Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Kokechik Fishermen's Association v. Secretary of Commerce 839 F.2d 795 (1988)

The Secretary of Commerce issued a regulation authorizing appellant salmon federation to take a fixed number of porpoise in connection to commercial fishing for salmon.  Appellee commercial fishermen opposed the permit.  The federation sought review of a judgment which preliminarily enjoined the Secretary from issuing the permit.

Caribbean Conservation Corp., Inc. v. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com'n 838 So.2d 492(Fla. 2003)

The petitioners' challenge is whether the Legislature can require the newly created Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), when adopting rules or regulations in respect to those species of marine life that are defined as endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. The petitioners are not-for-profit groups and individuals who allege several statutory sections unconstitutionally usurp the constitutional authority of the FWCC to regulate marine life.  The FWCC and the Attorney General (respondents) disagree and argue that the Legislature can require the application of the APA and that the statutes that delineate power to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are constitutional.  The issue was whether the creation of the FWCC also gave it power to regulate endangered, threatened, and species of special concern or whether that power remained with the DEP.  The court found that such power remained with the DEP regarding endangered and threatened species of marine life.  However, it could discern no statutory basis in effect on March 1, 1998, for the DEP having regulatory or executive power in respect to a category of marine species designated "of special concern" so that portion of the challenged statutes was held unconstitutional.

Luethans v. Washington University 838 S.W.2d 117 (Mo.App. E.D. 1992) Plaintiff, a licensed veterinarian, appeals from the circuit court's order dismissing his case in a wrongful discharge case. Plaintiff contends that as an at-will employee he stated a cause of action for wrongful discharge under Missouri's public policy exception to the employment at-will doctrine. Specifically, he pleaded that he was retaliated against and discharged because he performed a regulatory protected activity, i.e., reporting violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2143. The court agreed and reversed and remanded.
Blankenship v. Commonwealth 838 S.E.2d 568 (2020) Brandon Scott Blankenship showed up at Wally Andrews’ home although Blankenship had previously been ordered not to come onto Andrews’ property. Blankenship stood outside on Andrews’ property and continued to curse at Andrews and threaten to kill him. Andrews called law enforcement and when they arrived, Blankenship continued his cursing and yelling at the officers. Every time the officers attempted to arrest Blankenship he would ball up his fists and take a fighting stance towards the officers. At some point the officers released a police K-9 named Titan after Blankenship took off running. Blankenship kicked and punched Titan until he backed off. Titan ended up with a digestive injury in which he would not eat and seemed lethargic. Blankenship was indicted for three counts of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, one count of assault on a law enforcement animal, one count of assault and battery, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of animal cruelty. The Court struck one count of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, the count of assault on a law enforcement animal, and the count of obstruction to justice. Blankenship was convicted of the remaining four counts and he appealed assigning error to the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him. The Court found that Blankenship’s overt acts demonstrated that he intended to place the law enforcement officers in fear of bodily harm which in turn caused the officers to actually and reasonably fear bodily harm. The totality of the circumstances supported Blankenship’s conviction of assault and battery on both the law enforcement officers and Andrews. As for the animal cruelty conviction, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence from which the circuit court could find that Blankenship voluntarily acted with a consciousness that inhumane injury or pain would result from punching and kicking Titan. Blankenship had no right to resist the lawful arrest and his actions against Titan were not necessary, therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support Blankenship’s conviction for animal cruelty. The Court ultimately affirmed and remanded the case.
Lachenman v. Stice 838 N.E.2d 451 (Ind.App.)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog, brought an action against the neighbor to recover veterinary bills and emotional distress damages. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-neighbor, finding that however negligent the neighbor's behavior might have been in controlling his dog, his actions did not constitute outrageous behavior so as to give rise to claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court also refused to extend the bystander rule under plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim to include the dog owner's witnessing the death of his dog.

Sammons v. C.I.R. 838 F.2d 330 (9th Cir. 1988)

In a tax proceeding, the Commissioner argues that defendant should be disallowed a charitable deduction for donating several artifacts containing eagle parts to a museum because it will frustrate the purpose behind the BGEPA.  The court disagrees, finding it unlikely that such an allowance will encourage others to procure eagle artifacts for the sole purpose of obtaining a tax deduction.  Further, the court disagrees with the Commissioner that Sammons acquired illegal title to the artifacts, finding Sammons had sufficient ownership interest in the eagle artifacts for donation.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

State v. Meerdink 837 N.W.2d 681 (Table) (Iowa Ct. App. 2013)

After defendant/appellant took a baseball to the head of and consequently killed a 7-month-old puppy, the Iowa District Court of Scott County found defendant/appellant guilty of animal torture under Iowa Code section 717B.3A (1). Defendant/appellant appealed the district court's decision, arguing that the evidence shown was insufficient to support a finding he acted “with a depraved or sadistic intent,” as stated by Iowa statute. The appeals court agreed and reversed and remanded the case back to district court for dismissal. Judge Vaitheswaran authored a dissenting opinion.

