Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
U.S. v. Braddock Slip Copy, 2011 WL 327416 (C.A.4 (S.C.),2011)

Defendant-appellants appealed their convictions following guilty pleas to offenses relating to illegal cockfighting and gambling activities. On appeal, they challenged the denial of their motion to dismiss for selective prosecution or, in the alternative, for discovery in support of their selective prosecution claim. In particular, appellants contend that district court should have dismissed the indictment or granted leave to obtain discovery because they, as Caucasians, were prosecuted federally, while two Hispanic co-conspirators and thirty-six Hispanic people arrested in connection with another cockfighting ring in Hampton County, South Carolina, faced only state charges. The Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, found that appellants failed to show that they were similarly situated to the Hispanic defendants who were not prosecuted on federal charges.

Jaeger v. Cellco Partnership Slip Copy, 2010 WL 965730 (D.Conn.,2010)

The Connecticut Siting Council granted Cellco Partnership a Certificate allowing the company to build a cell tower in Falls Village, Connecticut.   Dina Jaeger brought suit against Cellco and the Council to prevent the building of the cell tower.   In her complaint, Jaeger cited the harmful effects of radio frequency emissions (RF emissions), and alleged violations of the International Migratory Bird Treaty, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), the Telecommunications Act (TCA), and the 10 th and 14 th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.   Defendants moved to dismiss Jaeger's claims on various grounds, including that the Council was preempted from considering the environmental effects of RF emissions under the TCA.   The Court found in favor of the Defendants, holding that the TCA preempts local and state regulation of cell towers solely on the basis of RF emissions.    

Barber v. Pennsylvania Dept. Agriculture Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1816760 (W.D.Pa.)

The plaintiffs in this Pennsylvania case are owners and operators of a non-profit animal rescue and kennel that houses housing about 500 dogs doing business in and throughout Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The current dispute stems from a series of inspections of the kennels that occurred throughout the 2007 calendar year. Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and that the PSPCA and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (the inspection branch of the Dept. of Agriculture) failed to take reasonable steps to protect them from the conspiratorial activity in violation of 42 U.S .C. § 1986. Plaintiffs also state that the PSPCA and the Bureau violated various of their constitutional rights in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiffs also seek to hold the Defendants liable for malicious prosecution under 42 U.S .C. § 1983. Finally, other counts allege that Defendant Delenick sexually harassed Plaintiff Rachel Lappe-Biler in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; that plaintiff Pauline Gladys Bryner-Lappe was assaulted and battered in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth Amendment; and that the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims.

Bassani v. Sutton Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1734857 (E.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit in 2008 claiming money damages under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1988,and  alleging violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In 2004, plaintiffs two dogs were seized by Yakima County Animal Control after responding to a citizen's report that he had been menaced by dogs as he ran past plaintiff's house. Before the court here are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. In granting the motions, the court held that the doctrine of res judicata did warrant a grant of summary judgment as defendants' failure to release plaintiff's dog. Further, the animal control officer was entitled to qualified immunity because he reasonably relied on the deputy prosecuting attorney's advice. Finally, there was no evidence of a pattern of behavior on the part of Yakima County sufficient to be a "moving force" behind a constitutional violation.

Sierra Club v. California American Water Co. Slip Copy, 2010 WL 135183 (N.D.Cal.,2010)

The Sierra Club and the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) brought suit against the California American Water Company (CAW), a water and wastewater utility, seeking injunctive relief and alleging that the company was wrongfully diverting water from the Carmel River and causing harm to the South Central California Coast Steelhead fish (steelhead), an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).   CAW moved to dismiss the action, arguing that the Court must dismiss the action under the Younger abstention doctrine because hearing the Plaintiffs' claim would interfere with ongoing state judicial proceedings.   At the time that the Sierra Club and CRSA brought suit, CAW was involved in ongoing proceedings with the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which maintains original jurisdiction over the appropriation of surface waters within the state.   The Court found that the Younger abstention applied and dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.  

Carrelli v. Dept. of Natural Resources Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1268163 (Ohio App. 12 Dist.,2010)

Wildlife rehabilitation permit applicant was denied a permit by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Wildlife. She requested an administrative hearing to challenge the denial of her application. On appeal, the court held that because wildlife rehabilitation permit applicants do not possess a private property interest in wildlife or in receiving a rehabilitation permit, the state may deny a permit based on its own discretion, so long as the decision to deny the permit is reasonably related to the state’s legitimate government interest. Therefore, even when an applicant possesses the proper credentials required to obtain a permit, the state may deny the permit in protecting the state’s legitimate government interest.

Rossi v. Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Soc. Slip Copy, 2009 WL 960204 (N.D.N.Y.)

