|Kasey v. Beshear||--- S.W.3d ----, 2021 WL 1324395 (Ky. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2021)||Appellants, Teresa's Legacy Continues, Inc., a non-profit organization of concerned citizens and taxpayers in Kentucky sued the Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture alleging failure to monitor or enforce compliance with animal shelter statutes (KRS3 Chapter 258, Animal Control and Protection). The appellants contend that in 120 of Kentucky's counties, only 12% are in compliance with the statutes and over 50% are in violation of at least three statutes. In lieu of filing an answer, the appellants filed a motion to dismiss based largely on appellants' lack of standing. In response, the appellants claimed standing based on actual damage and argued that they have "a real and substantial interest in the outcome" because post-tax funds that are supposed to be for shelters will "unjustly enrich" the Commonwealth. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing in 2018 and this appeal followed. On appeal, this court held that the failure to enforce Kentucky laws is not the particularized injury contemplated under the Lujan test. In fact, the court declined to expand the doctrine of standing to include an injury based on the appellants voluntary expenditure of personal time and resources to care for abandoned animals when they were under no legal obligation to do so. As to the asserted taxpayer standing, the court found that appellants failed to allege in circuit court that funds were being illegally expended and thus, could not consider this argument for the first time on appeal. Further, the animal shelter statutes at issue require only that the Governor and Commission of Agriculture disburse the funds and had no control over the oversight of funding (that goes to the governing board of each county). Thus, the cause of appellants' injuries could not be traced to the appellees. Lastly, the court acknowledged that while appellants have attempted to show standing via citizen and taxpayer status, Kentucky law has not previously considered that avenue. Said the court, "[p]erhaps, given the right facts and circumstances, one could obtain such standing. However, for the reasons set forth above, we cannot say the Appellants have properly pled it here." Affirmed.|
|Wallen v. City of Mobile||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 3803749 (Ala. Crim. App. Aug. 10, 2018)||Wallen appeals her convictions for six counts of violating Mobile, Alabama's public nuisance ordinances. The nuisance convictions stem from an anonymous complaint about multiple barking dogs at Wallen's property. After receiving the tip in March of 2016, an animal control officer drove to the residence, parked across the street, and, as he sat in his car, heard dogs bark continuously for approximately ten minutes. That same day, a local realtor went to house that was for sale behind Wallen's property and heard an "overwhelming" noise of dogs barking continuously for 30-45 minutes. For almost a year, officers received complaints about noise coming from Wallen's house. In May of 2017, Wallen entered a plea of not guilty for multiple charges of violating the public nuisance ordinance in Mobile Circuit Court. She also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Mobile City Code was unconstitutionally vague. Her motion was later denied, and a jury trial was held where Wallen was found guilty of six counts of violating Mobile's public-nuisance ordinance. On appeal, Wallen first argues that the public nuisance ordinance is unconstitutionally overbroad because it regulates without reference to time, place, and manner. However, the court found that Wallen did not establish how the overbreadth doctrine applied to her case and how the ordinance was unconstitutional. As to her next vagueness challenge, Wallen contended that the ordinance had no objective standards to determine whether a dog's barking is disturbing or unreasonable. This court disagreed, finding the statute defines what are "disturbing noises" (which specifically states barking), and other courts previously established that the term "habit" in a dog-barking statute is not vague. Finally, the found that Wallen's last general argument, that the code is unconstitutional as applied to her, did not satisfy court rules with respect to issues presented and support with authority on appeal. The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.|
|Strickland v. Pinellas Cty.||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 6518761 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 12, 2018)||Andy G. Strickland appealed an order dismissing with prejudice his complaint for declaratory relief against Pinellas County. The request stems from letters he received from Animal Services of Pinellas County about his dog. Strickland and a neighbor were involved in a dispute after their dogs attacked each other. The neighbor filed a complaint with Animal Services claiming that Strickland's dog was the "aggressor dog" and then sent a letter to the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners. The County then sent two letters to Strickland, the first informing him that his dog had exhibited dangerous propensities, and the second, from an assistant county attorney, informing him of the possible criminal ramifications for keeping a dangerous dog or being an "Irresponsible Pet Owner" under the