Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Woudenberg v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 794 F.3d 595 (6th Cir., 2015) According to Department of Agriculture regulations promulgated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (with certain exceptions not applicable here), persons who were in the business of buying and selling dogs and cats (i.e. class B dealers) may not obtain dogs or cats from an individual donor “who did not breed and raise them on his or her premises.” Another provision required a dealer in such a case to “obtain [ ] a certification that the animals were born and raised on that person's premises.” The question in this case was whether there was a violation when the dealer obtained the required certification, but the certification was false. The regulatory language was clear that a dealer violated the law by obtaining a dog or cat from an individual donor who did not breed or raise it on the donor's premises and it was still a violation even when the dealer in good faith obtained certifications that the animals had been so bred and raised. The certification requirement was an enforcement mechanism for the prohibition, not an exception. The Department of Agriculture therefore properly entered a cease-and-desist order against the petitioner.
City of Richardson v. Responsible Dog Owners of Texas 794 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1990).

City's animal control ordinance banning the keeping of pit bulls was not preempted by state Penal Code provisions governing the keeping of vicious dogs.

Animal Lovers Volunteer Ass'n, Inc. v. Cheney 795 F.Supp. 994 (C.D.Cal.,1992)

Plaintiff Animal Lovers Volunteer Association (ALVA) brought suit against Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Navy and United States Department of Defense alleging that the EIS for trapping red fox at a national wildlife refuge violated NEPA, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (NWRSAA), and the APA. The agencies had recently begun trapping red fox at the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge in order to protect two endangered bird species on the Refuge, the California least tern and the light-footed clapper rail. On review of defendants' motion for summary judgment, the District Court held that the predator control program did not violate the NWRSAA and the APA. Further, plaintiff's claim that defendants' decision not to terminate oil production at the refuge, which they contended placed the endangered species at a greater risk than the predation by foxes, was based on substantial evidence that was supported by the findings in the EIS. The court found that a rational connection existed between the findings and the decision to allow the limited amount of oil production to continue. Thus, defendants' conduct complied fully with the requirements of the NWRSAA and the APA.

Eslin v. County of Suffolk 795 N.Y.S. 2d 349 (2005)

A woman was horseback riding at a ranch in New York and was injured when she fell off the horse. The woman had signed a Horse Rental Agreement and Liability Release Form before the accident.  The court determined that the rider assumed the risk of injury and the lower court's decision to deny defendant's motion for summary judgment was reversed. 

Knapp v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 796 F.3d 445 (5th Cir. 2015) The United States Secretary of Agriculture (“Secretary”) fined Petitioner $395,900 after finding that he bought and sold regulated animals without a license, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) and implementing regulations. In his petition for review, Petitioner argued that his activities were lawful, and that the Secretary abused its discretion in its choice of sanction. The petition was granted and denied in part.
State v. Kuenzi 796 N.W.2d 222 (WI. App,, 2011)

Defendants Rory and Robby Kuenzi charged a herd of 30 to 40 deer with their snowmobiles, cruelly killing four by running them over, dragging them, and leaving one tied to a tree to die. The two men were charged with a Class I felony under Wisconsin § 951.02, which prohibits any person from “treat[ing] any animal ... in a cruel manner.” The Court concluded that the definition of “animal” included non-captive wild animals and rejected the defendants’ argument that they were engaged in “hunting.” The court reinstated the charges against the men.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 797 F.3d 1087 (D.C. Cir., 2015) Ten years after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took steps to apply Animal Welfare Act (AWA) protections to birds, the task remained incomplete. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued the USDA, arguing that its inaction amounted to agency action “unlawfully withheld,” in violation of section 706(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The District Court granted the USDA's motion to dismiss, concluding that the USDA's enforcement decisions were committed by law to its discretion. On appeal, the court found PETA had standing, but had failed to plausibly allege that the USDA's decade-long inaction constituted agency action “unlawfully withheld” in violation of the APA. The United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, therefore affirmed the District Court's judgment of dismissal. For the District Court's opinion, see People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 60 F.Supp.3d 14 (D.D.C. 2014).
Gilreath v. Smith 797 S.E.2d 177 (Ga. Ct. App., 2017)

