Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Sentencia Constitucional 1982/2011-R- Bolivia Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional de Bolivia, Sentencia Constitucional 1982/2011-R The Bolivia Constitutional Tribunal issued this decision in response to a "popular action," a constitutional mechanism safeguarding collective and diffuse rights. The complaint alleged that the municipal Mayor had infringed upon the right to integral education and environmental balance by neglecting to address requests for relocating animals at the "Oscar Alfaro Zoo," where they endured highly inadequate conditions. In its ruling, the tribunal highlighted the interconnectedness of humans with the environment, stressing that environmental preservation hinges on balance and health. Disruption of this delicate equilibrium poses risks to the environment and humans, who are also part of the biological chain. Recognizing the right to a healthy environment as a diffuse right, the court stresses it affects all members of the collective, which includes all elements of the environment and its ecosystems. Thus, the tribunal granted the requested protection, finding the Mayor responsible for violating the right to a healthy environment and the duty to preserve and protect it. The Mayor's inaction led to the tragic death of numerous animals at the zoo. The court ordered the immediate temporary relocation of the animals to specialized facilities to ensure their survival and the conservation of species at the zoo. However, it clarified that the popular action mechanism could not address the right to integral education.
Texas Attorney General Letter Opinion 94-071 Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. LO 94-071

Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether staged fights between penned hogs and dogs constitutes a criminal offense. The Assistant Attorney General deemed these staged fights as violating the criminal cruelty laws.

Texas Attorney General Opinion No. JC-0048 Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. JC-0048

Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether city ordinances are preempted by statutes that govern the treatment of animals. Specifically, the opinion discusses pigeon shoots. The opinion emphasizes that organized pigeon shoots are prohibited under Texas cruelty laws but that present wildlife laws allow the killing of feral pigeons.

Stephens v. State Stephans v. State, 3 So. 458 (Miss. 1887) (Arnold J. plurality).

The Mississippi Cruelty to Animal statute was applied to the Defendant who killed several hogs that were eating his crops.  The lower court refused to instruct the Jury that they should find him not guilty, if they believed that he killed the hogs while depredating on his crop and to protect it, and not out of a spirit of cruelty to the animals.  The Supreme Court of Mississippi found it to be an error by the court to refuse to give such instructions because if the defendant was not actuated by a spirit of cruelty, or a disposition to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering, he was not guilty under the statute.

State v. Roche State v. Roche. 37 Mo App 480 (1889)

The defendants were convicted and sentenced upon an information under section 1609, Revised Statutes of 1879, charging them with unlawfully, wilfully and cruelly overdriving a horse, and thereupon prosecute this appeal. The court held that the evidence that a horse was overdriven does not warrant a conviction under Revised Statutes, 1879, section 1609, in the absence of proof, that the overdriving was wilful and not accidental. Thus, the court reversed the lower court.

State v. Pierce State v. Pierce, 7 Ala. 728 (1845)

The Defendant was charge with cruelty to animals for the killing of a certain spotted bull, belonging some person to the jurors unknow.  The lower court found the Defendant guilty.  The Defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court seeking review of whether the defense of provocation could be used.  The Court determined the answer to be yes. Thus the Court reversed and remanded the case.

State v. Neal State v. Neal, 27 S.E. 81 (N.C. 1897)

The defendant was convicted under North Carolina's cruelty to animal statute for the killing of his neighbor's chickens.  The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court because the trial court refused to give some of his instructions to the jury.  The Supreme Court that the lower court was correct and affirmed.

State v. Marsh State v. Marsh, 823 P.2d 823 (Kan. Ct. App. 1991)

Without defendant's consent or knowledge, a state animal inspector surveyed defendant's property on two occasions. Without prior notice to or consent of defendant, the State seized all of defendant's dogs. The court stated that warrantless searches and seizures had to be limited by order, statute, or regulation as to time, place, and scope in order to comport with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. Because the Act and the order failed to so limit the search, the court concluded that it was unreasonable and unlawful.

State v. Claiborne State v. Claiborne, 505 P.2d 732 (Kan. 1973)

Animals -- Cruelty to Animals -- Cockfighting -- Gamecocks Not Animals -- No Statutory Prohibition Against Cockfights -- Statute Not Vague. In an action filed pursuant to K. S. A. 60-1701 in which the state seeks a construction of K. S. A. 1972 Supp. 21-4310 (cruelty to animals) making its provisions applicable to cockfighting, the record is examined and for reasons appearing in the opinion it is held: (1) Gamecocks are not animals within the meaning or contemplation of the statute. (2) There is no clear legislative intent that gamecocks be included within the category of animals protected by the statute. (3) The statute does not apply to or prohibit the conducting of cockfights. (4) As construed, the statute is not so vague, indefinite and uncertain as to violate the requirements of due process.

State v. Bruner State v. Bruner 12 N.E. 103 (Ind. 1887).

The Defendant was charged with unlawfully and cruelly torturing, tormenting, and needlessly mutilating a goose under Ind. Rev. Stat. § 2101 (1881).  At issue was the ownership status of the goose.  The affidavit alleged that the goose was the property of an unknown person, and thus was the equivalent of an averment that the goose was a domestic fowl, as required by Ind. Rev. Stat. § 2101 (1881).  The court noted that whenever the ownership of the animal is charged, such ownership becomes a matter of description and must be proved as alleged.  Interestingly, the court in this case also observed that there is "a well defined difference between the offence of malicious or mischievous injury to property and that of cruelty to animals," with the latter only becoming an indictable offense within recent years.  The Supreme Court held that the motion to quash should have been overruled and reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

State v. Browning State v. Browning, 50 S.E. 185 (S.C. 1905).

The defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals for the overworking of his mule.  The defendant appealed the desicision by the lower court to the circuit court.  The circuit court affirmed the lower court and the defendant agained appealed.  The Supreme Court of South Carolina held that jursidiction was proper against the defendant and the evidence supported a finding of ownership by the defendant.  Thus, the Court affirmed the lower court's decision.

State v. Beekman State v. Beckman, 27 N.J.L. 124 (1858)

The defendant was convicted, in the Somerset Oyer and Terminer, of malicious mischief. The indictment charges that the defendant unlawfully, willfully, and maliciously did wound one cow, of the value of $ 50, of the goods and chattels of J. C. T.  The defendant appealed the conviction contending that the act charged in the indictment didn't constitute an indictable offence in this state.  The Court held that the facts charged in this indictment constitute no indictable offence, and the Court of Over and Terminer should be advised accordingly.

State v. Avery State v. Avery, 44 N.H. 392 (1862)

The Defedant was convicted of the charge of cruelty to animals for the beating of his own horse.  The Defendant appealed this descision to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire on two grounds.  First, the lower court failed to instructe the jury that intoxication was a defense to the charge.  Second, the lower court instructed the jury that the beating of an animal for training may at some point become malicious and illegal under that statute.  The Court held the lower court was not in error and affirmed the decision.