county code. As a result of these letters, Strickland filed a complaint in circuit court saying that he was not afforded any opportunity to dispute those claims and that he is entitled to have the threat of criminal prosecution removed. The County moved to dismiss Strickland's complaint arguing that he failed to allege a justiciable controversy and a bona fide dispute between the County and him. The County claimed that there were no legal findings made with respect to Strickland's dog and that the letters were possible ramifications and explanations of law. The trial court agreed and granted the County's motion, finding the letters were not accusatory and the case presented no justiciable issue. On appeal here, this court upheld the lower court's order because Strickland's allegations did not present a bona fide dispute. Both letters emphasized that his dog had not been classified as dangerous and that no action was being taken by the county. A speculative fear by Strickland that he may be subject to future consequences does not warrant declaratory relief and does not show imminent danger of prosecution. Thus, the trial court correctly dismissed Strickland's complaint. Affirmed.|
|State v. Archer||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 6579053 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018)||This appeal concerns the lower court's granting of a motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. In April of 2017, a Ponce Inlet Police Department officer responded to defendant's residence after receiving a call about possible animal abuse. The caller described hearing sounds of a dog yelping and being beaten. Upon arrival, Officer Bines heard dog commands and the sounds of "striking flesh." He then knocked on defendant Archer's front door and began speaking with him on the front porch. Officer Bines told Archer that he was there to investigate a complaint of possible animal abuse to which Archer acknowledged that his dog bit him after he disciplined the dog for making a mess, so he "hit him a couple times." The officer then told Archer he had "probable cause" to enter the house or he could seek a warrant. Ultimately, Bines followed Archer to the backyard where Archer pointed to a dog in the corner that had its tongue out and was bloodied. Shortly thereafter, Bines determined the dog was dead. Archer was then cuffed and advised of his Miranda rights. After placing Archer in the police vehicle, Bines and other officers re-entered the home and yard to take pictures of the crime scene and to secure the canine's remains. After being charged with violating the cruelty to animals law (Section 828.12), Archer moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the warrantless entry of his home. The trial court granted and denied the motion in part, finding that while there were exigent circumstances to justify the warrantless entry, the exigency was over once it was determined that the dog was dead. The State of Florida appeals here. The appellate court first noted that while warrantless searches of homes are presumed illegal, an officer may enter when there are exigent circumstances including medical emergencies related to animals. Despite Archer's attempts to distinguish the instant facts from previous cases because there were no signs of blood or smells to indicate an emergency, the totality of the facts showed police received a call of animal cruelty in progress and the Officer Bines heard sounds of striking flesh. In addition, Archer advised Bines that he had struck the dog. Thus, the court found the officer "had reasonable grounds to believe that there was an urgent and immediate need to check on the safety and well-being of the dog and to connect the feared emergency to the house that they entered." As to suppression of the evidence found in plain view after entry onto the property, the appellate court also found the lower court erred in its decision. Under existing case law, once entry is allowed based on exigent circumstances, items found in plain view may be lawfully seized. The officer saw the dog in the corner before he knew the dog was dead, and thus, the exigency still existed. With respect to the photographs taken and the bodycam footage, the court held that re-entry into the home after Archer was in the patrol car did not require a warrant. Once an exigency that justified a warrantless search is over, law enforcement cannot go back and conduct further searches. However, in this case, the re-entry into Archer's house was a continuation of photographing evidence that was already found in plain view while the exigency existed (e.g., before the officers knew the dog was dead). The motion to suppress was affirmed in part and reversed in part.|
