Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
State v. Wood 2007 WL 1892483 (N.C. App.)

Plaintiff entered an oral agreement for defendant to board and train her horse, Talladega.  The horse died within  two months from starvation, and the Harnett County Animal Control found three other horses under defendant's care that were underfed, and seized them.  The jury trial resulted in a conviction of two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty from which the defendant appeals.  However, this court affirms the jury's conviction, stating that the assignment of error is without merit and would not have affected the jury's conviction. 

Humane Society-Western Region v. Snohomish County 2007 WL 2404619 (W.D. Wash)

Plaintiff Humane Society Western Region (d/b/a "Happy Paws Farm") filed this lawsuit against Snohomish County alleging provisions of the county code regulating barking are unconstitutionally vague in violation of the state and federal constitutions, and that the SCC provision governing the temporary housing of animals in shelters violates its federal constitutional right to substantive due process. Plaintiff argued that the noise ordinances invite subjective evaluation resulting in arbitrary enforcement because the code contains no reference to identifiable levels of noise, only to noises that are repetitive.  The absence of identifiable levels of noise, or decibel levels, does not render the noise ordinances unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that this method is not easily understood by individuals of ordinary intelligence or that it fails to protect against arbitrary enforcement. This opinion was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by Humane Society Western Region v. Snohomish County, 357 Fed.Appx. 144 (9th Cir., 2009).

Humane Society v. Merriam 2007 WL 333309 (D.Minn.)

Minnesota allowed trapping and snaring activities. Plaintiffs sued the state, arguing that this policy was causing the death of some endangered Canada lynx, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs and defendants had the case dismissed after they agreed that Minnesota would seek a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, and that conservation measures would be taken for the protection of the lynx.

Ing v. American Airlines 2007 WL 420249 (N.D. Cal. 2007)

A man shipped his dog on an American Airlines airplane, and the dog died shortly after landing. The court found that the contract signed prior to take-off limited the liability of the airline. However, the airline could be liable because after landing, the man had asked for his dog back, to give it veterinary care, but the airline took more than four hours to give it back. Also, the airline could be liable if the plane temperature had been higher than for which the contract called.

Commonwealth v. Lee 2007 WL 4555253 (Pa. Super. 2007)

Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization.  Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed.  The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.

New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture 2007 WL 486764 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2007)

This New Jersey case concerns several challenges to the adoption of livestock regulations by the state Department of Agriculture.   Specifically, several animal welfare groups contended that several of the regulations were inhumane and in violation of the state’s legislative mandate to issue humane livestock standards. The Superior Court of New Jersey, appellate division, agreed with the Department, holding that the challenged regulations are consistent with the agency's legislative mandate, and are neither arbitrary, nor unreasonable. This Judgment was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture, 196 N.J. 366,955 A.2d 886 (N.J., 2008).

Campbell v. Supervalu 2007 WL 891682 (N.D.Ind.) North District Court of Indiana dismissed a claim that Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempted the plaintiff's state law claims. While a past court decision held that FMIA preempted state attempts to regulate meat inspection, this case was distinguishable because the suit focused on an alleged act of negligence that fell outside inspection of meat and because the state is not placing additional or different requirements then those set by FMIA.
R. v. McConkey 2008 CarswellAlta 156

In this case, the defendants pleaded guilty to violations of the Animal Protection Act after a peace officer for the humane society found four dogs in distress due mainly to a lack of grooming. On appeal, the defendants did not contest the amount of the fines, but suggested that the court should consider the economic status of the defendants (both were on government assistance). The court found that the conduct of the defendant and the level of the distress experienced by the dogs over a long period of time was an aggravating factor in determining the fine. With regard to a Section 12(2) prohibition to restrain future animal ownership, the court was reluctant to inflict stress on the animals still residing at the home by removing them from their long-time home.