While pet sitting for Defendants Bruce and Jodi Smith, Plaintiff Josephine Gilreath was attacked and injured by the Smiths' rooster, which caused a serious infection with long-term consequences. Plaintiff Gilreath filed suit, but the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on the ground that Gilreath assumed the risk. Gilreath appealed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and reasoned that Gilreath assumed the risk of injury based on the state statutes of owners of land under OCGA § 51-3-1, as keepers of a vicious or dangerous animal under OCGA § 51-2-7, and as required by a Roswell city ordinance. The Court reasoned that at prior pet-sittings at the Defendants home, Gilreath had been warned that the rooster would attack and that a garbage can lid was useful for controlling the rooster. Second, Gilreath has not raised an issue of fact regarding whether the Smiths had superior knowledge of the risks associated with the danger. Gilreath, a professional pet sitter with at least nine years of experience, admitted that she had a responsibility to educate herself about the animals she takes care of yet she failed to do so for roosters. Third, Gilreath admitted that she chose to take the job knowing that she had been told that the rooster would attack. Gilreath also contends that the Smiths violated a Roswell city ordinance, but she failed to introduce a certified copy of the ordinance and thus failed to prove this claim.

Steagald v. Eason 797 S.E.2d 838 (2017)

In this case, Gary and Lori Steagald sued the Eason family, alleging that the Easons failed to keep their dog properly restrained and were therefore liable under OCGA § 51-2-7. Lori Steagald suffered injuries after the Easons dog attacked her while she was visiting the Easons home. The Easons filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that they had no reason to know that the dog was vicious or dangerous and therefore were not liable under the statute. Both the trial court and Court of Appeals affirmed the motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Georgia found that the Eason family was liable under the statute because they did have reason to believe that the dog could potentially be vicious or dangerous. The Court focused on the fact that the dog had previously “growled and snapped” at the Easons while being fed. The Court held that although the dog had never bit anyone prior to Lori Steagald, it was reasonable to assume that the dog could potentially bite and injure someone given the fact that it had a history of snapping and growling. As a result, the Court reversed the Easons motion for summary judgment and determined that the question of whether or not the Easons are liable under the statute is a question for the jury. 

Anderson v. City of Blue Ash 798 F.3d 338 (6th Cir. 2015) This case stems from a dispute between Plaintiff/Appellant and the city of Blue Ash (City) on whether Plaintiff/Appellant could keep a miniature horse at her house as a service animal for her disabled minor daughter. Plaintiff/Appellant’s daughter suffers from a number of disabilities that affect her ability to walk and balance independently, and the horse enabled her to play and get exercise in her backyard without assistance from an adult. In 2013, the City passed a municipal ordinance banning horses from residential property and then criminally prosecuted plaintiff/appellant for violating it. Plaintiff/Appellant’s defense was that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (“FHAA”), both entitled her to keep the horse at her house as a service animal for her daughter. Rejecting those arguments, the Hamilton County Municipal Court found Plaintiff/Appellant guilty. Plaintiff/Appellant filed suit in federal court arguing that the ADA and FHAA entitled her to keep her horse as a service animal. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, finding that Plaintiff/Appellant's claims were barred by claim and issue preclusion stemming from her Municipal Court conviction. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit found that, because the fact-finding procedures available in a criminal proceeding in municipal court differed substantially from those available in a civil proceeding, Plaintiff/Appellant's conviction had no preclusive effect on this lawsuit. Furthermore, while there was no evidence that the City's actions were motivated by discriminatory intent against the minor daughter or had a disparate impact on disabled individuals, there were significant factual disputes regarding whether the ADA or FHAA required the City to permit Plaintiff/Appellant to keep her miniature horse at her house. The district court's grant of summary judgment to the City on those claims was therefore reversed.
U.S. v. Gay-Lord 799 F.2d 124 (4th Cir. 1986)

Gay-Lord was found guilty of engaging in interstate commerce in striped bass (rockfish) in violation of regulations and statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia after purchasing the fish from undercover FWS agents and later selling it to an interstate distributor.  The Court held that conviction was proper despite undercover agents having transported fish from Virginia to trafficker's place of business in North Carolina.

Mountain States Legal Foundation v. Hodel 799 F.2d 1423 (10th Cir. 1986)

Horses protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act are not instruments of the federal government, and therefore incursions by wild horses onto private land do not constitute a Fifth Amendment taking requiring just compensation.  

IPPL v. Institute for Behavioral Research, Inc. 799 F.2d 934 (1986)

Private individuals and organizations brought action seeking to be named guardians of medical research animals seized from organization whose chief was convicted of state animal cruelty statute violations. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, John R. Hargrove, J., dismissed action, and individuals and organizations appealed. The Court of Appeals, Wilkinson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) individuals and organizations lacked standing to bring action, and (2) Animal Welfare Act did not confer private cause of action. Case discussed in topic: US Animal Welfare Act.