Petitioner-Debtor challenged the Bankruptcy Court’s denial of Petitioner’s application for a Temporary Restraining Order and for a stay pending appeal after the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society seized 23 cats from Petitioner’s prior home for failure to provide proper sustenance/cruelty to animals and subsequently obtained a bond against Petitioner for the cost of providing animal care.   The United States District Court, N.D. New York denied Petitioner’s motion for leave to appeal requesting relief identical to that which was denied by the Bankruptcy Court, finding that the exhibits submitted show that Petitioner was currently charged with four misdemeanors, and that the commencement of the criminal charges against Petitioner and the posting of security pending the disposition of such criminal charges fall within the exception to the automatic stay under federal law.  

Center for Biological Diversity v. Chertoff Slip Copy, 2009 WL 839042 (N.D.Cal.)

Plaintiff, the Center for Biological Diversity, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Coast Guard, alleging that Defendant violated the ESA by failing to consult with the NMFS to ensure that Defendant’s activities in the Santa Barbara Channel and other shipping lanes off the California Coast would not harm the continued existence of threatened and/or endangered species after Defendant amended Traffic Separation Schemes (“TSS”) and a number of blue whales were subsequently struck by ships and killed.   On the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, the United States District Court , N.D. California dismissed Plaintiff’s claims pertaining to Defendant’s implementation of or actions under the TSS in the approaches to Los Angeles – Long Beach and granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment with respect to Defendant’s alleged violations of the ESA arising out of Defendant’s implementation of or actions under the TSS in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Reed v. Vickery Slip Copy, 2009 WL 3276648 (S.D.Ohio)

A veterinarian performed a pre-purchase examination on a horse and indicated to the prospective buyers that the horse was in good health. The vet facility failed to disclose that a different vet at the same facility had injected the horse to mask lameness. The purchasers had a cause of action for negligence where the statements made by the facility constituted misrepresentations or concealment. The measure of damages was the difference between the horse’s fair market value before and after the loss.

Center for Biological Diversity v. Henson Slip Copy, 2009 WL 1882827 (D.Or.)

Defendants brought a motion to stay in an action brought by Plaintiffs seeking re-initiation of consultation under ESA with respect to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Habitat Conservation Plan promulgated in 1995 and their Incidental Take Permit obtained in 1995, which allows incidental taking of Northern Spotted Owls for sixty years in connection with timber harvest in the Elliot State Forest.  The United States District Court granted Defendants’ motion, finding that the potential harm and likelihood of damage to Plaintiffs if the action is stayed is low. The court also found that Defendants showed an adequate likelihood of hardship in having to go forward without a stay. The stay would likely result in the action ultimately becoming moot and/or at the very least greatly simplified, therefore saving judicial time and resources.

Rivero v. Humane Soc. of Fayette County Slip Copy, 2009 WL 18704 (W.D.Pa.) Plaintiffs brought action against Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Defendants violated their First and Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution after Defendant dog control officers removed Plaintiffs’ dog from their home during an investigation into a report of a dead dog.   The United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania granted Defendant Township’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Plaintiffs’ allegations, standing alone, do not state a claim against Defendant-Township, and that Plaintiffs failed to provide any factual support for their state law claims.
Range v. Brubaker Slip Copy, 2008 WL 5248983 (N.D.Ind.)

Plaintiff brought a civil rights action against Defendants employed by the City of South Bend, Indiana (the “City”), part of the allegations being that Defendants unlawfully failed to interview Plaintiff for a position on the Animal Control Commission (the “Commission”).   During discovery, Defendants filed a, after Defendants had already disclosed the names of such individuals.   The United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division granted Defendants’ motion for a protective order to bar the disclosure of the home addresses of the Commission’s volunteer members, finding that Defendants provided “a particular and specific demonstration of fact” such that Plaintiff’s discover of the Commission members’ addresses should be barred, and that the relative lack of relevance of the discovery sought did not outweigh the potential harm caused by disclosure of the Commission members’ addresses.  

U.S. v. William Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4587250 (D.Virgin Islands) Defendants charged with unlawfully taking an endangered species and unlawfully possessing, carrying and transporting an endangered species within the United States in violation of the Endangered Species Act filed motions to suppress all evidence, including undersized lobsters and a sea turtle seized in connection with their stop and arrest after they had been stopped on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.   The District Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix suppressed the evidence, finding that although the approaching police officer had reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity was taking place at the time the stop was made, the subsequent confinement of Defendants and search of their vehicle exceeded the limited purpose of the investigative stop.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4543043 (N.D.Cal.)