Xu v. Chen 2008 CarswellBC 1693

The Claimant's six-month old sheltie puppy, "Diamond,” suffered a serious limb injury outside the front yard of the family home. Claimant seeks to recover the veterinarian costs she incurred to treat the dog's injury against Defendants, the owners of the other dog that allegedly attacked claimant’s dog. The court found that there was evidence that Defendant was previously contacted by Animal Control as well as a neighbor about an incident where Angus lunged at another dog. The Claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that Angus had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned that night. Claimant was 25% liable for the incident where she left Diamond in an unfenced yard that gave other dogs access. The court denied Xu’s claim of $5500 for future medical costs for the care of Diamond because there was no evidence what these would be and the dog was currently living with another family.

Friesen v. Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 2008 CarswellSask 438

An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne 2008 WL 1902703 (N.D.Cal. 2008)

Plaintiff Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) seeks to compel Defendants to perform their mandatory duty under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to publish a final listing determination for the polar bear. Plaintiffs have filed a summary judgment motion seeking an injunction and declaratory judgment to this effect. The action began back in 2005 when CBD petitioned to list the polar bear as endangered under the ESA.  Plaintiffs' action arises from Defendants' failure to issue a final listing determination and critical habitat designation by January 9, 2008-within one year of publication of the proposed rule-as required by the ESA (16 U.S.C. § 1533(b)(6)). Since Defendants missed this non-discretionary deadline, and there was no dispute of material fact, summary judgment was granted by the court.

Whitman v. State 2008 WL 1962242 (Ark.App.,2008)

Appellant was tried by a jury and found guilty of four counts of cruelty to animals concerning four Arabian horses. On appeal, appellant raised a sufficiency of the evidence challenge and a Rule 404(b) challenge to the admission of testimony and pictures concerning the condition of appellant's dogs and her house. The court found the photographic evidence was admissible for purposes other than to prove appellant's character, e.g., to show her knowledge of neglect of animals within her house, and thereby the absence of mistake or accident concerning the horses that lived outside.

People v. Beauvil 2008 WL 2685893; 872 N.Y.S.2d 692 (Table), (N.Y.Just.Ct.,2008)

This New York case came before this Court after the District Attorney refused to prosecute the case. The complaintant alleged that on April 16, 2008, he was walking down a public sidewalk when a loose dog, later identified as belonging to the defendants, ran up to and bit the complainant on the hand. Police were contacted and a complaint was made to the Village of Westbury Attorney who then advised the complainant to file a formal complaint with the Nassau County District Attorney's office. The District Attorney's office declined to prosecute and instead suggested that the Village handle the matter. This Court held that it has no jurisdiction to hear the misdemeanor charge stemming from the violation of Agriculture & Markets Law § 121 (but then did list the other avenues available for the complaintant). This Court, sua sponte, also held that the Agriculture & Markets Law § 121, as applied to Nassau County Village Justice Courts, is unconstitutional. This was due to the fact that Village Courts have no jurisdiction (or ability, as pointed out by the court) to hear misdemeanors.

American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals v. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus 2008 WL 3411666 (D.D.C.)

On Plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery from Defendants, The United States District Court, District of Columbia, determined that “master schedules” and “performance reports” were not documents pertaining to the chaining of elephants, and/or describing practices and procedures for maintaining elephants on the train, and Plaintiffs were therefore not entitled to such documents. The Court could not determine whether certain audio tapes demanded by Plaintiffs pertained to the medical condition or health status of any Asian elephants in Defendants’ custody during a specified time-frame, or pertained to the investigation of Defendants’ operation conducted by the Department of Agriculture, without being given the opportunity to listen to and review the audio tapes. Plaintiffs’ mere speculation that Defendants hired an outside consulting firm to follow and/or counteract a previous employee’s efforts did not entitle Plaintiffs to any further judicial action.

Center for Biological Diversity v. California Fish & Game Com'n 2008 WL 4055216 (Cal. App. 3 Dist.)

The California Fish & Game Commission (Commission) rejected a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (Center) to add the California tiger salamander to the Commission’s list of endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), on grounds that the petition lacked sufficient information to indicate that the listing may be warranted. The Court of Appeal, Third District, California, held that the Trial Court did not err in directing the Commission to enter a decision accepting the Center’s petition, as inferences drawn from evidence offered in support of the petition clearly afforded sufficient information to indicate that listing action may be warranted. The Court found that information in the administrative record indicating that the salamander species “does not breed prolifically, is vulnerable to several significant threats, has lost most of its original habitat, and has been displaced by a hybrid from a significant portion of its range” was not outweighed by the Commission’s evidence and arguments regarding the introduction of artificial ponds which could provide increased breeding habitat, and the listing of the species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne 2008 WL 4542947 (N.D.Cal.)