State v. Allison State v. Allison, 90 N.C. 733 (1884).

The defendant was indicted at spring term, 1883, for a violation of the act of assembly in reference to cruelty to animals. The indictment is substantially as follows: The jurors, &c., present that the defendant, with force and arms, &c., "did unlawfully and wilfully overdrive, torture, torment, cruelly beat and needlessly mutilate a certain cow, the property of, &c., by beating said cow and twisting off her tail," contrary, &c. The jury found the defendant guilty, and on his motion the judgment was arrested and the state appealed.  The Supreme Court reversed the lower court's descision to arrest the judgment.

State ex rel Del Monto v. Woodmansee State ex rel Del Monto v. Woodmansee, 72 N.E.2d 789 (Ohio 1946).

In an action in mandamus, relator property owner sought a writ ordering respondent building commissioner of the City of Euclid to issue a building permit for the construction of a store building.  The store building would be used for the slaughter of chicken.  The state tired to oppose the building by stating the use would be against Ohio's cruelty to animal statute.  The Court ruled that the term "animals" as thus used meant a quadruped, not a bird or fowl.  Thus, the court ruled in favor of the property owner in his mandamus action against the commissioner.  

The South African Predator Breeders Association v. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism South African Predator Breeders Association and Others v Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (1900/2007) [2009] ZAFSHC 68 (11 June 2009) This application is about the validity of regulations designed to regulate the hunting of lions that were bred in captivity.
Solicitud de Atracción 249/2023. Caso Elefante Ely. Ciudad de Mexico Solicitud de Atracción 249/2023 This is a writ of Amparo on behalf of Ely, a 38-year-old female African elephant that lived in a circus before being relocated to the San Juan de Arago Zoo in 2012. In this instance, a concerned citizen and activist affiliated with the Association "Opening Cages, Opening Minds" ("Abriendo Jaulas, Abriendo Mentes") filed an Amparo petitioning the authorities in Mexico City to take necessary actions for the relocation of Ely from the zoo to a sanctuary in Brazil. The petitioner asserted that Ely had endured abuse from a young age during her 25-year tenure in a circus, and was currently experiencing deprivation of freedom at the zoo. Ely is solitary and grappling with skin and nail injuries, infections, and ailments such as dermatitis and hyperkeratosis. The petitioner further argued that Ely was suffering from issues in one of her limbs due to an old fracture and jaw problems stemming from the use of a handling hook during her circus days, among other concerns. Moreover, the elephant's confinement in a cement enclosure has compounded adverse effects on her physical and psychological well-being. Observations indicate distressing behavior including self-harm, such as eating her own feces, and striking herself with her trunk and against the fence. Ely also exhibited repetitive behavior attributed to inadequate mental, physical, social, and environmental stimulation. The treatment she has received is deemed a violation of ethical standards for animal respect and protection. The judge determined that Ely received appropriate and ample care at the zoo, where her enclosure adhered to the needs of her species. It was noted that she was receiving the necessary attention to address the chronic ailments stemming from her time in the circus. Consequently, the San Juan de Aragón Zoo fulfilled its obligation to protect and care for the elephant, addressing her physiological, behavioral, and health requirements and ensuring her overall well-being. Following the verdict, the zoo enlarged Ely's enclosure and introduced Gypsy, another elephant of similar size and age, to provide companionship for Ely. After pursuing various legal avenues without success, the complainant sought review from the Supreme Court of Justice, and the high court accepted the request. The Supreme Court will review the decision of the Fourth Administrative District court, which ruled for the zoo, finding that Ely was being kept in adequate conditions.
ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY, SHY 38, INC. & HOPE SANCTUARY, Plaintiffs, v. LAURA KELLY & DEREK SCHMIDT, Defendants Slip Copy, No. CV 18-2657-KHV, 2020 WL 362626 (D. Kan. Jan. 22, 2020) The Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”), Center for Food Safety (“CFS”), Shy 38, Inc. and Hope Sanctuary are interest groups that aim to protect and advocate for animals and the environment. These interest groups filed suit on December 4, 2018 against the Governor and Attorney General of Kansas seeking a declaratory judgment that the Kansas Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protect Act was unconstitutional. The Act made it a crime to damage or destroy an animal facility or an animal, exercise control over an animal facility or animal from a facility, take photos or videos at an animal facility that that is not open to the public, and remain at an animal facility against the owner’s wishes. Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. ALDF desired to conduct an undercover investigation in Kansas but refrained from doing so out of fear of criminal prosecution under the Act. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Act violated their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. To be subject to criminal prosecution under subsection (a) of K.S.A. 47-1827, the ALDF investigator had to cause physical damage to an animal or the animal facility or its property. The Plaintiffs did not allege that the ALDF investigator intended to cause such physical damage so the ALDF investigator was not at risk of criminal prosecution under the provision and, therefore, ALDF did not demonstrate standing to challenge subsection (a). ALDF alleged sufficient injury to support standing to challenge subsections (b), (c), and (d) of the Act. CFS, Shy 38, and Hope Sanctuary also had standing to challenge those subsections. The Court found that subsections (b), (c), and (d) regulated speech rather than conduct and was content-based rather than neutral-based. The Court ultimately concluded that the Plaintiffs were entitled to summary judgment on their claim that subsections (b), (c), and (d) violated the First Amendment. The Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on their lack of standing claim for subsection (a) and K.S.A. 47-1828.
Kollman v. Vilsack Slip Copy, No. 8:14-CV-1123-T-23TGW, 2016 WL 4702426 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 8, 2016)

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. §§ 2131–2159) regulates the housing, sale, transport, treatment, and exhibition of animals. Defendants, United States Secretary of Agriculture, licensed Plaintiff, Lancelot Kollman, as an exhibitor under the AWA. However, after the death of two lions and Kollman’s failure to contest charges, the Secretary revoked Kollman's license. Still, Hawthorn, a company that holds an exhibitor license, hired Kollman to train a “tiger act” for performance at circuses throughout the United States. Hawthorn then asked Kollman to travel with the tigers and perform the act. However, the USDA received complaints about Kollman's participation in the act, despite having his license revoked. The USDA investigated and determined that Kollman was prohibited from exhibiting animals as an employee of Hawthorn. Kollman, sued Thomas J. Vilsack, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, and Chester A. Gipson, a deputy administrator of animal care.  Kollman sued for a declaration that, at a circus maintained by his employer, Hawthorn Corporation, he could publicly perform the tiger act. The Defendants moved for summary judgment.  The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, held that the Defendants' motion for summary judgment was Granted. The court reasoned that Kollman was barred from presenting animals on behalf of Hawthorn because regardless of his status as a Hawthorn employee, Section 2.10(c) of the Animal Welfare Act clearly prohibited Kollman, as an individual with a revoked license, from exhibiting an animal. Secondly, Section 2.10(c) was unambiguous.

