. The accused was charged with three counts of animal cruelty contrary to s.446 of the Criminal Code in relation to a dog in her care. The court found that on two of the counts that the accused was had acted "wilfully" because she was either "reckless or indifferent as to her dog's condition."
Republic v. Teischer Republica v. Teischer, 1 Dall. 335 (Penn. 1788)

The Defendant had been convicted in the county of Berks upon an indictment for maliciously, wilfully, and wickedly killing a Horse; and upon a motion in arrest of Judgment, it came on to be argued, whether the offence, so laid, was indictable? The court affirmed the trial court's conviction of defendant for killing a horse.

Council of the State, Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012 Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012 Appeal, brought by the Plaintiff, who sought compensation for negligence on the part of the municipality of Anserma for the wrongful death of her husband, who died in the corrals of the slaughterhouse of Anserma when a bull charged him, causing him to fall and hit his head. The Plaintiff alleged that the slaughterhouse facilities were in poor condition, which was the cause of her husband’s death. If the facilities have been in good condition, he would not have had the accident. The court analyzed whether the damage was a result of the municipality's negligence as it did not maintained the facilities in a safe condition, or, if alternatively, it was an unfortunate accident not imputable to the Defendant. The court concluded that the Plaintiff did not present enough evidence to prove that the conditions of the facilities were the cause of the death of her husband. The court also found that the municipality was not in charge of the cattle in the slaughterhouse. Therefore, the damages were not imputable to the municipality. Furthermore, the court found the deceased was not an employee of the municipality, he was an independent employee that was hired by the slaughterhouse workers to assist them during the slaughter of cattle. The Court affirms the decision of the lower court and declares an exception of unconstitutionality of the expression “and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” of the Article 2354 of the Civil Code In its reasoning, the court determined that the accident was a result of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk on the part of the deceased, and not a result of the behavior of the animal. The court addressed Article 2354 of the Civil Code, that established that the caretaker of a fierce animal that does not report any benefit for the owner will be responsible for the damages the animal may cause, but if he alleges that if the damages were unavoidable, he will not be heard. The court declared unconstitutional the line “ and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” The court stated that it was inappropriate to address this scenario that involves responsibility derived from the behavior of animals under the parameters in the Civil Code that treated animals as goods. As today, it was of common acceptance that animals are sentient beings. Animals just as disabled people and other beings had dignity in themselves. They have a vital purpose, so much that they can enter a direct and permanent relationship with humans. The court continues to say that without this idea, the notion of legal capacity and the recognition of fundamental rights for legal persons could not exist. Animals should not be compared to objects or things, as they have dignity. The court recognized that animals and other living beings have their own value, and that even if it is acceptable that they are used for the human’s own benefit, it does not prevent us from recognizing that they are living beings, endowed with own value, and therefore subject to some rights.
Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041 is one of the most important court decisions on bullfighting. On this occasion, the court held unconstitutional Article 5 of Ley 1774 of 2016 that referred to the Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection. Article 7 contains the seven activities that involve animals for entertainment that are exempted from the duty of animal protection. The practices permitted correspond to rejoneo, coleo, bullfighting, novilladas, corralejas, becerradas and tientas (all variations of bullfighting), cockfighting and all the related practices. Even though the court held that the legislature had fallen into a lack of constitutional protection towards animals, and stated that bullfighting was cruel and inhumane, it deferred the effects of its sentence and gave Congress a two-year period to decide whether bullfighting and the other exception established in Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection will continue to be legally allowed. If after this period, the Congress has not legislated on the matter, decision C-041, 2017 will take full effect and bullfighting along with all the practices established in Article 7 will be considered illegal.
Sentencia C-283, 2014 Sentencia C-283/14 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Articles 1º, 2º and 3º of Ley 1638, 2013 that prohibit the use of native and exotic wild animals in circuses. Plaintiffs argued that these Articles violated numerous provisions of the Constitution, including the right to work, right to choose a profession, rights to culture and recreation, and a violation to the freedom private initiative of the owners of the circuses. In decision C-283, the court held that Congress has the power to prohibit certain cultural manifestations that involve animal cruelty. The Court stated that “culture needs to be permanently reevaluated so it can adapt to human evolution, to guarantee of rights and the fulfillment of duties. Especially when the purpose is to eliminate the traces of a marginalized society that has excluded certain individuals and collectives.” The court also stated that the duty to protect animals is not absolute, as its application can be limited by values, principles and constitutional norms in specific cases that are contradictory to the principales. The judge must analyze each case under a reasonableness test, in a way that cultural manifestations can work harmoniously with the rights, principles, and duties established in the legal system. The Court held Article 1 of Ley 1638, 2013 constitutional, and refrains from deciding on the constitutionality of Articles 2 and 3, for lack of evidence to render a decision.