Plaintiffs brought various claims against Defendants relating to Defendants’ final rule designating the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Defendants’ promulgation of a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, allowing certain activities with respect to the polar bear that might otherwise be prohibited.   The United States District Court, N.D. California tentatively granted a non-profit organization’s motion to intervene with respect to the action challenging Defendants’ section 4(d) rule as contrary to the ESA, finding that although the Organization did not show that the current Plaintiffs will not adequately represent the Organization’s interest, a decision for Defendants could jeopardize the Organization’s interests and the Organization’s motion was timely.

Moreland v. Marion County, Miss. 2008 WL 4551443 (S.D.Miss.)

Plaintiff brought action against Marion County (“County”) and several animal control officers (“Officers”) in their official capacities, after the Officers crossed county lines and confiscated several dogs that appeared severely dehydrated and malnourished, and euthanized at least one dog.   On Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Hattiesburg Division held that since there was no evidence to indicate that Defendants’ actions were anything more than negligence not rising to the level of reckless disregard, Plaintiff’s state law claims against Defendants should be dismissed.   The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s § 1983 claim, finding that the record did not support a finding of a pattern of inadequate training rising to the level of deliberate indifference to known or obvious consequence, and that the Officers’ actions could not be found to be a known or obvious result of the County’s training.   The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s claim with prejudice.  

Mouton v. State 2008 WL 4709232 (Tex.App.-Texarkana)

Defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, and sentenced to one year in jail, based upon witness testimony and photographs depicting several dogs in varying states of distress.   On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana, found that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motions for a directed verdict or for a new trial to the extent that both motions challenged evidentiary sufficiency, and that ineffective assistance of counsel had not been shown, because the Court could imagine strategic reasons on Defendant’s counsel’s part for not calling a particular witness to testify on Defendant’s behalf, and for allowing Defendant to testify in narrative form during the punishment phase.  

Moden v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 2008 WL 4763025 (D.Or.)

Plaintiffs filed claim against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) alleging arbitrary and capricious agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and failure to perform a nondiscretionary act under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).   The United States District Court, D. Oregon, granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss and denied Plaintiffs’ request for leave to amend, and Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding   that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ APA and ESA claims, and that it remains without jurisdiction to mandate action by the agency if rulemaking has not been initiated by the FWS at its discretion, regardless of whether a determination resulting from a five year review suggests a listing status should be changed or should remain the same.

Webb v. Amtower 2008 WL 713728 (KS,2008 (not reported))

The court applied the forum's traditional lex loci conflict-of-laws rule to determine what jurisdiction's law governed for both damages and recovery of possession. The "place of injury" for the tort/damages issue was Kansas since that's where the contract was signed. The court remanded the case to determine the law of the place where the dog was found to determine the right-to-possession since that was a personal property issue.

Vavrecka v. State 2009 WL 179203, 4 (Tex.App.-Hous. (Tex.App.-Houston [14 Dist.],2009).

Defendant appealed a conviction for cruelty to animals after several dogs that appeared malnourished and emaciated with no visible food or water nearby were found on Defendant’s property by a police officer and an Animal Control officer.  The Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, 14th District confirmed the conviction, finding that Defendant waived any error with respect to her motion to suppress evidence by affirmatively stating at trial that Defendant had “no objection” to the admission of evidence. Finally, the Court’s denial of Defendant’s request to show evidence of Defendant’s past practice and routine of caring for stray animals and nursing them to health did not deprive Defendant of a complete defense.

