Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
People v. Strobridge 339 N.W.2d 531 (Mich.App.,1983)

In this Michigan case, the defendant appealed his conviction of keeping more than three dogs on his premises without a kennel license in violation of Grandville ordinances, § 21, No. 159-A.  On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court improperly denied his “nonconforming use” defense; that is, he claimed the ordinance at issue was a zoning ordinance rather than a regulatory ordinance.   Relying on a case that held that prior nonconforming use (where a person has been using property in a nonconforming way prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance), the court found that indeed defendant was entitled to present such a defense, as he owned the dogs on the property prior to adoption of the ordinance.  Defendant next argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the ordinance was a constitutional exercise of the city's police power.  While the court observed that criminal ordinances are to be more strictly construed than ordinances involving a civil penalty, it still found that the ordinance at issue was a valid exercise of police power, especially considering that a previous case had upheld a similar ordinance that limited ownership to only two dogs.

Molinari v. Tuskegee University 339 F. Supp. 2d. 1293 (N.D. Ala. 2004)

A veterinary student was kicked by a cow while trying to perform a medical procedure.  The student brought a personal injury lawsuit against the professor and university for negligently allowing the university-owned cow to kick her and not providing timely medical treatment.  Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted in part and denied in part.

King v. Karpe 338 P.2d 979 (Ca.,1959)

Plaintiff sued for damages after a cow was sent to slaughter after a veterinarian had determined that she was incapable of breeding. The court recognized “peculiar value” of the cow where there was evidence that she was slaughtered before she had completed a course of treatment meant to restore her to brood status, that she could have produced for another five or six years, that the three bull calves she had produced were outstanding, that defendant took a half interest in them as the breeding fee and exhibited them at shows, that the cow's blood line produced calves particularly valuable for inbreeding, that plaintiff needed this type of stock to build up her herd, and that defendant had knowledge of these facts. The value of the bull to which the cow had been bred was also material to the cow’s actual value.

Swanson v. Tackling 335 Ga. App. 810 (2016) This is an interlocutory appeal by the dog owners (the Swansons) in a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite. The court in this case overruled the lower court’s ruling that the defendant was not entitled to summary judgement after defendant’s dog bit a child but the dog had never shown a propensity to injure anyone prior to the incident. Plaintiff was suing defendant after defendant’s dog bit plaintiff’s child on the arm and head. Plaintiff argued that defendant is responsible for the injuries caused by the dog because the defendant neglected to properly restrain the dog. The court reversed the lower court’s decision and held in favor of defendant, stating that there was no evidence that was presented to indicate that defendant could have or should have known that the dog would act in this way towards the child. In order to prevail, the plaintiff needed to present evidence that the dog had acted in a similar way in the past.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Badgley 335 F.3d 1097 (C.A.9 (Or.),2003)

The Center for Biological Diversity and eighteen other nonprofit organizations appealed the district court's summary judgment in favor of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Center claimed the Secretary of the Interior violated the Endangered Species Act by making an erroneous, arbitrary, and capricious determination that listing the Northern Goshawk (a short-winged, long-tailed hawk that lives in forested regions of higher latitude in the northern hemisphere and is often considered an indicator species) in the contiguous United States west of the 100th meridian as a threatened or endangered species was not warranted.  In the absence of evidence that the goshawk is endangered or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, the court found the FWS's decision was not arbitrary or capricious and affirmed the summary disposition.

Reece v. Edmonton (City) 335 DLR (4th) 600; 513 AR 199; [2011] CarswellAlta 1349; 530 WAC 199 This case dealt with the procedure the applicants used to get their claim heard by the court. The respondent City holds a licence under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. W‑10 to operate a zoo, which houses a lone Asian elephant named Lucy. The appellants commenced this action by originating notice for an order. The chambers judge concluded that the proceedings were an abuse of process because a private litigant cannot seek a declaration that the respondent is in breach of a penal provision in a statute, namely that the elephant was kept in distress because of health concerns. Alternatively, he concluded that the application should have been brought by way of statement of claim, not originating notice. Further, the chambers judge concluded that the appellants had no private interest standing, and that there were barriers to them being awarded public interest standing. On appeal, the parties raised two issues: (1) whether the chambers judge erred in denying the appellants standing to seek a declaration; and (2) whether the chambers judge erred in concluding that the proceedings were an abuse of process. This court held that the chambers judge came to the correct conclusion that these proceedings are an abuse of process. APPEAL DISMISSED.
State v. Nix 334 P.3d 437 (2014), vacated, 356 Or. 768, 345 P.3d 416 (2015) In this criminal case, defendant was found guilty of 20 counts of second-degree animal neglect. Oregon's “anti-merger” statute provides that, when the same conduct or criminal episode violates only one statute, but involves more than one “victim,” there are “as many separately punishable offenses as there are victims.” The issue in this case is whether defendant is guilty of 20 separately punishable offenses, which turns on the question whether animals are “victims” for the purposes of the anti-merger statute. The trial court concluded that, because only people can be victims within the meaning of that statute, defendant had committed only one punishable offense. The court merged the 20 counts into a single conviction for second-degree animal neglect. On appeal, the Court of Appeals concluded that animals can be victims within the meaning of the anti-merger statute and, accordingly, reversed and remanded for entry of a judgment of conviction on each of the 20 counts and for resentencing. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals and affirmed. Thus, in Oregon, for the purposes of the anti-merger statute, an animal, rather than the public or an animal owner, is a “victim” of crime of second-degree animal neglect.
Rowley v. City of New Bedford 333 F.Supp.3d 30 (D. Mass. Sept. 25, 2018) This opinion concerns the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts' motion to dismiss plaintiff Rowley's (formerly plaintiff "Friends of Ruth & Emily, Inc.") citizen suit for injunction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Plaintiffs allege that two Asian Elephants, Ruth and Emily, were mistreated by the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford by chaining their legs, housing them in inadequate facilities, failing to provide proper socialization, and failing to provide adequate veterinary care, which gives rise to a "taking" under Section 9 of the ESA. Rowley claims that she is a member of the zoological society there and visits the elephants on a "near daily basis," resulting in “an aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual relationship with Ruth and Emily over the years.” The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts asked both parties to brief on the issue of standing for the instant action. The court first noted that the ESA expressly authorizes citizen suits for injunctive relief. To survive a motion to dismiss, Rowley must, through facts, clearly demonstrate standing, and then the court must analyze those facts under a multi-pronged approach. To begin, the court distinguished cases that established the proper "animal nexus" for injury in fact with those that did not meet that finding. Here, Rowley's complaint established injury in fact because she lives in New Bedford, is a member of the Zoo's Zoological Society, and observes the elephants on a near daily basis. Rowley alleges that the maltreatment of Ruth and Emily injures this ability because she observes their ongoing suffering while in substandard captivity. The court was not persuaded by New Bedford's claim that Rowley has not established injury in fact because she has no specialized training in wildlife or animal welfare. In fact, this claim ignored precedent from this very circuit that "aesthetic injury" can be established by viewing animals in inhumane conditions. In addition, the court rejected New Bedford's "nonexistent requirement into the injury in fact analysis" that Rowley must have observed or will observe Asian elephants in their native habitats. As a result, the court found Rowley properly established injury in fact. As to the next requirement of causation, the court found that Rowley sufficiently alleged that the Zoo's actions caused the harm complained of for purposes of surviving a motion to dismiss. Finally, as to redressability, the court found that Rowley's request for a declaratory judgment as to the Zoo's treatment of Ruth and Emily, and an injunction prohibiting the Zoo from euthanizing the elephants met this prong. New Bedford's contention that Rowley's further suggestion of moving the elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee impaired her redressability argument because Rowley did not propose how the cost of relocation would be funded was also rejected. At this stage, the court does not need to determine whether this solution is necessary or feasible. The District Court ultimately held that Rowley demonstrated sufficient standing to pursue her claims. Hence, New Bedford's motion to dismiss was denied.
Applbaum v. Golden Acres Farm and Ranch 333 F. Supp. 2d 31 (N.D. N.Y. 2004)