Humane Soc'y of the United States v. Nat'l Institutes of Health Slip Copy, No. 21-CV-00121-LKG, 2022 WL 17619232 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2022) Plaintiff animal welfare advocates sued the National Institute of Health (NIH) for failing to transfer all chimpanzees housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a retirement sanctuary known as “Chimp Haven." According to plaintiffs, transfer is required under the federal Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act (“CHIMP Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 283m, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In 2015, NIH officially announced that it would cease biomedical research on chimpanzees and establish a working group to transfer all 288 surplus chimpanzees owned by NIH to Chimp Haven. In 2019, the NIH announced that not all chimpanzees would be transferred to Chimp Haven because 44 of those individuals were too frail for transfer due to medical conditions. After cross-motions for summary judgment, this court considers whether transfer is legally required. On appeal, Plaintiffs contend that the plain language of the CHIMP Act requires the transfer of all chimps and the court owes no deference to agency interpretation. In contrast, the Government argues that the decision is consistent with the CHIMP Act because the plain language of the act only requires that surplus chimpanzees offered by NIH be "accepted" into CHIMP Haven. The court found that the plain and unambiguous language, and use of the word "shall," in the CHIMP Act requires the NIH to transfer ALL chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary system. In addition, the legislative history of the CHIMP Act reinforces that reading of the statute. While the court recognized NIH's concern toward the frailest chimpanzees, the proper avenue is within the legislative branch. Notably, the court was unsure as to the proper remedy in this particular matter (e.g., whether a remand or vacatur is more appropriate). As a result, Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment was granted and the Government's cross motion was denied as was the motion to dismiss. The court directed the parties to file a joint status report report with views on the relief Plaintiff seeks and how the matter should proceed in light of the instant opinion.
Bermudez v Hanan Slip Copy, 44 Misc.3d 1207(A), 2013 WL 5496124 (Table) (N.Y.City Civ.Ct.),

This unpublished small claims court opinion concerns a dog bite. Claimant sought to recover monetary damages for medical bills and related expenses she incurred as a result of personal injuries suffered when Defendant's dog named "Chino" bit her on the face. At issue is whether Chino had vicious propensities and whether Defendant was aware of or had knowledge of those vicious propensities. The court found that Plaintiff did not raise an issue of fact as to the dog's vicious propensities. The court found compelling evidence that Chino was certified by the Good Dog Foundation to visit healthcare facilities as a therapy dog. As a result, the court dismissed the motion.