|State v. Avella||--- So.3d ----, 2019 WL 2552529 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. June 21, 2019)||The Defendant was charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license and for cruelty to animals. The Defendant made a homemade device attempting to treat his dog for a problem because he did not have the money to take his dog to the vet. The home treatment ended up injuring the dog and he took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian stated that the dog needed to be taken to an advanced care veterinary facility, however, the Defendant could not do so due to lack of funds. The trial court dismissed the charges brought against the Defendant and the State of Florida appealed. Florida law forbids a person from practicing veterinary medicine without a license. The Defendant was not a veterinarian. The Defendant relied upon statutory exemptions in Florida’s statue that permit a person to care for his or her own animals and claims that he was just trying to help his dog, Thor. The Defendant also argued that the purpose of the statute was to prevent unlicensed veterinary care provided to the public rather than to criminalize the care an owner provides to his or her animals. The Court held that the trial court did not err in dismissing Count I for unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine given the stated purpose of the statute and the statutory exemptions. As for Count II, animal cruelty, the State argued that the Defendant’s conduct in using a homemade tool to remove bone fragments from the dog’s rectum and then failing to take the dog to an advanced care clinic fits under the Florida animal cruelty statute. Although the Defendant argued that he had no intention of inflicting pain upon his dog and was only trying to help him, the Court agreed with the State’s argument that “the statute does not require a specific intent to cause pain but punishes an intentional act that results in the excessive infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.” Ultimately the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Count I, reversed the trial court’s dismissal of Count II and remanded for further proceedings on the animal cruelty charge.|
|Estis v. Mills||--- So.3d ----, 2019 WL 3807048 (La. App. 2 Cir. August 14, 2019)||On September 11, 2017, Plaintiffs, Catherine Estis, Samuel Estis, and Thuy Estis brought this action against the Defendants, Clifton and Kimberly Mills, seeking damages for the shooting of the Plaintiff’s ten-month-old German Shepherd puppy, Bella. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants shot Bella, did not disclose to them that Bella had been shot, and dumped her body over ten miles away. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Defendants argued that they fell within the immunity afforded by a Louisiana statute that gives immunity to anyone who kills a dog that is not on the property of the owner and is harassing, wounding, or killing livestock. The Defendants alleged that Bella, the puppy, was harassing their horses. The Plaintiffs argued that the immunity afforded by the statute needed to be affirmatively pled by the Defendants and that the Defendants waived such immunity by failing to assert the affirmative defense in their original answer or any subsequent pleading. The Plaintiffs further argued that the motion for summary judgment would not have been granted if it were not for the immunity protections. The Court ultimately held that the Defendants failed to affirmatively plead the immunity statute and, therefore, it reversed and remanded the case to the lower court.|
|Dancy v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2020 WL 240457 (Miss. Jan. 16 , 2020)||The Justice Court of Union County found Michael Dancy guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and ordered the permanent forfeiture of Dancy’s six horses, four cats, and three dogs. Dancy appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court ordered that the animals be permanently forfeited and found Dancy guilty. The circuit court also ordered Dancy to pay $39,225 for care and boarding costs for the horses. Dancy subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi. Essentially, Dancy failed to provide adequate shelter, food, and water for the animals. The Court found that the circuit court properly released the animals to an animal protection organization. The Court also found that the reimbursement order was permissible. Two of Dancy’s three convictions were for violations of the same statute regarding simple cruelty, one for his four cats and one for his three dogs. The Court held that, according to the statute's plain language, Dancy’s cruelty to a combination of dogs and cats occurring at the same time "shall constitute a single offense." Thus, the State cannot punish Dancy twice for the same offense without violating his right against double jeopardy. For that reason, the court vacated Dancy’s second conviction of simple cruelty. The court affirmed the permanent forfeiture and reimbursement order and his other cruelty conviction.|
|Archer v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2020 WL 7409970 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2020)||Defendant Tim Archer pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty in Florida. Archer's dog Ponce apparently made a mess in Archer's house and, when Archer "disciplined" Ponce, the dog bit him, leading to Archer violently beating and stabbing the dog to death. Public outcry over mild punishment in the state for heinous acts of animal abuse led to "Ponce's Law," which enhanced penalties (although it did not retroactively apply to Archer). As a condition of Archer's plea agreement, both parties stipulated to a restriction on future ownership of animals as part of Archer's probation. On appeal here, Archer argues that the trial court erred in imposing these special conditions of probation. With regard to special condition 34 and 35, which prohibits him from owning any animal for the duration of his life and prohibits him from residing with anyone who owns a pet, Archer seeks clarification whether this prohibits him from residing with his ex-wife and children who own two cats, respectively. The court found that condition 35 would only be in effect for his three-year probationary term. Additionally, the court found condition 34 that imposes a lifetime ban on ownership exceeded the trial court's jurisdiction regardless of the open-ended language of Ponce's law. The animal restriction is not "a license to exceed the general rule that prohibits a court from imposing a probationary term beyond the statutorily permissible term, which in this case is five years." The case was remanded to the trial court to modify the conditions of probation to be coextensive with the probationary term.|