Minor child fell off of a horse while horseback riding at a resort ranch and sustained severe injuries.  Parents of the minor child brought a personal injury claim against the stable and the stable moved for summary judgment.  The trial court precluded summary judgment due to the existence of genuine issues of material fact relating the parent's assumption of the risk.

Harby v. Harby 331 So. 3d 814 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2021) This Florida case involves an appeal of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. With respect to animal law, the wife appealed the trial court's distribution of family dogs, Liberty and Nico, to the former husband. According to testimony, the dogs were bonded to each other. The former wife testified that the family adopted Liberty "to be an emotional support dog" and was her constant companion. The former wife testified that she cared for the dogs when they were adopted in 2013 and 2014 until the parties separated in 2017. Since that separation, the dogs have been in the husband's possession and care. The trial court determined that the dogs were marital property and that the wife appeared to be in good health with no physical or mental disabilities. Further, both parties agreed the dogs should not be separated from each other and the court found the dogs had been in the husband's possession since the parties separated. On appeal, the wife argues that the trial court's distribution of the family dogs to Former Husband was arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by the record. In particular, the wife contends that one of the dogs is her emotional support animal and former husband expressed no desire or claim for the dogs in testimony. The court first observed that Florida is not one of the handful of states with statutes that give pets a special property status in distribution of marital assets. Instead, animals are considered personal property. Here, the court found both parties have cared for the dogs at times and the husband cared for them after the parties separated in 2017. And, while the court found that Liberty was "emotionally comforting," there was no evidence that the former wife had a disability and that Liberty provided emotional support to alleviate an effect of such disability. Thus, the role Liberty played was to provide comfort and companionship like most household pets. Since the trial court also considered each party's sentimental interest in the pets, including the children's attachment since they resided primarily with the former husband, there was no showing that the court abused its discretion in awarding the dogs to former husband. Thus, the appellate court concluded that the trial court acted within its discretion by awarding the family dogs to the former husband.
Wyno v. Lowndes County 331 Ga. App. 541, 771 S.E.2d 207 (2015), cert. denied (June 15, 2015) Victim was attacked and killed by her neighbor's dog. Victim's husband, acting individually and as administrator of his wife's estate, brought action against dog owners and several government defendants, whom he alleged failed to respond to earlier complaints about the dog. The trial court dismissed the action against the government for failure to state a claim, concluding that sovereign and official immunity or, alternatively, the Responsible Dog Ownership Law (OCGA § 4–8–30), barred action against the government defendants. Husband appealed. The appeals court held the trial court did not err in dismissing the action against the county and its employees in their official capacities. The former version of OCGA § 4–8–30, effective at the time of the attack, provided immunity to local governments and their employees from liability for all injuries inflicted by dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the action against the employees in their individual capacities based on official immunity, however. By applying the former OCGA § 4–8–30 (2012) to dismiss the action against the employees in their individual capacities, the trial court implicitly rejected the husband’s constitutional challenge to the statute. Judgment was therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded to the trial court to enter a ruling specifically and directly passing on the husband’s constitutional challenge.
State v. Chilinski 330 P.3d 1169 (Mont. 2014) After a call reporting the poor health of over 100 dogs at a large Malamute breeding operation and the recruitment of the Humane Society of the United States, including several volunteers, to help execute a warrant, defendant was charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals and 91 counts of felony cruelty to animals pursuant to § 45–8–211, MCA. Defendant was convicted by a jury of 91 counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to the Department of Corrections for a total of 30 years with 25 years suspended. A prohibition from possessing any animals while on probation was also imposed on the defendant, as well as an order to forfeit every seized dog and all puppies born after the execution of the warrant. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Montana, defendant argued the District Court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the search on Fourth Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court held, however, that the search warrant authorizing seizure of “any and all dogs” and “any and all records pertaining to dogs” was not impermissibly overbroad; that the participation by civilian volunteers and Humane Society personnel in execution the warrant was not prohibited by the Fourth Amendment or the Montana Constitution; and that the use of civilian volunteers to assist in execution of search did not violate defendant's right to privacy. The Supreme Court therefore held that the lower court did not err in denying the motion to suppress the evidence. Next, the defendant argued that the District Court abused its discretion when it improperly determined that the results of an investigation of his kennels in 2009 were irrelevant pursuant to M.R. Evid. 403. The court, however, agreed with the District Court, despite defendant's claim that 2009 inspection would show that the poor conditions of the kennels and the dogs in 2011 were justified due to economic hardship and health issues. Finally, defendant argued that the District Court was not authorized to order forfeiture of the defendant’s dogs that were not identified as victims of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court, however, held that the statute authorizing forfeiture of “any animal affected” as part of sentence for animal cruelty did not limit forfeiture of defendant's dogs to only those that served as basis for underlying charges, nor did it implicate the defendant's right to jury trial under the Apprendi case. The Supreme Court therefore held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in requiring the defendant to forfeit all of his dogs. The lower court’s decision was affirmed.
Altman v. City of High Point 330 F.3d 194 C.A.4 (N.C. 2003)

This case arises out of several shooting incidents in the City of High Point, North Carolina.  In each incident, a High Point animal control officer shot and killed one or more dogs that were running at large in the city. Plaintiffs, the owners of the animals, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers' actions violated their Fourth Amendment rights.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the dogs at issue in this case do qualify as property protected by the Fourth Amendment and that the officers seized that property. However, because in each instance the seizure involved was reasonable, it concluded that the officers did not violate the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights.