Iowa Pork Producers Association v. Bonta Slip Copy, 2022 WL 613736 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2022) The Iowa Pork Producers Association, an organization that represents Iowa-based industrial pig farmers, filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that California’s Proposition 12 is unconstitutional. Proposition 12, a ballot measure that California voters passed in 2018, mandates that pregnant pigs must be housed with a certain amount of space in order for products made from such livestock to be sold in California. Proposition 12 also bans the sale of pork meat from producers that do not comply with the housing requirements, including sales from out of state producers. Plaintiff contended that Proposition 12 violates the dormant commerce clause in that it discriminates against interstate commerce, directly regulates extraterritorial conduct, and that even if it regulates evenhandedly to effectuate a legitimate local public interest, the burden imposed on commerce is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits. The court looked to the purpose of Proposition 12, which is intended to prevent animal cruelty by phasing out extreme methods of farm animal confinement, which also threaten the health and safety of California consumers, and increase the risk of foodborne illness and associated negative fiscal impacts on the state of California. The court found that this purpose is not discriminatory, and that there is no hint of economic protectionism. The court also found that there is no discriminatory effect, as the statute treats all producers the same by imposing the same requirements. The court also denied the extraterritoriality claim because Proposition 12 is not a price control or price affirmation statute and, therefore, does not directly regulate extraterritorial economic conduct. The court also found that the burden imposed on commerce was not clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits. The court’s precedent states that even if producers will need to adopt a more costly method of production to comply with Proposition 12, such increased costs do not constitute a substantial burden on interstate commerce, and higher costs to consumers do not qualify as a substantial burden on interstate commerce. The district court dismissed the case, holding that plaintiffs failed to raise serious questions as to the merits of the claims.
Los Altos Boots v. Bonta Slip Copy, 2021 WL 5234864 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2021) This unpublished California case considers the application of the recently amended statute (Penal Code section 653o), which makes it "unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of an iguana, skink, caiman, hippopotamus, or a Teju, Ring, or Nile lizard" beginning January 1, 2022. The instant case concerns the importation of some caiman products. The businesses bringing the suit seek the enjoin the caiman prohibition while the lawsuit is pending. While the state contends that the plaintiffs lack standing because the claim is unripe, the court found the three-part standing test was satisfied. The court also found that the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction was justified where plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits, the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable economic harm if section 653o goes into effect on January 1st that cannot not be mitigated by damages, and the balance of harms favors plaintiffs. Specifically, the court found that section 653o will create a "clear conflict between that section and the Endangered Species Act" and plaintiffs have demonstrated a serious harm to their businesses. The court declined to "wade into a policy dispute "whether California's or the United States’ wildlife protections are superior." The motion for a preliminary injunction was granted. The defendants, their employees, agents, and successors in office are enjoined from enforcing California Penal Code sections 653o(c) and 653r in connection with the importation, possession, or sale of caiman bodies, parts, or products until the final disposition of this case.
Petconnect Rescue, Inc. v. Salinas Slip copy, 2021 WL 5178647 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2021) Plaintiffs are animal rescue organizations and an individual consumer alleging that the Defendants import non-rescue dogs into California and sell these dogs under the fraudulent misrepresentation that the dogs are rescued animals. Plaintiffs allege that the Rothman Defendants broker the sale of dogs bred for profit from “puppy mills” in the Midwest to pet stores in southern California which harms consumers by defrauding them and making them believe they are adopting a "rescue animal" (what the Plaintiffs have termed as "pet laundering"). In addition, plaintiffs alleged Lanham Act violations for trademark infringement. Before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants. In denying the motion to dismiss, the court held that Plaintiffs alleged sufficient facts to state a claim that the Moving Defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell non-rescue dogs as rescue dogs under the “Pet Connect Rescue” name.
ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF CINCINNATI v. THE GORILLA FOUNDATION Slip Copy, 2019 WL 414971 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 1, 2019) In 1991, the plaintiff, Zoological Society of Cincinnati, transferred a western lowland Gorilla named Ndume who had been living at the Zoo to The Gorilla Foundation (TGF) in Northern California. Ndume was sent to TGF in hopes that he and another gorilla there, named Koko, would mate and produce offspring. That never happened. In 2015, the Zoo and TGF entered into a new written agreement which expressly superseded any prior agreements. The agreement provided that upon the death of Koko, Ndume was to be placed at an institution that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). TGF is not an AZA accredited institution. KoKo died and the Zoo now wants to transfer Ndume back to the zoo. TGF has not made arrangements for a transfer to be carried out. The Zoo brought this suit seeking specific enforcement of the 2015 agreement and contends that it is entitled to summary judgment in its favor. TGF argued that the agreement was illegal and unenforceable because the transfer would harm Ndume. TGF identified a number of potential risks, particularly, that Ndume has a Balantidium Coli infection. TGF contended that stress could trigger an outbreak which could be fatal. The court was unpersuaded and stated that TGF signed the 2015 agreement less than 3 years before the present dispute arose and that all of the circumstances that TGF contends makes compliance with the agreement risky existed when the agreement was negotiated. TGF also contended that the agreement is impracticable due to unreasonable (non-monetary) costs. However, the Court again stated that TGF knew these facts and circumstances when it entered into the agreement. The Court granted the Zoo's motion for summary judgment and denied TGF's request for a continuance to permit it to take discovery. The parties were ordered to confer and attempt to reach a consensus on as many aspects of the protocol for transporting Ndume to the Zoo as possible. If within 30 days of the date of the order the parties cannot reach a consensus, they will have to file a joint statement setting out any issues on which they have reached a stalemate.
LaRosa v. River Quarry Apartments, LLC Slip Copy, 2019 WL 3538951 (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2019) Plaintiffs, Robert and Iva LaRosa filed this action in August of 2018, alleging that the defendants violated their rights under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"). The Court dismissed the complaint and the Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The Plaintiffs had applied to live at River Quarry Apartments in August of 2017. They requested a reasonable accommodation to keep their dog at the apartment without paying a fee. The Plaintiffs provided a copy of a note from a nurse practitioner stating that the companion dog helps manage Mr. LaRosa’s post-traumatic stress disorder. The Plaintiffs were approved for the apartment but told that their reasonable accommodation request was still being processed and received forms to fill out regarding the reasonable accommodation. River Quarry required Mr. LaRose’s doctor to fill out a form verifying the need for an assistance animal. Rather than completing the form, the plaintiffs provided a letter from Mr. LaRosa’s primary care physician which stated that in the doctor’s opinion, an emotional support animal would help mitigate the symptoms that Mr. LaRose was experiencing. River Quarry insisted on speaking with Mr. LaRose’s doctor directly to verify the information that the plaintiffs had given. After Kirk Cullimore, an attorney on behalf of River Quarry, spoke with the doctor, River Quarry wrote a letter to the Plaintiffs denying their request for a reasonable accommodation stating that the doctor declined to verify that Mr. LaRosa met the two prong test that one must be handicapped and there must be a nexus between the handicap and the need for the animal. Soon after this, Mr. LaRosa saw his primary care physician and had the actual form completed by his doctor and turned it in to River Quarry. Kirk Cullimore believed that the doctor’s signature on the form was forged and called Mr. LaRose’s doctor to speak with him again. The doctor’s secretary informed Cullimore that the signature was genuine. Mr. and Mrs. LaRosa argued that they were injured by the discrimination of the Defendants in violation of the FHA. The Court denied the Plaintiffs claim under the FHA because they did not sufficiently allege that the Defendants refused to make the requested accommodation. River Quarry allowed the dog to stay in the apartment while their request for an accommodation was reviewed. The Court stated that housing providers are granted a meaningful opportunity to investigate a request for an accommodation. Housing providers do not have to immediately approve a request for an accommodation right away. River Quarry ended up approving the request within 45 days after the initial request. The Court held that this was not an unreasonable delay considering that River Quarry did not have sufficient information to make a determination until after Mr. LaRosa’s doctor completed the verification form. Prior to that the doctor’s letter and the phone call between Cullimore and the doctor did not reveal enough information for River Quarry to make a determination on the accommodation. The Plaintiffs, however, succeeded on their interference claim. The LaRosas were engaged in a protected activity when they applied for a reasonable accommodation and they sufficiently alleged that they were subjected to adverse action and that a causal link existed between the protected activity and the adverse action. The Defendants misrepresented the contents of Mr. Cullimore and Mr. LaRosa’s doctor’s conversation. The Court ultimately denied in part and granted in part the Defendant’s motion to dismiss and denied in part and granted in part the motion to dismiss claims against Kirk Cullimore and his law office.
Theis v. Yuba County Sheriff's Department Slip Copy, 2019 WL 3006261 (E.D. Cal. July 10, 2019) The Plaintiffs allege that their cat, named Pizza, was unlawfully euthanized at Yuba County Animal Care Services shelter in Olivehurst, California on or about February 9, 2018. Pizza went missing on or about February 9, 2018 and Plaintiffs found out later that same day that a neighbor had found the cat and brought it to the Yuba County animal shelter. The Plaintiffs attempted to contact the shelter, but it had already closed for the evening. The next morning around 9:30 a.m., the Plaintiffs arrived at the shelter and learned that Pizza had been euthanized as early as 5:00 p.m. the night before. Defendant Barnhill, the shelter’s supervising officer, informed the Plaintiff’s that Pizza had been injured, however, the neighbor who brought the cat to the shelter without knowing it was the Plaintiffs’ described Pizza as looking healthy. The Plaintiffs contend that Pizza’s euthanization falls within an ongoing pattern and practice of abuse and failure to follow state and federal law. Plaintiffs filed their original complaint on October 1, 2018. The Defendants removed the case to federal court. Plaintiff’s asserted four claims in their First Amended Complaint: (1) the failure to perform mandatory duties in violation of California Government Code section 815.6, (2) petition for a writ of mandate under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1085, (3) violation of the plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, (4) negligence under California common law. The Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint and alleged that the Plaintiff’s did not plead facts sufficient to show that Barnhill engaged in unlawful conduct or to establish a substantive or procedural due process violation. The Court, however, granted the Plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint as to the section 1983 claim. The Court declined to assert supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, which were the Plaintiff’s first, second, and fourth claims since the Plaintiff’s had conceded that their federal claim by requesting to amend their complaint. As a result, the Court reviewed remaining claims to determine whether they may be included in any amended complaint or whether leave to amend would be futile. The Court determined that granting Plaintiff’s leave to file a second amended complaint would not be futile on all of their claims except for the petition for writ of mandate claim. California’s Civil Procedure Code section 1085 does not apply to federal courts and, therefore, the Plaintiff’s leave to amend this claim would be futile. Ultimately, the Court ordered Plaintiff’s third cause of action for violations of their Fourteenth Amendment substantive and procedural due process rights be dismissed with leave to amend, the Plaintiff’s state law claims in their first, second, and fourth causes of action be dismissed with leave to amend to the extent consistent with the order, and denied the Defendant's motions to strike Plaintiffs' punitive damages claim. Plaintiffs were required to file a second amended complaint within 21 days of the date the order was filed if they wished to amend their complaint.