Sentencia C-439, 2011 Sentencia C-439, 2011 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Article 87 of Ley 769, 2002 (Trafic Code), relating the transportation of animals on vehicles of public transportation. Article 87 of Ley 769, established that only guide dogs could travel in this type of transportation when accompanying a blind person. The Plaintiff argued that this Article, which prohibited the transportation of animals on vehicles like buses and taxis, violated the right to equality, rights to personal and family privacy, right to free development of personality, freedom of locomotion, and private property. The court concluded that there was a violation to the right to free development of personality, freedom to locomotion, and to private property of the owners of domestic animals. The court added domestic animals as an exception to article 87, of Ley 769, meaning that this prohibition still remains for specimens of the wild fauna. Domestic animals now can travel on vehicles of public transportation, so long they are transported in conditions of health, safety, comfort and tranquility according to the applicable rules. The court also considered that a pertinent regulation was necessary to establish the requirements to transport animals on public vehicles.
Sentencia C-666, 2010 Sentencia C-666/10 The Constitutional Court decided on an unconstitutionality claim against Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection Ley 84 of 1989 that corresponds to the exceptions to the duty of animal protection. This decision established the conditions that must be met for the exceptions of Article 7 to apply. Put in different words, through Decision C-666, the court limits the scope of the legality of bullfighting, establishing certain requirements. In its holding, the Court stated that the seven practices in Article 7 would not violate the Constitution, so long as they were done within the following parameters: (1) As long as it is understood that these animals should, in all cases, obtain special protection against suffering and pain during the execution of these activities. This exception allows the continuation of cultural expressions and entertainment with animals, so long as exceptionally cruel acts against these animals are eliminated, or lessened in the future in a process of adaptation between cultural expressions and duties of protection to animals; (2) These practices can only take place in municipalities and districts in which the practices are themselves a manifestation of a regular, periodic and uninterrupted tradition, and therefore their execution responds to a certain regularity; (3) These practices can only take place during occasions in which they have commonly taken place and in the municipalities and districts where they are authorized; (4) These are the only practices that are authorized to be part of the exception in Article 7 to the constitutional duty to protect animals; and (5) Municipal authorities cannot economically support the construction of installations for the exclusive execution of the activities listed in Article 7 with public funds.
Sentencia C-889, 2012 Sentencia C-889/12 Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality.
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights.
Sentencia T-095, 2016 Sentencia T-095/16 In this decision, the court drew a line between the concept of animal welfare and the concept of animal rights. The court continues to see animal protection from a moral perspective when it states animals do not necessarily have rights, even though they should be treated with respect and should not be abused. The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary, created for the sole purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against ‘la Personería Local of Fontibón’, the local Mayor’s office of Fontibon, the District Secretary of Health, the Zoonosis Center and the Distril Secretary of the environment of Bogota. The Plaintiff argued that these governmental entities had violated his fundamental right to petition and the right to animal welfare of twenty five dogs, when the authorities ordered the confiscation the canines that were located in the District Ecological Park of the Wetland of Capellanía and who were cared for by volunteers. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants did not respond to his request to provide funds to build a shelter and provide food and veterinary assistance of the dogs or funds to relocate them. The Plaintiff sought a response from governmental authorities on the petition and to provide the funds to save the animals, thereby avoiding the Zoonosis Center to assume their care, who would euthanize the sick animals that were not adopted after five days of being up for adoption. The lower court denied the protection of the fundamental right to petition, as it found that the authorities responded to the petition of the Plaintiff in a clear and timely matter by denying the request to fund the Plaintiff to relocate the dogs or build a shelter for them. In regards to the right to animal welfare, the lower court considered it was a legal rather than a constitutional issue, therefore the action of ‘tutela’ was not the appropriate mechanism as its purpose is to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. The court held that there was a constitutional duty of animal protection that derives from the duty to protect the environment. However, this duty to guarantee the well-being of animals as sentient beings is not absolute and may be subject to exceptions. The court determines that the mandate to protect the environment, which includes sentient beings, does not translate into a right to animal welfare, and for that reason such duty is not enforceable through an action of tutela. The duty to protect animals presumes an obligation to care and prohibits maltreatment and cruelty against animals, unless these actions come from one of the limits stipulated in the constitution. The court affirmed the lower court decision to deny the protection to the right to petition and declared the inadmissibility of the action of tutela for the protection of animal welfare.
