Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Plotnik v. Meihaus 146 Cal.Rptr.3d 585 (Cal. App. 3 Dist.)

A long history of bad neighborly relations resulted in the plaintiffs' dog sustaining injuries from being hit with a baseball; the injuries required surgery and post-operative care. While the plaintiffs brought many causes of actions against their neighbors, a father and his two sons, this case is significant in the realm of animal law because it held that a pet owner may recover for emotional distress under the trespass to personal property cause of action. The court, however, would not allow the plaintiffs to recover for their dog's injuries under the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because they would have recovered duplicative damages for the same transactional event.

Martinez v. Robledo 147 Cal.Rptr.3d 921 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)

These two consolidated California appeals address the measure of damages for the wrongful injury to a companion animal. Both respondents filed motions in limine concerning the issue of damages in the cases and, in both case, the trial court limited the measure of damages to the market value of the dogs. On appeal, the appellants argued that the measure of damages should go beyond market value to cover the reasonable costs of the pets' treatment. The appellate court found the recent case of Kimes v. Grosser (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1556 (decided after these appeals were filed) persuasive (where the court held that a plaintiff can recover reasonable and necessary costs where a pet is wrongfully injured). The court reasoned that otherwise, the injured animal's owner would bear the burden of all the costs of treatment, regardless of the wrongdoer's conduct. Moreover, this ruling reflects a basic principle of tort law - to make a plaintiff whole again - and accords with the different way animals, as property, are treated in the criminal arena. Thus, the court agreed with Kimes that allowing a pet owner to recover reasonable and necessary costs related to the treatment of an animal wrongfully injured is an appropriate measure of damages.

Scharer v. San Luis Rey Equine Hosp., Inc. 147 Cal.Rptr.3d 921 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Horse owner sued veterinarians and equine hospital for professional malpractice after horse was euthanized less than two months after surgery to remove horse’s ovaries. The Superior Court granted summary judgment for defendants based on the one-year statute of limitations. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that equitable tolling did not apply because plaintiff was not prevented from pursuing her claim in a timely manner by the defendants or the court. A provision in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act extending the statute of limitations by 90 days did not apply absent a claim for personal injury or wrongful death to a person.

U.S. v. Thompson 147 F. 637 (D.C.N.D. 1906)

Act May 25, 1900, c. 553, Sec. 4, 31 Stat. 188, incorporated in former section 393 of Title 18, was limited in its application to animals or birds killed in violation of game laws, and animals or birds killed during the open season - "the export of which is not prohibited by law," according to the court.  The court held an indictment would not stand for a failure to mark a package containing game killed during the open season but the export of which was prohibited by the law of the state where the same was killed.

State v. Arnold 147 N.C. App. 670 (N.C. App. 2001)

Defendant appealed from a conviction of participating as a spectator at an exhibition featuring dog fighting alleging that the statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad and an invalid exercise of police power. The appellate court found the statute to be constitutional. Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charge for insufficient evidence, however the appellate court found that there is substantial evidence to support the conviction. 

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

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

State v. Marcellino 149 N.E.3d 927 (Ohio App. 11 Dist., 2019) Bianca Marcellino was charged and convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals after a search of her residence revealed two horses that were in need of emergency medical aid. Marcellino was ordered to pay restitution and she subsequently appealed. Marcellino argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the motion for a Franks hearing where there were affidavits demonstrating material false statements in the affidavit for the search warrant. The Court contended that the trial court did not err in failing to hold a Franks hearing because even if the Court sets aside the alleged false statements in the affidavit, there remained an overwhelming amount of sufficient statements to support a finding of probable cause. The Court also held that trial courts have the authority to order restitution only to the actual victims of an offense or survivors of the victim, therefore, the award of restitution to the humane society was not valid because humane societies are a governmental entity and cannot be victims of abuse. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the municipal court and reversed and vacated the order of restitution.
Cat Champion Corp. v. Jean Marie Primrose 149 P.3d 1276 (Or. Ct. App. 2006)

A woman had 11 cats which were in a state of neglect and were taken away from her and put with a cat protection agency. Criminal charges were dropped against the woman when it was found she was mentally ill and incapable of taking care of herself or her cats. The court found it could grant the cat protection agency ownership over the cats so they could be put up for adoption, even though the woman had not been criminal charged, and had not forfeited her cats.

Broadway, &c., Stage Company v. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 15 Abbott 51 (1873)

 Part I is the initial civil case which was brought by the commercial powers of New York to stop Bergh from enforcing the criminal anti-cruelty law. The judge suggests the scope of the law and what Bergh must do to utilize the law. Part II is a second case brought several months latter when the corporate legal guns again try to get Bergh. This time for violating the judges prior opinion. Part III is the claim of one of the stage operators who Bergh personally asserted for overworking a horse. The claim against Bergh is for false arrest. The Judge holds against  the stage driver, freeing Bergh. Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty

Drake v. Dean 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1993)

Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway.  She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability.  The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence.  Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.