Sykes v. Cook Cty. Circuit Court Prob. Div. 837 F.3d 736 (7th Cir. 2016), reh'g and suggestion for reh'g en banc denied (Oct. 27, 2016) This case dealt with the plaintiff's denial of the use of her service dog while in a courtroom to present a motion. After the denial, the plaintiff filed an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) action, alleging that there was a violation for denial of reasonable accommodations under the ADA. The district court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction, because as a federal court, it was barred from hearing the claim under the Rooker–Feldman doctrine. The Court of Appeals agreed, and held that as a federal court, it was barred from hearing the claim under the Rooker–Feldman doctrine, which prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by state court losers challenging state court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced. Additionally, the district court held that it should exercise Younger abstention because the proceeding was ongoing and because the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to raise her federal claims about her dog in state court, but the Court of Appeals held that "Younger is now a moot question because there is no ongoing state proceeding for [the Court of Appeals] to disturb." As a result, the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was AFFIRMED.
Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation v. The New England Aquarium 836 F. Supp. 45 (1993)

The primary issue addressed by the court was whether a dolphin, named Kama, had standing under the MMPA. The court found the MMPA does not authorize suits brought by animals; it only authorizes suits brought by persons. The court would not impute to Congress or the President the intention to provide standing to a marine mammal without a clear statement in the statute.

Com. v. Hackenberger 836 A.2d 2 (Pa.2003)
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to 6 months to 2 years jail following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of cruelty to animals resulting from his shooting of a loose dog more than five times. On appeal, appellant contends that the use of a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement provision does not apply to a conviction for cruelty to animals since the purpose is to punish only those offenses where the defendant has used a deadly weapon against persons. The Commonwealth countered that the purpose behind the provision is immaterial because the plain language applies to any offense where the defendant has used a deadly weapon to commit the crime, save for those listed crimes where possession is an element of the offense. This Court agreed with the Commonwealth and held that the trial court was not prohibited from applying the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals.
U.S. v. Miranda 835 F.2d 830 (11th Cir. 1988)

Jesus Ismael Miranda with his company, J.M. Seafood, Inc., and Mario Gonzalez with his company, Mario Seafood Company, were convicted of conspiring in Florida to sell undersized spiny lobster tails, also known as "shorts."  The case was ultimately dismissed without prejudice because of a violation of the Speedy Trial Act.  The court did find sufficient evidence that defendant and his company conspired to sell undersized spiny lobster tails where an undercover agent found sufficient connections in the form of conversations and business dealing between defendant and co-defendant Gonzales.

U.S. v. Proceeds from Sale of Approximately 15,538 Panulirus Argus Lobster Tails 834 F. Supp. 385 (S.D. Fla. 1993)

This case arose out of the seizure of some 15,538 lobster tails of the species Panulirus argus, more commonly known as "spiny lobster," imported into the United States by the Claimant Lista Enterprises Seafood, Inc. from the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean.  The court held the government had probable cause to seize the lobster tails based on the weight criteria established under Turks and Caicos law.  Under the Lacey Act, anyone who "knowingly" imports fish or wildlife taken in violation of foreign law may be assessed a penalty of $10,000 per violation, where "knowingly" refers to situations where the violator knew or should have known that the wildlife was taken in violation of law.

Students for Ethical Treatment of Animals (SETA) v. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of University of Oregon (IACUC) 833 P.2d 337 (1992)

Appeal of a circuit court decision finding a summary judgment that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit where a state university student organization and other parties brought suit against the university committee that supervised animal research, including a research proposal for cranial surgery on Macaque monkeys. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs had an interest in the governmental decisions of the committee, had established a denial of access related to that interest, thus had standing to bring the suit.

State v. Gerard 832 N.W.2d 314 (Minn.App.,2013)

This case considers whether the trial court erred when it dismissed the felony count of unjustifiably killing an animal based on lack of probable cause. The incident stems from the killing of the neighbors' cat with a shotgun by defendant-respondent. At trial, he filed a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause that was accompanied by a notarized affidavit of the responding police deputy stating the shooting of the cat was "justified." The trial court dismissed the complaint finding insufficient evidence that respondent had unjustifiably killed the cat. On appeal, the court found the district court's reliance on the deputy's lay opinion was improper. The court found it was within the jury's province to determine whether respondent's actions were justified or unjustified based on the evidence at trial.