Goodwin v. Crawford Cty., Georgia Slip Copy, 2019 WL 2569626 (M.D. Ga. June 21, 2019) This instant action is a motion to dismiss by Defendant Sims in a § 1983 action and state law claims by plaintiff Goodwin against several Crawford County, Georgia officials. The case started with the shooting of plaintiff's dog, allegedly by Defendant Crawford County Officer Neesmith. After the dog was shot in his driveway, plaintiff alleges that Neesmith consulted another officer named Hollis who arrived on scene. Neesmith then called Defendant Sims, who was an employee of the Crawford County Health Department. Sims explained to Neesmith by phone that Plaintiff Goodwin could be liable for the cost of a rabies shot if the dog's head was not removed and that the cost of the shot was approximately $20,000. After this call, Hollis order plaintiff to cut off his own dog's head to be tested for rabies or face criminal charges and the cost of the rabies shot. In the presence of plaintiff's wife and children, the plaintiff relented and cut off the dog's head with a knife, but was too emotionally distraught to take the dog's head to the Crawford County Health Department (Plaintiff Dakon did so). As to only Defendant Sims' motion to dismiss, this court found that her economic coercion was not arbitrary and thus did not violate plaintiff's substantive due process rights. Further, the court found that Sims did not actually coerce or force plaintiff to do the decapitation. Regarding plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress against Sims, the court found that Sims' alleged use of "financial pressure" did not amount to extreme and outrageous conduct. Instead, the court said "she did her job," which was to communicate the rabies control procedures and did not actually require plaintiff to personally decapitate his dog. Accordingly, the Court granted Sims' Motion to Dismiss.
DeLany v. Kriger Slip Copy, 2019 WL 1307453 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2019) This unpublished Tennessee case concerns a veterinary negligence action. The owners of a cat filed a wrongful death complaint against the cat's veterinarian and animal hospital after the cat was killed when the veterinarian wrongly placing a feeding tube into the cat's trachea rather than her esophagus, causing the cat to aspirate and die when she was fed through the tube. The trial court held that the defendants were not liable because the cat was so ill she was likely to die anyway, and thus dismissed the complaint. The cat was 10-years old when she was brought in because she was acting a "little slow" and had not eaten in a couple days. Through discovery and at trial, it was observed that the cat had a septic abscess on her liver with a 79% mortality rate. On appeal here, this court first took issue with the trial court's finding for causation in the negligence analysis. This court found that the evidence was "undisputed" that the cat died as a result of the improperly placed feeding tube, which was further supported by x-rays showing the feeding tube in the trachea rather than the esophagus. Because the trial court did not find causation, damages were not addressed. Here, the court noted that domestic pets are considered private property in Tennessee. The law is settled that a pet owner can recover for the wrongful death of his or her pet in the state. Further, Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-17-403 provides that a dog or cat owner is entitled to recover up to $5,000 in noneconomic damages for "the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another . . ." but that no award of noneconomic damages is permitted in “an action for professional negligence against a licensed veterinarian.” While Mr. DeLany testified he considered the cat's fair market value at $5,000, another veterinarian joined as a defendant testified that a healthy cat has a value of around $75 and a sick cat has a value of $0.40. The appellate court stated that the calculation of damages is a matter for the fact-finder, and the case was remanded to the trial court to determine the appropriate amount of economic damages. This would include, but not be limited to, the medical bills incurred for Callie's treatment and the cost of replacing Callie, said the court.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Wildlife in Need & Wildlife in Deed, Inc. Slip Copy, 2018 WL 828461 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 12, 2018) In this case, the Plaintiff (PETA) filed a complaint for injunctive relief against the Defendants (WIN) alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) relating to the declawing of the Defendants' captive Big Cats (lions, tigers, and hybrids). WIN operates as a AWA-USDA licensed wildlife exhibitor and charges the public a fee to directly interact with the Big Cat Cubs. Notably, the court indicates that WIN has been cited for more than 50 times for failing to meet minimum standards under the AWA. Defendants "routinely" declaw the Big Cats, not out of medical necessity, but because it "makes them easier to handle." Testimony showed that two Big Cat Cubs died as the result of complications from declawing and Defendants do not provide post-surgical pain medication or antibiotics. In October of 2017, the court issued a temporary restraining order preventing Defendants from declawing, and, the following December, Plaintiffs filed the present Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The court held a hearing in January 2018 in which the court heard evidence and arguments. In reviewing the factors supporting issuance of a preliminary injunction, the court found there was a likelihood of success in proving the declawing and baby cat "play" time constituted takings under the ESA. In addition, there were no adequate remedies available at law and the court held irreparable harm would result from the declaws. Thus, the court GRANTED Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
Manzke v. Jefferson County Slip Copy, 2018 WL 5095678 (W.D. Wis. Aug. 21, 2018) Joshua Pernat and Sara Manzke owned property that had four miniature goats and two geese on it. Sara (plaintiff) applied for a zoning variance and a conditional use permit to accommodate her emotional support animals. Jefferson County and the Town of Ixonia denied her applications. Sara then brought forth claims under the Fair Housing Amendments Act and Wisconsin’s Open Housing Act that she was discriminated against by Jefferson County and the Town of Ixonia. Joshua and Sara also sought a notice of removal of a small claims action brought forth by Jefferson County seeking monetary sanctions for the alleged violations of the zoning variance. Jefferson County argued that the plaintiff’s federal reasonable accommodation claim was not ripe because the County never made a final decision with respect to Sara’s applications for a variance and conditional use permit. When the Town of Ixonia voted to recommend that Jefferson County deny the plaintiff’s variance application, the plaintiff withdrew her applications from consideration. Sara argued that the town’s denial “foretold a denial by the County,” and any further appeal to the County would have been fruitless. The Court did not agree. The County had no obligation to follow the town’s recommendation. The Court dismissed plaintiff’s Fair Housing Amendments Act claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and accordingly dismissed plaintiff’s state law claim without prejudice. Since Sara was unable to state a federal claim, the Court also held that Sara and Joshua could not remove the small claim by Jefferson County to federal court.
Baughman v. City of Elkhart, TX Slip copy, 2018 WL 1510678 (E.D. Tex., 2018) Plaintiff Tammy Baughman filed a complaint on May 31, 2017 seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of her Fourteenth amendment rights; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging that she was discriminated against; the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), alleging a failure to make reasonable accommodations; and 42 U.S.C. § 3613. Plaintiff asserts that she is disabled due to a failed back surgery. She also has fibromyalgia, depression, and other health issues. Plaintiff has a seven pound ring tail lemur that she claims is an emotional support animal that improves her quality of life. Plaintiff's lemur bit a mail carrier on December 5, 2012 which left lacerations on the carrier's hand and wrist. Plaintiff then moved to Elkhart, Texas in December 2014 where her lemur bit another person on June 25, 2015. In both instances the lemur was quarantined for 30 days and then returned to Plaintiff. The City of Elkhart enacted an ordinance on October 5, 2015 that bans all non-human primates from the city. Plaintiff claims she requested an accommodation form the City to keep her lemur as an emotional support animal, but her request was denied. The defendants, which include the mayor and city council members, claim the plaintiff never requested an accommodation. Plaintiff further alleges that the defendants "showed deliberate indifference in refusing to give [her] a hearing and defend her lemur,' which violates the FHAA and ADA. On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking a dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. Defendants claim that Plaintiff's lemur was involved in two documented attacks in Houston County, Texas and a third in Elkhart. Defendants assert that Plaintiff runs a retail resale shop out of her home and that in the third attack on June 25, 2015, the lemur jumped on a customer in plaintiff's store. Defendants assert that the ordinance was enacted as a legitimate exercise of the City's legislative power and police power. The District court concluded that the defendants are entitled to absolute judicial immunity for their conduct because the act of voting in favor of an ordinance is an undeniable legislative action. As for Plaintiff's 1983 claim, the District Court concluded that she had not shown a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether her due process rights were violated nor does she have a basis for a procedural due process claim. The ordinance is rationally related to the City's legitimate interest in the safety and welfare of its citizens. The ordinance does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, the District Court concluded that the Plaintiff had not shown that the reasonable accommodation that she requested - an exemption from the animal control ordinance - did not place an undue burden on the City of Elkhart. No facts were provided by the Plaintiff that would show that her interest in keeping her lemur outweighs the interest of the City in protecting its citizens. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, in order to succeed on an ADA claim, there must be some evidence that set the animal apart from an ordinary pet. The Plaintiff failed to show any evidence that her lemur is specifically trained to perform tasks that help her in her daily life. The District Court held that the Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted and the Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
Missouri Primate Foundation v. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. Slip Copy, 2018 WL 1420239 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 22, 2018) This matter is a motion of counterclaim by defendants Missouri Primate Foundation to dismiss PETA's (the counterclaim plaintiff) assertion that two chimpanzees were being held in conditions that deprived the chimpanzees of adequate social groups, space, and psychological stimulation, putting them at risk of and causing physical and psychological injury, such as deteriorated cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, stress, anxiety and depression. PETA also alleges that the chimpanzees were denied a sanitary environment, proper ventilation, a healthy diet, and adequate veterinary care. PETA claimed that the Missouri Primate Foundation (MPF) (the counterclaim defendants) were holding the two chimpanzees in conditions that “harm” and “harass” the chimpanzees, thus violating the “take” prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). MPF's motion contends that PETA’s counterclaim is based on allegations that they failed to comply with the Animal Welfare Act, not the ESA. MPF further contends that because the chimpanzees at its facility were lawfully in captivity and under the auspices of the AWA as administered by the USDA–APHIS, so the chimpanzees cannot be subject to a “take” under the ESA. They further argued that PETA lacked standing as the AWA preempts or supersedes the ESA as to animals held at USDA licensed facilities. Because the AWA does not allow citizen suits, MPF argued, the case must be dismissed. After examining similar cases, this court concluded that claims under the AWA and ESA are complementary and do not conflict, and that the ESA protects captive animals regardless of whether the alleged violator is an AWA licensed entity. The court found that the allegations by PETA are sufficient at this stage of the case and issues of proof are reserved for trial. As such, the court denied the motions of the counterclaim defendants.
United States v. Robinson Slip Copy, 2017 WL 806655 (D. Neb. Mar. 1, 2017)

