Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Ammon v. Welty 113 S.W.3d 185 (Ky.App.,2002)

In this Kentucky case, the plaintiffs brought an action against the county dog warden for shooting their dog. Before the statutorily imposed 7-day waiting limit had expired, the warden euthanized the dog by shooting him in the head. The Court of Appeals held that while a family dog can be beloved by a family, loss of the pet does not support an action for loss of consortium. Further, the dog warden was not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress because his actions did not rise to the outrageous level where the dog was not shot in the presence of the family and there was no evidence that Brewer intended to inflict emotional harm.

People v. Sanchez 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)

Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

Mellin v. Northern Security Insurance Company, Inc. 115 A.3d 799 (N.H., 2015) This is an appeal brought by Mr. Mellin because his insurer, Northern, would not cover damages to Mellin's condominium caused by the odor of cat urine emanating from another tenant's condominium. This court reverses the lower court by deciding that the policy included pollution exclusion, but was ambiguous in whether that encompassed cat urine odor, so Mellin's claim is not precluded. The case was remanded for further proceedings. Two of the five judges dissent, concluding that the word 'pollutant' was defined and excluded cat urine odor.
Friends of Animals v. Jewell 115 F. Supp. 3d 107 (D.D.C. 2015) Friends of Animals (FOA) filed a citizen petition under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to get the Department of Interior to determine whether the spider tortoise and flat-tail tortoise were endangered species. After waiting two years for an answer, FOA filed suit, arguing the Department’s silence had caused the group various injuries. The district court, however, found the supposed harms did not rise to the level of “concrete and particularized” injuries in fact, and granted the Department's motion to dismiss FOA's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
U.S. v. Lopez (Abridged for Purposes of Eagle Topic Area) 115 S.Ct. 1624 (1995)

Laws governing intrastate activities will be upheld if they substantially affect interstate commerce.  Under the Eagle Act, the power to regulate eagles has been summarily upheld as a valid exercise of commerce power, as it protects the eagle as a species by preventing the creation of a legal commercial market for the animal.  For further discussion of the Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.

Keith v. Commonwealth ex rel. Pennsylvania, Department of Agriculture 116 A.3d 756 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015) This case focuses on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's preliminary objection that Petitioners' had taxpayer standing to request injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that regulations promulgated by the Department were in conflict with the mandates set forth in the Pennsylvania Dog Law Act. Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Department argued that Petitioners had not pled sufficient facts to show that those directly and immediately affected by the regulations were beneficially affected. The court found Petitioners were at least as well inclined and situated as any other entities to challenge regulations that might be in conflict with those provisions. The court therefore overruled the Department's preliminary objections to Petitioners' standing.
Puppies 'N Love, v. City of Phoenix 116 F. Supp. 3d 971 (D. Ariz. 2015) Defendant City of Phoenix passed an ordinance that prohibited pet stores from selling dogs or cats obtained from persons or companies that bred animals; pet stores could only sell animals obtained from animal shelters or rescue organizations. Puppies 'N Love operated a pet store in Phoenix that sold purebred dogs obtained from out-of-state breeders. Puppies 'N Love and its owners sued the City, claiming primarily that the Ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by closing the Phoenix market to out-of-state breeders and giving an economic advantage to local breeders. All parties, including Intervenor Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”), filed motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted the Intervenor’s and the city’s motions, but denied Puppies ‘N Love’s motion, thereby upholding the ordinance.
Mitchell v. State 118 So.3d 295 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2013)

The defendant in this case was convicted of animal cruelty for injuries his dog sustained after his dog bit him. Upon appeal, the court found that the prosecutor had erred by framing the argument in a manner that improperly shifted the burden of proof from whether the defendant had intentionally and maliciously inflicted injuries on the dog to whether the State's witnesses were lying. Since the court found this shift in burden was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded the defendant's conviction.

People v. Minney 119 N.W. 918 (Mich. 1909)

Defendant was convicted of mutilating the horse of another.  He argued on appeal that the trial court's jury instructions, which read that malice toward the owner of the horse was not necessary, were incorrect.  The court agreed and found that although the general malice of the law of crime is sufficient to support the offense, the trial court must instruct that malice is an essential element of the offense.