People v. Zimberg 33 N.W.2d 104 (Mich. 1948)

Defendants were charged with having in their possession in the city of Detroit with intent to sell pikeperch (yellow pickerel) that were undersized, contrary to a Michigan statute.  In response to defendants' challenge to the constitutionality of the statute, the court noted that it is universally held in this country that wild game and fish belong to the state and are subject to its power to regulate and control; that an individual may acquire only such limited or qualified property interest therein as the state chooses to permit.  Defendants also contended the statute violated equal protection.  The court disagreed, finding the argument is without foundation in fact, as the statute makes no discrimination.

Rotunda v. Haynes 33 Misc.3d 68 (App. Term 2011) The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the defendant, a dog breeder, to recover medical fees after receiving a dog that had a “severe genetic heart defect.” The dog was purchased by a third party and given to plaintiff as a gift. The court in this case held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law or the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law because the dog was not actually purchased by plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover under the Uniform Commercial Code because plaintiff was unable to establish “privity with the defendant or personal injuries arising from the alleged defect,” which are required in order to recover damages. The judgment was affirmed.
Marino v. Nat'l Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin. 33 F.4th 593 (D.C. Cir. 2022) Plaintiff animal welfare organizations sued the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking to enforce conditions in permits held by SeaWorld. The permits authorize the capture and display of orcas and require display facilities to transmit medical and necropsy data to the NMFS following the death of an animal displayed under the terms of a permit. In 1994, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was amended such that it shifted authority to oversee conditions of marine mammals at exhibitors from NMFS to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). After three pre-1994 orcas died at SeaWorld, plaintiffs tried to convince NMFS that it still had the authority to enforce the pre-1994 rules related to release of records, but NMFS contended that its authority was extinguished in 1994. Plaintiffs brought suit, arguing that the NMFS's policy rests upon an arbitrary and capricious interpretation of the MMPA, and that its refusal to enforce the permit conditions was also arbitrary and capricious. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit for lack of standing. On appeal here, the court examined plaintiffs' standing under the three-part Lujan test. The court found a lack of redressability for the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs fail to allege any facts from which the court could infer the relief they seek would likely cause the NMFS to redress their alleged harms. In fact, because the MMPA language on permits is permissive, NMFS has discretion whether to enforce them. This is coupled with the fact that there is no evidence that third-party SeaWorld will turn over the reports even if NMFS were to direct them. Therefore, this court held that the district court did not err in determining that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue this case. Affirmed.
Ass'n des Éleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Bonta 33 F.4th 1107 (9th Cir. 2022), cert. denied sub nom. Ass'n des Éleveurs de Cananards et D'oies du Quebec v. Bonta, 143 S. Ct. 2493, 216 L. Ed. 2d 454 (2023) California prohibits the in-state sale of products that are “the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size.” Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982. The law had a 7.5-year grace period before it went into effect. The law has two components: first, it bans the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras; and second, the law banned the in-state sale of products that are "the result" of that practice. After nine years of litigation and in their third set of appeals before this Court, the parties ask the court here to decide whether California's sales ban is preempted by the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”) or violates the dormant Commerce Clause. As to the first issue of preemption, the plaintiff sellers contend that at least one USDA Policy Book defines foie gras as liver from poultry that has been "specially fed and fattened" and other USDA documents suggest this is done via forced-feeding. Thus, contend the sellers, it is impossible to produce and properly label foie gras, as is required by the PPIA, and then also comply with the California law. The court disagreed with the assertion, finding that the sellers can still force feed birds to make their products, but not sell those in California. Said the court, "The sales ban is neither a command to market non-force-fed products as foie gras nor to call force-fed products something different." Further, the sellers raise a new suggestion that the ban constitutes express preemption because force feeding operates as an "ingredient requirement." Essentially, they contend you cannot have foie gras without force-feeding birds. This was also rejected, as the court found nothing new that would reverse the precedent established in the prior decision by the court. Finally, the sellers appeal dismissal of their dormant Commerce Clause claim, arguing that the sales ban is impermissibly extraterritorial because force-feeding is only banned in California and therefore, only regulates out-of-state conduct. The court dismissed this, noting states are free to regulate commerce within their boundaries provided such regulation does not affect transactions from out of that state. Moreover, the sellers' argument that the ban is "unduly burdensome" for this reason also failed since there is not requirement that a state impose the "least burdensome" method for in-state commerce. The court held that the sales ban is neither preempted nor unconstitutional and that the specified transactions are out-of-state sales permitted by California law.
Jakubaitis v. Fischer 33 Cal. App. 4th 1601 (1995) This case, as an issue of first impression, considers whether Civil Code section 3051 or 30801 governs a dispute involving a veterinary lien for services rendered to a horse. In 1994, Frank and Tara Jakubaitis took their blood-bay horse to Chino Valley Equine Hospital for emergency medical care. Theodore Fischer is the veterinarian that treated the horse, who was hospitalized from February of 1994 to early March of 1994. A letter was sent to the Jukabaitises stating that they had an outstanding balance due of $9,751 and that the horse would not be released until the balance was paid. The letter also informed them that if no payment was made within 10 days, the horse would be sold. The Jukabaitises did not pay for the veterinary services within 10 days, however, the veterinary hospital’s attempts to sell the horse were unsuccessful and the horse remained in the possession of Fischer. The Jakubaitises then sued the hospital, seeking injunctive relief and alleging conversion, claim, and delivery and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court had ordered Fisher to return the horse to the Jakubaitises upon them posting a $500 bond. Fischer then brought this appeal. The case came down to the interpretation of various sections of California law. The trial court impliedly found section 3080 of the California Code to be controlling and sections 3051 and 3052 to be inapt. Section 3051 recognizes veterinary proprietors’ and veterinary surgeons’ lien rights for compensation in caring for, boarding, feeding, and medically treating animals. Section 3052 permits the lienholder, after giving notice to the debtor, to sell the animal at public auction. Section 3080 and 3080.01 govern liens applying to livestock servicers. Essentially, a veterinarian’s services could fall under either of the sections because the term “livestock service” in section 3080 included the term “veterinary services.” Eventually the legislature revised the definition of livestock services in section 3080 and deleted the reference to veterinary services. The Court concluded that the legislature’s intent was clear. Section 3051 continues to govern veterinarian proprietors’ and veterinary surgeons’ lien rights. Section 3080 governs all other livestock service providers. The Court ultimately reversed the trial court’s decision, ordered the horse to be returned to Fischer, the veterinarian, and discharged the bond that was to be paid by the Jakubaitises.
McDermott v. Carie, LLC 329 Mont. 295 (Mt. 2005)