In this case, defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money after the defendant’s vehicle was searched by law enforcement during a traffic stop. During the stop, the police officer used a service dog while searching the vehicle. The defendants argued that any evidence gained by the police officer be suppressed on the grounds that the search of the vehicle was not constitutional. Specifically, the defendants argued that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to use the service dog while searching the vehicle. Ultimately, the court found that the search by the police officer and his service dog did not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights because the police officer had reasonable suspicion to search the vehicle. The court focused on the fact that the officer had legally stopped the vehicle and while talking to the driver and passengers he had established a reasonable suspicion that the defendants were transporting drugs. Once the police officer had a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle was transporting drugs, the police officer was legally allowed to use the service dog to search the vehicle. As a result, the court held that none of the evidence found during the search should be suppressed for violating the defendant’s constitutional rights. 

Tuman v. VL GEM LLC Slip Copy, 2017 WL 781486 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2017)

In this case, Tuman sued the owners of her apartment complex, VL GEM LLC and GEM Management Partners LLC, after the apartment complex refused to allow her to keep an emotional support dog in her apartment to help her deal with her post-traumatic stress disorder. Truman argued that she was discriminated against after she requested a “reasonable accommodation” for her disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The defendants argued that Truman failed to provide sufficient medical documentation of her need for the support dog and therefore were not liable for discrimination under the FHA. The court found that Truman was able to establish a disability under FHA by showing that her PTSD “causes her to have severe anxiety and difficulties with socialization.” The court held that this satisfied the requirement under the FHA that the disability must “substantially limit one or more major life activities.” Since Truman qualified as disabled under the FHA, the court turned to whether or not she had provided the apartment complex with sufficient documentation and notice. Ultimately, the court found that Truman had provided the apartment with sufficient documentation because she provided them with a note from her doctor stipulating that Truman needed an accommodation in order to cope with her disability. Lastly, the court found that the apartment complex knew of Truman’s disability and request for an accommodation and still refused to allow her to have a dog, which resulted in a violation under the FHA. As a result, the court found for Truman. 

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack Slip Copy, 2017 WL 627379 (D.D.C., 2017)

In this case, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sought to intervene on a proceeding dealing with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a family owned-zoo in Iowa for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA was seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act against the Iowa zoo and the ALDF sought to intervene because it has long criticized the zoo's care and handling of its animals. The ALDF was prevented from intervening by the administrative law judge (ALJ) that was presiding over the matter. The ALJ did not allow the ALDF to intervene in the matter on the basis that the “ALDF’s stated interests were beyond the scope of the proceeding.” The ALDF filed suit challenging this decision according to Section 555(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows “interested persons” to participate in agency proceedings “so far as the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” The court found that the ALDF should have been allowed to intervene in the proceeding according to 555(b) because the ALDF’s "demonstrated interest in the welfare of the zoo's animals falls squarely within the scope of the USDA enforcement proceeding.” The court also found that there was no evidence to suggest that having ALDF intervene would "impede the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” As a result, the court held in favor of the ALDF’s motion for summary judgment and remanded the case back the case back to USDA for further consideration of ALDF's motion to Intervene. 

Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Ctr. Inc. v. New York State Dep't of Envtl. Conservation Slip Copy, 2017 WL 4868956 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Oct. 12, 2017) Petitioners, licensed wildlife rehabilitators with New York Wildlife Rehabilitation Licenses (WRL), challenged two statewide modifications to the WRL pertaining to white-tailed deer, which became effective in 2016. Petitioners contend these actions violated the state Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). Additionally, they argue the modifications were irrational, arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, and WRLs were improperly modified without a prior State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The first modification limits the time white-tailed fawns can be held for rehabilitation to a period of only April 15 to September 15 (absent prior written approval). The second modification limits the maximum holding period for an adult white-tailed deer (before release or euthanization) to 48-hours. This court did not find either modification was arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. In response to the challenges, the state, through a wildlife biologist, contends they are intended to prevent habituation and the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The explanatory statements provided for the modifications support reasonable and rational interpretations of rehabilitation and do not violate the SAPA. The September 15th cut-off day for fawns was based on scientific research conducted by the state's "Big Game Team" that sought to address issues of disease as well as "a documented pattern of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in New York who have been reluctant to either euthanize or release white-tailed deer." As to the modification for adult deer, there was a rational basis since that time period allows the care of a temporarily stunned deer in need of a short rehabilitation period balanced against disease and habituation concerns. The court also found that the issuance of WRL is a ministerial action exemption from environmental review under SEQRA. The petitions in this consolidated action were denied in their entirety and the proceeding dismissed.
Frost v. City of Sioux City, Iowa Slip Copy, 2017 WL 4126986 (N.D. Iowa, 2017) In this case, the City of Sioux City had adopted a local ordinance that made it "unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the City ... any pit bull." The ordinance goes on further to define pit bulls based on appearance and certain listed characteristics. Plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it: (1) is unconstitutionally vague; (2) violates their rights under the equal protection clause; and (3) violates their rights under the due process clause, both in substance and procedure. Here, the district court found that the due process and equal protection claims survived the defendant's motion to dismiss, but found that the ordinance was not facially unconstitutionally vague. As a result, defendants' Motion to Dismiss was DENIED in part and GRANTED in part. Plaintiffs' claim that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague was DISMISSED, and plaintiffs may proceed with their remaining equal protection clause and due process clause claims.
Smith v. City of Detroit Slip Copy, 2017 WL 3279170 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 2, 2017); [Reversed and Remanded by 751 F. App'x 691 (6th Cir. 2018)] [Reversed and Remanded by Smith v. City of Detroit, Michigan, 751 F. App'x 691 (6th Cir. 2018)] This case stems from the killing of three dogs by Detroit Police Officers in 2016. Plaintiff-dog owners brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action based on unlawful seizure their dogs in violation of the Fourth Amendment. In addition, plaintiffs raised Monell municipal liability claims and state laws claims for conversion and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Before this court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. The shooting of the dogs occurred during a drug raid pursuant to a search warrant (the marijuana charges were eventually dismissed due to the failure of police officers to appear at trial). One of the dogs escaped his barricade in the basement and was shot after allegedly charging the officers. The other dog "opened and closed the bathroom door by himself" according to testimony of the officers in their depositions, information that was absent from initial police reports according to the court. The last dog was shot as she began "charging" up the basement stairs while officers were at the top of the stairs. Depositions statements also reveal that none of the officers received any specific training on handling animal encounters during raids and one of the officers indicated he had shot at least 69 animals and another had shot 39. In analyzing the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment interests in their dogs, the court held that because plaintiffs failed to properly license their dogs under Michigan law, they did not have a "legitimate possessory interest protected by the Fourth Amendment." Thus, plaintiffs' claims based on the Fourth Amendment were dismissed. Specifically, the court stated, "in the eyes of the law it is no different than owning any other type of illegal property or contraband." As to the violation of a clearly established constitutional right for the seizure of the dogs under the Fourth Amendment against the police department, the court found the Detroit Police Department's plan did not violate the Fourth Amendment, especially where the informant said there was only a "small dog" present at the residence. The individual officers' actions were also found to be reasonable based on the "imminent threat" of the dogs. As to the Monell claim, plaintiffs failed to establish a pattern of violations showing deliberate indifference that is sufficient to establish municipal liability. Finally, on the IIED claim, the court relied on the fact that there is no precedent in Michigan to permit recovery for damage to property (to wit, a dog). Similarly, plaintiffs' conversion claim also failed where the court found the unlicensed status removed any "legitimate interest" in the dogs. The court subsequently granted defendants' motion for summary judgment.
State v. Graves Slip Copy, 2017 WL 3129373 (Ohio Ct. App., 2017) In this Ohio case, defendant Graves appeals his misdemeanor cruelty to animals conviction under R.C. 959.13(A)(3). The conviction stems from an incident in 2016 where Graves left his dog in locked and sealed van while he went into a grocery store. According to the facts, the van was turned off in an unshaded spot with windows closed on a 90+ degree day. Witnesses at the scene called police after they engaged in an unsuccessful attempt to get defendant to leave the store. In total, the dog spent about 40-45 minutes locked in the van. Graves was issued a citation for cruelty to animals and later convicted at a bench trial. On appeal, Graves first asserts that R.C. 959.13(A)(3) is unconstitutional because the statute is void for vagueness as applied to him and overbroad. This court found that the definition of cruelty was not so unclear that it could not be reasonably understood by Graves. The court was unconvinced by appellant's arguments that the statute provided insufficient guidance to citizens, and left open relevant question such as length of time a dog can be left unattended, exact weather conditions, and issues of the size of dogs left in vehicles. The court noted that most statutes deal with "unforeseen circumstances" and do not spell out details with "scientific precision." In fact, the court noted "[t]he danger of leaving an animal locked in a sealed vehicle in hot and humid conditions is well-known." Additionally, the court did not find the law to be overbroad, as defendant's right to travel was not infringed by the law. Finally, defendant contends that his conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. In rejecting this argument, the court found Graves acted recklessly under the law based on the hot and humid weather conditions and the fact that humans outside the van were experiencing the effects of extreme heat. Thus, the lower court's judgment was affirmed.
United States v. Charette Slip Copy, 2017 WL 1012974 (D. Mont. Mar. 15, 2017)

In this case, Brian F. Charette filed an appeal after he was sentenced to six months of imprisonment and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution for shooting and killing a grizzly bear in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Charette argued three issues on appeal: (1) that the trial court's denial of a jury trial violated his constitutional rights; (2) that the trial court erred in defining the elements of his charged offense; and (3) that the trial court erred in denying Charette's Rule 29 motion for a judgment of acquittal. The court found that the trial court did not err in denying a jury trial because Charette’s offense was considered a petty offense because it carried a maximum sentence of six months. For all crimes that are considered petty offenses, the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury is not triggered. Lastly, the court addressed Charette’s Rule 29 motion which calls for an acquittal if the essential elements of the offense are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for someone to be convicted of knowingly taking an endangered species the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that: (1) the defendant knowingly killed the animal; (2) the animal was engendered; (3) the defendant had no permit to kill the animal; and (4) the defendant did not act in self-defense or defense of others. Charette argued that the government failed to prove that he did not have a permit to kill the grizzly bear. The court ultimately found that the government did prove this element on the basis that Charette told officers that he did not report shooting the bear because he did not want to deal with the “hassle.” The court found that it was reasonable to believe that had Charette had a permit to kill the grizzly bear, he would not have found reporting it to be a hassle and therefore the government sufficiently established this element. As a result, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision. 