People v. Williams 15 Cal. App. 5th 111 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017), reh'g denied (Sept. 20, 2017) In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Whitson 151 N.E.3d 455 (2020) This case involves an appeal of an animal cruelty conviction after defendant repeatedly stabbed a dog named Smokey, a three-year old pit bull. The incident in question occurred on a street outside of defendant's barber shop. Smokey was on-leash walking with his owner when an unleashed smaller dog ran at Smokey and began biting his ankles. Smokey responded playfully, not aggressively. The defendant responded to calls of assistance from the smaller dog's owner and helped separate the dogs. After this, the defendant returned briefly to his barbershop and came back with a knife that he used to repeatedly stab Smokey with while he restrained the dog with his other arm. The police eventually responded and defendant was taken to the hospital for a laceration on his hand where he yelled, "I'm glad I killed the [expletive] dog." Smokey survived the attack and defendant was charged and convicted. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments challenging the verdict. In particular, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that he stabbed Smokey repeatedly to release the dog from biting his hand. The appellate court found that no defense witnesses testified that Smokey bit defendant and the no medical records corroborated defendant's version of events. Defendant also argued that the judged erred in denying his motion in limine regarding Smokey prior and subsequent "bad acts," which, defendant claimed, were relevant to the issue of Smokey as the initial aggressor. This court found that the proffered evidence of bad acts was inadmissible hearsay and the acts subsequent to Smokey's stabbing occurred too remotely to have any probative value. Finally, the court found no substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the judge failed to give a sua sponte necessity defense. The judgment was affirmed.
Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos v. New York City Police Dept 152 A.D.3d 113, 55 N.Y.S.3d 31 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017) Kaporos is a customary Jewish ritual which entails grasping a live chicken and swinging the bird three times overhead while saying a prayer. Upon completion of the prayer, the chicken's throat is slit and its meat is donated. The practice takes place outdoors, on public streets in Brooklyn. The Plaintiffs include the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and individual Plaintiffs who reside, work or travel, within Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Defendants included City defendants such as the New York City Police Department and non-City defendants such as individual Orthodox Jewish rabbis. The Plaintiffs alleged that Kaporos is a health hazard and cruel to animals. Plaintiffs requested the remedy of mandamus to compel the City Defendants to enforce certain laws related to preserving public health and preventing animal cruelty. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York affirmed the Supreme Court's dismissal of the proceedings against the City defendants. The Court reasoned that none of the laws or regulations that the Plaintiffs relied on precluded the City Defendants from deciding whether or not to engage in Kaporos. Also, the Plaintiffs did not have a “clear legal right” to dictate which laws are enforced, how, or against whom. The Court stated that determining which laws and regulations might be properly enforced against the non-City defendants without infringing upon their free exercise of religion could not be dictated by the court through mandamus.
Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. ex rel. Tommy v. Lavery 152 A.D.3d 73, 54 N.Y.S.3d 392 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017) The Petitioners, including the Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc . filed two petitions for habeas corpus relief on behalf of Tommy and Kiko, two adult male chimpanzees. The petitions stated that chimpanzees are intelligent, have the ability to be trained by humans to be obedient to rules, and to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities. Therefore, chimpanzees should be afforded some of the same fundamental rights as humans which include entitlement to habeas relief. The Respondents, included Tommy’s owners, Circle L Trailer Sales, Inc. and its officers, as well as Kiko’s owners, the Primate Sanctuary, Inc. and its officers and directors. The Supreme Court, New York County, declined to extend habeas corpus relief to the chimpanzees. The Petitioners appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division affirmed and held that:(1) the petitions were successive habeas proceedings which were not warranted or supported by any changed circumstances; (2) human-like characteristics of chimpanzees did not render them “persons” for purposes of habeas corpus relief; and (3) even if habeas relief was potentially available to chimpanzees, writ of habeas corpus did not lie on behalf of two chimpanzees at issue.
Crossroads Apartments Associates v. LeBoo 152 Misc.2d 830 (N.Y. 1991) Landlord brought an eviction proceeding against tenant with a history of mental illness for possession of a cat in his rental unit in violation of a no pets policy. Tenant alleged that he needed the cat to alleviate his "intense feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, which are daily manifestations of his mental illness." The court held that in order to prove that the pet is necessary for the tenant to use and enjoy the dwelling, he must prove "that he has an emotional and psychological dependence on the cat which requires him to keep the cat in the apartment." The court denied the housing authority's motion for summary judgment, stating that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the cat was necessary for the tenant to use and enjoy the dwelling.
Moreland v. Adams 152 P.3d 558 (Idaho, 2007)

A motorcyclist died when he ran into a calf on the road. His family sued for wrongful death. The court held that the owner of the calf was not liable because of open range immunity.