Smith v. Lane 832 N.E.2d 947 (Ill.App. 5 Dist. 2005)

In this Illinois case, the passenger of horse-drawn carriage brought action in negligence and strict liability against driver of carriage and owner of horse and carriage for injuries passenger received when carriage went off road and overturned. The lower court dismissed all of passenger's counts.  On appeal, the Appellate Court held that, as matter of first impression, the passenger was not subject to provisions of EALA, and the alleged facts sufficient to state cause of action under state Animal Control Act.

Sak v. City of Aurelia, Iowa 832 F.Supp.2d 1026 (N.D.Iowa,2011)

After suffering a disabling stroke, a retired police officer’s pit bull mix was trained to become a service dog. However, the town where the retired police officer resided had a Breed Specific ordinance that prohibited pit bulls. The retired police officer and his wife brought this suit against the city alleging that the ordinance violated his rights under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and also sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin the city from enforcing the ordinance. The officer’s preliminary injunction was granted after the court found: 1) the officer was likely to succeed on merits of ADA claim; 2) the officer would suffer irreparable harm absent injunction; 3) the balance of equities was in favor of injunctive relief; 4) and the national public interest in enforcement of ADA trumped more local public interest in public health and safety reflected in ordinance.

Neita v. City of Chicago 830 F.3d 494 (7th Cir. 2016) Vaughn Neita brought this suit for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law, alleging false arrest and illegal searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment arising from an animal cruelty arrest. He was ultimately found not guilty on all counts by an Illinois judge. In 2012, Neita owned a dog-grooming business and rescue shelter. He brought two dogs to the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control because one dog had attacked another dog in Neita's care and another dog had become ill after whelping a litter of puppies. When Neita arrived with the dogs, an animal control employee contacted police officers who then arrested Neita and searched his business premises, resulting in 13 counts of animal cruelty. With regard to this § 1983 action and Illinois state claims, while Neita amended his complaint twice, it was ultimately dismissed with prejudice for failure to adequately plead any constitutional violation. This appeal then followed. The Seventh Circuit held that to prevail on a false arrest claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must show that there was no probable cause for his or her arrest. Neita arrived at Animal Control to surrender two dogs that showed no signs of abuse or neglect without evidence that he mistreated either dog. Those statements in the amended complaint are sufficient to permit a false arrest claim to proceed. As to the claim of illegal searches, the court found that a plausible claim for false arrest also allowed his claim for an illegal search incident to his arrest to move forward. The dismissal of Neita's claims was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
State v. Mallory 83 S.W. 955 (Ark. 1904)

Defendant was charged with a violation of Arkansas law when he hunted squirrels and took fish from a pond on his own land. The trial court found defendant not guilty. On appeal, the court held that the acquittal was justified. The court rejected the state's argument that it had a proprietary right to all of the wild life in the state. The court found that a property owner had a special property right to take fish and hunt wild game upon his own land, which inured to him by reason of his ownership of the soil. However, the court noted that such a right must yield to the state's ownership and title of the fish and game in the state, which it held for the purposes of regulation and preservation for the public use. The court found that those two rights did not conflict. Therefore, the court held that defendant should have had the same right to hunt and fish on his own land that resident owners of property in the state had to hunt and fish on their own lands. Since the Act differentiated between residents and nonresidents, the court held it was violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Booth v. State of Arizona 83 P.3d 61 (Ariz. 2004)

Motorist struck an elk lying on the side of the interstate highway and sued the state for negligence.  The Court held that the state could be held liable for negligence and that the jury finding that the state breached its duty to keep the highway safe was supported by the evidence.

State of Ohio v. Jane Smith 83 N.E.3d 302 (Ohio Ct. App., 2017)

Jane Smith was charged with 47 counts of animal cruelty after 47 dogs and other animals were seized from her property where she operated a private dog rescue. Smith was ultimately sentenced to jail time and required to compensate the Humane Society for the money that was spent to care for the 47 dogs that were seized from Smith’s property. Smith appealed her sentence, arguing that the lower court had made five errors in coming to its decision. The Court of Appeals only addressed four of the five arguments made by Smith. First, the Smith argued that the court erred in not suppressing evidence on the basis that her 4th Amendment rights had been violated. The Court of Appeals dismissed this argument, holding that Smith’s 4th Amendment rights had not been violated because the information that led to the seizure of Smith’s dogs was provided by a private citizen and therefore not applicable to the 4th Amendment protections. Secondly, Smith argued that the court violated her due process rights when it made multiple, erroneous evidentiary rulings that deprived her of her ability to meaningfully defend herself at trial. The Court of Appeals found that Smith had not provided enough evidence to establish that her due process rights had been violated, so the Court of Appeals dismissed the argument. Thirdly, Smith made a number of arguments related to constitutional violations but the Court of Appeals found that there was not evidence to support these arguments and dismissed the claim. Lastly, Smith argued that she had made a pre-indictment, non-prosecution agreement that was not followed by the court. The Court of Appeals also dismissed this argument for a lack of evidence. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision and sentencing. 