Animal Protection Institute of America v. Mosbacher 799 F.Supp 173 (D.C. 1992)

Wildlife protection organizations, including the API, brought action against Secretary of Commerce to challenge permits for importing false killer whales and belugas for public display. Zoo association and aquarium seeking the whales intervened.  The District Court the whale watchers had standing and the permits were not abuse of discretion.

Eckhart v. Department of Agriculture 8 A.3d 401(Pa. Commw. Ct., 2010)

A dog kennel operator acquired 30 dogs while under a revised notice to cease and desist operating a kennel and from buying dogs. The Commonwealth Court affirmed fines imposed by the Department of Agriculture, holding that the fines for violation of the dog law were not excessive or unreasonable; that fines for failure to comply with conditions of the revised notice were not unconstitutionally excessive or unreasonable; and that enforcement of orders by Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement pending appeal were not staid by the doctrine of equitable estoppel.

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Vaught 8 F.4th 714 (8th Cir. 2021) Several animal advocacy organizations filed a complaint against the Vaughts and Peco Foods, Inc. seeking an order that would prevent defendants from bringing a civil suit under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-118-113 (colloquially known as Arkansas' "ag gag" law). The statute at issue provides a civil cause of action for unauthorized access to protected properties described under the law. Plaintiffs claim that the statute violates their right to free speech under the First Amendment by chilling them from engaging in activities protected under the First Amendment. In particular, the plaintiffs have "specific and definite plans" to investigate the defendants' chicken slaughterhouses and pig farms by sending undercover investigators to seek employment with defendants and collect information in an effort to support their mission to "reform[] animal agriculture." The district court found that plaintiffs failed to establish Article III standing to sue, finding that the injury at hand was too speculative. On appeal here, the court noted found that plaintiffs established the three primary elements of standing from the Lujan case ("(1) an injury in fact, (2) a causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable decision will likely redress the injury."). First, but for the statute, plaintiffs allege that they would engage in the protected constitutional conduct. Second, the plaintiffs adequately outlined their intention to engage in a course of conduct that is proscribed by the statute. Finally, the court found a credible threat of enforcement that was objectively reasonable. This is bolstered by the fact plaintiffs have successfully engaged in the conduct at other facilities in the past. While defendants contend that there is no credible threat that they would enforce the statute because these organizations would not find entry to their facilities worthwhile. However, plaintiffs presented allegations that indeed they would be interested in documenting the plaintiffs' operations because of the conditions of pigs in "nearly immovable quarters" and the use of controversial methods of slaughter. The court was equally unpersuaded by defendants' claims that there is no injury in fact since plaintiffs are not poised to publish any information gathered from their facilities. Additionally, plaintiffs sent letters to defendants asking them to waive their rights to sue and neither defendant responded. Thus, the complaint sufficiently established a case or controversy. The lower court judgment was reversed and the case was remanded.
Levine v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation 80 F. Supp. 3d 29 (D.D.C. 2015) This action arose from plaintiff’s experience of bringing her service dog on Amtrak trains. Plaintiff brought claims on her own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of other disabled passengers against Amtrak pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Each claim related to Amtrak′s alleged practice of storing luggage in its train's “mobility aid” seating areas. Amtrak argued, amongst other things, that plaintiff lacked Article III Constitutional Standing because she had not suffered an injury in fact. The district court agreed and granted Amtrak′s motion to dismiss. The case was dismissed in its entirety.
Fandrey v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company 80 N.W.2d 345 (Wis. 2004)

Dog bite victim sued homeowners insurer.  Held:  courts may factor traditional public policy to bar a claim under the dog bite statute, and in this case, public policy precludes imposing liability on homeowners even though the dog bite statute appears to impose strict liability.