Plaintiff, after signing waiver of liability release, severed his finger while untying the horse from a fence. Though the waiver was illegal, defendants were allowed to enter a redacted release into evidence to show that the plaintiff was aware that equine activities were inherently dangerous. Montana Supreme Court held that the trial court did not err in admitting the document and that because plaintiff had failed to object to the release during trial and voir dire, he waived his right to appeal.

Legro v. Robinson 328 P.3d 238, aff'd but criticized (Colo.App., 2012)

While participating in a bicycle race on Forest Service lands, plaintiff (Legro) was attacked seriously injured by defendants' (Robinsons') dogs. The Robinsons held a grazing permit from the Forest Service for the land where the injury occurred and the dogs were acting as predator control dogs there. On appeal, this court agreed with the lower court that the Robinsons were landowners for purposes of the Premises Liability Act (PLA) and this did in fact abrogate the plaintiffs' common law claims. However, as a matter of first impression, the court  determined that the PLA does not abrogate the statutory dog bite claim. As to the predator control dog exception, the court found that while the dogs were working as predator control dogs, the issue is whether the dogs were on property "under the control of" the Robinsons at the time. Under these facts, a grazing permit, without more, does not establish control for the predator dog exception of the dog bite law.

State v. Josephs 328 Conn. 21, 176 A.3d 542 (2018) In this Connecticut case, defendant, Delano Josephs appeals his judgment of conviction of a single violation of § 53–247(a). The incident stems from Defendant's shooting of his neighbor's cat with a BB gun. A witness heard the discharge of the BB gun, then saw a man he recognized as defendant walking with a BB gun in his hands in a "stalking" manner. Over a week later, defendant's neighbor noticed blood on her cat's shoulder and brought her cat to the veterinarian who found three or four metal objects that resembled BBs near the cat's spine. After receiving this diagnosis, the cat's owner reported to police that her neighbor was "shooting her cats." Animal control officers then interviewed defendant who admitted he has a BB gun and shoots at cats to scare them away, but "he had no means of hurting any cats." At the trial level, defendant raised the argument that § 53–247(a) requires specific intent to harm an animal. The trial court disagreed, finding the statute requires only a general intent to engage in the conduct. On appeal, defendant argues that since he was convicted under the "unjustifiably injures" portion of § 53–247(a), the trial court applied the wrong mens rea for the crime. In reviewing the statute, this court observed that the use of the term "unjustifiably" by the legislature is meant to distinguish that section from the section that says "intentionally." Thus, the legislature use of two different terms within the same subsection convinced the court that clause under which defendant was convicted is only a general intent crime. On defendant's void for vagueness challenge, the court found that this unpreserved error did not deprive him of a fair trial. A person of ordinary intelligence would understand that shooting a cat for trespassing is not a justifiable act. While the court agreed with defendant that "unjustifiably injures" is susceptible to other interpretations, in the instant case, defendant conduct in killing a companion animal is not permitted under this or other related laws. The judgment was affirmed.
UFO CHUTING OF HAWAII, INC. v. YOUNG 327 F.Supp.2d 1220 (D. Hawaii, 2004)

Parasail operators challenged the validity of a state law that banned parasailing in navigable waters.  Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.  The District Court held first that the statute in question was preempted by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and second, that the Endangered Species Act did not repeal the MMPA's preemption provision.  Judgment for the parasail operators.

Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch, L.L.C. v. Lange 326 S.W.3d 549 (Mo.App. E.D., 2010)

A Missouri statute places liability on a dog owner where such dog kills or maims a sheep or "other domestic animal" of another. On December 10, 2006, three dogs of Defendant Glendon Lange entered Oak Creek’s deer breeding farm and killed 21 of Oak Creek's "breeder deer." The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, disagreed with the trial court, finding that "domestic" should have been interpreted by the "plain meaning" of the word, which therefore includes Oak Creek’s breeder deer.

Queen v. State 325 So. 3d 656 (Miss. 2021) Defendant Tommie Queen was convicted of three counts of dog fighting contrary to Mississippi law. The resulting conviction began with in 2017 after a sheriff's officer received a call about dogs barking and possibly fighting. After being dispatched to defendant's property, the officer encountered multiple dogs on chains and dogs that were actively fighting each other. The officer obtained a search warrant and seized numerous items including heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous (IV) bags containing saline, medicine bottles, vials of vitamins, muscle milk and other muscle-building items, several scales, and a treadmill. Approximately five or six badly injured dogs were taken to a veterinarian and humanely euthanized. The veterinarian visited the property the next day and euthanized three more dogs that were seriously injured. Defendant was convicted on three of the nine indicted counts of animal fighting and sentenced to three years on each count to run consecutively. On appeal here, defendant raised three issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by tendering Kyle Held as an expert in the field of animal cruelty and dog fighting; (2) whether the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Queen of dog fighting; and (3) whether the trial court erred by denying Queen's motion to recuse. As to the first issue on qualification of the expert witness, the proffered expert, Kyle Held, had been employed by the ASPCA for approximately ten years as the director of investigations. Not only was Held certified by the National Animal Control Association, but he had investigated dog fighting operations "probably a few hundred" times according to his testimony. This included the largest organized dog fighting seizure in history. Moreover, Held indicated he testified in approximately 100 animal cruelty or animal fighting cases and has been qualified as an expert six times in previous dog fighting cases. While defendant argued that Held should not be qualified as an expert because he did not hold any college degrees, this court found that argument without merit. Defendant's second argument challenged the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence to support conviction. In particular, defendant notes that the evidence was only circumstantial and no direct evidence showed that defendant was present when the dogs were fighting and injured. However, the court noted that defendant did not dispute that he was the owner of the property where the dogs were recovered (and over 40 other dogs found) and evidence of dog fighting (heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous bags, scales, weight gain powders, treadmills, etc.) were found there. Based on Held's observations, training, and experience, Queen's property was used as a dog-fighting training yard. Further, the veterinarian who performed euthanasia on the dogs testified that there were bite wounds consistent with dog fighting This Court observed that it previously recognized that things like treadmills, dietary supplements, and break sticks of indicative of dog fighting enterprises. Finally, the way the dogs were tied out in the yard with the chains and minimal space between the dogs is “typical on almost every yard that [he] had been on” and was indicative of dog fighting training. Defendant's last contention is that the trial court erred by denying his motion for recusal because Judge Debra Blackwell was previously employed as an assistant attorney general in the district where defendant's indictment was returned. The court found no evidence that created a reasonable doubt as to the validity of the presumption that Judge Blackwell was both qualified and unbiased. Defendant's convictions and sentences were affirmed.
Walker-Serrano ex rel. Walker v. Leonard 325 F.3d 412 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2003)