|Estis v. Mills||--- So.3d ----, 2021 WL 1396598 (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.|
|Houk v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2021 WL 1685627 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 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).|
|Queen v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2021 WL 4471099 (Miss. Sept. 30, 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.|
|Harby v. Harby||--- So.3d ----, 2021 WL 5344799 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 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.|
|Strickland v. Medlen||-397 S.W.3d 184 (Tex. 2013)||
The Supreme Court of Texas considers petitioner's appeal from the court of appeals' decision holding that a dog owner may recover intangible loss-of-companionship damages in the form of intrinsic or sentimental-value property damages. The facts underlying the action involved the improper euthanization of respondents' dog, Avery. They sued for Avery's “sentimental or intrinsic value” because the dog had little or no market value and was irreplaceable. The trial court found that Texas law barred such damages, and dismissed the suit with prejudice. The Court of Appeals of Texas became the first court to hold that a dog owner may recover intangible loss-of-companionship damages in the form of intrinsic or sentimental-value property damages. The Supreme Court reverses that decision here, ruling that dogs are ordinary property, with damages limited to market value, and noneconomic damages based in relational attachment are not permitted.
|Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania ex rel. their members v. Pennsylvania Game Com'n||03 A.2d 117 (Pa.Cmwlth., 2006)||
A Pennsylvania association consisting of hunters and outdoorsmen and members of the association filed a complaint/request for writ of mandamus against the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and various state officials, seeking an order directing Commission and DCNR to provide the data and information on which the Commission relied in setting "harvest" figures for Pennsylvania's deer population. Before this Court in our original jurisdiction are the preliminary objections of the Pennsylvania Game Commission , the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and certain Commonwealth officers (collectively, Respondents). The court first found that the Sportsmen indeed have standing, conferred both by statute and under the under the traditional substantial-direct-immediate test. However, Respondent Game Commission's demurrer was sustained, primarily because the court agreed that due to the ambiguous nature of Sportsmen's pleading, it is not possible to discern a legal theory to support the relief requested. Further, the court sustained Respondent's claim that the DCNR, its Secretary, and the state's Governor were not proper parties to association's suit. Despite these procedural defects, the court did not dismiss the Sportsmen's action, and instead allowed them to amend their complaint within 30 days of this order.
|People v. Berry||1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)||
In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, § 399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, § 597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, § 3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.
|Kanoa Inc., v. Clinton||1 F. Supp. 2d 1088 (1998)||
Plaintiff cruise company filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to halt scientific research of the defendant government, alleging standing under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), the Marine Mammal Protection Act ("MMPA"), and the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").
|Collier v. Zambito||1 N.Y.3d 444 (N.Y. 2004)||
Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home. After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.
|State v. Murphy||10 A.3d 697 (Me.,2010)||
Defendant appeals her convictions for assault of an officer, refusing to submit to arrest, criminal use of an electronic weapon, and two counts of cruelty to animals. In October 2009, a state police trooper was dispatched to defendant's home to investigate complaints that she was keeping animals despite a lifetime ban imposed after her 2004 animal cruelty conviction. The appellate found each of her five claims frivolous, and instead directed its inquiry as to whether the trial court correctly refused recusal at defendant's request. This court found that the trial court acted with "commendable restraint and responsible concern for Murphy's fundamental rights," especially in light of defendant's outbursts and provocations.