Smith v. Kopynec 119 So.3d 835 (La.App. 1 Cir.,2013)

The plaintiff appeals the lower court's dismissal of her claims against defendant-landowners and their insurers. The plaintiff was injured (for the second time) by the defendant-landowners' son's pitbull while walking past their home. While it was undisputed that the landowners did not own the dog, the issue was whether they had a duty to prevent the attack via "custodial liability." Here, the defendant-landowners asserted that they thought the son had gotten rid of the dog after it was confiscated and quarantined by animal control after it first attacked the plaintiff. Thus, this court found that defendant-landowners did not know of the dog's presence on their property and affirmed the trial court's order of summary judgment.

Lesher v. Reed 12 F.3d 148 (8th Cir. 1994)

Seizure of pet dog violated Fourth Amendment where police acted unreasonably in going to canine police officer's house to seize the dog after the dog bit a child.

Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. 120 P.3d 126 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2005)

This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to  put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

Dempsey v. Rosenthal 121 Misc.2d 612 (N.Y. 1983)

A buyer of a poodle brought an action against a kennel, seeking to recover purchase price on ground that poodle was "defective" due to an undescended testicle.  The buyer argued that the kennel had breached implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that since the contract of sale did not exclude or modify implied warranty of merchantability, it carried with it such a warranty.  In light of this, the poodle was not a merchantable good because a poodle with an undescended testicle would not pass without objection in the trade.  Further, the kennel breached the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose since the kennel was aware that the buyer wanted a dog for breeding purposes.  This case is also significant because the court also held that a buyer's opportunity to examine the dog when purchasing it does not defeat a warranty claim.  Indeed, the type of examination would not be undertaken by a casual buyer of a male puppy.  The court allowed buyer to revoke her acceptance of the dog and receive her purchase price.

Chavez v. Aber 122 F. Supp. 3d 581 (W.D. Tex. 2015) Plaintiffs sought damages stemming from Defendants' refusal to accommodate Plaintiffs’ minor son's mental health disabilities by allowing Plaintiffs to keep a mixed-breed pit bull as an emotional support animal in their rented duplex. Plaintiffs asserted (1) housing discrimination under the Federal Housing Act (“FHA”), (2) unlawful retaliation under the FHA, (3) discrimination under the Texas Fair Housing Act (“TFHA”), and (4) unlawful retaliation under § 92.331 of the Texas Property Code. Defendants filed the Motion, seeking dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court found Plaintiffs had adequately pleaded all claims and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
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.

Youngstown v. Traylor 123 Ohio St.3d 132, 914 N.E.2d 1026 (Ohio,2009) Defendant was charged with two misdemeanors after his unrestrained Italian Mastiff/Cane Corso dogs attacked a wire fox terrier and its owner.   Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that YCO 505.19(b) is unconstitutional and a violation of his procedural due process rights.   The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the Youngstown municipal ordinance was constitutional because it was “rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs,” provided “the dog owner with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the dog's classification,” and did not “label dogs as dangerous or vicious” solely based on their breed type.
People v. Brunette 124 Cal.Rptr.3d 521 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Animal Services Authority (“Authority”) that cared for the dogs. The appellate court held that the imposition of an interest charge on the restitution award was not authorized by the statutes. It also held that the Authority was an indirect victim, and was not entitled to direct victim restitution. The Court held that the trial court had discretion to decline to apply comparative fault principles to apportion defendant's liability for restitution and also acted within its discretion in declining to apply an offset for adoption fees the Authority might have collected against the restitution award.

Lawson v. Pennsylvania SPCA 124 F. Supp. 3d 394 (E.D. Pa. 2015) Upon an investigation of numerous complaints, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty obtained a warrant and searched plaintiffs’ house. As a result, plaintiffs were charged with over a hundred counts that were later withdrawn. Plaintiffs then filed the present case, asserting violations of their federal constitutional rights, as well as various state-law tort claims. Defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion in part as to: (1) false arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution of one plaintiff and as to 134 of the charges against another plaintiff, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy; and (2) to the following claims in Count One: verbal abuse, security of person and property, false arrest/false imprisonment, due process and equal protection, and failure to train or discipline as the result of a policy or custom. The District Court denied the motion with respect to (1) the following claim in Count One: unreasonable search and seizure and the individual defendants' request for qualified immunity in connection with that claim; and (2) with respect to one plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim, but only to the charge relating to the puppy's facial injuries.
Lawrence v. North Country Animal Control Center, Inc 126 A.D.3d 1078, 5 N.Y.S.3d 558 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. When one plaintiff tried to separate the dogs, the basset hound attacked him. Defendant removed the basset hound from the home that same day and refused to return the dog to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal from the New York Supreme Court decision, the appellate court found that under the circumstances, issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court also found that the contract clause at issue did not preclude plaintiffs from recovering for negligence because it did not “advise the signor that the waiver extended to claims that might arise from the defendant's own negligence.” The appellate court did, however, find that plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The court also found that sanctions were not warranted.
Kimes v. Grosser 126 Cal.Rptr.3d 581 (Ca., 2011)

