|Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, L.L.C. v. Department of Agriculture||539 F.3d 492 (D.C.Cir., 2008)||Plaintiff, a supplier of beef products, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), after the USDA denied Plaintiff’s request to purchase Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) testing kits. The United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit found that the USDA has authority under the Virus Serum Toxin Act (VSTA) to regulate the use of biological products, the USDA’s interpretation of VSTA allowing the USDA to deny an import permit based on the product’s intended use was not inconsistent with the regulation and was therefore entitled to deference by the Court, the USDA’s interpretation of the word “treatment” as including diagnostic activities was entitled to deference, and that BSE testing is a diagnostic activity for purposes of VSTA.|
|Creekstone Farms Premium Beef v. United States Department of Agriculture||517 F.Supp.2d 8 (D.D.C.,2007)||Creekstone Farms Premium Beef (Creekstone) sought to independently test their slaughtered cows so they could more safely provide meat to consumers. Creekstone requested testing kits from the USDA, the same kits that USDA inspectors use to test for BSE. The district court ruled that Creekstone could perform the tests.|
|Crawford v. Van Buren County, Ark.||678 F.3d 666 (C.A.8 (Ark.))||
In this § 1983 action, defendant kennel operator alleged taking of private property without just compensation, unreasonable search and seizure, and due process violations in relation to seizure of dogs, and that the local humane society conspired with government entities. On appeal of summary judgment for the defendants, the court found her claims against the county were barred, and that she failed to first exhaust her administrative remedies. The animal control officer was acting pursuant to a valid search warrant when she entered the property to seize the dogs, and, under an animal cruelty plea agreement, had authority to inspect Crawford's premises. With regard to the Humane Society defendants, the court found summary judgment proper because there was no evidence amounting to a civil conspiracy to seize the dogs for personal gain.
|Coyote v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service||(no F.Supp. citation) 1994 E.D. California||
Defendant brought a motion after the USFWS denied his application to obtain eagle feathers for religious use where defendant failed to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he was a member of a federally-recognized tribe. The court held that this requirement is both contrary to the plain reading of that regulation and arbitrary and capricious. For discussion on formerly recognized tribes and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.
|Coy v. Ohio Veterinary Med. Licensing Bd.||2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 756||
A veterinarian's license was revoked by the Ohio Veterinarian Medical Licensing Board and the vet challenged the revocation of his license. The trial court found the vet guilty of gross incompetence and he appealed claiming there was no definition of gross incompetence in the statute. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court holding no specific definition was required.
|Cox v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture||925 F.2d 1102 (8th Cir. 1991)||
USDA had suspended a kennel owner’s license for 90 days and imposed a fine on the owner for violating AWA regulations. These violations included delivering dogs for transportation in commerce, that were under eight weeks old, failing to hold dogs for at least five days after acquiring them, and refusing APHIS inspections. Owner claimed that such sanctions were excessive. However, the court found that there was willful violation of the AWA, since inspections were refused. Also, ignorance is not considered a defense, and although the owners claimed they did not know the age of the eight-week old puppies, they could have found out. Thus, the sanction was appropriate.
|Courbat v. Dahana Ranch, Inc.||141 P.3d 427 (Hawai'i, 2006)||
The cases concerns personal injuries sustained by one of the plaintiffs (Lisa) while she and her husband were on a horseback riding tour on the Dahana Ranch on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Prior to taking the ride, they signed waivers. The Courbats do not dispute that they both signed the Ranch's waiver form; rather, they assert that the Ranch's practice of booking ride reservations through an activity company, receiving payment prior to the arrival of the guest, and then, upon the guest's arrival at the Ranch, requiring the guest to sign a liability waiver as a precondition to horseback riding is an unfair and deceptive business practice. The question whether a waiver requirement would be materially important in booking a horseback tour remains one for the trier of fact. Because a genuine issue of material fact, resolvable only by the trier of fact, remains in dispute, the grant of summary judgment on the claim was erroneous the court held.
|County of Pasco v. Riehl||620 So.2d 229 (Fla.App. 2 Dist.,1993)||
When owners of a "dangerous dog" attempted to enjoin such a classification, this court held the dangerous dog statute was unconstitutional. Because dogs are subjects of property and ownership, the owner's deprivation of a dog entitles him to procedural due process.