People v. O'Rourke 83 Misc.2d 175 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct. 1975)

The owner of a horse was guilty of cruelty to animals for continuing to work a horse he knew was limping. The court found that defendant owner was aware that the horse was unfit for labor, and was thus guilty of violating N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 353 for continuing to work her.

People v. Cumper 83 Mich. App. 490 (Mich. 1978)

Defendants were convicted of being spectators at a fight or baiting between dogs and appealed, charging that the "spectator" portion of the statute was impermissibly vague and unconstitutionally overbroad. The court found that the statute was constitutional because it punished attendance as a spectator at an event legitimately prohibited by law and defendants had fair notice of the conduct proscribed. The defendants also claimed that there was insufficient evidence however, the court found ample evidence upon which the jury rendered their decision.

Robinson v. Pezzat 83 F.Supp.3d 258 (D.D.C. 2015) While executing a search warrant at the plaintiff’s home, a police officer shot and killed the plaintiff’s thirteen-year-old dog. Accounts differed as to whether the dog bit the officer before shooting or whether the bite was a result of the shooting. The plaintiff filed suit against the police officer and municipality and alleged, inter alia, violations of her constitutional rights, several common law torts, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court was not swayed by the plaintiff’s “uncorroborated version of events” and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held that the plaintiff had not met her burden to defeat either the individual police officer’s or the municipality’s immunity. This case is under appeal as of September 15, 2015.
United States v. Hess 829 F.3d 700 (8th Cir. 2016) This case stems from a United States Fish and Wildlife Service's investigation into illegal trafficking of rhinoceros horns and ivory called "Operation Crash." Defendant James Hess, a taxidermist in Maquoketa, Iowa, agreed to sell a pair of lack rhinoceros horns in 2011 to another individual involved in the trafficking operation. As a result of his role, he was charged with one count of Lacey Act Trafficking for knowingly engaging in conduct involving the sale and purchase of wildlife with a market value exceeding $350 that was transported and sold in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Hess was ultimately sentenced to 27 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. On appeal, Hess first argued that the District Court made an “unsustainable finding on the record presented” when it stated that Hess "helped establish a market for these black rhino horns, and that is a serious offense against the planet." Because Hess failed to object at sentencing, this issue was reviewed for plain error. This court found no plain error, as the record supported the statement that Hess' action contributed to furthering a market for black rhinoceros horns. As to defendant's argument that his sentence was unreasonable, the court found that he failed to overcome the presumption of reasonableness in his bottom of the guidelines sentencing range. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
Gallick v. Barto 828 F.Supp. 1168 (M.D.Pa.,1993)

In this Pennsylvania case, the parents of a 7-month old child sued the landlords of tenants who owned a ferret that bit the child on the face causing injury. The court stated that the resolution of this motion for summary judgment depended first on whether the ferret is deemed a wild animal. In ruling that the ferret is indeed a wild animal, the court noted that ferrets have been known to return to a feral state upon escaping and people have kept ferrets as house pets only in recent years. In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that a landlord out of possession is not liable for injuries caused by animals kept by tenants when the tenant has exclusive control of the premises except where the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. The court found that since a ferret is a wild animal, the landlords were aware of the presence of the ferret, and plaintiffs may be able to prove that the landlords had the ability to exercise control over the premises prior to the incident, the landlords may be held liable under a theory of negligence. The motion for summary judgment was denied.

Anzalone v. Kragness 826 N.E.2d 472 (Ill. 2005)

A woman whose cat was attacked while being boarded at veterinarian's office brought claims against veterinarian and animal hospital.  Trial court dismissed claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and the Court of Appeals reversed holding dismissal was not warranted. 