After neighbors shot a cat, the owners sued to recover costs of its medical care and punitive damages. The owner of an injured pet may recover the lesser of the diminution of the market value of the animal, or the reasonable cost of repair.  The Court of Appeal held that the owner could recover damages for costs incurred in treating the cat even if the costs exceeded the market value of the cat. The owner could also recover punitive damages upon a showing that the shooting was willful.

People v. Maikhio 126 Cal.Rptr.3d 74 (Cal. 2011)

Defendant was charged with possession of a spiny lobster during closed season and failure to exhibit his catch as required by a statute. The Supreme Court held that the statute authorizes a warden to demand that a person who is or has recently been fishing or hunting to display his catch; the Fourth Amendment does not preclude a warden from briefly stopping a person. The warden's knowledge that the defendant lied in claiming he had caught nothing established probable cause to search his vehicle. By denying that he had caught anything, defendant failed to display his catch upon demand.

G.M. v. PetSmart, Inc. 127 F. Supp. 3d 960 (S.D. Ind. 2015)

In this case, plaintiffs filed a suit for damages on behalf of their son against the defendant, PetSmat, Inc., after their son contracted rat bite fever from the pet rats his parents purchased from PetSmart. Plaintiff’s purchased the pet rats in September of 2011 and their son was diagnosed with rat bite fever in April of 2012. Defendants moved for summary judgement and the court granted the motion. Ultimately, the court found that the plaintiffs needed to provide evidence from expert testimony in order to establish that their son had contracted rat bite fever from the pet rats. The defendants established that rat bite fever could be contracted in other ways aside from rats, including mosquitoes and ticks. As a result, the court found it crucial to have expert testimony in order to determine whether or not the rat bite fever was actually contracted from a rat. Since the plaintiffs had not introduced any expert testimony or other evidence to establish that the rate bite fever in fact was contracted from a rat, the court dismissed plaintiffs claim and held for the defendant.

Mansour v. King County 128 P.3d 1241 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2006)

King County Animal Control issued an order requiring that Mansour to remove his dog from King County or give her up to be euthanized. On appeal, Mansour argued that the Board hearing violated his due process rights. The court of appeals agreed, finding that in order for Mansour, or any other pet owner, to effectively present his case and rebut the evidence against him, due process requires that he be able to subpoena witnesses and records.

Hamilton v. State 128 So.3d 872 (Fla.App. 4 Dist.)

In this Florida case, the 82-year-old defendant was convicted of a third-degree felony animal cruelty violation (section 828.12(2)) and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Defendant had his dog on leash and approached too close to a cat, whereupon the leashed dog began to attack the cat. In reversing the decision, the appellate court found that defendant's conduct did not rise to a criminal level, as it was "objectively unlikely" that a leashed dog walking with his owner would inflict such damage. Further, while the issue of sentencing was rendered moot by the reversal, the court found the consideration of a petition with approximately 3,000 signatures demanding the maximum sentence, "an affront to the very notion of due process of law . . ."

Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine v. Tyson Foods, Inc. 13 Cal.Rptr.3d 926 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.,2004)

In this California case, PCRM, a nonprofit health-advocacy organization, filed suit for injunctive relief against Tyson alleging that the company made false and deceptive representations about chicken products that it sold to consumers in California. The complaint alleges that Tyson engaged in two advertising campaigns, which disseminated false and deceptive statements about its products in violation of Business and Professions Code section 17500. Tyson filed a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) statute. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the amendment to the anti-SLAPP statute, which was enacted while the appeal was pending did not apply to actions against sellers of goods as to the representations about or promotions of those goods. Further, by holding that Tyson was not entitled to invoke the anti-SLAPP remedy, the court stated that it did not compromise or prejudice Tyson’s right to raise First Amendment issues in defense of PCRM's suit .