|Council of the State, Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012||Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012||Appeal, brought by the Plaintiff, who sought compensation for negligence on the part of the municipality of Anserma for the wrongful death of her husband, who died in the corrals of the slaughterhouse of Anserma when a bull charged him, causing him to fall and hit his head. The Plaintiff alleged that the slaughterhouse facilities were in poor condition, which was the cause of her husband’s death. If the facilities have been in good condition, he would not have had the accident. The court analyzed whether the damage was a result of the municipality's negligence as it did not maintained the facilities in a safe condition, or, if alternatively, it was an unfortunate accident not imputable to the Defendant. The court concluded that the Plaintiff did not present enough evidence to prove that the conditions of the facilities were the cause of the death of her husband. The court also found that the municipality was not in charge of the cattle in the slaughterhouse. Therefore, the damages were not imputable to the municipality. Furthermore, the court found the deceased was not an employee of the municipality, he was an independent employee that was hired by the slaughterhouse workers to assist them during the slaughter of cattle. The Court affirms the decision of the lower court and declares an exception of unconstitutionality of the expression “and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” of the Article 2354 of the Civil Code In its reasoning, the court determined that the accident was a result of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk on the part of the deceased, and not a result of the behavior of the animal. The court addressed Article 2354 of the Civil Code, that established that the caretaker of a fierce animal that does not report any benefit for the owner will be responsible for the damages the animal may cause, but if he alleges that if the damages were unavoidable, he will not be heard. The court declared unconstitutional the line “ and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” The court stated that it was inappropriate to address this scenario that involves responsibility derived from the behavior of animals under the parameters in the Civil Code that treated animals as goods. As today, it was of common acceptance that animals are sentient beings. Animals just as disabled people and other beings had dignity in themselves. They have a vital purpose, so much that they can enter a direct and permanent relationship with humans. The court continues to say that without this idea, the notion of legal capacity and the recognition of fundamental rights for legal persons could not exist. Animals should not be compared to objects or things, as they have dignity. The court recognized that animals and other living beings have their own value, and that even if it is acceptable that they are used for the human’s own benefit, it does not prevent us from recognizing that they are living beings, endowed with own value, and therefore subject to some rights.|
|Cottongame v. State||2014 WL 3536801 (Tex. App. 2014), unpublished||Despite an ordinance restricting the number of cats a person can own to three unless a permit was obtained, an officer decided not to enforce the ordinance against the appellant because she was helping with the feral-cat problem in the city and because “she was ... attempting to bring into compliance [her] animal rescue.” When the officer left his job, however, a neighbor complained and an investigation took place. The investigating officer noted everything in the house was covered in cat litter, there was no carpet in the home, and cat urine was on the living-room floor. The smell of cat urine and feces also sickened the officer to the point that he had to leave the house to get fresh air. The State filed a complaint alleging Appellant's violation of the ordinance. A jury found Appellant guilty of the offense as alleged in the complaint and assessed her punishment at $75 plus court costs. Appellant appealed from her conviction for violating a city ordinance regarding the number of animals that may be kept without a permit. In her first issue, the appellant asserted that her conviction violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the city “selectively enforced its purported ordinance that prohibits any person from having possession of more than three cats without a permit.” The court, however, found that there was no evidence before the trial court indicating that appellant was singled out for enforcement or that her selection for enforcement was based on anything other than a valid citizen complaint. In her second issue, the appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. The court, however, found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding that the appellant was in violation of the ordinance. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.|
|Cotton v. Ben Hill County||208 F. Supp. 3d 1353 (M.D. Ga. 2016)||In this case, Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County after Cotton’s cattle was seized for alleged animal cruelty and roaming at large. Cotton filed suit against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department arguing that he had been deprived of his property in violation of the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and in the violation of the Constitution of Georgia. The court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Ben Hill County and the Sheriff's Department. The court granted summary judgment because Cotton was unable to establish that his rights were violated under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cotton was unable to establish that his Due Process rights were violated because he was unable to provide any evidence that the allegations against Ben Hill County and the Sheriff’s Department were “the result of an official policy, custom or practice of the county or that the County acted with deliberate indifference to these rights.” Also, the court found that there was not a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause because under state law, Georgia provided for a “post deprivation remedy for the loss.” Lastly, the court found that Cotton’s claims against the Sheriff's Department failed as a matter of law because Cotton was unable to establish that anyone from the Sheriff’s Department actually participated in the seizure and impoundment of the cattle. For those reasons, the court held in favor of Ben Hill County and granted summary judgment.|
|Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Inc.||415 N.Y.S.2d (182 N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1979)||
Plaintiff sued for mental suffering after she discovered a dead cat in the casket that was meant for her dead dog in an elaborate funeral for the dog. In ruling that the plaintiff was entitled to damages beyond market value for this actionable tort, the court found that plaintiff Ms. Corso did suffer shock, mental anguish and despondency due to the wrongful destruction and loss of the dog's body. The court specifically distinguished a pet from other sentimental inanimate objects as they are not capable of returning love and affection.