ALDF v. Glickman 154 F.3d 426 (1998)

Animal welfare group and individual plaintiffs brought action against, inter alia, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), challenging its regulations concerning treatment of nonhuman primates on grounds that they violated USDA's statutory mandate under Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

People v. Richardson 155 A.D.3d 1595, 66 N.Y.S.3d 757 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017), leave to appeal denied, 30 N.Y.3d 1119 (2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals from a three-county felony animal fighting conviction. Defendant's dog fighting activities came to light when police were dispatched to defendant's residence after defendant's wife reported a burglary in progress. Upon entry by consent, police found, in plain view, a wounded dog in a cage, several modified treadmills for use by dogs, blood on a water heater, and apparent dogfighting paraphernalia. After seeking a search warrant, the items were photographed and other evidence (supplements, training sticks, etc.) was collected. On appeal, the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress all of the physical evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree. The court noted that the dogfighting paraphernalia were observed in plain view by responding policy officers. Additionally, police officers remaining at the house after the protective sweep to prevent the destruction of evidence while the search warrant was issued did not render the search unlawful. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant intended to engage in dogfighting and that the dogs were deprived of medical treatment. In addition to the paraphernalia and collection of literature on dogfighting, defendant's dogs had extensive scarring and healing consistent with dogfighting and inconsistent with defendant's proffered "cat-scratch" and "broken window" explanations. Defendant's convictions and judgment of sentence were affirmed.
Thacker ex rel. Thacker v. Kroger Co. 155 Fed.Appx. 946 (C.A.8 (Mo.),2005)

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed district court decision that Thacker family failed to link an injury to ground beef on which the USDA requested a recall.

Perkins v. Hattery 155 N.E.2d 73 (Ohio App. 1958)

This Ohio case examined the propriety of a county dog warden killing a dog that had killed a sheep nine hours before such seizure.  The Court of Appeals held that dog warden was not authorized to destroy or otherwise dispose of a duly licensed dog found and seized by such warden upon the premises of its owner following a complaint made to the warden by the owner of sheep that the dog had killed certain of his sheep approximately nine hours before such seizure.

Brookover v. Roberts Enterprises, Inc. 156 P.3d 1157 (Ariz.App. Div. 1,2007)

Plaintiffs-appellants Brookovers appeal the trial court's decision granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Roberts Enterprises, Inc.. The Brookovers claimed that Roberts was negligent in allowing its cow to enter the highway where it collided with the Brookovers' automobile. They contend that they presented evidence that defendants were aware of the risk of significant numbers of collisions between cattle and automobiles when cows were allowed to graze in the vicinity of a paved highway. Here, however, the court stated that the record indicates that the accident involving the Brookovers was the first reported cattle-automobile accident to occur on the Salome Highway through the Clem Allotment since Roberts began to lease the premises. Further, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling on the inapplicability of res ipsa loquitur based on the Brookovers' inability to establish that the accident is of a type that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.

Central Park Sightseeing LLC v. New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets, Inc. 157 A.D.3d 28, 66 N.Y.S.3d 477 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017) This New York cases balances animal right protestors' First Amendment rights against the government's interest in preserving public safety and flow of traffic on public streets. Plaintiff here is a business that operates horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park. Defendant is an animal rights organization that protests the horse-and-carriage industry, often demonstrating where carriage operators drop off and pick up customers. At issue, is the manner in which defendants conduct their protests in the designated horse-drawn carriage zones. Plaintiff's claim defendants harass and threaten customers and drivers, and create a public safety issue by chasing after carriages. The court granted a preliminary injunction that enjoined defendants from things like physically blocking or impeding persons from riding or disembarking from carriages, physically touching associated persons or horses, yelling or shouting at persons or horses, obstructing the progress of a carriage ride, and handing literature to a person situated within a horse carriage. The court found the plaintiffs also established a likelihood of success on an action for public nuisance and a showing of a "special injury" aimed at plaintiff's business. Finding the injunction was content-neutral, this reviewing court then considered whether the challenged portions of the injunction burden speech no more than is necessary to assert the significant government interest. The court agreed with defendant that the "floating buffer zone" of the original order would be difficult for a protestor to assess and would burden speech more than is necessary. Thus, this court modified the order to prohibit any person from knowingly approaching within nine feet of a person in the loading/unloading carriage zone (a “conversational distance," said the court). The court also noted that the First Amendment does not require that protestors be allowed to interrupt the flow of traffic or endanger the public in the delivery of speech. The court also limited language in the original order that extended the reach of the injunction to “anyone else who becomes aware of this [d]ecision and [o]rder.” The court changed to this to defendants and “those acting in concert with the named parties” The order from the Supreme Court, New York County was modified as specified in this decision.
Brandon v. Village of Maywood 157 F. Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001)

Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.