Mayfield v. Bethards 826 F.3d 1252 (10th Cir. 2016) In this case, plaintiffs sued defendant, Officer Bethards, for unlawfully killing their pet dog Majka. Plaintiffs' dogs were lying in plaintiffs' unfenced front yard when the officers entered the yard and then followed the dogs to the back of the house, eventually killing one of the dogs. The plaintiffs argued that by unlawfully killing their dog, Officer Bethards violated their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment by entering the property without a warrant with the intention of killing the dogs. Officer Bethards moved to have the complaint dismissed for a failure to state a claim and the court denied this motion. Specifically, Officer Bethards argued that this was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment because the Fourth Amendment only applies to “effects,” which does not include dogs. The court disagreed, finding that Fourth Amendment protection for pet dogs is a clearly established right. Ultimately, the court held that the plaintiffs asserted facts sufficient to show a violation of their clearly established Fourth Amendment rights and the district court's order denying Deputy Bethards's motion to dismiss was affirmed.
Akron ex rel. Christman-Resch v. Akron 825 N.E.2d 189 (Ohio, 2005)

City of Akron, Ohio cat owners filed suit against city, its mayor, and city council president, seeking declaratory judgment that new city code sections, relating to the trapping and euthanization of free-roaming cats, were unconstitutional.  After the Court of Common Pleas, Summit County granted summary judgment to defendants, the cat owners appealed.  The Court of Appeals held that the city's ordinances relating to the trapping and euthanization of free-roaming cats did not violate cat owners' substantive due process rights.  Further, the ordinances which allowed a cat to be euthanized after three business days following the date of impoundment, did not violate cat owners' procedural due process rights or right to equal protection.  Finally, the ordinances, which allowed city to seize free-roaming cats in response to complaints, did not violate the Fourth Amendment and city's actions were covered by sovereign immunity.

Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell 825 F.3d 571 (9th Cir. 2016) In this case, various environmental groups filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of the Interior, arguing that the BLM should not have granted right-of-way on federal lands to a proposed energy project because the project would violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The plaintiffs also argued that the BLM’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project was not sufficient according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Ultimately, the court held in favor of the defendants and found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA and that by granting the right-of-way, BLM was not violation the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The court found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA because it included all the necessary information and was broad enough as to not force the BLM into automatically accepting the proposal. Additionally, the court held that the BLM was not in violation of the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act because the BLM was acting in a “purely regulatory capacity” and the BLM’s action could directly or proximately cause a violation under the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
North American Meat Institute v. Becerra 825 F. App'x 518 (9th Cir. 2020) The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) brought suit in federal district court to challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 brought suit in federal district court to challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 (which forbids the sale of pork meat and eggs in California from producers that do not comply with its animal housing standards). NAMI alleged that Proposition 12 violated the dormant commerce clause by improperly regulating economic activity outside of California’s boundaries and substantially burdening interstate commerce. Plaintiffs acknowledged that Proposition 12 was not facially discriminatory, and that Proposition 12 did not have a discriminatory purpose, because there was a lack of evidence that the state had protectionist intent when enacting Proposition 12. The district court dismissed the case, and the court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the lower court.
Wyno v. Lowndes County 824 S.E.2d 297 (Ga., 2019), reconsideration denied (Mar. 13, 2019) Misty Wyno was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s dog. Her husband, Jason Wyno brought a wrongful death action against the dog’s owners, Lowndes County, and four individual Lowndes County Animal Control employees. Jason alleged that Lowndes County and the County Employees negligently failed to perform ministerial duties, negligently failed to provide police protection, negligently created and failed to abate a nuisance, were negligent in their control of allegedly dangerous dogs, and were negligent per se by violating several provisions of the Lowndes County Animal Control Ordinance. Jason also alleged that the County Employees acted with actual malice and/or an intent to injure by repeatedly refusing to investigate or take any action with regards to the dangerous dogs. Lowndes County asserted sovereign immunity as a defense for both itself and its employees. In addition, Lowndes County and the County Employees asserted that they were immune from liability due to the provisions of the Dangerous Dog Control Law in effect at the time. The trial court dismissed the suit against the employees in their individual capacities finding that the Dangerous Dog Control Law barred an action against any party except the dog’s owners. The Supreme Court of Georgia ultimately held that the record was devoid of any evidence that any of the County Employees acted with malice or the intent to harm Jason or Misty Wyno to defeat official immunity. Jason, therefore, did not satisfy his burden and the Court affirmed the trial court’s decision.
Long v. The State of Texas 823 S.W.2d 259 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)

Appellant, who was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, raised 35 points of error in a direct appeal in which he challenged the trial court's voir dire rulings and its evidentiary rulings. The court held that the admission into evidence of photographs was within the discretion of the lower court, which properly determined that the photographs served a proper purpose in enlightening the jury.

Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 823 N.W.2d 627 (Minn.,2012)

A city ordered a dog to be destroyed after three separate biting incidents. Upon the owner’s appeal of the city’s determinations, the appeals court reversed the city’s decision to destroy the dog because the city had not allowed the owner an opportunity to challenge the “potentially dangerous” determination. The appeals court (800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011) held the city had therefore violated the owner’s procedural due process rights. Upon review by the Supreme Court of Minnesota, however, the court held that the owner’s procedural due process rights were not violated because the “potentially dangerous” determination did not deprive the owner of a property interest and because the city satisfied the basic requirements of procedural due process. Additionally, the court found that the dangerous dog and the destruction determinations were not arbitrary or capricious. The court therefore reversed the decision of the court of appeals, upheld the city's “dangerous dog” determination, and affirmed the city's order of destruction.

Warren v. Commonwealth 822 S.E.2d 395 (Va. Ct. App., 2019) Warren, the defendant in this case, videotaped on his cell phone sexual encounters he had with K.H. and her dog. The videos showed the dog's tongue penetrating K.H.'s vagina while K.H. performed oral sex on Warren. In March of 2017, Deputy Sheriff Adam Reynolds spoke to Warren about an unrelated matter. Warren asked if "bestiality type stuff" was "legal or illegal," described the cellphone videos, and offered to show them to Reynolds. Reynolds contacted Investigator Janet Sergeant and they obtained a search warrant and removed the videos from Warren's cellphone. Warren was indicted and moved to dismiss the indictment arguing that Code § 18.2-361(A), which criminalizes soliciting another person to "carnally know a brute animal or to submit to carnal knowledge with a brute animal," is facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to him. "He argued that the conduct depicted in the videos could not be subject to criminal sanction because it amounted to nothing more than consensual conduct involving adults." The trial court denied Warren's motion to dismiss. The trial court convicted Warren of the charged offense. Warren appealed again challenging the constitutionality of the offense and that it violated his due process rights. Warren relied on a Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, which held that two adults engaging in consensual homosexual sexual practices was protected by the due process clause. He argued that the reasoning of Lawrence applies with equal force to his case. The Court of Appeals reasoned that although Code § 18.2-361(A) cannot criminalize sodomy between consenting adults, it can continue to regulate other forms of sodomy, like bestiality. "If Lawrence, which involved a prohibition on same-sex sodomy, did not facially invalidate the anti-sodomy provision of then Code § 18.2-361(A), it defies logic that it facially invalidates the bestiality portion of the statute that existed before the 2014 amendment and is all that remains after that amendment." Even though Warren claims his right as "the right of adults to engage in consensual private conduct without intervention of the government," the court concluded that the right he is actually asserting is the right to engage in bestiality. Code § 18.2-361(A) "does not place any limitation on the rights of consenting adults to engage in private, consensual, noncommercial, sexual acts with each other." The only act it prohibits is sexual conduct with a brute animal. Therefore, the only right the statute could possibly infringe on wold be the right to engage in bestiality. The Commonwealth has a legitimate interest in banning sex with animals. The Court of Appeals held that the General Assembly's prohibition of bestiality does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The Court rejected Warren's challenge to the constitutionality of the statute and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Becker v. Elfreich 821 F.3d 920 (7th Cir. 2016) Appellant, Officer Zachary Elfreich, went to the home of Appellee Jamie Becker in order to execute an arrest warrant. When Becker did not surrender right away, Officer Elfreich allowed his police dog to find and attack Becker. Upon seeing Becker, Officer Elfreich pulled him down three steps of the home staircase, and placed his knee on Becker’s back while allowing the dog to continue to bite him. Becker sued the city of Evansville and Officer Elfreich under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officer used excessive force in arresting him in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment and the officer appealed. The Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that: first, under the totality of the circumstances, the force used by the officer post-surrender of Becker was not reasonable. Second, a police dog's use of the “bite and hold” technique is not per se deadly force. Third, Becker, was a nonresisting (or at most passively resisting) suspect when Officer Elfreich saw him near the bottom of the staircase and the officer should not have used significant force on him. Based on these factors, the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and a reasonable jury could find such force was excessive. The lower court decision to deny Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment was affirmed.
Castillo Condominium Ass'n v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development 821 F.3d 92 (1st Cir. 2016) In 2010, the Castillo Condominium Association learned that Carlo Giménez Bianco (Giménez), a condominium resident, was keeping a dog on the premises and warned him that he would be fined unless he removed the dog. Giménez, who suffered from anxiety and depression, advised the board of directors that he planned to keep his emotional support dog and that he was entitled to do so under federal law. As a result of the conflict, Giménez was forced to vacate and sell his unit and he filed a complaint of disability discrimination with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD filed a charge of discrimination against the Association under the Fair Housing Act. An administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that the Association had not violated the Act because Giménez failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered from a mental impairment. The ALJ’s decision was appealed to the Secretary, who found that Gimenez suffered from a cognizable disability. The Court of Appeals, First Circuit, held that substantial evidence supported the Secretary's finding that the Association's refusal to allow Gimenez to keep an emotional support dog in his condominium unit as a reasonable accommodation for his disability violated the Fair Housing Act. The Association’s petition for review was denied and the Secretary’s cross petition was granted.
Colorado Dog Fanciers v. City and County of Denver 820 P.2d 644 (Colo. 1991) The plaintiffs, dog owners and related canine and humane associations (dog owners), filed a complaint in the Denver District Court against the defendant, City and County of Denver (city), seeking both a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the "Pit Bulls Prohibited" ordinance, Denver, Colo., Rev.Mun.Code § 8-55 (1989), and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement.  The dog owners in this case claim the ordinance is unconstitutional, violating their rights to procedural and substantive due process and equal protection, is unconstitutionally vague, and constitutes a taking of private property.
Terranova v. United States Dep't of Agric. 820 F. App'x 279 (5th Cir. 2020) Petitioners seek review of a decision and order of the USDA/APHIS determining that they violated various provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) and its implementing regulations, imposing civil penalties, and revoking the exhibitor license granted to Terranova Enterprises, Inc. Petitioners were licensees who provide wild animals like tigers and monkeys for movies, circuses, and other entertainment. In 2015 and 2016, APHIS filed complaints against petitioners that they willfully violated multiple provisions of the AWA and knowingly violated a cease and desist order issued in 2011 to avoid future violations of the AWA. After consolidating the complaints, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") found that petitioners willfully committed four violations, so the ALJ issued a cease and desist order, suspended petitioners' license for 30 days, and assessed a $10,000 penalty and an $11,550 civil penalty for failing to obey the prior cease and desist order. On appeal by both parties to the Judicial Officer of the USDA, petitioners' exhibitor license was revoked and the penalties were increased to $35,000 and $14,850, respectively. On appeal here to the Fifth Circuit, petitioners claim that the determinations of the Judicial Officer were not supported by substantial evidence and that she abused her discretion in revoking their exhibitor license. This court found there was sufficient evidence to support the violations, including failing to allow APHIS officials to conduct compliance investigations and inspections, faulty tiger enclosures, insufficient distance/barriers between tigers and the public, failure to make an environmental enrichment plan, and failings involving tiger enclosure and protection from inclement weather, among other things. With regard to petitioners' claim that the Judicial Officer abused her discretion in revoking the exhibitor license, this court court found that petitioners committed more than one willful violation of the AWA so revocation was not unwarranted or without justification. The court concluded that the USDA Secretary’s order was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law, and that it was supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the court denied the petition for review.
State of Washington v. Zawistowski 82 P.3d 698 (Wash. 2004)