|Coroneos v. Montgomery County||869 A.2d 410 (Md. 2005)||
Pursuant to a warrant, the police seized all un-cared for animals owned by a reptile distributor. The distributor was told he could appeal the seizure, but must prepay the costs of boarding and caring for the animals pending the appeal. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor fo the county and the Court of Special Appeals reversed, holding the owner was not required by the county code to prepay the costs of care as a condition for an appeal.
|Cornett v. Red Stone Group, Inc.||Cornett v. Red Stone Group, 41 N.E.3d 155 (Ohio Ct. App. 2015)||
Cornett filed suit against Red Stone Group, Inc. alleging negligence and premise liability. Cornett argued that Red Stone Group maintained a defective gate and fence that led to the Red Stone Group's horses escaping and trampling Cornett which caused her serious injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Red Stone Group on the basis of that it was immune from liability under the equine activities statute. Cornett appealed the court’s decision and the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Ultimately, the court of appeals needed to determine whether or not Red Stone Group was immune from liability under the statute. In order to determine whether or not Red Stone Group was covered under the statute, the court of appeals looked to the language of the statute. After looking at the language of the statute, the court of appeals found that Cornett was an “equine activity participant” at the time of her injury and therefore Red Stone Group could not be liable for her injuries. Finally, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision and granted summary judgment for Red Stone Group.
|Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty||92 F. Supp. 3d 1221 (S.D. Fla. 2015)||This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall, during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment.The District Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.|
|Coos County Board of County Com'rs v. Kempthorne||531 F.3d 792 (9th Cir., 2008)||The issue here is whether FWS has an enforceable duty promptly to withdraw a threatened species from the protections of the ESA after a five-year agency review mandated by the Act found that the species does not fit into a protected population category. The species at issue here are murrelets-small, dove-sized birds that feed primarily on sea life and nest in coastal mature and old-growth forests. This Court concluded that Coos County has not alleged a failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty imposed by the ESA, whether premised on the petition process deadlines or on the agency's more general duty to act on its own determinations.|
|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.
|Conway v. Pasadena Humane Society||52 Cal.Rptr.2d 777 (1996)||
This appeal presents the question of whether animal control officers can lawfully enter a home, absent a warrant or consent, to seize and impound the homeowner's dog for violation of a leash law. The court held that that the Fourth Amendment precludes such conduct, where entry of home to seize dog was not justified by exigent circumstances. Further, the statute and municipal ordinance permitting animal control officers to impound dog found on private property did not authorize seizure in violation of Fourth Amendment.
|Conti v. ASPCA||353 N.Y.S.2d 288 (N.Y.,1974)||
A parrot flew away from its original owner, was found and adopted by the plaintiff, and subsequently seized by the ASPCA for return to the original owner. The finder-plaintiff brought an action of replevin to recover possession of the parrot. The court found that the bird found was the same as the one lost and it did not extinguish the original owner's right to possession by reverting to a wild state.
|Conservation Force, Inc. v. Manning||301 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2002)||
This case questions whether Arizona's 10% cap on nonresident hunting of bull elk throughout the state and of antlered deer north of the Colorado River substantially affects commerce such that the dormant Commerce Clause applies to the regulation. The Court that Arizona's cap on nonresident hunting substantially affects and discriminates against interstate commerce and therefore is subject to strict scrutiny under the dormant Commerce Clause. The case was remanded to determine the extent of Arizona's legitimate interests in regulating hunting to conserve its population of game and maintain recreational opportunities for its citizens.
|Conservation Force, Inc. v. Jewell||733 F.3d 1200 (D.C. Cir. 2013)||
Appellants’ claims that the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s violated the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and due process rights in regards to the markhor goat were rendered moot due to subsequent agency action. The claim that the USFWS had an ongoing pattern and practice of neglecting to process permits was also dismissed dues to issues of ripeness and standing. The case was remanded to district court with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and was vacated in regards to the portions of the district court's order raised in this appeal.