U.S. v. Chevron USA, Inc. 2009 WL 3645170 (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.) After 35 dead Brown Pelicans were discovered in the space between the inner wall of the caisson and the outer wall of a wellhead, Chevron was charged with a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. But, the Court held that the MBTA was clearly not intended to apply to commercial ventures where, occasionally, protected species might be incidentally killed as a result of totally legal and permissible activities. Therefore, at the plea hearing the Court refused to accept the plea of guilty from Chevron.
Western Watersheds Project v. Dyer 2009 WL 484438 (D.Idaho)

The plaintiff, Western Watersheds Project (WWP), is an environmental group that brought this lawsuit to ban livestock grazing in certain areas of the Jarbidge Field Office (1.4 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho and northern Nevada). WWP alleges that continued grazing destroys what little habitat remains for imperiled species like the sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and slickspot peppergrass (deemed “sensitive species” by the BLM).  After ten days of evidentiary hearings, the court found that three sensitive species in the JFO are in serious decline and that livestock grazing is an important factor in that decline. However, the court found that a ban on grazing was not required by law at this point since the Court was "confident" in the BLM's ability to modify the 2009 season in accordance with the Court's interpretation of the existing RMP.

McAllister v. Wiegand 2009CarswellOnt189

The plaintiff, a 55-year old woman and recent acquaintance of the defendants, was bitten on the cheek by the defendant's bull mastiff dog, resulting in a spreading infection and loss of all her teeth. The plaintiff was an invited guest in the defendant's home where she had been on 3-4 prior occasions. There was a question over whether the incident arose when the plaintiff startled the dog from sleep by petting it while bending over it, or whether the dog had just awakened when it was petted and bit her. The court found that dog and plaintiff were familiar with each other and there was nothing provocative that should have caused the dog to retaliate. Thus according to Ontario's Dog Owner Liability Act, where owners are strictly or absolutely liable for their dogs' injuries to others, the defendants were strictly liable to the plaintiff for her injuries.

Texas Beef Group v. Winfrey 201 F.3d 680 (C.A.5 (Tex.),2000)
Cattle ranchers in Texas sued the  The Oprah Winfrey Show and one of its guests for knowingly and falsely depicting American beef as unsafe in the wake of the British panic over “Mad Cow Disease.” The matter was removed from state court to federal court. The federal district court granted summary judgment as a matter of law on all claims presented except the business disparagement cause of action, which was eventually rejected by a jury. The court alternately held that no knowingly false statements were made by the appellees. This court affirmed on this latter ground only, finding that the guest's statement and the producers' editing of the show did not violate the Texas False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act. 
Berg v. Nguyen 201 So. 3d 1185 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) This Alabama case involves the appeal of summary judgment on behalf of defendants in a personal injury dog bite case. The plaintiff here was bitten as she walked through a parking lot of the retail store adjacent to the residence where the dogs were kept. The dogs (six or seven pit bulls) were kept by defendants' tenants at the residence. Some of the dogs were kept in outdoor, chain-link kennels and others were allowed to remain in the fenced backyard. Plaintiff Berg filed a complaint against the Nguyens and their business under a theory of landlord-tenant liability for the dog bite. The lower court granted the Nguyens' motion for summary judgment, finding that Alabama law does not provide for landlord liability in this case. On appeal here, the court was persuaded by defendants' evidence that they did not know of the dog's dangerous propensity and were aware of only two occasions where animal control had been called. Further, there were only a few times Than Nguyen was aware the dogs were left unchained in the front yard. This was sufficient for the court to find that plaintiff did not meet her burden establishing that the Nguyens knew or should have known of any dangerous propensities of the dog that bit plaintiff. As to the issue of defendants' knowledge that pit bulls were "inherently dangerous," the court held that the Alabama Supreme Court in Humphries established that breed alone is insufficient to impute knowledge. Summary judgment was affirmed.
Montgomery v. Lester 201 So. 3d 966 (La. App. 3 Cir. 9/28/16), writ denied, 2016-1944 (La. 12/16/16), 212 So. 3d 1173 In this case, the Lesters appealed the judgment of the trial court awarding the Montgomerys $200,000 for the injury and death of their thoroughbred house that was caused by the Lester’s dog. The Lester’s dog chased after and barked at the horse, causing the horse to attempt to climb a fence which severely injured the horsed. The injuries were so severe that the horse was later euthanized. The Montgomerys filed suit against the Lesters and awarded $200,000 in damages. On appeal, the Lesters argued that the claims filed by the Montgomerys should be dismissed because they have “no personal right to claim the damages asserted” because “the registered owner of the horse at issue was Montgomery Equine Center, LLC and not the [Montgomerys].”The court reviewed the issue and determined that the Montgomerys were entitled to damages because they were the rightful owners of the horse. The court held that “registration of a horse does not prove ownership under Louisiana Law.” As a result, the court found that although the horse was registered to the Montgomery Equine Center, the Montgomerys were still the owners of the horse and therefore entitled to the damages that were awarded by the trial court judge.
Gromer v. Matchett 2010 WL 3467727 (Mo.App. S.D.)