Defendants were convicted of animal cruelty with regard to underweight and malnourished horses.  The Superior Court reversed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a jury finding, and the State appealed.  Held:  reversed.

Hoctor v. Dept of Agriculture 82 F.3d 165 (7th Cir. 1996)

A dealer raised exotic animals (mainly big cats), and USDA ordered that the dangerous ones be fenced, with fencing being a minimum of eight-feet high.   However, the animal housing standard only required that the fencing be sturdy enough to prevent the animals from escaping.   The eight-foot rule established by USDA was considered arbitrary, and it did not have to be followed.    

Lowry v. City of San Diego 818 F.3d 840 (9th Cir. Apr. 1, 2016) Plaintiff in this case filed suit against the City of San Diego after she was attacked and bit by one of the police dogs. Lowry alleged that the City’s policy of training its police dogs to “bite and hold” individuals resulted in a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizures. The court remanded the case back to the lower court, holding that a reasonable jury could find that the use of the police dog against Lowry was an intrusion on her Fourth Amendment rights. The court maintained that the officers had reason to believe that letting the dog into Lowry’s office “off-lead” had the potential of creating severe harm. The court also noted that Lowry was not attempting to evade or resist arrest and therefore letting the dog “off-lead” may not have been reasonable. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Robinson v. Pezzat 818 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2016) Plaintiff filed suit against two police officers and the District of Columbia after the officers shot and killed her dog while executing a warrant to search her home. She brought a § 1983 claim, alleging that the officers seized her property in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s ruling for summary judgment, holding that a jury could find in favor of the plaintiff based on her witness testimony that the dog was lying down when it was first shot. Additionally, the court maintained summary judgment for the second police officer, McLeod, who shot and killed the dog after it bit Officer Pezzat and charged forward.
Elliot v. Hurst 817 S.W.2d 877 (Ark., 1991)

This tort case involves appellee's suit against appellant for appellant's conversion of appellee's wolf hybrid dog named Rambo. The appellee in this case had placed an ad stating that he had a certain breed of dogs for sale. When appellant went to see the dogs, she noticed a serious leg infection. After consulting with the local prosecutor’s office and an animal organization, she returned to the owner’s home to take the dog in for treatment. The consulting veterinarian determined that the leg had to be amputated. The court held that the recovery was limited to the market value at the time prior to the amputation.