|Conservation Force v. Salazar||715 F.Supp.2d 99 (D.D.C., 2010)||
Plaintiffs to this suit — organizations and individuals that support sustainable hunting of the Canadian Wood Bison — alleged that the Secretary of the Department of Interior violated several provisions of the ESA in his treatment of that species. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that the Secretary failed to: (1) make a twelve-month finding as to the status of the Canadian Wood Bison upon petition and (2) process Plaintiffs’ applications to import bison hunting trophies. In granting the Defendant's motion to dismiss, the court found that Plaintiffs’ intent to sue letter did not specify to the Secretary that they intended to challenge his subsequent failure to issue a twelve-month finding. Since Plaintiffs gave the Secretary inadequate opportunity to review his actions and take corrective measures, the claim was dismissed. Plaintiffs — four individuals who each successfully hunted a Wood Bison in Canada — sought declaratory judgment against the Service under the ESA for failure to process their applications to import bison trophies. The court also held that the request for declaratory judgment was moot where Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they ever intended to again apply for import permits.
|Conservation Force v. Salazar||699 F.3d 538 (D.C. Cir. 2012)||
After waiting nine years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to take action on a permit that would allow the Conservation Force and other individuals to import Canadian wood bison as hunting trophies, the Conservation Force brought a suit against the U.S. Department of Interior and the USFWS for violating the Endangered Species Act. However, once the complaint was filed, the USFWS denied the permit; after this action, the district court dismissed the Conservation Force’s case as moot. Plaintiffs then sought to recover attorney fees and costs, but were denied recovery by the district court. On appeal by Plaintiffs, the Court held that since the USFWS delay in processing the permit was not a non-discretionary, statutory duty, as required to recover attorney fees and costs, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.
|Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service||720 F.3d 1048 (9th Cir. 2013)||
When two federal agencies authorized the Mudflow Vegetation Management Project, a conservation group sued the agencies for failing to adequately evaluate the project's effects on the Northern Spotted Owl's critical habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Upon appeal of the lower court's decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the conservation group's challenge to the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction was premised on a misunderstanding of regulatory terms, on an unsupported reading of a duty to consider cumulative effects under the Endangered Species Act,and on selected portions of the record taken out of context. The district court's decision was therefore affirmed.
|Conservancy v. USFWS||677 F.3d 1073 (C.A.11 (Fla.))||
In this case, many environmental advocacy groups petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for a species, the Florida panther, which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967. The petition was denied. Claiming the agency's action was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, the groups filed a citizens suit under the ESA in district court. At district, the group's complaints were dismissed and the groups subsequently lost on appeal.
|Connor v. Bogrett||596 P.2d 683 (Wyo., 1979)||
This Wyoming case concerns the application of the sales provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as adopted in Wyoming (ss 34-21-201 through 34-21-299.5, W.S.1977) to a sale of a registered Black Labrador retriever which was intended for competition in field trials. More specifically the question is whether the continued physical ability of this retriever, as a matter of law, was precluded from becoming part of the basis for the bargain of the parties. The court agreed with the district court in this instance that, as a matter of law, the expressions of the seller relative to the potential of this retriever were only expressions of opinion or commendation and not an express warranty.
|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.|
|Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles||123 Cal.Rptr.3d 774 (Cal.App.2 Dist., 2011)||
Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.