Moreno v. Hughes 157 F.Supp.3d 687 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2016) This § 1983 action arises from the shooting of Plaintiffs' dog by Defendant Ronald Hughes, a Michigan Department of Corrections Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator. Defendant shot Plaintiffs' dog after entering her house by mistake to execute a fugitive warrant. This proceeding concerns a Motion in Limine filed by defendant seeking an order that plaintiffs are not entitled to noneconomic losses for the pain and suffering they sustained as a result of Defendant shooting their dog. Defendant contends that damage to personal property (including dogs) is limited to market value only. In rejecting Defendant's argument, this court found that it is "beyond dispute" that compensatory damages under § 1983 may include noneconomic injuries. A Plaintiff's interests in § 1983 actions contain different policy considerations than in traditional negligence claims. In fact, the court stated that, "[p]rohibiting recovery for emotional damages stemming from the loss of, or harm to, an animal caused by a constitutional violation would conflict with the compensatory and deterrence aims of § 1983." Additionally, applying Michigan law on the issue of emotional damages for injury to an animal would create inconsistency in civil rights actions since other states allow such damages. The court found that the determination of both compensatory and punitive damages must be left to the fact finder for each case, including this one. Defendant's Motion in Limine was denied.
Clyncke v. Waneka 157 P.3d 1072 (Colo. 2007)

In this Colorado case, an inexperienced horse rider who was injured in fall from horse during a horse roundup, brought an action under the Colorado Equine Activities Statute against the owners of riding stable. The lower court, after a jury trial, entered a judgment for the stable owners. On appeal at the Supreme Court, the Court found that the Equine Statute places a two-pronged duty on sponsors; a sponsor is liable when he or she fails to make reasonable efforts to determine either a participant's ability to engage in the equine activity or a participant's ability to manage a particular horse. Here, a new trial was in order because the result may have been different if court had properly instructed the jury regarding the exception from civil liability for the sponsor.