JONES v. ST. LOUIS, I. M. & S. RY. CO. 13 S.W. 416 (Ark.1890)

This involved an action by R. D. Jones against the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company, claiming $2,000 damages,--$1,000 for the value of a colt killed by defendant's train, and $1,000 damages for not posting notice of the killing as required by the statute. The court looked at areas in the market outside of the locality since local information on the colt’s market value was not available. The court affirmed the lower court's judgment due to a lack in plaintiff's proofs at trial.

Colorado Wild Horse v. Jewell 130 F. Supp. 3d 205 (D.D.C. 2015) Finding the number of horses too high to maintain ecological balance and sustain multipurpose land use in Colorado's White River Resource Area, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invoked its authority under the Wild Free–Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“Wild Horses Act”), to declare those horses to be “excess animals” and scheduled to remove them from the land. Plaintiffs—organizations challenged BLM's “excess” determinations and its decision to remove these horses. They asked the district court to enjoin BLM's planned gather. Because the Wild Horses Act authorized BLM's excess determination and BLM appeared to have used reasonable methods to estimate the total wild-horse population, the Court found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on their Wild Horses Act claims. And because the record reflected that BLM considered the cumulative effects of the proposed gather and permissibly relied on the Environmental Assessment written for a previous East Douglas HMA gather, the Court found that Plaintiffs were also unlikely to prevail on their National Environmental Policy Act claims. The Court further found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to suffer irreparable harm as a result of the gather and that the balance of equities and the public interest weighed in favor of BLM. Accordingly, the Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
U.S. v. Stevens 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010)

Defendant was convicted of violating statute prohibiting the commercial creation, sale, or possession of depictions of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court held that the statute was unconstitutional for being substantially overbroad: it did not require the depicted conduct to be cruel, extended to depictions of conduct that were only illegal in the State in which the creation, sale, or possession occurred, and because the exceptions clause did not substantially narrow the statute's reach. (2011 note:  18 U.S.C. § 48 was amended following this ruling in late 2010).

Price v. Brown, V.M.D. 131 Montg. Co. L. R. 150 (1994) Plaintiff's bull dog went to defendant veterinarian for surgery to correct a prolapsed urethra. The dog died a few days later. The plaintiff then sought to recover the value of the dog on a strict theory of bailment. Defendant filed a preliminary objection asserting that this doctrine was inapplicable and could not afford relief. The court held that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim from which relief could be sought and dismissed the complaint. The court, however, allowed the plaintiff to amend the compliant.In holding to sustain the defendant's preliminary objection, the court reasoned that since veterinarians are part of a professional discipline, in order to recover damages for the injury or the death to an animal entrusted to a veterinarian's care, a plaintiff must prove professional negligence instead of a bailiff arrangement.
Burgess v. Shampooch Pet Industries, Inc. 131 P.3d 1248 (Kan.App., 2006)

This Kansas case presents an issue of first impression as to the proper measure of damages recoverable for injury to a pet dog.  The plaintiff's dog, a 13-year old dog of negligible market value, suffered a dislocated hip after being groomed at defendant's establishment.  The appellate court found the lower court's award of damages based on the veterinary bills was proper where the bills were not disputed and represented an easily ascertainable measure.  Specifically, the court held that  when an injured pet dog with no discernable market value is restored to its previous health, the measure of damages may include, but is not limited to, the reasonable and customary cost of necessary veterinary care and treatment. The court was unconvinced by defendant's "hyperbolic" claim that such an award would lead to a floodgate of high-dollar litigation on behalf of animals with low market values.

Riley v. Riley 131 So.2d 491 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1961)

Trial court ordered husband and father, in divorce decree, to maintain his life insurance policy naming his children as beneficiaries; he appealed.   Appellate court affirmed, finding no abuse of discretion.  Appellate court upheld original decree, which also vested in the wife title to "some poodle dogs."