|Commonwealth v. Whitson||--- N.E.3d ----, 97 Mass.App.Ct. 798, 2020 WL 3635941 (2020)||This case involves an appeal of an animal cruelty conviction after defendant repeatedly stabbed a dog named Smokey, a three-year old pit bull. The incident in question occurred on a street outside of defendant's barber shop. Smokey was on-leash walking with his owner when an unleashed smaller dog ran at Smokey and began biting his ankles. Smokey responded playfully, not aggressively. The defendant responded to calls of assistance from the smaller dog's owner and helped separate the dogs. After this, the defendant returned briefly to his barbershop and came back with a knife that he used to repeatedly stab Smokey with while he restrained the dog with his other arm. The police eventually responded and defendant was taken to the hospital for a laceration on his hand where he yelled, "I'm glad I killed the [expletive] dog." Smokey survived the attack and defendant was charged and convicted. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments challenging the verdict. In particular, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that he stabbed Smokey repeatedly to release the dog from biting his hand. The appellate court found that no defense witnesses testified that Smokey bit defendant and the no medical records corroborated defendant's version of events. Defendant also argued that the judged erred in denying his motion in limine regarding Smokey prior and subsequent "bad acts," which, defendant claimed, were relevant to the issue of Smokey as the initial aggressor. This court found that the proffered evidence of bad acts was inadmissible hearsay and the acts subsequent to Smokey's stabbing occurred too remotely to have any probative value. Finally, the court found no substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the judge failed to give a sua sponte necessity defense. The judgment was affirmed.|
|Commonwealth v. Waller||58 N.E.3d 1070 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 476 Mass. 1102, 63 N.E.3d 387 (2016)||Tasha Waller was convicted of animal cruelty for starving her dog to death. As a result of this conviction, Waller was placed on probation which prohibited her from owning animals and allowed for random searches of her property. Waller appealed this decision for the following reasons: (1) the animal cruelty statute under which she was convicted was unconstitutionally vague; (2) the expert witness testimony was improper and insufficient to support her conviction; (3) she may not as a condition of her probation be prohibited from owning animals, and the condition of probation allowing suspicions searches should be modified. The court reviewed Waller’s arguments and determined the statute was not unconstitutionally vague because it is common for animal cruelty statutes to only refer to “animals” in general and not specifically mention dogs. The court noted that dogs are commonly understood to fall within the category of animals and therefore the statute was not vague. Also, the court held that the expert witness testimony from the veterinarian was not improper because the veterinarian was capable of examining the dog and making a determination as to how the dog had died. Lastly, the court held that it was not improper to prohibit Waller from owning animals, but did agree that the searches of her property should only be warranted if authorities have reasonable suspicion to search the property. Ultimately, the court upheld Waller’s conviction and probation but modified the terms in which authorities are able to search her property.|
|Commonwealth v. Turner||Commonwealth v. Turner, 14 N.E. 130 (Mass. 1887).||
Defendant released a fox from his possession and a number of other people then released various dogs, which pursued and killed the fox. Defendant was charged and brought to trial. Defendant moved to dismiss the charge on the basis that there was no such crime, which the trial court denied. Defendant also moved to dismiss for lack of evidence, which the trial court also denied. Defendant was convicted and he appealed. The court found that there was a statutory basis for the charge and that the word "animal" in Mass. Pub. Stat. ch. 207, § 53 encompassed wild animals in the custody of a man. The court denied the exceptions brought by defendant and affirmed the order of the trial court, which convicted defendant of willfully permitting a fox to be subjected to unnecessary suffering.
|Commonwealth v. Thorton||Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873)||
The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog. The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.
|Commonwealth v. Szewczyk||53 N.E.3d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2016)||In this Massachusetts case, defendant was charged with animal cruelty after he shot a dog that had wandered onto his property with a pellet gun. The pellet was lodged in the dog’s leg and caused significant pain and discomfort to the dog. Following conviction, defendant appealed the District Court’s ruling arguing that the judge erred in denying three of his eleven requests for rulings of law.Specifically, defendant's principal argument was that he had a lawful purpose in shooting (to scare the dog off his property), his intent was justified (to insure his wife's safety on the property), and the pain inflicted by defendant shooting the dog does not fit the statutory meaning of "cruel." At the close of evidence, defendant submitted a written request for ruling under Mass. R.Crim. P.26 setting out these issues. The court held that the District Court judge correctly denied the three requests because they were clearly outside the scope of rule 26 because they called upon the judge as a fact finder to weigh the evidence presented at trial. Next, the court reviewed the facts of the case to determine whether or not a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the court held that a rational trier of fact would have been able to find that defendant did commit animal cruelty by shooting the dog. The court focused on the fact that the defendant could have used other means to ensure that the dog did not enter the property again without causing pain and suffering to the dog by shooting the dog in the leg. The judgment was affirmed.|
|Commonwealth v. Reynolds||76 A.2d 1088 (Pa., 2005)||
A woman's four serval cats, two fennic foxes, three ringtailed lemurs, three kinkajous, and one wallaby were all seized pursuant to a search warrant. The trial court granted the woman's motion for return of her property in part and denied in part, specifically allowing for the return of the kinkajous and lemurs. The Court of Appeals remanded to determine whether the woman's possession of the animals was in violation of the federal AWA or state Game Code.