Public school student circulated a petition during class and recess that opposed a school field trip to the circus. School officials prevented her from circulating the petition, and she complained of a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the school, holding that the student's rights had not been violated because a school may regulate the times and circumstances a petition may be circulated when it interferes with educational goals or the rights of other students.

Presidential Village, LLC v. Phillips 325 Conn. 394, 397, 158 A.3d 772 (2017) In this case, a landlord brought a summary process action against a tenant who lived in the federally subsidized apartment, based on tenant's keeping of “emotional support dog” in violation of a pet restriction clause in the tenant's lease. The trial court entered judgment in favor of tenant, based on equity, and the landlord appealed. The appeal was transferred to the Supreme Court of Connecticut. The Court held that: 1) appeal was not rendered moot by landlord's commencement of second summary process action against tenant, which was dismissed; 2) trial court could not rely on “spirit” of Department of Housing and Urban Development in exercising equitable discretion to enter judgment in favor of tenant; 3) trial court abused its discretion in applying doctrine of equitable nonforfeiture; and 4) summary process action was “civil action” to which medical treatment report exception to hearsay rule could be applied to allow for admission of letter from physician and social worker of tenant's niece concerning dog's benefit to niece. Reversed and remanded.
State v. Taylor 322 S.W.3d 722 (Tex.App.-Texarkana,2010)

Defendant was charged with a violation of Section 822.005(a)(2) of the Texas Health and Safety Code - the dog attack statute. The trial court dismissed the indictment stating that Section 822.005(a)(2) was unconstitutional because it fails to set forth any required culpable mental state. The Court of Appeals, however, found that the statute was constitutional because it does set forth a culpable mental state. "[B]oth the plain language of Sections 822.005(a)(2) and 822.042 impose upon the owner of a dangerous dog the duty to restrain or secure his or her animal."   

Kollman Ramos v. U.S. Dept. Of Agr. 322 Fed.Appx. 814 (C.A.11)

Petitioner sought to have the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, set aside a Default Decision and Order of a United States Department of Agriculture Judicial Officer concluding that Petitioner had willfully violated multiple provisions of the AWA, including knowingly operating as a dealer without a license by delivering for transportation, or transporting, two lions for exhibition without a valid license to do so, causing injury to two lions that resulted in the death of one of the lions, and lying to investigators about Petitioner’s actions.   The Court affirmed the Judicial Officer’s Decision and Order, finding, among other things, that the USDA did not err in concluding that Petitioner failed to admit or deny any material allegations in the complaint and was thus deemed to have admitted all allegations, the Judicial Officer did not abuse his discretion by revoking Petitioner’s AWA license on a finding of willfulness, and that that the Judicial Officer’s Decision and Order did not violate fundamental principles of fairness as embodied in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, the Animal Welfare Act, and the USDA’s rules.

Test Drilling Service Co. v. Hanor Company 322 F.Supp.2d 957 (C.D. Ill. 2003)

Owner of oil and gas mineral rights sued the operators of commercial hog confinement facilities for negligence, claiming that the operator's allowed hog waste to escape the confines of the facility and flow into the mineral rights.   The District Court held that plaintiff's alleged damages were not barred by a rule prohibiting recovery of economic loss in tort actions; that defendant's alleged violations were evidence of negligence, but not negligence per se; and that defendant's owed a duty of ordinary care to plaintiff.

Gordon v. Norton 322 F.3d 1213 (10th Cir. 2003)

Appellants Stephen Gordon and the Diamond G Ranch, Inc. challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's control of gray wolves introduced under the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan near the Diamond G in the Dunoir Valley of northwestern Wyoming. Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, they filed this action in federal district court alleging violations of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause and the regulations promulgated under the Endangered Species Act. The district court dismissed the takings claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the ESA claims as not yet ripe for review. This court affirmed the lower court.

Connecticut v. Devon D. 321 Conn. 656, 138 A.3d 849 (2016) Devon D. was convicted of four counts sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a child upon allegations made by three of Devon D.’s biological children, C1, C2, and C3. He appealed his conviction on the grounds that the trial court had abused its discretion by having the three cases to be tried jointly and by permitting C1 to testify with a dog at her feet. The appellate court had accepted these arguments and reversed and remanded for a new trial, but the Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed the appellate court. The Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that “the trial court properly exercised its discretion in permitting the cases to be tried together because the evidence in all three cases was cross admissible,” and reversed on that issue. As to the appellate court’s determination that the trial court had abused its discretion in permitting a dog to sit near C1 during her testimony to provide comfort and support,” the Supreme Court also reversed, reinstating the verdict and judgment of the trial court.
Western Watersheds Project v. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services 320 F.Supp.3d 1137 (D. Idaho June 22, 2018) This action considers motions for summary judgment by both parties. At issue here is a plan by a branch of the USDA called Wildlife Services (WS), which is responsible for killing or removing predators and other animals that prey on wild game animals, threaten agricultural interests, or pose a danger to humans. The decision to kill the animals comes from requests from individuals or other state and federal agencies rather than a decision by WS. For this case, the facts center on an expanded operation to kill game animals and protected species in Idaho (mainly coyotes and ravens) known as PDM. As part of this process, WS prepared and circulated a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to other federal agencies, stakeholders, and the public seeking comment to the expanded plan. However, instead of taking the criticisms and suggestions from the EA and then undertaking a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), WS instead rejected most responses and labeled them as unconvincing or invalid. This led plaintiff to file suit against WS, arguing that the agency acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by not preparing the EIS after comments to the EA. For example, the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), found that the EA was not an "objective analysis" and instead sounded "like a pre-decisional defense of lethal methods." These agencies warned WS that the predator control methods were "likely to be futile over the long-term" and did not consider cascading effects on both cyclic and non-cyclic prey populations. In analyzing the factors, this court found that WS failed to consider "several federal agencies with long experience and expertise in managing game animals and protected species" when proposing to expand the expanded PDM program. There was a lack of crucial data to support WS' assumptions in its modeling that was exacerbated by use of unreliable data, according to the court. In addition, the court found that WS failed to "explain away scientific challenges to the effectiveness of predator removal." Not only was the court troubled by the lack of reliable data used by WS, but the WS’ “unconvincing responses” to agencies that had substantial experience managing wildlife and land-use concerns demonstrated to the court that the PDM is controversial and the environmental impacts were uncertain. This in and of itself necessitated an EIS under NEPA. The court held that the lack of reliable data, the unconvincing responses from WS, combine to trigger three intensity factors that combine to require WS to prepare an EIS. The plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was granted and the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied (the motion by plaintiff to supplement the administrative record was deemed moot).
National Meat Ass'n v. Harris 32 S.Ct. 965 (2012)