In this Missouri case, the defendant-farmer appeals an award of $12,250 to plaintiff-motorist, whose vehicle was struck by another vehicle after a horse coming from defendant's farm collided with the first vehicle. Defendant asserts that the Stock Law (Section 270.010) was inappropriately applied to him where he did not own the livestock (the horse) in question. Since plaintiff relied on the language of the Stock Law, which unambiguously refers only to "owners," in submitting her verdict directing instruction that allowed her to recover damages without proof of Defendant's negligence, the case must be reversed and remanded. This cause was Ordered Transferred to Mo.S.Ct. November 16, 2010.

R. (on the application of Petsafe Ltd) v Welsh Ministers 2010 WL 4503327

Pet product manufacturer challenged a Welsh ban on the use of electric collars on cats and dogs  under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2010. The High Court held that the Regulations were not beyond the powers of the Welsh Ministers, and that the ban was not irrational, unreasonable or perverse. The High Court also held that any restriction on the free movement of goods under Article 34 of the EU Treaty was proportional and necessary, due to the fact that it was not targeted at trade, but rather meant to further social policy promoting animal welfare. Similarly, any interference with Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was also justifiable.

U.S. v. Korn 2010 WL 5110048 (D. Idaho Dec. 2010) The Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) brought an administrative action against Defendants for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act in connection with Defendants' exotic animal exhibition activities. A judgment was entered for a civil penalty of $57,750 against each Defendant in the administrative action. Defendants have refused to pay, claiming that their due process rights were violated in the underlying administrative proceeding; the judgment, they argued, was therefore void and unenforceable. The United States filed this matter against Defendants seeking to enforce that judgment. Before this Court were the cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff’s motion was granted because the Court could not overlook Defendant's absence of any effort to follow up with the Hearing Clerk, considering the many avenues of communication available. There were also no disputed issues of material fact concerning service of the Administrative Law Judge's Decision and Order, and provision of notice of Defendants' appeal rights. Moreover, this Court lacked jurisdiction to reconsider or otherwise vacate the Agency's final order. 7 U.S.C. § 2149(b) also permitted the institution of a civil action by the Attorney General to collect the penalty imposed and no other facts were presented disputing the validity of the administrative judgment imposing the civil penalty.
Allendorf v. Redfearn 2011 IL App (2d) 110130 (2011)

After a farm employee was injured in an all terrain vehicle (ATV) while trying to round up a bull, he sued the farm owners under the Domestic Animals Running at Large Act. The Appellate Court held that the employee could not recover under the Act, which protects members of the general public who cannot be expected to appreciate the risk posed by an animal. Because the employee was not an innocent bystander but rather was attempting to exercise control over the bull at the time he was injured, he fell within the Act's definition of an “owner” of the bull.

Anderson v. City of Camden 2011 WL 4703104 (2011)

Defendant Animal Control officers took Plaintiffs' two dogs pursuant to a pick-up order issued by a Magistrate of Kershaw County. The two dogs had a history of attacking other dogs and of running loose. Plaintiffs filed Fourth Amendment and South Carolina Tort Claims Act claims against Defendants. Court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment because they did not violate a clearly established constitutional law, and were, therefore, entitled to qualified immunity from Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim.