Sentencia T-608, 2011 Sentencia T-608/11 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) acting as the legal guardian of her husband, who had spastic quadriplegia and mixed aphasia as a result of a severe cranioencephalic trauma, against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’. The Plaintiff argued that Corpocaldas had violated the rights to health and dignified life of her husband when the Defendant confiscated a parrot that was part of the Plaintiff’s rehabilitation treatment. The Plaintiff sought immediate restitution of the parrot by the Defendant. The court affirmed the decision of the lower court to deny the Plaintiff’s petition. The court determined that the confiscation of the parrot by Corpocaldas was reasonable and according to the law, therefore there was not a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff. The court stated that as wild animals belong to the nation and they can only be reduced to property when the are obtained through legal hunting or from legal breeders. In this particular case, the Plaintiff obtained the parrot as a present from her cousin, and she did not present evidence of title. The court concluded that the bird belonged to the nation, and therefore the environmental authority had acted in accordance to its duties. The court stated that even though there was a narrow relationship between the rights to health and life with the right to environment, the protection of the environment did not only aim to the protection of humans. The court indicated that the environment should be protected whether or not it offered a benefit to the human species. The rest of the beings that are part of the environment are dignified beings that are not at the absolute and unlimited disposition of the human beings. Humans are just another element of nature, and not a superior entity that has the environment at their disposition. Therefore, the use of natural resources should not cause damage or deterioration that could threaten diversity and environmental integrity, the court stated in its reasoning.
Sentencia T-622, 2016 Sentencia T-622/16

This is not a judicial decision that touches on animal welfare issues. However, it is important to mention as the Constitutional Court granted for the first time the status of legal person to a river. The Plaintiff, ‘Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social “Tierra Digna”’ brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) in representation of various community councils of the Atrato region in the Colombian Pacific against the Presidency of the Republic and others. The basin of the Atrato river covers and area of about 40,000 KM2 (15,444.086 sq mi) It is considered one of the highest water yields in the world. There are many ethnic communities that live in the adjoined municipalities that include Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous communities and mixed communities that obtain their sustenance from activities such as artisanal mining, agriculture, hunting and fishing by this river. The water of the river is also used for direct consumption. The Plaintiff alleged that the contamination of the river is a threat to the health of the communities that use the river as a source of work, recreation and to obtain food. The Plaintiffs sought that the court stop the large-scale and permanent use of illegal extraction methods of minerals such as gold and platinum. Additionally, logging that includes the use of heavy machinery and highly toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide as well as other toxic chemicals used in mining of the Atrato river. They argued that the illegal mining in the Atrato river was resulting in harmful and irreversible consequences on the environment, affecting the fundamental rights of ethnic communities that live in the area and the natural balance of the territory. For these reasons, the Plaintiffs asked the court to declare protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities: life, health, water, food security, a healthy living environment, to culture and to the territory, by ordering the implementation of structural changes. The lower courts denied the action of ‘tutela’ in first and second instance, arguing that the Plaintiff sought the protection of collective rights, rather than fundamental rights. Therefore, this constitutional mechanism was not appropriate. After holding that the action of ‘tutela’ was the appropriate mechanism for the protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities, the court established in its ruling that the right to water was a fundamental right, as it is a necessary component to the right to a dignified life, and it is essential for many organisms that inhabit the planet to be able to survive. The use of mercury and other toxic substances in mining activities is prohibited, regardless the legality of the activity. In a new approach, the court held that the Atrato river is subject to rights that imply its protection, conservation and maintenance and instructs the national government to be the guardian and to exercise the river’s legal representation through the president or whichever he appointed, along with the ethnic communities that inhabit the basin of the river. Thus, it guarantees the Atrato river is represented by a member of these communities and a delegate of the Colombian government.