Tranchita v. Dep't of Nat. Res. 158 N.E.3d 1230 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Plaintiff Tomi Tranchita alleged that she cared for four abused and abandoned coyotes for 13 years. The coyotes were housed within a fully fenced-in backyard, ate appropriate food, and received medical care from a veterinarian. The Plaintiff possessed a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class C exhibitor’s license which imposed restrictions on the licensee such as unannounced annual inspections by a veterinarian or specially trained animal expert. Plaintiff alleged that she had never been cited for any USDA violations and had passed all inspections. Plaintiff also held an Illinois state permit as a fur-bearing mammal breeder from 2011 to 2016, however, this permit lapsed after Plaintiff failed to pay the annual fee. On April 24, 2019, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) executed a search warrant on Plaintiff’s premises. The coyotes were seized during this raid. Plaintiff was told that if she did not sign a relinquishment form that the coyotes would be euthanized or confined to a small space that would end up killing them. IDNR cited Plaintiff for lacking proper permits and for several criminal violations of the Wildlife code. Three of the four coyotes ended up dying from what was believed to be distemper. Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims under the fourth and fourteenth amendments. Plaintiff also filed an emergency motion for preliminary injunctive relief arguing that the coyote’s lives were at risk if they were not returned. Plaintiff alleged that she had a protected property interest in the coyotes pursuant to her federal exhibitor license. The trial court found that Plaintiff did not have a protected property interest in the coyotes because she did not possess the proper Illinois permit at the time of the seizure. The trial court subsequently denied her motion for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff then appealed. The Court looked to state law to determine whether Plaintiff had a property interest in the coyotes. Under the Illinois Wildlife Code, a fur-bearing mammal breeder permit is necessary in order to possess or raise a coyote. Plaintiff was in violation of Illinois law the moment her permit lapsed in 2016. This made the coyotes contraband since they were possessed in violation of Illinois’ Wildlife Code. No person is permitted to assert legal ownership or a right to possession of property that is contraband. Plaintiff argued that her federal exhibitor’s license recognized a right of property in her coyotes, however, the Court found that the mere possession of a federal exhibitor’s license does not automatically vest a property right in the permit holder. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgement of the trial court.
Brown by Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. 158 N.E.3d 401 (Ind. Ct. App. 2020), adhered to on reh'g sub nom. Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc., 162 N.E.3d 1121 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021) This case from Indiana explores whether an animal shelter had a duty to inform a dog adopter of a dog's vicious propensities. Plaintiffs (the Browns) appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. (“Southside”). The case stems from the adoption of a dog from defendant animal shelter. In 2014, the dog was surrendered by its owner to a neighboring animal shelter because it did not get along with another dog. The dog was then adopted to another party where it attacked the family's two-year-old boy, causing significant injuries. The dog was then surrendered to the county animal shelter, who recorded the bite incident upon intake of the dog. After the mandated quarantine, the dog was eventually transferred to defendant animal shelter who was informed of the bite according to deposition testimony. However, during an 8-day aggression observation, the dog showed no signs of aggression. In late 2015, plaintiffs adopted the dog with a release that stated the history of the dog was unknown and the shelter was released from all liability resulting from illness or actions by the dog. Less than a month later, the dog attacked the Brown's six-year-old daughter causing injuries to her face. In the trial court action by the Browns against Southside, the court granted the defendant's motion of summary judgment based on the adoption release and dismissed the case. In this instant appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals, the court focused on whether Southside owed a duty to the Browns to establish liability for the dog bite. The court found factual disputes remain as to whether Southside knew or should have known of the dog's past aggression and whether the knowledge from the volunteer who did intake for the dog imputed knowledge to the animal shelter. Additionally, the court indicated there was a question of fact whether Southside exercised reasonable care in evaluating the dog's behavioral history prior to adoption. Ultimately, the Court found that Southside had a duty to the Browns to inform them of the dog's past bite history, and factual issues relating to that duty preclude the granting of summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
People v. Miller 159 A.D.3d 1608 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree, petit larceny, and criminal contempt in the first degree. The incident occurred when defendant went back over to his girlfriend's house after he called her to ask permission to visit the dogs. The complainant declined, saying she had plans for an outing with the dogs that day. Witnesses later observed defendant banging on the complainant's door and subsequently opening a window and climbing in her residence. After forcing entry, defendant took the dogs and complainant called 911. Subsequently, defendant led police on a high speed chase, and, after being arrested, defendant claimed the dogs were licensed to him. The appellate court viewed all the evidence of the elements for each crime and rejected defendant's contention that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Thus, the judgment was affirmed. Notably, two judges dissented on this appeal, finding that defendant "had at least a good faith basis for claiming an ownership interest the dogs." The dissent found the dogs may have been jointly owned and that, prior to his arrest, "defendant simply intended to take the dogs for a walk and then return them."
Geer v. Connecticut 16 S.Ct. 600 (1896) (overruled by Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322)

Defendant was charged with the possession of game birds, for the purpose of transporting them beyond the state, which birds had been lawfully killed within the state.   The sole issue which the case presents is, was it lawful, under the constitution of the United States (section 8, art. 1) (the Commerce Clause), for the state of Connecticut to allow the killing of birds within the state during a designated open season, to allow such birds, when so killed, to be used, to be sold, and to be bought for use, within the state, and yet to forbid their transportation beyond the state?  The Court held that, aside from the authority of the state, derived from the common ownership of game, and the trust for the benefit of its people which the state exercises in relation thereto, there is another view of the power of the state in regard to the property in game, which is equally conclusive. The right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the state of a police power to that end, which may be none the less efficiently called into play, because, by doing so, interstate commerce may be remotely and indirectly affected.  This decision was later overruled in Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322.

Heiligmann v. Rose 16 S.W. 931 (Tex.,1891)

Appellees sued appellant for damages after he poisoned three of their dogs. The Court held that an owner has an action and remedy against a trespasser for damages resulting from injuries inflicted upon dogs because they are property. The Court elaborated on the true rule in determining the value of dogs, explaining that  It may be either a market value or some special or pecuniary value to the owner. The Court allowed actual damages.

Swido v. Lafayette Insurance Co. 16 So.2d 399 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2005)

In this Louisiana case, a prospective horse buyer filed an action against the prior sellers and their insurer to recover for injuries when she attempted to ride a horse offered for sale by the initial buyer. At the time of the injury, the horse was under the custody of the original sellers who were paid an additional amount to have the horse trained. The Court of Appeal held that sale of horse was perfected when the first buyer paid the sale price, even though the first buyer paid an additional amount for the sellers to finish training the horse. On the negligence issue, the court found the "green-broke" horse did not present an unreasonable risk of harm when the potential buyer attempted to ride it bareback as to assign strict liability to the prior sellers who had custody of the horse. 