|People v. Tinsdale||10 Abbott's Prac. Rept. (New) 374 (N.Y. 1868)||
This case represents one of the first prosecutions by Mr. Bergh of the ASPCA under the new New York anti-cruelty law. That this case dealt with the issue of overloading a horse car is appropriate as it was one of the most visible examples of animal abuse of the time. This case establishes the legal proposition that the conductor and driver of a horse car will be liable for violations of the law regardless of company policy or orders.Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty
|Yuzon v. Collins||10 Cal.Rptr.3d 18 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2004)||
In this California case, a dog bite victim sued a landlord, alleging premises liability in landlord's failure to guard or warn against tenants' dangerous dog. On appeal from an order of summary judgment in favor of the landlords, the Court of Appeal held that the landlord owed no duty of care, as he had no actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities and an expert witness's declaration that the landlord should have known of the dog's vicious propensities was insufficient to warrant reconsideration of summary judgment ruling. The landlord's knowledge that tenants may have a dog because it is allowed through a provision in the lease is insufficient to impute liability where the landlord has no knowledge of any previous attacks or incidents.
|Hohenstein v. Dodds||10 N.W.2d 236 (Minn. 1943)||This is an action against a licensed veterinarian to recover damages for his alleged negligence in the diagnosis and treatment of plaintiff's pigs. Plaintiff alleged defendant-veterinarian negligently vaccinated his purebred pigs for cholera. The court held that a n expert witness's opinion based on conflicting evidence which he is called upon to weigh is inadmissible. Further, a n expert witness may not include the opinion of another expert witness as basis for his own opinion.|
|Banasczek v. Kowalski||10 Pa. D. & C.3d 94 (1979)||
Edward Banasczek (plaintiff) instituted an action in trespass against William Kowalski (defendant) for money damages resulting from the alleged shooting of two of plaintiff's dogs. The court held the following: “[T]he claim for emotional distress arising out of the malicious destruction of a pet should not be confused with a claim for the sentimental value of a pet, the latter claim being unrecognized in most jurisdictions. Secondly we do not think, as defendant argues, that the owner of the maliciously destroyed pet must have witnessed the death of his or her pet in order to make a claim for emotional distress.” Pennsylvania has summarily rejected a claim for loss of companionship for the death of a dog.
|Free v. Jordan||10 S.W.2d 19 (Ark. 1928)||
In a replevin action to recover possession of a lost dog from its finder, the court reversed and remanded the case so a jury could determine whether the statute of limitations was tolled due to the defendant's alleged fraudulent concealment of his possession of the dog.
|Westfall v. State||10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)||
Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.
|Schindler v. Mejias||100 A.D.3d 1315 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012)||
This appeal is an appeal of the denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment in a defamation action. Plaintiff, an attorney, brought an action against Hector L. Mejias Jr., an employee of defendant Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, claiming that Mejias falsely accused him of misrepresenting himself as the Ulster County District Attorney during a sworn deposition. The statement occurred during an incident at the SPCA where Plaintiff-Schindler was trying to pick up a dog owned by his client. The particular issue on appeal is whether the supreme court erred in determining that Mejias's supporting deposition constitutes libel per se. The court found that the alleged act was sufficiently egregious because such a claim would suggest professional misconduct on an attorney's part and invites both disciplinary action and damage to an attorney's professional reputation. Further, defendants failed to meet their burden of showing an absence of malice. The order was affirmed.
|Faraci v. Urban||101 A.D.3d 1753 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.)||
In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.
|People v. Baniqued||101 Cal.Rptr.2d 835 (Cal.App.3 Dist.,2000).||
Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, California, ordering their conviction for cockfighting in violations of animal cruelty statutes. The court held that roosters and other birds fall within the statutory definition of "every dumb creature" and thus qualify as an "animal" for purposes of the animal cruelty statutes.