Sentencia T-760, 2007 Sentencia T-760/07 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’, arguing that ‘CORPOCALDAS’ had violated the fundamental rights to health, personal integrity, life and human integrity of the Plaintiff’s wife, who became severely depressed when the Defendant confiscated an amazonian parrot she kept as her pet. The Plaintiff argued that the parrot was the only company the Plaintiff’s wife had for over five years, and that the confiscation of their parrot, was a violation of the Plaintiff's wife's fundamental rights. Furthermore, the Plaintiff argued that his wife was 65 years old, had raised the parrot that was never abused or neglected and who was allowed to move freely as her wings were never trimmed. The Plaintiff sought the the return of the parrot by the environmental authority ‘CORPOCALDAS’ to his wife, as well as the granting of the parrot’s title to her. The Court was able to find that the Plaintiff’s wife’s health was indeed diminished after the confiscation of the bird and the she had to undergo treatment as a result of it. However, the court found that the Plaintiffs were unable to provide evidence tending to prove that they had acquired the animal in a legal manner, as no permit, hunting license, or evidence that the parrot was obtained from a legal breeder were provided. The court determined that CORPOCALDAS did not overstep its responsibilities, as it is its duty to protect the wild fauna of the nation. Touching on the issue of whether the the fundamental rights of the plaintiff had been violated, the court concluded there was not such violation, as the environmental authority’s action was legal, reasonable, necessary and legitimate, and the Plaintiff did not obtained the parrot in accordance with the requirements legally established. In this case, the collective right to a healthy environment prevailed over the personal interest of the Plaintiff. The Constitutional Court affirmed the judgment of the ‘Juzgado Segundo Laboral del Circuito de Manizales’.
State v. Jacobs Slip Copy (unpublished decision) 2015 WL 618098, 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4244 (Ct.App. 2015) The defendant, Michael Jacobs, was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and corrupting another minor with drugs, receiving a prison sentence of four years. The victim testified with a “companion dog” at her feet. Among other assignments of error, Jacobs argued that he was denied his right to a fair trial because of the presence of the companion dog during the victim’s testimony. The child was under 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, but 17 years old when she testified. The Ohio appellate court concluded that the use of a companion dog in such a case was a matter of first impression in the state, though other comfort items, such as teddy bears had previously been used in similar situations in Ohio courts. To the defense’s objection that the witness was no longer under 15 at the time of her testimony, the appellate court stated that the defense had “failed to offer any authority to support the proposition that there is a certain age cut-off for the use of special procedures on behalf of alleged sexual abuse victims.” The court concluded that Ohio Evidence Rule 611(A), which provides that a trial court is to exercise “reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses…” and to “protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment,” was sufficiently flexible to allow the use of the dog during the trial. Having overruled all of Jacobs' assignments of error, the court affirmed the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.
Tillett v. Bureau of Land Management Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1312014 (D. Mont. Apr. 4, 2016) In this case, plaintiff (proceeding pro se) filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) challenging its management of wild horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR). Plaintiff filed suit challenging BLM’s fertility control and gather programs. BLM argued that plaintiff’s claims should be denied as a matter of summary judgment. The court ultimately held that plaintiff failed to provide any “legal authority” or “jurisdictional basis” for the remedies in which she was seeking. The court held that BLM was within its own authority to rely on its own data and surveys of its programs and was under no obligation to review its programs based on plaintiff’s alleged observations. Finally, the court held in favor of BLM as a matter of summary judgment.
Grey v. Johansson Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1613804 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2016) This suit was filed after Grey and Johansson entered into a disagreement about who was the rightful owner of Johansson’s late wife’s horse, Navy. Grey was Johansson’s lawyer and was left responsible for caring for and handling all sales regarding her horses after her death. Grey filed suit for fraud and defamation against Johansson after he publicly referred to Grey as a “horse stealer.” Ultimately, the court held that Grey did not produce enough to evidence to establish a case for either fraud or defamation against Johanasson. Although Johanasson did call Grey a “horse stealer,” the court found that this comment was protected by judicial privilege.
State v. Reyes Slip Copy (unpublished) 2016 WL 3090904 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 24, 2016) Defendant, Jose Reyes, was convicted of one count of rape of a child and sentenced to thirty-two years at 100%. On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict and that the trial court erred in denying his motion in limine to prevent the Child Advocacy Center facility dog from being present with the victim as he was testifying. The appellate court reviewed prior relevant cases including Dye, Chenault, and Tohom, and stated that “we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting the use of the facility dog, Murch, during the trial.” The attempt to assign error to the procedure was determined to be “without merit.” Other defense arguments on appeal having been similarly rejected, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert Slip Copy 2017 WL 2912423 (D. Utah July 7, 2017) This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.

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