In an action alleging multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pursuant to Defendants’ final rule designating the polar bear as threatened and promulgation of a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, Defendants Kempthorne and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service brought a motion to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Intervenor-Defendant Arctic Slope Regional Corporation brought a separate motion to transfer the case to the District of Alaska, and Intervenor-Defendant Alaska Oil and Gas Association filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL Panel) seeking to transfer the case to the D.C. District Court .   The United States District Court, N.D. California denied the motion to transfer the case to the District of Alaska, and decided to take the motion to transfer to the District of Columbia into submission and rule on it once the MDL Panel has issued its decision on whether to transfer the case to the District of Columbia.

Californians for Humane Farms v. Schafer Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4449583 (N.D.Cal.) (Not Reported in F.Supp.2d)

Plaintiff, a nonprofit ballot committee established to sponsor Proposal 2, a State ballot initiative that would result in prohibiting the tethering and confinement of egg laying hens and other farm animals, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, after Defendant approved a decision by the American Egg Board (the “Egg Board”) to set aside $3 million for a consumer education campaign to educate consumers about current production practices.   The United States District Court, N.D. California granted Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, finding that Plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits, direct harm to Plaintiff was likely to occur if the injunction was not granted, and that the public interest would be served by granting the preliminary injunction.

Giaconia v. Delaware County Soc. for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4442632 (E.D.Pa.)

Plaintiff brought various claims against Defendants after Plaintiff’s cat was euthanized prior to the standard 72 hour waiting period.   On Defendants’ motion to dismiss, the United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania found that Defendants were not acting under color of law.   Because any and all claims for which the Court had original jurisdiction were being dismissed, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s State law claims.  

Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. Kimbell Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4186913 (D.Or.)

After filing a complaint challenging certain decisions by the United States Forest Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service authorizing livestock grazing within a national forest, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction seeking an order prohibiting the authorization of livestock grazing on certain public lands until Plaintiffs’ claims could be heard on the merits.   The United States District Court, D. Oregon granted Plaintiffs’ motion, finding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of at least one of its claims, and that Plaintiffs made a sufficient showing that irreparable harm would likely occur if the relief sought is not granted.  

Animal Protection and Rescue League v. California Slip Copy, 2008 WL 315709 (S.D.Cal.)

Plaintiffs move for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to compel defendant City of San Diego to place a seasonal rope barrier at the La Jolla Children's Pool Beach to limit human interaction with harbor seals during pupping season. In denying the TRO, the court noted that plaintiffs failed to identify a single incident of harassment occurring since December 15, 2007 (the beginning of the pupping season) or any causal nexus between miscarriages and people walking up to the seals. While the parties agree placement of the barrier would not harm people and act as an effective tool, the court noted that the focus of irreparable harm is on the harm sought to be prevented not on the difficulty in carrying out the task.   

Ocean Mammal Inst. v. Gates Slip Copy, 2008 WL 2185180 (D.Hawai'i)

Plaintiffs sued the Navy over the use of sonar; the Plaintiffs feared that the sonar would kill whales and other marine life.  This case dealt with the required production of documents the Defendant claimed were privileged and or work product material.  The Court found that the Defendant must hand over the material to the Plaintiffs because the documents were not in fact privileged.

State v. Conte Slip Copy, 2007 WL 3257378 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.), 2007 -Ohio- 5924

Plaintiff-appellant, State of Ohio/City of Bexley, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Municipal Court dismissing the indictment against defendant-appellee, Joseph Conte. Appellant cited appellee for violating Bexley City Code 618.16(e), entitled “Dangerous and Vicious Animal.” Two days later, animal control then issued another citation against appellee for allowing his dog to run free without restraint in violation of Bexley City Code Section 618.16(e). In granting appellee's motion to dismiss, the trial court struck down a portion of Bexley City Code 618.16(e) as unconstitutional that provided that the owner of a vicious or dangerous animal shall not permit such animal to run at large. On appeal, this court found that the ordinance was not unconstitutional where the prosecution must prove at trial that the dog is vicious or dangerous as an element of the offense. 

Stephens v. City of Spokane Slip Copy, 2007 WL 3146390 (E.D.Wash.)

Before the court here is defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion to certify a class. Plaintiffs claim is based on Spokane's "barking dog" ordinance" for which they were each issued an infraction by animal control officers. Plaintiffs contend the ordinance is void for vagueness. The court disagreed, finding that the ordinance has incorporated the reasonableness standard and is presumptively constitutional. In the ordinance, the citizen of average intellect need not guess at the prohibition of allowing an animal to unreasonably disturb persons by “habitually barking, howling, yelping, whining, or making other oral noises.”

State v. West Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2963990 (Table) (Iowa App.)