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue, Inc v. Bengal 2011 WL 4867541 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2011)

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue rescued three dogs from North Carolina and had them delivered to Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement seized them and turned them over to Appellants PSPCA. The District Court ordered Appellants to return the dogs to Sixth Angel based on a state law conversion claim. The motion was affirmed because PSPCA deprived Sixth Angel of its unique property. Returning the dogs to their owner served the public interest by settling property rights and allowing Sixth Angel to fulfill its mission of finding homes for the dogs.

Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue Inc. v. Pennsylvania SPCA 2011 WL 605697 (2011) (Slip Copy)

Plaintiff dog rescue received a shipment of dogs from a North Carolina animal shelter. Joseph Loughlin, a warden from the Pennsylvania Dog Law Enforcement Bureau, and officials from the Pennsylvania SPCA (“PSPCA”) seized the dogs. Plaintiff filed suit seeking a court order for the return of the dogs. Loughlin mailed to Plaintiff’s counsel a citation for violating the Pennsylvania Dog Law. Plaintiff filed this action, alleging malicious prosecution, abuse of process, a claim that both §§ 459-209(b) and 459-603(c) are unconstitutional, and damages for defamation and “derogatory publication.” The court dismissed all claims except for those relating to the Pennsylvania Dog Law, The court held that the as-applied dormant Commerce Clause challenges to §§ 459-209(b) and 459-603(c) were not ripe and moot, respectively. The First Amendment challenge to § 459-603(c) failed because the statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

Stout v. U.S. Forest Service 2011 WL 867775 (2011)

Plaintiff ranch owners grazed cattle within the Murderer's Creek Wild Horse Territory (WHT), an area in which the threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead was present. The Forest Service approved a wild horse management plan in the area, but failed to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) to determine whether the plan was likely to affect the threatened species, and whether formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was necessary. The Forest Service’s failure to comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was arbitrary and capricious, and was ordered to consult with NMFS on its plan.

Howle v. Aqua Illinois, Inc. 2012 IL App (4th) 120207 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.) As the result of a dog bite on the defendant’s rental property, the plaintiff suffered a torn cheek and irreparable damage to her ear. The plaintiff therefore attempted to recover damages from the defendant on the common law theory of negligence and through Illinois’ Animal Control Act. The trial court, however, dismissed the Animal Control Act claim and, later, granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the negligence claim. Upon appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision, though it stated a motion for summary judgment was more appropriate then the motion to dismiss for the Animal Control Act claim.   
Greenway v. Northside Hosp., Inc. 2012 WL 2819420 (Ga.App.,2012)

While completely disoriented at a hospital, the plaintiff was asked by deputies to sign a form releasing his two yellow labs to animal control in the event of the plaintiff's demise. The plaintiff was allegedly informed that if he did not die, he could retrieve his dogs in 7 to 10 days; he therefore signed the form without reading the terms. Later, the nurse informed him that his dogs had been euthanized and plaintiff filed suit. The trial court granted all of the defendants' motions for summary judgment, so the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court found an issue of material fact existed towards all defendants and therefore concluded that the trial court erred in granting all motions for summary judgment. This opinion was vacated and superseded by Greenway v. Northside Hosp., Inc., 730 S.E.2d 742 (Ga. App. 2012) .