|COMMONWEALTH v. MASSINI||188 A.2d 816 (Pa.Super 1963)||
In this Pennsylvania case, defendant was prosecuted for killing a cat that belonged to his neighbor. The section under which he was prosecuted prohibited the killing of a 'domestic animal of another person.' However, a cat was not one of the animals defined as a ‘domestic animal’ by the Act. Using rules of statutory interpretation, the court found that the omission of 'cat' from the listed species of the penal code provision was intentional by the legislature, and thus the defendant's sentence was discharged.
|Commonwealth v. Lee||2007 WL 4555253 (Pa. Super. 2007)||
Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization. Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed. The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.
|Commonwealth v. Kneller||999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)||
Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.
|Commonwealth v. J.A.||478 Mass. 385, 85 N.E.3d 684 (2017)||In this Massachusetts case, testimony alleged that a juvenile brutally attacked her friend's dog causing serious internal injuries. The Commonwealth elected to proceed against the juvenile under the state's youthful offender statute. The grand jury returned two youthful offender indictments for cruelty to animals and bestiality. The juvenile contends that the youthful offender indictments are not supported because "serious bodily harm" described in the law only relates to human beings and not animals. The juvenile court judge granted the juvenile's motion to dismiss and the Commonwealth appealed. On appeal, this court first examined the phrase "serious bodily harm" by looking at its plain meaning and other related statutes. In doing so, the court held that Legislature did not intend "serious bodily harm" language of the youthful offender law to apply to animal victims. When looking at the legislative history, the court found that the inclusion of the language reflected a growing concern about juveniles committing violent crimes (specifically, murder) and did not touch upon animals. The court noted while the crime here raises "grave concerns about the juvenile's mental health," the juvenile's conduct toward an animal did not meet the statutory requirements. The order granting the motion to dismiss was affirmed.|
|Commonwealth v. Gosselin||861 A.2d 996 (Pa. 2004)||
A woman was convicted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for owning a domesticated squirrel. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction They reasoned since the squirrel was domesticated in South Carolina, and South Carolina does not have any prohibition against the taking and domestication of squirrels, the trial court could not rely on the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting such.
|Commonwealth v. Gonzalez||403 Pa. Super. 157 (Pa. 1991)||Appellant was convicted of cruelty to animals for cockfighting. On appeal, appellant claimed that the delegation of police power to animal welfare agents was unconstitutional. The court found that appellant was without standing to complain because he failed to show an injury. Appellant also argued that the animal fighting statute was preempted by a federal statute, 7 U.S.C.S. § 2156. The court disagreed. Finally, appellant asserted that § 5511 was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court determined that appellant lacked standing to challenge the statute's overbreadth.|
|Commonwealth v. Gardner||74 Pa. D. & C. 539 (Pa. 1950)||
In this Pennsylvania case, a new resident moved next door to a woman who had been operating a kennel for years. He then complained to the borough council which then amended an ordinance such that the keeping of more than six dogs over six months of age was made a nuisance per se, illegal and a violation of the ordinance. The court held that it did not believe that the borough council or the court had the power or the authority to determine that more than a certain number is a nuisance per se, and less than that number is a nuisance only upon proof of the same being a nuisance. "In other words, it is our opinion that the borough council, in the exercise of its police power may not unreasonably and arbitrarily prohibit things which were not nuisances at common law, and their declaration in an ordinance that a thing is a public nuisance does not make it so, if it is not a nuisance in fact . . ."
|Commonwealth v. Epifania||951 N.E.2d 723 (Mass.App.Ct.,2011)||
Defendant appealed his conviction of arson for setting fire to a dwelling house, and wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person. The Appeals Court held that testimony that the cat belonged to the victim was sufficient to support a conviction of wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person.