Fitzgerald v. Varney 80 N.Y.S.3d 899 (N.Y. County Ct. July, 18, 2018) Defendant-Respondents appeal a judgment by the Town of Stony Creek Justice Court declaring their dog to be a "dangerous dog" and ordering euthanasia. On December 30, 2017, defendants’ dog bit their 12-year-old grandson on the upper lip. The child and defendants’ dog were side-by-side on a couch when the child reached over toward the dog. The dog unexpectedly jumped up and bit the child on the left side of the mouth. The child received emergency care and was eventually given injections and stitches to close the wound. Testimony revealed that pain only last the first day after the incident and the stiches dissolved within ten days. The dangerous dog was action was commenced by James Fitzgerald, Sr. who was the dog control officer for the town of Stony Creek, and was completed a few months after the incident. At the close of the hearing, the trial judge found by clear and convincing evidence that the dog was dangerous and caused "serious physical injury." This resulted in the court ordering that the dog be "killed" within 30 days absent any appeal. Here, the defendants do not challenge the dangerous dog determination, but instead challenge the euthanasia order based on a finding of "serious physical injury." Under Agriculture and Markets Law § 108(29), "serious physical injury" means "serious or protracted disfigurement." The court examined two different definitions for "serious physical injury" in the Agriculture and Markets Law and the Penal code as well as relevant cases exploring the nature of a “protracted” injury. Here, this court found the evidence at trial did not show the size of the wound or the number of sutures, nor was there evidence scar was distressing to the victim or any person observing him. As such, there was insufficient evidence to show the injury was of a "protracted" nature. Therefore, the court modified the judgment by reversing the finding of aggravated circumstances and the order for humane euthanasia of the dog. The owners are now required to keep the dog held in leash by an adult 21-years old or older and maintain liability insurance of $50,000 - 100,000.
Harvey v. Southern Pac. Co. 80 P. 1061 (1905)

This is a case involving a train hitting a cow.  This case involves a judgment for defendant based upon plaintiff's common-law negligence complaint in that defendant ran its train upon and killed the plaintiff's cow.  The appellate court upheld defendant's motion for a directed verdict where plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of defendant for failing to fence in its track.

Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011)

The city council ordered the destruction of a dog after finding it to be a dangerous animal and the owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that procedural due process required that the owner should have been given a meaningful opportunity to contest the declaration of the dog as a “potentially dangerous animal” before it was declared a “dangerous animal” under the city ordinance.

Bowden v. Monroe County Commission 800 S.E.2d 252 (W. Va. May 18, 2017) The Plaintiff, as administratrix of the estate of her late husband, filed a complaint after he was attacked and killed by American Pit Bull Terriers while taking a walk near his home. The Plaintiff filed against the Defendants, Monroe County, the County Dog Warden Ms. Green, and other defendants, alleging, negligence in performing their statutory duties by allowing vicious dogs to remain at large, and wrongful death. The Plaintiff also sought punitive damages. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and asserted a defense based upon the public duty doctrine. The Circuit Court, Monroe County, granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. The Plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reversed the Circuit Court and remanded. The Supreme Court held that genuine issues of material fact existed for determining whether a special relationship existed between the county and the victim such as whether: (1) the dog warden assumed an affirmative duty to act on the victim's behalf, (2) the dog warden was aware that inaction could lead to harm, (3) the dog warden had direct contact with the victim's wife regarding vicious nature of dogs; and (4) the victim's wife justifiably relied on assurances from dog warden.
Schor v. N. Braddock Borough 801 F. Supp. 2d 369 (W.D. Pa. 2011) Sadie, a six (6) year old pit bull and family pet was shot and killed by the Defendant Officer Wittlinger. The Plaintiff, Sadie’s owner, filed a twelve count complaint alleging four § 1983 claims under federal law against all Defendants including the borough, police department, board of supervisors, police chief, and Officer Wittlinger. The remaining eight counts alleged claims solely against the officer. The Defendants' filed a partial motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Court granted the dismissal of claims against the board, police chief, and officer in their official capacities. The court also dismissed the Plaintiff’s state negligence claims. However, the court did not dismiss claims brought against Police Chief Bazzone and Officer Wittlinger in their individual capacities. The court reasoned that the facts pled by the Plaintiff were sufficient to show that Chief Bazzone may have acted with deliberate indifference by not disciplining Officer Wittlinger after a prior dog shooting incident, and maintained a custom within the Police Department that it was proper to shoot a pet dog wandering the streets. The court also denied the motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s fourth amendment rights claim. The court reasoned that the facts pled by the Plaintiff were sufficient to state a claim for violation of her Fourth Amendment rights because the plaintiff had a possessory interest in her dog Sadie as “property” and the officer used excessive force while seizing the Plaintiff’s property.
U.S. v. CITGO Petroleum Corp. 801 F.3d 477 (5th Cir. 2015) CITGO was convicted of multiple violations of the Clean Air Act and its regulations, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (“MBTA”). CITGO urged the 5th Circuit to reverse the Clean Air Act convictions because the district court erroneously instructed the jury about the scope of a regulation concerning “oil-water separators.” CITGO also contended that the MBTA convictions were infirm because the district court misinterpreted the statute as covering unintentional bird kills. The 5th Circuit agreed with both contentions, holding that CITGO's equalization tanks and air floatation device were not oil-water separators under the Clean Air Act's regulations and that “taking” migratory birds involved only “conduct intentionally directed at birds, such as hunting and trapping, not commercial activity that unintentionally and indirectly caused migratory bird deaths. The district court’s decision was reversed and remanded with instructions.
Schor v. North Braddock Borough 801 F.Supp.2d 369 (W.D. Pa. 2011) The plaintiff’s dog jumped her fence and after encountering a couple of friendly people in the neighborhood, was confronted by two police officers. At the same time the officers arrived, the plaintiff and her sister arrived at the scene. The plaintiff’s sister yelled to the officer, “that’s our dog,” and while displaying no signs of aggression, with her owner 10-15 feet away, an officer shot the dog four times, killing her. The officer had previous similar encounters with dogs, having shot another dog approximately six months prior to this event. In evaluating the immunity of the police officer, the court held that the plaintiff failed to establish an exception to immunity under the Pennsylvania Subdivision Tort Claims Act. However, the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment claims.
Pray v. Whiteskunk 801 N.W.2d 451 (S.D., 2011)