In this Iowa case, the defendant, West, shot his neighbor's dogs after the dogs were seen running the perimeter of his deer-pen, agitating 15 of his deer in the process. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two counts of animal abuse charges and fifth degree criminal mischief.  On appeal, West argued that the section 351.27 (a provision that allows a person to kill a dog caught in the act of worrying livestock) provides an absolute defense to the charges of animal abuse and that he had the right under the facts and this statute to summarily kill Piatak's dogs because they were worrying and chasing his deer. He also contended that the statute has no additional “reasonableness” requirement, and the trial court was incorrect to graft the “reasonably acting” standard from the animal abuse law. The appellate court agreed, finding that section 351.27 provides an absolute defense to a charge of animal abuse under section 717B.2.

Donald HENDRICK and Concerned Citizens for True Horse Protection, Plaintiffs v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (“USDA”), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“Aphis”), Defendants. Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2900526 (W.D.Ky.)

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant United States Department of Agriculture's Motion to Dismiss. The Horse Protection Act (HPA) is federal legislation which outlaws the practice of “soring” (harm to the feet or limbs of horses in order to enhance the attractiveness of a light-stepped or high-stepping gait during horse-show performances), which is a particular concern for the breed of Tennessee Walking Horses. Plaintiffs seek to have the Court define “sore” and “scar” beyond the definitions provided in the regulations (specifically the “scar rule”). The court found, however, that any alleged or threatened injury based on the HPA or the Scar Rule has not yet occurred. Mere uncertainty about the HPA and Scar Rule alone does not create an injury in fact.

Western Watersheds Project v. Hall Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2790404 (D.Idaho)

Plaintiff Western Watersheds Project filed the instant action challenging the “90-Day Finding” issued by the Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service that denied protection of the Interior Mountain Quail as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that the Petition had failed to provide information demonstrating that the Interior Mountain Quail population is discrete under the ESA. The District Court stated that, in order to qualify as a DPS, a population must “be both discrete and significant.” The court found that the Service's conclusion appropriately determined that this discreteness standard was not met and it provided a rational basis for concluding the Petition had failed to provide evidence of a marked separation between the populations of the same taxon.

Humane Society of U.S. v. Johanns Slip Copy, 2007 WL 1120404 (D.D.C.)

In this case, plaintiffs alleged that by creating a fee-for-service ante-mortem horse slaughter inspection system without first conducting any environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), has violated NEPA and the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ's) implementing regulations, abused its discretion, and acted arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). At the time Plaintiffs filed their Complaint, horses were slaughtered at three different foreign-owned facilities in the United States to provide horse meat for human consumption abroad and for use in zoos and research facilities domestically. The instant case pertains to the web of legislation and regulations pertaining to the inspection of such horses prior to slaughter. Based on the Court's finding of a NEPA violation, the Court declared the Interim Final Rule to be in violation of the APA and NEPA, vacated the Interim Final Rule, permanently enjoined the FSIS from implementing the Interim Final Rule, and dismissed this case. This present action is defendant-intervenor Cavel International, Inc's Emergency Motion for a Stay of the Court's March 28, 2007 Order. The Court notes that as of the Court's March 28, 2007 Order, Cavel was the only facility still in operation processing horsemeat for human consumption. The Court finds that a stay of its March 28, 2007 Order would not be in the public interest, and particularly in light of Cavel's failure to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits and adequately demonstrate irreparable injury, the Court finds that a balancing of the factors enumerated above supports denying Cavel's request for a stay. 

State v. Davidson Slip Copy, 2006 WL 763082 (Ohio App. 11 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-1458

In this Ohio case, defendant was convicted of 10 counts of cruelty to animals resulting from her neglect of several dogs and horses in her barn.  On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient where the prosecution witness did not state the dogs were "malnourished" and said that a couple were reasonably healthy.  The appellate court disagreed, finding that defendant mischaracterized the veterinarian's testimony and that there was no requirement to prove malnourishment.  Further, the dog warden testified that she did not find any food or water in the barn and that the animals' bowls were covered with mud and feces.

Toledo v. Tellings - Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007) Slip Copy, 2006 WL 513946 (Ohio App. 6 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-975

Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007). In this Ohio case, defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court of violating city ordinance limiting ownership to only one pit bull per household, and of violating statute requiring owner of a "vicious dog" to provide liability insurance.  On appeal, the court held that the statute requiring an owner of a pit bull to provide liability insurance was unconstitutional.  Further, the statute, which provides that the ownership of a pit bull is prima facie evidence of the ownership of a vicious dog, was unconstitutional because after hearing evidence the trial court found that pit bulls as a breed are not inherently dangerous.  Thus, the court held that R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii) is unconstitutional, since it has no real and substantial relationship to a legitimate state interest. 