|Commonwealth v. Duncan||7 N.E.3d 469, cert. denied sub nom. Duncan v. Massachusetts, 135 S. Ct. 224, 190 L. Ed. 2d 170 (2014)||This case deals specifically with the issue of whether or not the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment extends to police action undertaken to render emergency assistance to animals. In this particular case, police officers were called to defendant’s property after a neighbor reported that two of defendant’s dogs were deceased and a third dog looked emaciated after being left outside in inclement weather. After showing up to the defendant’s home, police contacted animal control who immediately took custody of all three dogs, despite defendant not being present. The court held that the emergency aid exception did apply to the emergency assistance of animals because it is consistent with public policy that is “in favor of minimizing animal suffering in a wide variety of contexts.” Ultimately, the court determined that the emergency aid exception could be applied to emergency assistance of animals if an officer has an “objectively reasonable basis to believe that there may be an animal inside [the home] who is injured or in imminent danger of physical harm.” The matter was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.|
|Commonwealth v. Creighton||639 A.2d 1296 (Pa.Cmwlth.,1994)||
In this Pennsylvania case, a cat owner challenged a local ordinance that limited the number of cats she could own at her residence (she owned 25 cats that were rescued "mousers" from factories; the ordinance limited ownership to 5). The court noted that the preamble to the ordinance stated that pursuant to the Borough Code and "in the interest of preserving the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents ... [the Borough] desires to limit the number of dogs and cats kept by any one person and/or residence," but did not state what legitimate public health, safety and welfare goals the Borough sought to advance by enacting this ordinance. Thus, from the information before the court, it could not say whether the Borough ordinance here was a reasonable means to effectuate a legitimate governmental goal.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||817 A.2d 451 (Pa. 2003)||
The issue before the Court in this consolidated appeal was whether the trial court properly determined that 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511(h.1)(6), which criminalizes an individual's attendance at an animal fight "as a spectator," is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Specifically, appellees contended that the statute criminalized "mere presence" at a dog fight. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding the evidence showed appellees were active spectators at the fight (as seen in the videotape evidence). The court concluded that the statute is constitutionally sound, thereby reversing the lower court's decision that the statute imposed strict liability on mere presence.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||572 Pa. 431 (Pa. S.C. 2003)||
Defendants who were charged with cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy for their attendance at a dogfight as spectators challenged the constitutionality of the dogfighting statute. The trial court found that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that since the statute only creates criminal liability for a person's conscious decision to attend a dogfight, it is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.
|Commonwealth v. Brown||Commonwealth v. Brown, 66 Pa. Super. 519 (1917).||
The defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals for the use of acid on some horses' feet. The defendant appealed the descision because the lower court had found the Commonwealth's circumstantial evidence to be enough to submit the question of quilt to the jury. The Superior Court found that some of the evidence was improperly admitted by the lower court. Thus, the Superior Court reversed the judgement.
|Commonwealth v. Bishop||67 Mass.App.Ct. 1116 (2006)||
David Bishop was convicted of animal cruelty and failing to provide a sanitary environment for his five dogs. He was ordered to pay over $60,000 in order to provide for the medical expenses that his dogs needed after they were taken away from him. While defendant argued that the amount of restitution was excessive, the court found that each of the five dogs had medical bills in excess of $10,000. Defendant was sentenced to three months in a house of corrections, and ten years probation.
|Commonwealth v. Baumgartner||--- A.3d ----, 2019 WL 1010357 (Mar. 4, 2019)||Appellant Charles Baumgartner was charged and convicted of animal fighting for amusement or gain as a result of an incident that occurred on March 9, 2017. Baumgartner brought his white pit pull named "Menace" to fight a pit bull that belonged to Adam Aviles. Police learned of the dog fight after being informed a video of the fight had been uploaded to social media. Baumgartner was ultimately charged with animal fighting and assaulting Mr. Aviles, but was convicted by jury only of animal fighting. On appeal, Baumgartner contends that his conviction should be set aside because the Commonwealth failed to present any evidence of amusement or gain as required by statute. As a matter of first impression, this Court considered the term "amusement or gain" as an element of the animal fighting, which is undefined in the anti-cruelty laws. The court found that no cases or other jurisdiction defines the term with respect to animal fighting, and thus, under principles of statutory interpretation, relies on the common usage and dictionary definitions. The court found that there was sufficient evidence admitted a trial for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Baumgartner allowed his dog to engage in animal fighting for amusement or gain, i.e., for “pleasurable diversion” or “advantage acquired or increased.” The Court concluded that Baumgartner facilitated the dog fight as a means of retribution against Aviles for a prior dog fighting incident. Therefore, his motive was personal gain. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Baumgartner’s conviction. Judge Pellegrini dissented stating that she does not believe that retribution is the type of amusement or gain within the meaning of the statute. She interprets the statute as outlawing animal fighting as a sport rather than all animal fights.|
|Commonwealth v. Austin||846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)||
Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog. The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.