|Toney v. Glickman||101 F.3d 1236 (8th Cir., 1996)||Plaintiffs were in the business of selling animals to research facilities. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that they had committed hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq. The ALH then imposed what was, to that point, the harshest sanction, $200,000, in the history of the Act. The Judicial Officer affirmed the ALJ's findings and denied the Plaintiffs' request to reopen the hearing for consideration of new evidence. While the 8th Circuit affirmed most of these findings, it held that the evidence did not support all of them. Accordingly, the court remanded the matter to the Department for redetermination of the sanction. The court also affirmed the Judicial Officer's refusal to reopen the hearing and denied the Plaintiffs' Request for Leave to Adduce Additional Evidence. The Plaintiffs were free, however, to seek leave to offer this additional evidence on remand to the extent it was relevant to the sanction.|
|Alternatives Research & Development Foundation v. Glickman||101 F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C.,2000)||
In this case, the plaintiffs, a non-profit organization, a private firm and an individual, alleged that the defendants, the USDA and APHIS violated the mandate of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by promulgating regulations that exclude birds, mice and rats from the definition of “animal” under the Act. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that all three plaintiffs lack standing to bring suit. Defendants also moved to dismiss on the grounds that the exclusion of the three species is within the agency's Congressionally delegated discretion, not subject to judicial review. The court denied defendant's motion, holding that based on Lujan , defendants challenge to standing failed. Further, the AWA does not grant the USDA "unreviewable discretion" to determine what animals are covered under the AWA.
|Town of Bethlehem v. Acker||102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014)||Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.|
|Kovar v. City of Cleveland||102 N.E.2d 472 (Ohio App. 1951)||
This case involved a petition by LaVeda Kovar, et al against the City of Cleveland to obtain an order to restrain the City from disposing of dogs impounded by the City Dog Warden by giving or selling them to hospitals or laboratories for experimental and research purposes. The Court of Appeals held that the City of Cleveland, both by its constitutional right of home rule and by powers conferred on municipal corporations by statute, had the police power right to provide that no dog should be permitted to run at large unless muzzled, and any dog found at large and unmuzzled would be impounded. Further, by carrying out the mandate of the city ordinance by disposing of these impounded dogs was simply the performance of a ministerial or administrative duty properly delegated to Director of Public Safety.
|United States Association of Reptile Keepers, Inc. v. Jewell||103 F. Supp. 3d 133 (D.D.C. 2015)||On a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin implementation of the 2015 Rule (80 Fed.Reg. 12702 ), the US District Court for the District of Columbia addressed whether the U.S. Department of Interior acted within its authority when it issued Lacey Act regulations prohibiting the interstate transportation of certain large constricting snakes. The United States Association of Reptile Keepers argued that since the Lacey Act “[did] not encompass transportation of listed species between two states within the continental United States,” the Department of Interior exceeded its authority. Relying on the history of zebra mussels and bighead carp, the Department argued that it did not. The Court, however, found the Department had failed to establish that that history was sufficient to confer an authority on the Department that Congress did not confer when it enacted the controlling statutory text. The Court ruled the preliminary injunction would issue and ordered the parties to appear for a status conference on May 18, 2015 to address the scope of the injunction.|
|United States v. Bramble||103 F.3d 1475 (9th Cir. 1996)||
During a search related to a controlled substances violation, undercover agents seized eagle feathers from defendant. The court held that Congress exercised valid Commerce Clause power in enacting the BGEPA, as the incentive of interstate commerce in eagle parts would threaten eagles to extinction, thus depleting the future commercial potential of activities such as eagle-based tourism and educational research. For discussion on the Eagle Act and the Commerce Clause, see Detailed Discussion .