Dutka v. Cassady 2012 WL 3641635 (Not Reported in A.3d) A rescue organization had adopted out a dog. The new owners were walking the dog unleashed when it attacked another dog. The plaintiff's filed a complaint of common law negligence and recklessness, which alleged that the rescue organization should have known and should have warned them of the dangerous tendencies of the specific dog but failed to do so. Connecticut law imposed strict liability on an owner or keeper of such an animal, and the statute had not been expanded to include the seller or transferor. The issue then was whether the court should expand the scope of such a negligence claim and create a duty of care owed by transferors or sellers of dogs with known and/or unknown propensities for aggression. The court found that there was no support for expanding liability in common law negligence when the organization in this case did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog. The court declines to impose a duty on the rescue agency to inform adoptive families.
In re: Lee Marvin Greenly 2012 WL 3877414 (U.S.D.A. Aug. 22, 2012) Respondent Lee Marvin Greenly is an individual who operates what he describes as a photographic educational game farm along the scenic Kettle River near Sandstone, Minnesota. He is a licensed exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act. A USDA complaint alleged that between March 14, 2006 and October 19, 2010 the Respondents committed some thirty-seven separate violations of the Act and its Regulationsincluding (a) failing to provide adequate veterinary care to their animals; (b) failing to establish a mechanism for communicating with the veterinarian; (c) failing to construct structurally sound housing facilities; (d) failing to timely remove and dispose of food waste; (e) failing to appropriately store food; (f) failing to adequately enclose outdoor facilities; (g) failing to make, keep and maintain adequate and appropriate records; (h) failing to provide environmental enrichment for the animals; (i) failing to allow access for unannounced inspections of the facility, the animals and records; (j) failing to handle animals so as to avoid trauma or physical harm; and (k) failing to handle animals so that there was minimal risk to the public and the animals by permitting direct contact between dangerous animals and members of the public, resulting in injuries to the public on three occasions, death to a neighbor's pet, and mandatory euthanization of one of the animals following one incident. In this order, an Administrative Law Judge issued a cease and desist order, as well as revoked Respondent’s license due to the violations.
Kankey v. State 2013 Ark. App. 68, Not Reported in S.W.3d (Ark.App.,2013)

A district court found the appellant’s animals had been lawfully seized, and then divested appellant of ownership of the animals and vested custody to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The appellant filed an appeal in the civil division of the circuit court, but the circuit court dismissed the appeal as untimely and not properly perfected. Upon another appeal, the Arkansas Court of Appeals found it had no jurisdiction and therefore dismissed the case.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert 2013 WL 4017889 (D. Utah July 22, 2013) The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other plaintiffs challenged Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112, which criminalizes recording images or sounds at industrialized farming operations, and entering industrialized farming operations by false pretenses or misrepresentation. The Plaintiffs alleged that § 76-6-112 violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that the Plaintiffs had not suffered actual harm, and thus did not have standing. The U.S. District Court Judge dismissed some Plaintiffs from the case, but allowed it to move forward.
In re: VANISHING SPECIES WILDLIFE INC. 2013 WL 4679456 (U.S.D.A.) An Administrative Law Judge issued a cease and desist order against Vanishing Species, Inc for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The ALJ also revoked the organization’s license and assessed civil penalties. Facts that led to these sanctions include: Respondent housing animals at a site without notifying APHIS of the location; a storm interfering with the air conditioning system that cooled a building that housed animals owned by Respondent, and because the system did not correct itself and Respondent did not provide an alternate cooling system or verify the health of the animals, at least one animal died; Respondent not having a currently signed program of veterinary care on February 4, 201; a wooden frame surrounding the water tub in the bear enclosure was in disrepair; the wooden horizontal support beam for the bear enclosure was cracked; and the vertical metal support next to the door of the skunk enclosure had exposed jagged edges that were accessible to animals.
Protect our Communities Foundation v. Salazar 2013 WL 5947137 (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.) The Protect Our Communities Foundation filed a complaint challenging the United States Department of the Interior's approval of the Record of Decision approving a utility-scale wind power project arguing that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). But the Court held that the Department discussed reasonable alternatives, that the Decision was not an arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion, and that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that a permit was required under the MBTA for an unintentional killing of migratory birds.
In re: Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland, Inc. 2013 WL 8214620 (U.S.D.A.) Mr. Candy started Tri-State, a zoo, in 2002 as a way to provide his children and other members of the community in Cumberland, Maryland, with an entertaining and educational activity. However, several violations of the Animal Welfare Act led to a cease and desist order and a 45 day suspension of the zoo’s license.
Hament v. Baker 2014 VT 39, 97 A.3d 461 (Vt. 2014) The custody of an eleven year old German wirehaired pointer was the central issue in this Vermont divorce case. While both parties testified to their strong emotional ties to the dog and to the care that each spouse provided, the Superior Court awarded custody to the husband. The wife appealed the Superior Court’s decision arguing that the court erred in refusing a joint arrangement, that the court’s finding was not supported by the evidence, and that this finding provided an arbitrary basis for award. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Vermont held that the family court division could consider factors not set out in 15 V.S.A. § 751(b); specifically, the welfare of the animal and the emotional connection between the animal and each spouse. The court found that both parties were afforded an opportunity to put on evidence regarding both factors without restriction in the Superior Court. The Supreme Court of Vermont also held that the Superior Court was correct in its statement that the family division could not enforce a visitation or shared custody order for companion animals. Unlike child custody matters, the court said, there is no legislative authority for the court to play a continuing role in the supervision of the parties with respect to the care and sharing of a companion animal. The Superior Court’s decision of awarding custody to the husband was therefore affirmed.
Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell 2014 WL 1364453 (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.) The Protect our Communities Foundation challenged the Bureau of Land Management's Record of Decision authorizing development of a utility-scale wind energy facility on public lands in San Diego County, arguing that BLM's approval of a right-of-way violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagles Protection Act. The Court found that BLM did consider several alternatives to the proposed Project, took a "hard look" at the environmental consequences, and did not improperly defer specification and analysis of mitigation measures. The Court also held that Federal agencies are not required to obtain a permit before acting in a regulatory capacity to authorize activity, such as development of a wind-energy facility, that may incidentally harm protected birds. The Court denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted the defendants' cross motions for summary judgment.
State v. Moore 2014 WL 1917289 (Wash.App. Div. 2) Duane Moore appealed his conviction and sentence for second degree assault, domestic violence, after choking his wife during an argument. He argued that (1) the prosecutor committed misconduct during voir dire and closing argument when he argued facts not in evidence, made improper statements about witness credibility, and shifted the burden of proof; (2) the trial court erred when it allowed a witness to testify with a service dog; and (3) the prosecutor improperly testified at the sentencing hearing. With regard to the testimony dog issue, the court found that defendant failed to raise the issue at trial and thus failed to preserve this issue for appeal. Further, defendant failed to prove that any alleged errors were manifest. There is no evidence in the record that the dog's presence made Ms. Moore appear traumatized or victimized, and thereby violated Mr. Moore's due process rights, or acted as a comment on the evidence. The court rejected defendant's argument and affirmed the trial court.
Ascencio v. ADRU Corporation 2014 WL 204212 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (Not Reported in F.Supp.2d)