In this South Dakota case, the plaintiff suffered a broken knee after Defendant's Rottweiler brook loose from its owner and ran toward the street, causing plaintiff to fall. Plaintiff brought an action for damages against both the dog owner and the city, specifically alleging the the city knew the dog was dangerous and failed to enforce its vicious animal ordinance. On appeal of the granting of summary judgment for the city, this court found that plaintiff failed to establish that the action taken by the city caused the harm to Pray or exposed her to greater risks, thereby leaving her in a worse position than she was in before the city took action. While this Court found that the city had actual knowledge of the dog's dangerousness, this alone is insufficient.

Mills v. State 802 S.W.2d 400 (Tex. App. 1991).

In criminal conviction for cruelty to animals, statute requires that sentences arising out of same criminal offenses be prosecuted in single action and run concurrently.

Desanctis v. Pritchard 803 A.2d 230 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002) The trial court dismissed a couple's complaint asking the court to enforce a settlement agreement which provided for shared custody of the couple's dog.  The appellate court upheld that decision, holding that the settlement agreement was void to the extent that it attempted to award visitation or shared custody with personal property.
U.S. v. Stenberg 803 F.2d 422 (9th Cir. 1986), superceded by statute in U.S. v. Atkinson, 966 F.2d 1270 (9th Cir. 1992)

These three cases arose out of an undercover investigation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) into the illegal taking and sale of wildlife in interstate commerce, where defendants were engaged in the guiding and hunting business wherein customers would pay for illegal big game hunts.  The court denied defendants' defense of outrageous government conduct and entrapment.  It also held that the Lacey Act clearly notifies individuals that participation in prohibited transactions involving wildlife with a market value greater than $350 subjects them to felony prosecutions, thus defeating defendants' challenge of vagueness to the statute.  Notably, the court reversed convictions on the fact that the provision of guiding services or providing a hunting permit does not constitute the sale of wildlife for purposes of the Lacey Act (this was amended in 1988 to include guide services, which overturned this decision.  See U.S. v. Atkinson, 966 F.2d 1270 (9th Cir. 1992). 

Hammer v. American Kennel Club 803 N.E.2d 766 (N.Y., 2003)

Plaintiff sought both declaratory and injunctive relief against the American Kennel Club (AKC) for use of standards in dog show competitions for Brittany Spaniel dogs that require the docking of their tails.  The issue in this appeal is whether Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 grants plaintiff, who wishes to enter his dog and compete without penalty in breed contests, a private right of action to preclude defendants from using a standard that encourages him to "dock" his Brittany Spaniel's tail.  The Court of Appeals concluded that it would be inconsistent with the applicable legislative scheme to imply a private right of action in plaintiff's favor because the statute does not, either expressly or impliedly, incorporate a method for private citizens to obtain civil relief.  In light of the comprehensive statutory enforcement scheme, recognition of a private civil right of action is incompatible with the mechanisms chosen by the Legislature.

Engquist v. Loyas 803 N.W.2d 400 (Minn.,2011)

After a 9-year old child was bitten by defendant's dog while at a sleepover at defendant's house, the child's mother sued the dog’s owners on child's behalf. The jury found that the plaintiff provoked the dog and the court entered a judgment in favor of defendants. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the jury instruction given by the district court misstated the meaning of provocation under the statute, and remanded for a new trial. In the instant action, the Supreme Court affirms this decision. Specifically, the jury here could have found provocation without any consideration of the victim's knowledge of the danger, and this misstatement prejudiced the defendant.