|White v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company||106 A.3d 1159 (N.H., 2014)||This is an appeal brought by Susan and Peter White to a declaratory judgment that her son, Charles Matthews, was not covered under Susan's homeowner's insurance policy with the respondent.The incident that led to this case involved Matthews' dog causing injury to Susan while at the home covered by the policy. The policy covered the insurer and residents of their home who are relatives, so Susan attempted to collect from Vermont Mutual for the damage done by the dog. However, her claim was denied because Matthews was deemed to not be a resident of the home. This court affirms.|
|Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook||106 F. Supp. 3d 908 (N.D. Ill. 2015)||Cook County passed an ordinance that required a “pet shop operator” to only sell animals obtained from a breeder that (among other requirements) held a USDA class “A” license and owned or possessed no more than 5 female dogs, cats, or rabbits capable of reproduction in any 12-month period. Plaintiffs, a professional pet organization and three Cook County pet shops and their owners, sued Cook County government officials, alleging that the ordinance violated the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Defendants moved to dismiss the action. After concluding that plaintiffs had standing to pursue all of their claims, with the exception of the Foreign Commerce Claim, the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss all claims, but gave Plaintiffs a chance to cure their complaint's defects by amendment.|
|Japan Whaling Association v. American Cetacean Society||106 S. Ct. 2860 (1986)||
Congress had granted the Secretary the authority to determine whether a foreign nation's whaling in excess of quotas diminished the effectiveness of the IWC, and the Court found no reason to impose a mandatory obligation upon the Secretary to certify that every quota violation necessarily failed that standard.
|Maine v. Taylor||106 S.Ct. 2440 (1986)||
Appellee bait dealer (appellee) arranged to have live baitfish imported into Maine, despite a Maine statute prohibiting such importation. He was indicted under a federal statute making it a federal crime to transport fish in interstate commerce in violation of state law. He moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the Maine statute unconstitutionally burdened interstate commerce. The Court held that the ban did not violate the commerce clause in that it served legitimate local purpose, i.e., protecting native fisheries from parasitic infection and adulteration by non-native species, that could not adequately be served by available nondiscriminatory alternatives.
|Frank v. Animal Haven, Inc.||107 A.D.3d 574 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2013.)||
Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.
|Liddle v. Clark||107 N.E.3d 478 (Ind. Ct. App.), transfer denied, 113 N.E.3d 627 (Ind. 2018)||In November of 2005 DNR issued an emergency rule that authorized park managers to permit individuals to trap racoons during Indiana’s official trapping season which it reissued on an annual basis from 2007 to 2013. Harry Bloom, a security officer at Versailles State Park (VSP) began installing his own lethal traps with the authorization from the park’s manager. The park manager did not keep track of where the traps were placed nor did Bloom post any signs to warn people of the traps due to fear of theft. As a result, Melodie Liddle’s dog, Copper, died in a concealed animal trap in the park. Liddle filed suit against several state officials and asked the court to declare the state-issued emergency rules governing trapping in state parks invalid. The trial court awarded damages to Liddle for the loss of her dog. Liddle appealed the trial court’s ruling on summary judgment limiting the calculation of damages and denying her request for declaratory judgment. On appeal, Liddle claimed that the trial court erred in ruling in favor of DNR for declaratory judgment on the emergency trapping rules and in excluding sentimental value from Liddle’s calculation of damages. The Court concluded that Liddle’s claim for declaratory relief was moot because the 2012 and 2013 versions of the emergency rule were expired and no longer in effect. The Court also concluded that recovery of a pet is limited to fair market-value since animals are considered personal property under Indiana law. The Court ultimately affirmed the trial court’s ruling.|
|Marino v. University of Florida||107 So.3d 1231 (Fla.App. 1 Dist.,2013)||
The petitioner in this Florida case sought records for 33 non-human primates whose captivity was documented by a USDA report. The University of Florida redacted certain portions of the records to obscure the physical housing location of the primates. The University contends that the information was confidential and exempt under Florida law as part of its "Security Plan." On appeal, this court first noted that under the Florida Public Records Act, all public documents are subject to public disclosure unless specifically legislatively exempted without considering public policy questions. The court reversed and remanded the case with instructions to release the records without redaction.