A woman, who suffers from a disability that is accompanied by deep depression and anxiety, went to a fast food restaurant with her mother and her two service dogs. Upon entering the establishment, the employees refused to serve them, forced them to leave, and retaliated against them by calling the police and threatening them with arrest. The woman and her mother sued the fast food restaurant for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related California statutes. When the fast food restaurant failed to file an answer, the court entered a default judgment against the fast food restaurant; awarded the plaintiffs with damages, court costs and attorney fees; and placed a permanent injunction against the fast food restaurant.

US v. Richards 2014 WL 2694225

*1 The First Amendment restrains government to “make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.” U.S. Const. amend. I.

Cottongame v. State 2014 WL 3536801 (Tex. App. 2014), unpublished Despite an ordinance restricting the number of cats a person can own to three unless a permit was obtained, an officer decided not to enforce the ordinance against the appellant because she was helping with the feral-cat problem in the city and because “she was ... attempting to bring into compliance [her] animal rescue.” When the officer left his job, however, a neighbor complained and an investigation took place. The investigating officer noted everything in the house was covered in cat litter, there was no carpet in the home, and cat urine was on the living-room floor. The smell of cat urine and feces also sickened the officer to the point that he had to leave the house to get fresh air. The State filed a complaint alleging Appellant's violation of the ordinance. A jury found Appellant guilty of the offense as alleged in the complaint and assessed her punishment at $75 plus court costs. Appellant appealed from her conviction for violating a city ordinance regarding the number of animals that may be kept without a permit. In her first issue, the appellant asserted that her conviction violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the city “selectively enforced its purported ordinance that prohibits any person from having possession of more than three cats without a permit.” The court, however, found that there was no evidence before the trial court indicating that appellant was singled out for enforcement or that her selection for enforcement was based on anything other than a valid citizen complaint. In her second issue, the appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. The court, however, found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding that the appellant was in violation of the ordinance. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.

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