State v. Jallow 16 Wash. App. 2d 625, 482 P.3d 959 (2021) Defendant Jallow appeals his conviction of two counts of animal cruelty in the first degree, arguing that (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict him of animal cruelty, (2) the to-convict instruction omitted the element of causation, thus relieving the State of its burden of proof, and (3) because animal cruelty is an alternative means crime, violation of the unanimous jury verdict requires reversal of one of the animal cruelty convictions. The cruelty convictions stemmed from events first occurring in late 2016. An animal control officer (Davis) received a report on sheep and goats at defendant's property that were in poor condition. On the officer's second documented visit, he observed a a lifeless sheep. On a subsequent visit, the officer took a sheep that a neighbor has wrapped in a blanket to a local veterinarian who scored it very low on a health scale and ultimately had to euthanize the animal. After a couple more visits to bring food and monitor the animals, and after no contact from Jallow despite requests, Davis returned with a search warrant to seize the animals. Jallow was charged with three counts of first degree cruelty to animals and one count of bail jumping. At trial, Jallow contended that he contracted with another person (Jabang) to care for the animals after he went on an extended trip in October of 2016. After hearing testimony from both Jallow and Jabang (hired to care for the animals), Jallow was ultimately convicted of first degree cruelty. On appeal, Jallow first argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that he was not criminally negligent because he arranged for someone else to care for the animals. However, the evidence showed that despite being aware that his caretaker was not providing sufficient care, Jallow continued to rely on him and did not take further action. The court noted that a reasonable person in this situation would have found an alternate caretaker. "Although Jallow himself was not neglecting to feed and water the animals, he was directly responsible for not ensuring that his animals were properly cared for. Because any rational trier of fact could have found that Jallow acted with criminal negligence, sufficient evidence supported his conviction." As to Jallow's contention that the jury instruction was incorrect, the appellate court agreed. The omission of the language "as a result causes" removed an essential element of the crime and did not allow Jallow to pursue his theory that it was his employee Jabang's intervening actions that caused the injury to the sheep. Finally, defendant argued on appeal that first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime and thus, the trial court committed instructional error when it did not give particularized expressions of jury unanimity on each alternative means for commission of the crime. Notably, at the prosecution's urging, the court ultimately held that the previous case that held first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime was wrongly decided. However, the two instructional errors necessitated reversal of Jallow's conviction here. Reversed.
State v. Acker 160 Conn. App. 734 (2015) Defendant, the director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut, Inc., was charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty for failing to give animals “proper care by exposing [them] to conditions that placed [them] at risk of hypothermia, dehydration, or to conditions injurious to [their] well-being....” Defendant was the director of a nonprofit animal rescue organization and housed rescued dogs in an uninsulated outdoor barn heated solely by space heaters. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of 15 counts and acquitted of the remaining 48 counts of animal cruelty. On appeal, the defendant claimed that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction and (2)C.G.S.A. § 53-247(a) was unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case. The appellate court rejected defendant’s claims and affirmed the trial court’s decision.
People v. Collier 160 N.E.3d 137 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
People v. Olary 160 N.W.2d 348 (Mich. 1968)

Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows.  The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals. 

Rohrer v. Humane Soc'y of Washington Cty. 163 A.3d 146 (Md., 2017) In this Maryland appeal, appellant Rohrer questions the authority of the Humane Society to act under CR § 10–615 (the law that allows an officer of a humane society to take possession of an animal from its owner). Rohrer also challenges the legal ownership of the animals in state custody. The seizure of Rohrer's animals began in 2014, when an anonymous tip led humane investigators to Rohrer's farm. Field officers and a local veterinarian observed cattle that were "extremely thin" on Rohrer's farm. These concerns led to a search warrant of appellant's property. Due to the presence of dead animal bodies intermingled with the living, high piles of animal feces, and goats with hooves so overgrown they could not walk, the Humane Society (HS) and Sheriff's office seized all the animals under the warrant. The actual "seizure" resulted in a transfer of some animals to foster farms and an agreement between HS and Rohrer to adequately care for remaining animals on the property. Rohrer was charged with 318 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, eventually being found guilty on only 5 counts and sentenced to supervised probation. During the initial proceedings, Rohrer filed a "petition for return of seized animals" under CR § 10–615(d)(2). When the District Court gave conclusions on the petition, it lamented on the "lack of guidance" in the statute and noted that that the "statute really doesn't say" whether Rohrer would lose ownership of the animals. After the criminal trial, Rohrer again sought return of the animals after negotiations with the HS failed. The Circuit Court upheld the District Court's denial of the Petition for Return, finding the ruling was not clearly erroneous and it was not in the best interests of the animals to return to Rohrer. On a writ of certiorari to this court, Rohrer raises three issues: (1) can the HS seize an animal already in state custody from a search warrant; (2) must the seizure by the HS be justified by the conditions at the time of seizure or may it be based on previously observed conditions; and (3) how does a denial of a petition to return the animals affect the owner's property rights in the animals? In looking at prior codifications of the law as well as surrounding legislative history, the court first held that a HS officer may notify the owner of animal seized by the state in connection with a criminal warrant of its intent to take possession of the animal upon its release from state custody. Secondly, a HS officer may rely on previously-observed conditions to justify seizure under Section 10-615. The court noted that, similar to a search warrant, the factors justifying seizure can become weaker with time. So, when an owner files a petition for return, the HS has the burden of showing the court the seizure was necessary under the statute. In Rohrer's case, this Court found the District and Circuit Courts did not reach the question of whether the necessity supporting HS' possession of the animals continued. Since the animals were released after the criminal trial concluded, this Court stated that the District Court may now consider this question. Finally, the Court weighed in on whether the denial of a Petition for Return affects ownership interests. This Court declined to adopt the standard of "best interests" of the animals. Instead, the Court found that the function of the Petition for Return is to determine who has the right to temporarily possess an animal in question and this does not vest ownership rights in the animal if the petition is denied. This case was remanded to Circuit Court so that court can determine whether the final disposition of the criminal case and subsequent release of the animals held under the search warrant affects the disposition of Rohrer's Petition for Return of this animals.
LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc. 163 So.2d 267 (Fla. 1964)