|Kohl v. New Sewickley Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd.||108 A.3d 961 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015)||
Applicants sought a zoning variance to operate a nonprofit dog-rescue shelter. The zoning board denied the application, concluding that the dog-rescue operation run by applicants was a non-permissible “kennel” under the township's zoning ordinance. Applicants appealed to a trial court. The trial court determined that because applicants did not receive “economic gain” or a profit for their efforts, their dog-rescue operation was not a “kennel” and, therefore, was not a prohibited land use under the zoning ordinance. The trial court therefore reversed the zoning board's order. Intervenors, the applicants’ neighbors, appealed from the trial court's decision. Upon review, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania concluded that the term “kennel,” as used in the zoning ordinance, was ambiguous, and had to be construed in favor of applicants to find that applicants' operation of a large dog rescue facility on their property did not constitute the operation of a kennel. The appeals court therefore affirmed the trial court's decision.
|Vanderbrook v. Emerald Springs Ranch||109 A.D.3d 1113 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2013).||
While on a guided trail ride, plaintiff's horse brushed up against a tree that the plaintiff was unable to push away from. As a result, plaintiff's leg and hip sustained injuries and the plaintiff sued the ranch and the ranch's owners. Defendants’ appealed the Wayne County Supreme Court denial for the defendants' motion for summary. On appeal, the court found the Supreme Court properly denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. First, the court found the defendants failed to meet their initial burden of establishing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issues of the horse's vicious propensity and defendants' knowledge of that propensity.
|People v. Youngblood||109 Cal.Rptr.2d 776 (2001)||Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat. The court found that the conviction could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering. Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.|
|U.S. v. Hugs||109 F.3d 1375 (9th Cir. 1997)||
Defendants shot and sold bald eagles to undercover officers posing as big game hunters in Montana. On appeal, the court denied their claims against the permit system, finding that they lacked standing to challenge the permit system where they failed to apply for permits. With regard to a facial challenge to the statute, the court held that the BGEPA passed the RFRA test, where the government asserted a compelling interest that was effectuated in the least restrictive means. For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .
|State v. McDonald||110 P.3d 149 (Ut. 2005)||
A woman was convicted of fifty-eight counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found fifty-eight diseased cats in her trailer. The trial court sentenced the woman to ninety days of jail time for each count, but revised the sentence to include two days of jail time, two years of formal probation, and twelve and a half years of informal probation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, but found that fourteen and a half years probation exceeded the court's statutory authority.
|BREEDLOVE v. HARDY||110 S.E. 358 (Va. 1922)||
This Virginia case concerned the shooting of plaintiff's companion animal where defendant alleged that the dog was worrying his livestock. The court reversed judgment for defendant, finding that defendant’s act of killing dog while not engaged in the act of “worrying the livestock,” was not authorized within the statute.
|Batra v. Clark||110 S.W.3d 126 (Tex.App.-Houston [1 Dist.],2003)||
In this Texas case, the appellant-landlord appealed a verdict that found him negligent for injuries suffered by a child visiting a tenant's residence. The lower court found the tenant and landlord each 50% liable for the girl's injuries. The Court of Appeals, in an issue of first impression, if a landlord has actual knowledge of an animal's dangerous propensities and presence on the leased property, and has the ability to control the premises, he or she owes a duty of ordinary care to third parties who are injured by this animal. In the present facts, the court found that Bantra had no duty of care because there was no evidence showing that Batra either saw the dog and knew that it was a potentially vicious animal or identified the dog's bark as the bark of a potentially vicious animal. The judgment was reversed.
|People v. Lohnes||112 A.D.3d 1148, 976 N.Y.S.2d 719 (N.Y. App. Div., 2013)||
After breaking into a barn and stabbing a horse to death, the defendant plead guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals; burglary in the third degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. On appeal, the court found a horse could be considered a companion animal within New York's aggravated cruelty statute if the horse was not a farm animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes and the horse was normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or the person who cared for it. The appeals court also vacated and remitted the sentence imposed on the aggravated cruelty charge because the defendant was entitled to know that the prison term was not the only consequence of entering a plea.
|Dreyer v. Cyriacks||112 Cal.App. 279 (1931)||Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog. The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive. On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred. In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.|
|U.S. v. Okelberry||112 F. Supp. 2d 1246 (D. Utah 2000)||
Defense counsel not deemed ineffective for failing to advise defendant that a conviction under the BGEPA could result in loss of grazing rights.