State v. Siliski Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1931814 (Tenn.Crim.App.)

In this Tennessee case, the defendant, Jennifer Siliski, was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Williamson County Animal Control took custody of over two hundred animals forfeited by the defendant as a result of her criminal charges and convictions. Third parties claiming ownership of some of the animals appeared before the trial court and asked for the return of their animals. This appeal arises from third parties claiming that they were denied due process by the manner in which the trial court conducted the hearing regarding ownership of the animals and that the trial court erred in denying their property claims. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not have jurisdiction in the criminal case to dispose of the claims, and reversed the judgment.

Coos County Bd. of County Com'rs v. Norton Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1720496 (D.Or.)

Alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), plaintiffs sought to compel defendants to publish in the Federal Register proposed and final rules to remove the Washington, Oregon and California population of the marbled murrelet (a coastal bird) from the list of threatened species. Plaintiffs alleged that after defendants completed a five year review of the murrelet, defendants violated the ESA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to publish proposed and final rules "delisting" the murrelet. However, the court found that under the subsection upon which plaintiffs rely, the Secretary need publish a proposed regulation only after receiving a petition to add or remove species from the lists of threatened and endangered species and making certain findings. Because plaintiffs have not alleged or demonstrated that they filed a petition, they cannot establish that the Secretary has a duty to publish a proposed regulation. Thus, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.

Lewis v. Chovan Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1681400 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

This Ohio case raises the issue of whether an employee of a pet grooming establishment is a "keeper" under state law, thereby preventing the application of strict liability for injury. The employee was bitten by dog while attempting to assist the establishment's owner and another employee in giving the dog a bath. She then brought an action against dog's owners asserting, among other things, that the owners were strictly liable for her injuries. The court relied on its previous definition of the word "keeper" in the context of R.C. 955.28(B) as "one having physical charge or care of the dogs." Based upon this precedent, the court found that a person who is responsible for exercising physical control over a dog is a "keeper" even if that control is only temporary.

Wemer v. Walker Slip Copy, 2015 WL 2058960 (Ohio Ct. App. May 1, 2015)

In this case, James Wemer appealed the lower courts decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant John Walker. Wemer initially filed suit against Walker alleging that the injuries he suffered from a horse-bite at Walker’s barn was due to negligence and wanton recklessness of Walker. The trial court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Walker based on the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision on appeal. However, the trial court once against granted summary judgement in favor of Walker and Wemer appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals determined whether or not Walker was immune from liability under the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals found that Walker was immune from liability under statute because of the fact that Walker had warned Werner that his horses had a tendency to fight and Wemer voluntarily chose to get involved in separating the horses which led to his injuries. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that both parties had a knowledge regarding equine activity and that Wemer was unable to establish that Walker’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances presented. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Walker.

Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Slip Copy, 2019 WL 6118448 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2019) Plaintiffs brought a securities fraud class action against the collective Defendants, including Seaworld Entertainment, Inc. This action involved statements and omissions made by the Defendants following a 2013 documentary titled Blackfish. The issues centered on the attendance impact that the documentary had on Seaworld. Company-wide attendance declined in 2013 and 2014, however, several officials of the Company made statements that there was no attendance impact resulting from the documentary. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants moved to exclude the testimony of several experts. The Court ultimately affirmed its tentative rulings, denied Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of two of Plaintiff’s experts, granted Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. James Gibson, granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Craig Lewis, granted Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Randolph Bucklin, and denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert Slip Copy 2017 WL 2912423 (D. Utah July 7, 2017) This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.
State v. Reyes Slip Copy (unpublished) 2016 WL 3090904 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 24, 2016) Defendant, Jose Reyes, was convicted of one count of rape of a child and sentenced to thirty-two years at 100%. On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict and that the trial court erred in denying his motion in limine to prevent the Child Advocacy Center facility dog from being present with the victim as he was testifying. The appellate court reviewed prior relevant cases including Dye, Chenault, and Tohom, and stated that “we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting the use of the facility dog, Murch, during the trial.” The attempt to assign error to the procedure was determined to be “without merit.” Other defense arguments on appeal having been similarly rejected, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Grey v. Johansson Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1613804 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2016) This suit was filed after Grey and Johansson entered into a disagreement about who was the rightful owner of Johansson’s late wife’s horse, Navy. Grey was Johansson’s lawyer and was left responsible for caring for and handling all sales regarding her horses after her death. Grey filed suit for fraud and defamation against Johansson after he publicly referred to Grey as a “horse stealer.” Ultimately, the court held that Grey did not produce enough to evidence to establish a case for either fraud or defamation against Johanasson. Although Johanasson did call Grey a “horse stealer,” the court found that this comment was protected by judicial privilege.
Tillett v. Bureau of Land Management Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1312014 (D. Mont. Apr. 4, 2016) In this case, plaintiff (proceeding pro se) filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) challenging its management of wild horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR). Plaintiff filed suit challenging BLM’s fertility control and gather programs. BLM argued that plaintiff’s claims should be denied as a matter of summary judgment. The court ultimately held that plaintiff failed to provide any “legal authority” or “jurisdictional basis” for the remedies in which she was seeking. The court held that BLM was within its own authority to rely on its own data and surveys of its programs and was under no obligation to review its programs based on plaintiff’s alleged observations. Finally, the court held in favor of BLM as a matter of summary judgment.
State v. Jacobs Slip Copy (unpublished decision) 2015 WL 618098, 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4244 (Ct.App. 2015) The defendant, Michael Jacobs, was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and corrupting another minor with drugs, receiving a prison sentence of four years. The victim testified with a “companion dog” at her feet. Among other assignments of error, Jacobs argued that he was denied his right to a fair trial because of the presence of the companion dog during the victim’s testimony. The child was under 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, but 17 years old when she testified. The Ohio appellate court concluded that the use of a companion dog in such a case was a matter of first impression in the state, though other comfort items, such as teddy bears had previously been used in similar situations in Ohio courts. To the defense’s objection that the witness was no longer under 15 at the time of her testimony, the appellate court stated that the defense had “failed to offer any authority to support the proposition that there is a certain age cut-off for the use of special procedures on behalf of alleged sexual abuse victims.” The court concluded that Ohio Evidence Rule 611(A), which provides that a trial court is to exercise “reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses…” and to “protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment,” was sufficiently flexible to allow the use of the dog during the trial. Having overruled all of Jacobs' assignments of error, the court affirmed the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.
Sentencia T-760, 2007 Sentencia T-760/07 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’, arguing that ‘CORPOCALDAS’ had violated the fundamental rights to health, personal integrity, life and human integrity of the Plaintiff’s wife, who became severely depressed when the Defendant confiscated an amazonian parrot she kept as her pet. The Plaintiff argued that the parrot was the only company the Plaintiff’s wife had for over five years, and that the confiscation of their parrot, was a violation of the Plaintiff's wife's fundamental rights. Furthermore, the Plaintiff argued that his wife was 65 years old, had raised the parrot that was never abused or neglected and who was allowed to move freely as her wings were never trimmed. The Plaintiff sought the the return of the parrot by the environmental authority ‘CORPOCALDAS’ to his wife, as well as the granting of the parrot’s title to her. The Court was able to find that the Plaintiff’s wife’s health was indeed diminished after the confiscation of the bird and the she had to undergo treatment as a result of it. However, the court found that the Plaintiffs were unable to provide evidence tending to prove that they had acquired the animal in a legal manner, as no permit, hunting license, or evidence that the parrot was obtained from a legal breeder were provided. The court determined that CORPOCALDAS did not overstep its responsibilities, as it is its duty to protect the wild fauna of the nation. Touching on the issue of whether the the fundamental rights of the plaintiff had been violated, the court concluded there was not such violation, as the environmental authority’s action was legal, reasonable, necessary and legitimate, and the Plaintiff did not obtained the parrot in accordance with the requirements legally established. In this case, the collective right to a healthy environment prevailed over the personal interest of the Plaintiff. The Constitutional Court affirmed the judgment of the ‘Juzgado Segundo Laboral del Circuito de Manizales’.
Sentencia T-622, 2016 Sentencia T-622/16