Respondent was a corporation engaged in the garbage collection business.  One of its employees maliciously hurled an empty garbage can at plaintiff's pet pedigreed dog, who was tethered at the time, killing it.  The issue before the court was the reconsideration not of  the issue of liability, but for determination only of compensatory and punitive damages.  The court stated that it was obvious from the facts that the act performed by the representative of the respondent was malicious and demonstrated an extreme indifference to the rights of the petitioner. Having this view, there was no prohibition of punitive damages relative to awarding compensation for mental pain, as would be the case if there had been physical injury resulting only from simple negligence.  The court went on to say that the restriction of the loss of a pet to its intrinsic value in circumstances such as the ones before us is a principle we cannot accept and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Robeson County 164 N.C. App. 366, 595 S.E.2d 773 (2004)

Non-profit and advocate challenged the improper treatment/euthanasia of animals and complaint was dismissed.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's qualified as "aggrieved persons" within the statute, but that all administrative remedies were not sought.  Affirmed.

Gabriel v. Lovewell 164 S.W.3d 835 (Texas, 2005)

A Texas horse owner brought action against horse farm for negligence and breach of implied warranty in connection with the death of a horse in care of horse farm. On appeal of a decision in favor of the horse owner, the Court of Appeals held that by asking veterinarian if veterinarian told the horse owner that the horse died because it was not brought to veterinary clinic soon enough, the horse farm opened the door, and thus, the previously-rejected hearsay testimony regarding horse owner's conversation with veterinarian was admissible for limited purpose of impeaching veterinarian's testimony. Thus, the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

Olier v. Bailey 164 So. 3d 982 (Miss. 2015) Plaintiff was attacked and chased by a domestic goose in Defendant’s yard. As Plaintiff attempted to flee, she fell and broke her arm. Plaintiff sued Defendant in the County Court of Jackson County under a theory of premises liability and, alternatively, under the dangerous-propensity rule. The trial court granted summary judgment because it found that Plaintiff was a licensee on Defendant's property and that Defendant did not breach her duty of care toward Plaintiff. It also denied relief under the dangerous-propensity rule because there was no evidence that the particular goose that bit Plaintiff ever had exhibited dangerous propensities prior to the incident. Plaintiff appealed to the Jackson County Circuit Court, which affirmed. Plaintiff then filed the instant appeal. The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that, while Plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, pursue her claim under her theory of general premises liability, she can proceed under the dangerous-propensity theory because the court found an issue of fact regarding whether Defendant was on notice of her geese's alleged dangerous propensity. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court judgment in part, reversed it in part, and remanded for further proceedings.
American Soc. for Cruelty to Animals v. Board of Trustees of State 165 A.D.2d 561 (N.Y. 1991) In New York, an animal protection organization sought a judgment that would allow the public to attend meetings for a university’s animal use organization.   Such attendance was required under the New York Consolidated Law.   However, because the university meetings did not involve matters affecting the public or public policy, and since the animal protection organization was not considered a “public body,” public attendance was not ordered.  
Longhi v. APHIS 165 F3d 1057 (6th Cir. 1999)

APHIS was unsuccessful in asserting that an applicant who is part of one license as a partnership can not apply for another as a corporation.

Salinas v. Martin 166 Cal.App.4th 404

Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.  