Trade association representing packers and processors of swine livestock and pork products sued the State of California for declaratory and injunctive relief barring a ban on slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals on federally regulated swine slaughterhouses. The Supreme Court held that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempted the California Penal Code provision prohibiting the sale of meat or meat product of “nonambulatory” animals for human consumption and requiring immediate euthanization of nonambulatory animals.

Portillo v. Aiassa 32 Cal.Rptr.2d 755 (1994)

In this California case, the plaintiff delivered beer to Race Street Liquors.   As he was leaving the store, he was attacked by a German shepherd   owned by the tenant.   The jury found appellant-landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities prior to renewing the commercial lease.   However, the jury found that he would have learned of the dog's dangerous propensities if he had exercised reasonable care in the inspection of his property and that he was negligent in failing to eliminate this dangerous condition. 

Thorp v. District of Columbia 319 F. Supp. 3d 1, 20 (D.D.C.), reconsideration denied, 327 F. Supp. 3d 186 (D.D.C. 2018) Two officers were stationed in a church parking lot near the home of Plaintiff, Mark Thorp. The two officers claimed they saw and heard the plaintiff “forcefully strike” his dog. The plaintiff then took the dog inside and would not speak with the officers. The officers reported the incidence to a Washington Humane Society Law Enforcement Officer who applied for a search warrant of plaintiff’s home. The warrant was subsequently approved. The Lieutenant who led the team that executed the search warrant on the plaintiff’s home previously had a sexual relationship with the plaintiff’s ex-girlfriend. During the search, the officers secured the dog and concluded that the dog was uninjured and in good health exhibiting no signs of abuse. The search warrant was only approved for evidence of animal cruelty/neglect, however, the search continued even after the plaintiff’s dog had been found in good health. The plaintiff believes that the search continued because the officers wanted to find drugs in his home. Plaintiff believes that the search for animal cruelty was just a disguise so that the officers could search for drugs. The officers found in the plaintiff’s freezer two zip-loc bags full of capsules which turned out to be amphetamines. The plaintiff insists he had a prescription for the pills. A second warrant was issued for evidence of drugs and related materials. After the second search, the officers found additional drugs and drug paraphernalia in the house. The plaintiff was charged with animal cruelty and possession of illegal drugs, however, the prosecutor abandoned the case and all criminal charges were dismissed. Plaintiff brought this action seeking redress for his injuries against the Lieutenant who led the search and the District. Both parties filed Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff claims his fourth amendment rights were violated under section 1983. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that the first animal-cruelty warrant application was deficient and made at the behest of the Lieutenant and that false information was used on the warrant application. The Court rejects this argument because the plaintiff abandoned the fact that the two officers fabricated the warrant application at the behest of the Lieutenant. The Court, therefore, concluded that the Lieutenant played no role in preparing or submitting the warrant application. Next the plaintiff contends that the Lieutenant’s reliance on the warrant was improper. The Court concluded that since the Lieutenant had no part int the warrant application, he had no reason to distrust its contents. The warrant was facially valid and as a result, the Court cannot hold the Lieutenant responsible for executing it. Plaintiff contended that the Lieutenant exceeded the scope of the first warrant because the rummaging around in closed spaces after the search was considered finished exceeded the scope. The Court disagreed and concluded that the warrant authorized a search for animals that were dead or alive and an animal can surely fit in a freezer. The Court said that the Lieutenant’s “judgment that the scope of the warrant was supported by probable cause may have been mistaken, but it was not plainly incompetent.” Next the plaintiff argues that the second warrant was invalid. The Court reasoned that since the Lieutenant could have reasonably believed that he had authority to search the freezer, it would also be reasonable for him to obtain a warrant based on its contents. Plaintiff also contended that the pills in the freezer were not in plain sight. However, the photos that the plaintiff used to prove his point actually belies this claim because the Court could clearly make out the same clear plastic baggies with pills in both pictures. Next the plaintiff argues that the warrantless field test of the methamphetamines was improper. The Court concluded that field tests of methamphetamine are not recognized as a search and therefore do not implicate Fourth Amendment protections. Even if that were the case, qualified immunity would shield the Lieutenant from civil liability. Next the plaintiff argues that his arrest was without probable cause. The Court stated that given the amount of drug evidence that was found in the second search, there was enough probable cause to arrest the plaintiff. Next the plaintiff argues that the execution of the warrants unnecessarily cause property damage. The plaintiff failed to challenge this claim because he did not accompany it with specific points of law to support it. The Court refused to decide this matter. Finally, plaintiff argues that the officers unlawfully seized more than $53,000 in cash from the apartment. This claim also falls outside of the lawsuit because the plaintiff failed to make mention of it in his complaint. The plaintiff lastly alleges that the district negligently supervised and retained the lieutenant and he asserts a claim of abuse of process. The plaintiff failed to show that the Lieutenant engaged in behavior that should have put his employer on notice that he required additional training or that he was dangerous or otherwise incompetent. As for the abuse of process claim, plaintiff alleges two acts: Lieutenant’s arrest of him and the seizure of his property. The court held that the Lieutenant’s warrantless actions cannot sustain an abuse of process claim. The Court ultimately granted the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and denied the Plaintiff’s Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
Estis v. Mills 318 So. 3d 449 (La. App. 2 Cir. 4/14/21) The Estis' sued the Mills for the wrongful killing and disposal of the Appellants’ German Shepherd. On appeal, the Appellants argue that the district court erred in permitting the Appellees to amend their original answer to now include an affirmative defense of immunity pursuant to La. R.S. 3:2654, which would relieve the Appellees of liability. Further, the Appellants contend that the district court erred in granting the Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, asserting that there remain genuine issues of material fact, and notwithstanding liability for the death of the dog, the court erred in dismissing the Appellees’ claim for conversion. The parties were neighbors whose property was separated by an enclosed pasture where the Mills used to keep horses. Despite requests from Mills, the Estis' dogs would enter the pasture and harass the horses. In 2017, Mills discovered the dog yet again in the pasture with the horses, so Mr. Mills shot, killed, and disposed of the dog. Subsequently, the Estis family filed suit seeking damages for the intentional killing of the dog and disposing of the dog in a bayou approximately ten miles away. The lower court granted a motion in favor of the Mills agreeing that they had immunity from suit under La. R.S. 3:2654.1. On appeal to this court, the Estises argue that the Mills waived the immunity under the statute because they failed to affirmatively plead the defense in their answer to the pleadings. This court found that immunity had not been affirmative pled as required by statute. Consequently, the Mills received permission to amend their answer and plead the immunity provision. Following granting of the Mills' second motion for summary judgment based on the immunity statute, the Estises appeal that decision. As to Estis' argument that leave to amend the answer was erroneously granted, this court first noted that determination whether to allow pleadings to be amended is discretionary and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. The court found no evidence that there was bad faith in the decision to the amend the pleadings like delay. Further, there was no demonstration of prejudice from the granting of an amended answer. As to Estis' claim that summary judgment was erroneously granted, the court discussed a photograph that was submitted in evidence support showing a horse grazing with its back presented "indifferently" to the dog. The Mills countered with the evidence of an independent eyewitness to the incident who asserted that the dog harassed the horses. The court noted that issues of the credibility of evidence have no place in a summary judgment appeal. As a result, this court found that the lower court judge's statements that, in effect, weighed the credibility of the photograph versus the testimony of the witness were inappropriate. Thus, the lower court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment. Finally, the court evaluated Estis' conversion claims for the disposal of the dog's dead body. This court said that, [i]f the court finds that the killing of the dog falls under La. R.S. 3:2654, then the claim for conversion of the dog's body does not survive. However, if there were personal items on the dog at the time of the killing, such as a tracking collar or items of other value, then a conversion claim can be made for those items. If the court determines that the immunity statute does not apply, then the claim for conversion and any other applicable damages may apply." Thus, the trial court's judgment to allow the motion to amend the pleadings was affirmed, the granting of the summary judgment was reversed, and the dismissal of Estis' claims for conversion was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
U.S. v. Antoine 318 F.3d 919 (9th Cir. 2003)