Riley v. Bd. of Commissioners of Tippecanoe Cty. Slip Copy, 2016 WL 90770, 2016 WL 90770 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 6, 2016) (unpublished) The plaintiff filed suit based on violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA) after he was denied entrance into the Tippecanoe County Courthouse with his service dog. Initially, defendant's claims were dismissed because the Court did not adequately allege that his dog was a service dog. Defendant then filed an amended complaint with plausible allegations that his dog is a service dog. The defendants moved to dismiss the case, stating that the plaintiff had not established that his dog was a service dog according to the definition listed under rules promulgated under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The court found that the plaintiff’s dog was a service dog under the definition because the dog was “individually trained to, among other things, provide [plaintiff] with balance support and assistance during episodes of PTSD.” As a result, the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case was denied.
United States v. Kent State University Slip Copy, 2016 WL 5107207 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 20, 2016)

In this case, the United States Government brought an action against Kent State University alleging that the University’s failure to have any policy in place that would allow for the University to consider emotional support animals violated the Fair Housing Act. The parties resolved their differences in the form of a consent decree and asked the court to approve the decree. The court approved the consent decree but suggested that the parties make a few additions to the decree. The first suggestion that the court made was to specify what type of qualifications were necessary to make someone a “qualified third-party” for the purpose of making a statement to the University about an individuals need for an emotional support animal. Secondly, the court suggested that the University begin reviewing the logistics of how the University would manage having animals in its housing and how the animals would be properly cared for. Lastly, the court urged the University to look at whether or not the University offered sufficient break times between classes so that a student would have enough time to check on the animal and ensure that the animal was not neglected on a routine basis.

Mostek v. Genesee County Animal Control Slip Copy, 2012 WL 683430 (E.D., Mich. 2012)

Defendant officer removed a gravely-ill cat that needed veterinary care from Plaintiff's backyard. Plaintiff sued alleging Fourth Amendment claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff disclaimed ownership of the cat, thus her property rights were not violated by the seizure. Officer was shielded by the doctrine of qualified immunity, because animal control officers may enter property and remove animals that appear to be in danger.

Wilkins v. Daniels Slip Copy, 2012 WL 6644465 (S.D.Ohio, 2012)

Various owners of exotic and wild animals filed a lawsuit in order to obtain a temporary restraining order and a permanent/preliminary injunction against the Ohio Department of Agriculture and its Director, David Daniels. The owners of the exotic and wild animals argued the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animals and Restricted Snakes Act, which the Ohio Department of Agriculture and its Director were trying to enforce, was unconstitutional. The district court denied the owners’ motion for obtain a temporary restraining order and a permanent/preliminary injunction reasoning that the exceptions to the Act’s ban on owning wild and exotic animals does not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, that the legislature had a legitimate purpose so as to not violate procedural due process with regards to micro-chipping wild and exotic animals, and that the Act did not constitute an unconstitutional takings. Significantly, the court recognized that owners of wild and exotic animals have a limited or qualified property interest in said animals.

Moser v. Pennsylvania Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Slip Copy, 2012 WL 4932046 (E.D. Penn.)

After the defendants confiscated mare without a warrant and required that the plaintiff surrender another mare and a few other animals in order to avoid prosecution, the plaintiffs sued the defendants for violating the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Pennsylvania statutory and common law. However, the plaintiffs lost when the district court granted the defendants motion for summary judgment on all counts.

U.S. v. Felts (unpublished) Slip Copy, 2012 WL 124390 (N.D.Iowa)

Defendant kennel operator was found to violate the AWA on multiple occasions when inspected by APHIS representatives. From 2005 to 2009, defendant repeatedly failed inspections where APHIS found that he provided inadequate veterinary care, did not maintain complete records on the dogs, and did not properly maintain the housing facilities for the dogs. The Administrator of APHIS filed and served on Defendant an administrative complaint for violations. Defendant never filed an answer, and so a Default Decision and Order was entered against Defendant. The Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in part because Defendant failed to file an answer to the administrative complaint, and so was deemed to have admitted the allegations in the complaint.

Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar Slip Copy, 2011 WL 6000497 (D.Ariz.)

Plaintiffs filed action against Interior and FWS to set aside FWS's finding that the desert bald eagle does not qualify as a distinct population segment (“DPS”) entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Plaintiff's motions for summary judgment was granted. The Court found that FWS' 12–month finding was based on the 2007 delisting rule, which failed to comport with the notice, comment, and consultation requirements of the ESA. The Court set aside the 12–month finding as an abuse of discretion.

Pearson v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Slip Copy, 2011 WL 559083 (C.A.6,2011)

Petitioner seeks review of the decision and order of the Secretary of the USDA, terminating his license to own and exhibit wild animals (82 lions, tigers, and bears), issuing a cease and desist order, and imposing civil sanctions in the amount of $93,975 in violation of the AWA. In 2006, inspection showed 280 incidents of non-compliance. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit first held that there was no abuse of discretion in failing to grant the continuance after a fire at Petitioner's home because he is unable to resulting establish prejudice. Further, the Court discounted Petitioner's challenge that the revocation of his license was not supported where the court found the evidence "substantial, perhaps overwhelming." 

Tarquinio v. City of Lakewood, Ohio (unpublished) Slip Copy, 2011 WL 4458165 (N.D.Ohio)

Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment from the court that Lakewood City Ordinance (“LCO”) 506.01, which bans pit bull dogs or those dogs with "appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of such breeds," unconstitutional under the Ohio Constitution Home Rule provisions. In this motion, plaintiffs argue that LCO 506 conflicts with and impermissibly expands the provisions of Ohio Revised Code § 955.22. The court found that while § 955.22 outlines requirements that must be met by a person who houses vicious dogs, including all pit bulls, it does not explicitly permit pit bulls. The court found that the General Assembly intended to allow municipalities to regulate the possession of pit bulls.

Pages