De Leon v. Vornado Montehiedra Acquisition L.P. 166 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.P.R. 2016) The defendant in this case sought to dismiss plaintiff’s case, stating that the plaintiff claim did not have proper constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court denied defendant’s request and held that plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to establish standing under the ADA. In order to establish standing, the plaintiff needed to prove three elements: (1) actual or threatened injury, (2) causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable court decision can redress the injury. The court determined that plaintiff did satisfy all three elements by showing that plaintiff’s disabled daughter was not allowed in defendant’s shopping mall with her service dog after the mall security guard was not properly informed of protocol regarding service dogs. Ultimately, the security guard mistakenly believed that the service dog needed documentation in order to enter the mall; however, the dog was properly identified as a certified service dog and should have been allowed into the mall. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.
Brown v. State 166 So. 3d 817 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
WERTMAN v. TIPPING 166 So.2d 666 (Fla.App., 1964)

The plaintiffs, owners of a seven-year-old trained, registered full blood German Shepherd dog, sued the defendants for the loss of this dog from the kennels at the animal hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The dog had been boarded at defendant's place and while there escaped from the kennel and was never found. This case set the wheels in motion for companion animals damages in Florida when the court affirmed a verdict of $1000, for a purebred dog. The court declined in only applying the fair market value and held that recovery could include special or pecuniary value to the owner.

SENTELL v. NEW ORLEANS & C. R. CO. 166 U.S. 698 (1897)

This was an action originally instituted by Sentell in the civil district court for the parish of Orleans, to recover the value of a Newffoundland bitch, known as 'Countess Lona,' alleged to have been negligently killed by the railroad company.  The company answered, denying the allegation of negligence, and set up as a separate defense that plaintiff had not complied either with the requirements of the state law, or of the city ordinances, with respect to the keeping of dogs, and was therefore not entitled to recover.  Recognizing that an owner has only a conditional interest in a dog as a form of property, the Supreme Court held that the Louisiana law was within its police power, and the judgment of the court of appeals against plaintiff was therefore affirmed.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo. 2005)

After a judge granted two humane societies permission to dispose of nearly 120 severely emaciated and malnourished horses, the horses' owner, instead of posting a bond or security, filed for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The appeals court issued a stop order and transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Here, the horses’ owner argued two points, but the Missouri Supreme Court found that (1) the spoliation of evidence doctrine does not apply at this juncture and that (2) the statute was not unconstitutionally vague, nor does the owner allege that the statute discriminates based upon classification or that the statute discriminates in its application so as to violate the equal protection clause. The stop order was therefore dissolved and the petition for the writ of mandamus was denied.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005)

Police seized 120 neglected horses pursuant to a search warrant and a Circuit Court Judge allowed humane societies to dispose of the horses.  The owner of the horses sought a writ of mandamus against the Circuit Court Judge.  The Missouri Supreme Court held the Circuit Court Judge had jurisdiction to permit the seized horses to be disposed of and the impoundment statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

Miller v. Dep't of Agric. 168 Conn. App. 255, 145 A.3d 393 (2016) The Plaintiff, Kim Miller, argued “a severe deprivation” of her rights when the Superior Court dismissed her appeal to prevent her dogs from being euthanized. Miller owned two Rottweiler dogs that attacked the victim Cynthia Reed, causing injuries to Reed's head, the back of her neck, and her back. An animal control officer issued two disposal orders to euthanize Miller’s dogs. The Defendant, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, then affirmed the orders and Miller appealed. The Superior Court also dismissed the appeal, and Miller appealed further to the Appellate Court of Connecticut. Here, Miller argues, among other things, that her Sixth Amendment rights to confront witnesses were violated when witnesses were not available for cross-examination. Plaintiff Miller also claims that there were procedural violations in the initial hearing because of lack of written rules that applied to dog disposal orders and claimed error when the hearing officer acted acted arbitrarily and capriciously by “interject[ing] his opinion” while questioning a witness. The Appellate Court held that: (1) the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) did not preclude the admission of statements from the victim and an eyewitness, even though the victim and witness did not testify at the hearing. The court reasoned that in administrative proceedings under the UAPA, evidence is not inadmissible solely because it constitutes hearsay, as long as the evidence is reliable and probative. Additionally, a party to an administrative proceeding under the UAPA is not required to call any particular witness. (2) A dog owner's appeal of disposal orders for a biting animal is not a criminal prosecution that invokes Sixth Amendment protections. The court reasoned that the issuance of a disposal order does not, by itself, trigger the imposition of a fine or prison term on the owner. Rather, by obviating the threat that dangerous animals pose to the public, the provision is remedial and civil in nature. The judgment of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's appeal was affirmed.

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