Defendant was a member of a Canadian tribe when he brought eagle feathers across the border to the U.S. for a "potlatch" ceremony (exchange of eagle parts for money and goods, which was religiously significant to defendant).  On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction under the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), arguing in part that the government lacked an asserted compelling interest where the USFWS had issued a proposed delisting of the eagle from the ESA list.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding the evidentiary weight of the proposed delisting was lacking and that defendant was not discriminated against based on religion, but rather was excluded from the permit system based on the secular component of the Act (i.e., the requirement for membership in a federally-recognized tribe).

State ex rel. Humane Society of Missouri v. Beetem 317 S.W.3d 669 (Mo.App. W.D.,2010)

The "Missourians for Protection of Dogs" ("MPD") advocated a statewide ballot measure to enact a new statutory provision to be known as the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." The certified ballot title included a summary statement reading: "Shall Missouri law be amended to: . . . create a misdemeanor crime of ‘puppy mill cruelty’ for any violations?" One taxpaying Missouri citizen, Karen Strange, subsequently filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief against the Secretary of State, challenging the summary statement as being "insufficient and unfair." In this action, the Humane Society of Missouri sought protection from an order of the circuit court requiring it to disclose and turn over Document 10 -  a series of focus group findings and related documentation developed by the Humane Society of Missouri and its partners to formulate political strategy. Writing on behalf of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Judge Victor C. Howard, with all concurring, granted the HSMO’s writ of prohibition. HSMO’s preliminary writ of prohibition was made absolute, rendering Document 10 non-discoverable.

American Society For Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus 317 F.3d 334 (C.A.D.C.,2003)

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Fund for Animals, and Thomas Rider sued Ringling Bros. and its owner, Feld Entertainment, Inc., claiming that Asian elephants are an endangered species and that the circus mistreated its elephants in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. The only question was whether, as the district court ruled in dismissing their complaint, plaintiffs (including a former elephant handler) lack standing under Article III of the Constitution.  The Court of Appeals held that the former elephant handler demonstrated present or imminent injury and established redressability where the elephant handler alleged enough to show that his injuries will likely be redressed if he is successful on the merits.

Houk v. State 316 So. 3d 788 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2021) Appellant Crystal Houk challenges her convictions and sentences for animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty on several grounds. Appellant contends her dual convictions for those crimes violate double jeopardy because animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty are degree variants under section 775.021(4)(b)2. The conviction stems from Houk leaving her dog Gracie May in a car in a Walmart parking lot with the windows closed on a hot, humid day in Florida for over an hour. Apparently, Appellant had pressed a PVC pipe against the accelerator to keep the car accelerating since there was something wrong with the air conditioner. When employees gained entry to her vehicle, they discovered the A/C was actually blowing hot air and the dog was in great distress. Gracie died soon thereafter from heat stroke. A postmortem examination revealed her internal temperature was above 109.9 degrees. Houk was charged with aggravated animal cruelty and animal cruelty, tried by jury, and convicted. She was sentenced to concurrent terms of thirty-six months of probation on Count 1 and twelve months of probation on Count 2, each with a condition that she serve thirty days in jail. On appeal here, this court first found that the offenses of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty satisfy the Blockburger same elements test and do not fall under the identical elements of proof or subsumed-within exceptions. However, as to the degree variant exception, the court agreed with Appellant that the offense of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty are not based on entirely different conduct and a violation of one subsection would also constitute a violation of the other. Additionally, while another statutory section allows the charging of separate offenses for multiple acts or acts against more than one animal, the section does not authorize "the charging of separate offenses or the imposition of multiple punishments when a single act against one animal satisfies both subsections." Accordingly, the court agreed with Appellant and reversed her conviction for animal cruelty (while keeping the higher degree conviction of aggravated cruelty).
Stennette v. Miller 316 Ga.App. 425, 729 S.E.2d 559 (Ga.App., 2012)

Plaintiff Stennette was providing in-home nursing care while she was bitten multiple times by Defendant Miller's dog. Stennette appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Miller in Stennette's personal injury action. This Court affirmed that decision because Stennette failed to provide adequate evidence showing triable issues on whether the dog had a vicious propensity and whether Miller knew of that propensity. However, the Court reversed the grant of summary judgment as to Miller on Stennette's claim that Miller negligently performed a voluntarily-undertaken duty to keep the dog away from her when she was at the house, because the evidence created genuine issues of material fact as to this claim.