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

Sentencia T-608, 2011 Sentencia T-608/11 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) acting as the legal guardian of her husband, who had spastic quadriplegia and mixed aphasia as a result of a severe cranioencephalic trauma, against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’. The Plaintiff argued that Corpocaldas had violated the rights to health and dignified life of her husband when the Defendant confiscated a parrot that was part of the Plaintiff’s rehabilitation treatment. The Plaintiff sought immediate restitution of the parrot by the Defendant. The court affirmed the decision of the lower court to deny the Plaintiff’s petition. The court determined that the confiscation of the parrot by Corpocaldas was reasonable and according to the law, therefore there was not a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff. The court stated that as wild animals belong to the nation and they can only be reduced to property when the are obtained through legal hunting or from legal breeders. In this particular case, the Plaintiff obtained the parrot as a present from her cousin, and she did not present evidence of title. The court concluded that the bird belonged to the nation, and therefore the environmental authority had acted in accordance to its duties. The court stated that even though there was a narrow relationship between the rights to health and life with the right to environment, the protection of the environment did not only aim to the protection of humans. The court indicated that the environment should be protected whether or not it offered a benefit to the human species. The rest of the beings that are part of the environment are dignified beings that are not at the absolute and unlimited disposition of the human beings. Humans are just another element of nature, and not a superior entity that has the environment at their disposition. Therefore, the use of natural resources should not cause damage or deterioration that could threaten diversity and environmental integrity, the court stated in its reasoning.
Sentencia T-146/16 Sentencia T-146/16 Plaintiffs, a family that owned a howler monkey named "bebé" or "King Kong," filed "Amparo" seeking the protection of their rights to life and health, arguing that such rights had been violated by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca's" (CAR) refusal to return "bebé" to his family. The plaintiffs alleged that "bebé" was a member of their family, and not having him affected the family's emotional and physical health. Finally, they argued that the sadness and depression were so severe that they took group therapy with a psychologist. The monkey was stolen from the family's property and rescued was assisted by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca," who sent the monkey to "Fundación Bioandina." However, the defendants reported the monkey to be completely "humanized." He was so stressed that he did not eat and had to be relocated to the Medellin Zoo to be rehabilitated. The Second Chamber of Review of the Constitutional Court determined that wildlife is not subject to property by individuals and that the state of freedom of wildlife should be privileged. According to article 248 of the National Code of Renewable Natural Resources, the court stated that wildlife belongs to the nation. Therefore, the defendant's actions did not violate the family's well-being, as the forfeiture of wildlife is necessary to ensure their conservation protection as it is a constitutional mandate to protect biodiversity and environmental integrity. The court noted that the monkey had completed his rehabilitation process and had been reintroduced to his natural habitat.
Sentencia T-095, 2016 Sentencia T-095/16 In this decision, the court drew a line between the concept of animal welfare and the concept of animal rights. The court continues to see animal protection from a moral perspective when it states animals do not necessarily have rights, even though they should be treated with respect and should not be abused. The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary, created for the sole purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against ‘la Personería Local of Fontibón’, the local Mayor’s office of Fontibon, the District Secretary of Health, the Zoonosis Center and the Distril Secretary of the environment of Bogota. The Plaintiff argued that these governmental entities had violated his fundamental right to petition and the right to animal welfare of twenty five dogs, when the authorities ordered the confiscation the canines that were located in the District Ecological Park of the Wetland of Capellanía and who were cared for by volunteers. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants did not respond to his request to provide funds to build a shelter and provide food and veterinary assistance of the dogs or funds to relocate them. The Plaintiff sought a response from governmental authorities on the petition and to provide the funds to save the animals, thereby avoiding the Zoonosis Center to assume their care, who would euthanize the sick animals that were not adopted after five days of being up for adoption. The lower court denied the protection of the fundamental right to petition, as it found that the authorities responded to the petition of the Plaintiff in a clear and timely matter by denying the request to fund the Plaintiff to relocate the dogs or build a shelter for them. In regards to the right to animal welfare, the lower court considered it was a legal rather than a constitutional issue, therefore the action of ‘tutela’ was not the appropriate mechanism as its purpose is to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. The court held that there was a constitutional duty of animal protection that derives from the duty to protect the environment. However, this duty to guarantee the well-being of animals as sentient beings is not absolute and may be subject to exceptions. The court determines that the mandate to protect the environment, which includes sentient beings, does not translate into a right to animal welfare, and for that reason such duty is not enforceable through an action of tutela. The duty to protect animals presumes an obligation to care and prohibits maltreatment and cruelty against animals, unless these actions come from one of the limits stipulated in the constitution. The court affirmed the lower court decision to deny the protection to the right to petition and declared the inadmissibility of the action of tutela for the protection of animal welfare.