Commonwealth v. Craven 817 A.2d 451 (Pa. 2003)

The issue before the Court in this consolidated appeal was whether the trial court properly determined that 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511(h.1)(6), which criminalizes an individual's attendance at an animal fight "as a spectator," is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.  Specifically, appellees contended that the statute criminalized "mere presence" at a dog fight.  The Supreme Court disagreed, finding the evidence showed appellees were active spectators at the fight (as seen in the videotape evidence).  The court concluded that the statute is constitutionally sound, thereby reversing the lower court's decision that the statute imposed strict liability on mere presence.

Bramblett v. Habersham Cty. 816 S.E.2d 446 (Ga. Ct. App., 2018) Defendants appeal from an order granting a petition for recoupment of costs filed by Habersham County pursuant to OCGA § 4-11-9.8, and a separate order directing the defendants to pay $69,282.85 into the court registry in connection with the boarding, treatment, and care of 29 dogs that the Brambletts refused to surrender after the County seized over 400 animals from their property. In April 2017, over 400 animals were removed from the Bramblett's property and they were charged with over 340 counts of cruelty to animals under Georgia law. There were 29 animals that were not surrendered and were running loose on the property. The current petition for recoupment of costs here refers to the care for those 29 animals, which were later impounded. The Brambletts appealed that order, arguing that the trial court erred in granting the County's petition without providing notice under OCGA § 4-11-9.4. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the procedure in OCGA § 4-11-9.8 applied because the notice provisions of OCGA §§ 4-11-9.4 and 4-11-9.5 only apply when the animal has been impounded “under” or “pursuant to this article” of the Georgia Animal Protection Act. Here, the animals were seized under as part of an investigation of violations of OCGA § 16-12-4 so the notice provisions did not apply. As to defendants contention that the court erred by not considering the "actual predicted costs" of caring for 29 dogs and instead relying on a "formulaic calculation," the court also found no error. The judgment was affirmed.
Anderson v. Christopherson 816 N.W.2d 626 (Minn. 2012)

This appeal asks two questions: whether defendant-dog owners (Christophersons) were strictly liable under Minn.Stat. § 347.22 for plaintiff Anderson's injuries suffered when he attempted to break up a fight between defendants' and plaintiff's dogs; and (2) whether one of the defendants was an "owner" for purposes of this law. In the case at hand, the court found that the events leading to Anderson's injury could produce three reasonable alternative inferences such that summary judgment was inappropriate. The court found there was an issue whether the father Dennis Christopherson was "harboring" the dog at the home for purposes of the animal owner liability statute.

Geary v. Sullivan County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. 815 N.Y.S.2d 833 (N.Y., 2006)

In this New York case, plaintiffs surrendered their maltreated horse to defendant Sullivan County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. on March 4, 2005. Shortly thereafter, they commenced this action seeking return of the horse and damages, including punitive damages. Defendants' answer failed to respond to all paragraphs of the 38-paragraph complaint, which included six causes of action, prompting plaintiffs to move for summary judgment on the ground that defendants admitted "all" essential and material facts. At oral argument before this Court, plaintiffs' counsel consented to defendants filing an amended answer. The court found that since this amended pleading will presumably contain denials to all contested allegations in the complaint, plaintiffs' request for summary judgment on the procedural ground that defendants' failed to deny certain facts must fail. Moreover, as correctly noted by Supreme Court, conflicting evidence precludes summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor.

Petersheim v. Corum 815 N.E.2d 1132 (Ohio, 2004)

Driver struck bull that had wandered onto a public highway and driver was killed.  Court of appeals ruled for wife in a wrongful death action against the bull's owner.  The owner had a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent the bull's escape.

Bailey v. Veitch 814 N.Y.S.2d 459 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York memorandum opinion, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that fact issues remained as to whether injuries sustained by child were caused by dog, and whether defendants knew or should have known of dog's vicious propensities. At the time of the alleged bite, the four-year-old child was alone in a room with the dog and sustained a gaping laceration on her nose and multiple puncture wounds on her face. The court also determined there was an issue of fact as to whether the dog previously displayed vicious tendencies where the dog bit its owner's grandson on the hand two weeks prior to the instant incident.

Felgemacher v. Rugg 814 N.Y.S.2d 452 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

Pages