Abundant Animal Care, LLC v. Gray 316 Ga.App. 193 (Ga.App. 2012)

While either shadowing her aunt or during her first day working at the veterinary clinic, the plaintiff was bitten three times by a dog she had taken outside to exercise. Plaintiff subsequently filed numerous claims against the veterinary clinic, including: negligence; negligence per se; nuisance; and violation of a premise liability and a dangerous dog statute. After the lower court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment, the defendant appealed to the Georgia appellate court. The appeals court stated that in a dog bite case, the plaintiff needed to produce evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity. Since the plaintiff failed to produce such evidence, the court held the defendant should have been granted a motion for summary judgment on its premise liability, nuisance, dangerous dog statute, and negligence per se claims. As for the negligence claim, the court held the defendant should have been granted a motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff was not aware of internal procedures to protect invitees and because the injuries were not proximately caused by negligent supervision. The lower court's judgment was therefore reversed.

Wilderness Society v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 316 F.3d 913 (9th Cir. 2003)

Plaintiffs, The Wilderness Society and the Alaska Center for the Environment, challenge a decision by Defendant United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) to permit a sockeye salmon enhancement project (the Project) at Tustumena Lake (within a designated wilderness area in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska). Plaintiffs argue that the Project violates the Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131- 1136, because it contravenes that Act's requirement to preserve the "natural condition" and "wilderness character" of the area, and because it constitutes an impermissible "commercial enterprise" within a wilderness area.  With regard to the "wilderness character" question, the court held that the Service permissibly interpreted the Act, and that the activities in question did not contravene the wilderness character of the Refuge, as the Service's decision that the Project is "compatible" with the purposes of the Refuge is entitled to deference.  With regard to the prohibition against "commercial activities," the Court held that the Service reasonably determined that non-wilderness commercial activities providing funding for a nonprofit organization conducting a project did not render project "commercial enterprise" barred by statute.

King v. CJM Country Stables 315 F.Supp.2d 1061 (D. Hawaii, 2004)

Horseback rider was bitten during a trail ride and brought suit in personal injury.  After removal to Federal Court, the Court held that Hawaii's recreational activity liability statute was applicable and that summary judgment was not appropriate.  Motion for summary judgment denied.

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman 315 F.3d 297 (D.C. Cir. 2003) Animal rights group brought action challenging validity of regulation exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, J., held that regulation was invalid, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.
Futch v. State 314 Ga.App. 294 (2012)

Defendant appealed conviction of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a neighbor's dog. The Court of Appeals held that the restitution award of $3,000 was warranted even though the owner only paid $750 for the dog. The dog had been trained to hunt and retrieve, and an expert testified that such a dog had a fair market value between $3,000 and $5,000.

Kohola v. National Marine Fisheries Service 314 F.Supp.2d 1029 (D.C. Hawaii, 2004)

Environmental groups challenged the NMFS's use of data in its classification of the Hawaii longline fishery as a "category III" fishery.  Held:  the NMFS has discretion to consider reliability of only available scientific data in classifying fishery.

Anderson v. Evans 314 F.3d 1006 (9th Cir. 2002)

Concerned citizens and animal conservation groups brought an action against United States government, challenging the government's approval of quota for whale hunting by Makah Indian Tribe located in Washington state.  On appeal by the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals held that the failure of the government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before approving a whale quota for the Makah Tribe violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The court also found that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) applied to tribe's proposed whale hunt, as the proposed whale takings were not excluded by the treaty with the tribe.

Kootenai Tribe of Idaho v. Veneman 313 F.3d 1904 (9th Cir. 2002)

In 1999, President Clinton ordered the Forest Service ("FS") to initiate a nationwide plan to protect inventoried and uninventoried roadless areas in national forests, which eventually became termed the "Roadless Rule" (after extensive study was conducted in the 1970's).  The Kootenai Tribe, several livestock and recreational groups, and other plaintiffs filed suit contending that the Roadless Rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), claiming the rule would prevent access to national forests for proper purposes (e.g., fighting wildfires and threats from insects or disease).  On appeal of the grant of preliminary injunction, the Court held the Forest Service complied with the APA and NEPA in implementing the roadless rule, the court noted the extensive public notification process as well as the impact statements, which considered a full range of reasonable alternatives.  The court held that the district court erred in finding a strong likelihood that the Forest Service violated NEPA, as there was only minimal showing of irreparable harm ("restrictions on human intervention are not usually irreparable in the sense required for injunctive relief"). 

Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles 313 Cal. Rptr. 3d 566 (2023), reh'g denied (Oct. 16, 2023), review denied (Dec. 13, 2023) This case was brought by plaintiff-appellants, several no-kill animal shelters, against defendant-appellee the County of Los Angeles. Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of mandate against defendant seeking to compel the release of impounded dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. The court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, and this appeal followed. Plaintiffs argue on appeal that the Hayden Act imposes a duty on defendant to release the dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. First, the court asked whether defendant had discretion to refuse to release, and then to euthanize, a dog deemed to have behavioral problems when release has been requested by a non-profit animal adoption or rescue organization? Second, the court asked if defendant had discretion to determine and impose requirements for organizations that claim to be animal rescue or adoption organizations to qualify as such, beyond simply ensuring that the organizations are non-profits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code? The court examined the relevant code, which stated that “any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, before the euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit” and agreed with plaintiffs’ argument that the use of the word shall indicates that the legislature intended to impose a duty on defendant to release these dogs upon request to qualified nonprofit animal rescue or adoption agencies. The court also concluded that the demurrer was improperly granted as defendant lacked discretion to withhold and euthanize a dog based upon its determination that the animal has a behavioral problem or is not adoptable or treatable. The court agreed, however, that defendant had discretion to determine whether and how a non-profit organization qualifies as an animal adoption or rescue organization. The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, vacated the trial court’s order sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend, and remanded to the trial court.

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