Sentencia T-034/13 Sentencia T-034/13 Plaintiff filed a tutela against the homeowner’s association, who changed change the apartment complex rules to prohibit pets from using the elevator. In this decision, the court held that It is not viable for homeowners’ associations to prohibit pets from using the elevators. This is because the right to free development of personality and the right to personal and family intimacy encompass the right to have a pet. Horizontal property rules may not go against current laws or violate the resident’s fundamental rights. However, there can be limitations and parameters to these rights so long as they are established to guarantee respect for the rights of others, a peaceful coexistence, and the regulations are reasonable and proportionate.
Sentencia SU056/18 Sentencia SU056/18 The Constitutional Court held unconstitutional the decision of the administrative tribunal of Cundinamarca that allowed the city of Bogota to carry out a popular consultation intended to ask residents of Bogota whether they agreed to have bullfighting in the city. The court held that the decision to invalidate such a ruling was based on the principles of legal precedent and res jusdicata. The administrative court decision was against authority established in decisions A-025 of 2015, T-296 of 2013, C-889 of 2012, y C-666 of 2010 of the constitutional court, which held that the power to prohibit bullfighting rest in Congress and local governments only have police power. Allowing a mayor to carry out a popular consultation regarding the future of bullfighting is to go against authority established by the Constitutional Court, and it violates the right to due process and the right to be treated equally by the law.
Sentencia SU016/20 Sentencia SU016/20 In decision SU016 of 2020, the court confirmed its decision to revoke the habeas corpus granted to Chucho, the Andean bear. After holding a public audience where many experts spoke as to the possibility of granting wild animals the status of legal persons and the right to freedom, the Constitutional Court held that the judge that have granted habeas corpus had incurred in a legal error as animals have not a right to freedom, and the habeas corpus is a legal mechanism available for humans that are illegally and unjustly detained. It is no available to animals. Moreover, the court stated that there were other more adequate mechanism to guarantee the well-being of animals, such as an inquiry for intervention of the environmental authorities, or a popular action. With this decision, the status of animals remains the same. Animals are legally recognized as sentient beings, subject to special legal protection, and humans have the duty to take care of them.
Sentencia STC1926-2023 Sentencia STC1926-2023 Romeo and Salvador, two beloved family dogs that found themselves in the center of a heartbreaking divorce. The divorce resulted in the family judge ordering the foreclosure of the dogs in the divorce proceeding. The plaintiff filed a writ of protection or "Recurso de Tutela" before the Chamber of Civil Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice to protect her rights to family unity, free personality development, and health. Furthermore, she argued that the lower court decision had violated not just her rights but her children's rights, who had developed a filial bond with the dogs, as they are sentient beings and not just mere property. The Court denied the "tutela." It affirmed the lower court decision allowing foreclosure upon companion animals, holding that the "tutela" was not the appropriate legal mechanism to protect procedural guarantees. In his dissenting opinion, Magistrate Aroldo Wilson Quiróz stated that the court had missed a valuable opportunity to address the issue of the multispecies families in Colombia. This novel legal concept is supported under Art. 42 of the Constitution, and that it was the responsibility of the court, as the body of last instance, to delve into this subject, pointing out the fact that even though animals are considered property, they are also sentient beings in the eyes of the law with rights that limit the right to own them. Like in other family cases, the magistrate suggested that courts should address issues such as custody, visitation rights, and alimony payments when companion animals are involved.
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights.
Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Ramba was known as the last circus elephant in Chile. She was an Asian elephant that spent 40 years of her life alone, being forced to perform. Her owner was found guilty of animal mistreatment and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and to pay a fine of 10 monthly tax units (UTM). Ramba was forced to perform difficult tricks and was not provided medical care. In addition, she was kept chained in a small enclosure without adequate space, temperature, or enrichment. Ramba was officially “confiscated” in 1997 due to abuse and neglect. However, she remained with the circus but was not allowed to perform. She was removed from the circus and temporarily relocated to "Parque Safari in Rancagua" in 2011. In 2019, Ramba was relocated to Global Sanctuary for Elephants in Brazil. Unfortunately, Ramba died a few months later after arriving at the sanctuary due to kidney disease.
Sentencia C-889, 2012 Sentencia C-889/12 Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality.
Sentencia C-666, 2010 Sentencia C-666/10 The Constitutional Court decided on an unconstitutionality claim against Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection Ley 84 of 1989 that corresponds to the exceptions to the duty of animal protection. This decision established the conditions that must be met for the exceptions of Article 7 to apply. Put in different words, through Decision C-666, the court limits the scope of the legality of bullfighting, establishing certain requirements. In its holding, the Court stated that the seven practices in Article 7 would not violate the Constitution, so long as they were done within the following parameters: (1) As long as it is understood that these animals should, in all cases, obtain special protection against suffering and pain during the execution of these activities. This exception allows the continuation of cultural expressions and entertainment with animals, so long as exceptionally cruel acts against these animals are eliminated, or lessened in the future in a process of adaptation between cultural expressions and duties of protection to animals; (2) These practices can only take place in municipalities and districts in which the practices are themselves a manifestation of a regular, periodic and uninterrupted tradition, and therefore their execution responds to a certain regularity; (3) These practices can only take place during occasions in which they have commonly taken place and in the municipalities and districts where they are authorized; (4) These are the only practices that are authorized to be part of the exception in Article 7 to the constitutional duty to protect animals; and (5) Municipal authorities cannot economically support the construction of installations for the exclusive execution of the activities listed in Article 7 with public funds.

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