GOODWIN v. E. B. NELSON GROCERY CO. 132 N.E. 51 (Mass. 1921)

Plaintiff brought her dog into a store. The dog fought with the store owner's cat. After the fight was over, and the animals were calm, plaintiff reached down and grabbed the cat's front paw. The cat scratched and bit plaintiff, who brought a negligence action against the store owner. The court held that plaintiff could not recover because plaintiff did not exercise due care when she interfered with a strange animal, and there was no evidence that the cat was vicious.

Baker v. McIntosh 132 S.W.3d 230 (Ky. 2004)

Visitor to horse farm brought action for negligence when he was injured by owners colt.  Held:  the owner had no duty to prevent the colt from falling against the trailer door, nor did he have a duty to warn the visitor of the potential for such an accident to occur.

Jackson v. Georgalos 133 A.D.3d 719 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign v. Vilsack 133 F. Supp. 3d 200 (D.D.C. 2015) The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (Plaintiffs) brought this action against the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) to prevent the implementation of the new Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory Plan (WHT) that Modoc County helped develop. Plaintiffs brought six claims against defendants, all under the Administrative Procedures Act. In Counts I, II, and III, plaintiffs alleged that the boundary clarification was arbitrary and capricious because it violated the Wild Horses Act, the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and in Counts IV, V, and VI, they claimed that the adjustment to the "appropriate management level" (AML) range was arbitrary and capricious because it was contrary to the same three statutes. Because the Forest Service reasonably concluded that the disputed territory was never formally incorporated into the Devil's Garden WHT, and that any references to one contiguous territory were the result of administrative error, the Court found that it was not arbitrary and capricious or in violation of the law for the Forest Service to act to correct the boundary in the 2013 Environmental Assessment and the 2013 Management Plan. Thus, defendants were entitled to summary judgment on Counts I, II, and III. And because the Forest Service articulated a rational basis for its decision to adjust the AML range for the Devil's Garden WHT that was not counter to record evidence or otherwise contrary to the law, the Court found that defendants were also entitled to summary judgment on Counts IV, V, and VI. Thus, plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was denied, defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment was granted, and because they sought the same relief as defendants, the intervenor-defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment was denied as moot.
U.S. v. Senchenko 133 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 1998)

During the two year period alleged in the indictment, between September 1993 and September 1995, government agents found or were directed to four illegal bear snares in Colville National Forest, Washington that were later linked to defendant.  The Lacey Act provision that makes it felony to knowingly engage in conduct that involves intent to sell wildlife with market value in excess of $350 encompasses several types of conduct in furtherance of commercial activity (transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, and purchasing wildlife) and government could aggregate value of parts related to such conduct to arrive at requisite $350 value, because defendant's various acts formed a single continuing scheme.

Marine Mammal Conservancy, Inc. v. Department of Agr. 134 F.3d 409 (D.C. Cir. 1998)

A nonprofit organization petitioned for review of the order of administrative law judge (ALJ) which denied organization's motion to intervene in administrative proceedings under Animal Welfare Act. The Court of Appeals held that the organization's failure to appeal administrative denial to judicial officer precluded judicial review of ALJ's actions.

Womack v. Von Rardon 135 P.3d 542 (Wash. 2006)

In this Washington case, a cat owner sued a minor and his parents after the minor set her cat on fire.  While this Court found that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment with respect to Ms. Womack's private nuisance, tort outrage, and statutory waste claims, it held that the lower court incorrectly calculated the measure of damages.  Noting that the Division 2 Appellate Court left open the question of emotional distress damages where a pet has been maliciously injured in Pickford v. Masion , 124 Wash.App. 257, 262-63, 98 P.3d 1232 (2004), this Court held that the general allegations include sufficient facts to find both malicious conduct toward Ms. Womack's pet and her resulting emotional distress.  Thus, "[f]or the first time in Washington, we hold malicious injury to a pet can support a claim for, and be considered a factor in measuring a person's emotional distress damages."  

Newsome v. Erwin 137 F.Supp.2d 934 (S.D. Ohio 2000)

Plaintiff brought § 1983 action against county sheriff and others alleging that defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they shot and killed his pet lioness.

People v. Tessmer 137 N.W. 214 (Mich. 1912)

Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing the horse of another.  Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because there was no proof of malice toward the owner of the horse.  The court held that the general malice of the law of crime was sufficient to support the conviction. 

Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools 137 S.Ct. 743 (U.S., 2017)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers federal funds to States in exchange for “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to children with certain disabilities. The Act also establishes formal administrative procedures for resolving disputes between parents and schools. When trained service dog, Wonder, attempted to join Plaintiff E.F. in kindergarten, officials at Ezra Eby Elementary School refused. Plaintiff E.F. is a child with severe cerebral palsy; Wonder assists her with various daily life activities. E.F.'s parents, Plaintiffs Stacy and Brent Fry, removed E.F. from the school and filed a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Plaintiffs claimed that the exclusion of E.F.'s service dog violated her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. OCR agreed, and school officials invited E.F. to return to the school. Yet, the Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court against the Defendants, Ezra Eby's local and regional school districts, and the principal, (collectively, the school districts). In the federal suit, Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants violated Title II and § 504 and sought declaratory and monetary relief. The Defendant school districts filed a motion to dismiss. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the motion. The Plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where the District Court's motion to dismiss was affirmed. Certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court of the United States vacated and remanded. The Supreme Court held that, on remand, the Appeals Court should: (1) establish whether (or to what extent) the plaintiff parents invoked the IDEA's dispute resolution process before bringing this suit; and (2) decide whether Plaintiffs' actions reveal that the gravamen of their complaint is indeed the denial of FAPE. The court reasoned that Exhaustion of the IDEA's administrative procedures is unnecessary where the gravamen of the Plaintiffs' suit is something other than the denial of the IDEA's core guarantee of a FAPE.

White v Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y 138 A.D.3d 1470 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) Plaintiff, Rosemary White brought action against the Defendant, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church seeking damages for injuries she sustained when she was bitten by a priests’ dog, at premises owned by the church. White brought the action claiming negligent supervision and retention of the priest who owned dog. The church moved to dismiss, and White moved for summary judgment. The New York Supreme Court, Erie County, granted the church's motion for dismissal, and denied White’s motion. White appealed and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the church was not liable for negligent supervision or retention of the priest. The Appellate Division, reasoned that the Supreme Court, Erie County, properly granted the church’s motion to dismiss White’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Court stated that to the extent White alleged a theory of negligent supervision and retention of the priest in her bill of particulars, the “purpose of the bill of particulars is to amplify the pleadings . . . , and [it] may not be used to supply allegations essential to a cause of action that was not pleaded in the complaint.” Therefore, the order from the Supreme Court was affirmed.
Brown v. Crocker 139 So.2d 779 (La. 1962)

This action in tort was instituted by plaintiff, as the administrator of the estate of his minor son, against the defendant to recover the value of a quarter-horse mare and a stillborn colt, and for damages occasioned by shock and mental anguish suffered by the son, as well as for services of a veterinarian and medicines used in treatment of the mare following her wounding by a shotgun blast intentionally inflicted by the defendant. The Court of Appeal in upheld an award of $250 for shock and mental anguish experienced by the child who could not stop crying about the loss of his horse and the colt that never was. As the court stated, "Under the facts and circumstances, an award of $250 for shock and mental anguish suffered by the minor would, in our opinion, do justice between the parties."

Davis v. Gaschler 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 679 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)

In this California case, plaintiff noticed two women in the process of assisting an injured dog, which was owned by defendants, while driving down the road. Plaintiff, an experienced dog breeder and handler, assisted the women and was bitten by plaintiff's dog. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies, and plaintiff was required to undergo antirabies treatment. Plaintiff sought appeal of the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant. The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that defendants had the burden to establish that this was a case of primary assumption of the risk-where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties' relationship to the activity, defendants owed no legal duty to plaintiff. The court held that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to impose a duty on the part of defendants, based on allegations that they owned and negligently controlled the dog that bit plaintiff.

Lawton v. Steele 14 S.Ct. 499 (1894)

Plaintiffs sued defendant fish and game protectors to recover damages for the loss of their seized fishing nets.  At issue was the New York statute that prohibited fishing in the area where plaintiffs were fishing and proscribed seizure of fishing gear used in violation of the statute.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that such a statute is a constitutional exercise of state police power, as the protection of fish and game has always been within the proper domain of police power.  Further, the court found the legislature acted properly in providing a seizure component to the statute to control what it termed a "public nuisance." 

Priebe v. Nelson 140 P.3d 848 (Cal. 2006)

A kennel worker who was bitten by a dog while the dog was in the care of the kennel sued the owner of the dog under a theory of strict liability under a statute and under the common law. The court found that the dog owner was not liable to the kennel worker because under the "veterinarian's rule," the kennel owner had assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries 140 So.3d 8 (La.App. 1 Cir. 4/25/13)

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with others, filed a petition for injunctive relief and a writ of mandamus against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fish (DWF) for permitting the exhibit of a real tiger ("Tony") at a truck stop owned by Michael Sandlin. An ordinance prohibiting the display of wild animals was in effect when Tony was acquired. Subsequent to that, the Louisiana legislature adopted a law that required those who legally held big cats who were "grandfathered in," obtain a permit from the DWF. After Tony's caretaker, Michael Sandlin was denied a DWF permit because he was not in compliance with the Parish ordinances, Sandlin sued the Parish. The Parish then carved out an exception for him in the ordinances and the DWF, through Secretary Barham, issued a state permit to Sandlin. ADLF and others sued, alleging that the permit violated Louisiana law and the renewal of the permit was arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.  At the first trial court hearing, the trial court issued a judgment granting the preliminary and permanent injunction ordering DFW to revoke the permit, but the truck stop owner alleged he had not received notice of the hearing and therefore decided to intervene. Once the truck stop was allowed to intervene, a hearing on all pending issues was held, which resulted in the intervenors appealing the trial court’s judgment and the trial court’s denial for a new trial. On appeal here, the appeals court dismissed the appeal, in part, and affirmed, in part, the November 17, 2011 judgment of the trial court. With regard to the issue of standing for the injunction, this court found that the individual named plaintiffs (residents of Louisiana) had taxpayer standing, but the court did not find that plaintiff ALDF alleged and proved sufficient interest to sustain a right of action seeking an injunction against any unlawful conduct by DWF. That part of the November 17, 2011 judgment of the trial court was reversed. Further, the court found that, based on factual findings, there was no error in the trial court's legal conclusion that Michael Sandlin did not meet the legal requirements for a Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadruped permit, and that permanent injunctive relief, enjoining DWF from issuing Michael Sandlin future permits for Tony, was warranted. That part of the trial court judgment was affirmed.

ELLIS v. OLIPHANT 141 N.W. 415 (1913)

Plaintiff's dog was killed by defendant after defendant set traps out on his farm to catch the dogs that had been injuring his sheep. There was no claim that plaintiff's dog was caught in the act of chasing or worrying sheep. There was testimony at trail that showed plaintiff's dog was a very valuable one, highly trained, and greatly efficient about the farm; some of the witnesses testifying that he was worth at least $200. The trial court instructed the jury that defendant had no right, under the circumstances shown, to trap and shoot the dog, and the case was submitted to the jury for it to find the value of the dog. This reviewing court found no error and affirmed the judgment for the value of the dog, which was above traditional market value.

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.

Tighe v. North Shore Animal League 142 A.D.3d 607, 36 N.Y.S.3d 500 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) In May 2012, Tighe adopted a dog from the North Shore Animal League after having been warned that the dog was possessive regarding food. After taking the dog home, Tighe noticed that the dog exhibited aggressive behavior, such as jumping at the backyard fence and growling at her when she attempted to feed the dog. In July of 2012, the dog bit Tighe’s hand when she tried to pick up a cookie off of the floor. As a result, Tighe spent three days in the hospital due to severe blood loss and swelling. Additionally, in September of 2012, the dog bit Tighe in the face causing severe injuries. After the incident in September, Tighe filed suit against the North Shore Animal League to recover damages for negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court dismissed the claim of emotional distress but granted summary judgment in favor of Tighe with regard to the other claims of negligence. The North Shore Animal League appealed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of New York overturned the lower court’s decision and granted summary judgment in favor of the North Shore Animal League on all claims. The court found that the North Shore Animal League was not a proximate cause to Tighe’s injuries for failing to adequately warn her about the dog’s aggreesive behavior because Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior three months prior to the incident that caused Tighe’s injuries. According to the court, once Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, she was in the best position to take “precautionary measures to prevent harm to herself.” So, even if the North Shore Animal League had failed to warn Tighe of the dog’s aggressive tendencies prior to the adoption, Tighe “independently” learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior prior to the incident which eliminated the North Shore Animal League as being a proximate cause of her injuries.

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