Galloway v. Kuhl 806 N.E.2d 251 (Ill. 2004)

Motorist injured when cattle strayed onto highway in violation of state law.  The lower court allowed the defendant's to assert the affirmative defense of comparative negligence, reducing Motorists damages, but the jury still found in favor of the Motorist.  Both sides appealed, and the Court held that (a) comparative negligence affirmative defense was valid; and (b) jury's damage configuration was legally inconsistent.

Brooks ex rel. Brooks v. Parshall 806 N.Y.S.2d 796 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, a then seven-year-old boy was attending a gathering at the home of the owners of a German Shepard dog. According to the plaintiff, the dog growled at him when he arrived and allegedly growled at another man at the party sometime later.   Defendant denied hearing the growl and t estimony showed that the boy continued to play with the dog throughout the party and into the next morning.   When the boy was leaving in the morning, he attempted to “hug” the dog from behind when the dog turned and bit the boy in the face.   In upholding defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court found that even if the dog had initially growled at the boy, that was not enough to establish that the dog had vicious propensities or that the owners had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities.  

Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of E. Providence, R.I. 807 F.3d 415 (1st Cir. 2015) Perfect Puppy signed a lease with a building located in the city of East Providence on April 26, 2014. Perfect Puppy intended to use the building to sell puppies and was given a “Pet Shop” license by the state of Rhode Island. On June 3, 2014, East Providence passed an ordinance banning dog and cat sales and as a result, Perfect Puppy filed suit against the city for a “facial-taking.” A “facial-taking” is when “an ordinance’s mere enactment amounts to a taking.” On appeal, the court held that it did not have jurisdiction over Perfect Puppy’s facial-taking claim because Perfect Puppy needed to file suit for compensation against the city and get rejected before the issue could be determined by this court. As a result, the court remanded the case back to the state court to be decided.
Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 807 F.Supp.2d 972 (D.Mont., 2011)

Several wildlife organizations filed suit to challenge the FWS's Final Rule delisting the gray wolf Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment.  The case was put on hold pending the outcome of several other legal battles regarding the wolf's status on the Endangered Species List, during which gray wolf protections were reinstated.  Then, after Congress passed the 2011 fiscal year budget which contained a provision requiring the FWS to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Adrian v. Vonk 807 N.W.2d 119 (S.D. 2012)

Ranchers sued State for damage to their property from prairie dogs from public lands. The Supreme Court held that statutes governing State's participation in programs to control prairie dogs did not contain express waivers of sovereign immunity; State's statutorily-mandated actions in controlling prairie dogs were discretionary acts, and ranchers' action was barred by sovereign immunity; and statute did not provide for a nuisance cause of action against the State.

Evans v. Craig 807 N.Y.S.2d 417 (2006)

A postal worker brought an action against dog owners to recover for injuries allegedly sustained when dog jumped on her while she was delivering mail to the owners' home. In affirming the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court found that there factual issues as to whether the owners were aware of the potential danger from the dog and whether they took reasonable measures to prevent the dog from jumping on the plaintiff.

Northern Arapahoe Tribe v. Hodel 808 F.2d 741 (10th Cir. 1987)

After the Secretary of the Interior promulgated regulations establishing a game code regulating hunting on the reservation, the Arapahoe Tribe of Wyoming sued the Secretary and other federal officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement of the regulations.  At issue, was  a concern over the declining big game populations on the reservation and surrounding areas due to an unusually harsh winter and over-hunting.  The Court of Appeals held that the government had the right to enact the game code because the rights of two tribes overlapped with regard to a limited resource, and the "[g]overnment's right extends to preventing overuse by the Arapahoe of their shared right when that overuse endangers the resource and threatens to divest the Shoshone of their right."  Where there exists a risk of extinction, the government may enact interim game code measures to prevent the threat when the tribes fail to enact their own game codes. 

Friends of Animals v. Ashe 808 F.3d 900 (D.C. Cir. 2015) Friends of Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, filed suit against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("the Service") in 2013, after the Service issued no initial or final determinations for 39 species of sturgeon the organization petitioned as endangered or threatened. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the Service must make a determination within 90 days for an initial determination or 12 months for a final determination after a petition is received from an interested party. However, there is also a provision in the ESA that the plaintiff must give the Service 60-days notice before filing suit. The District Court held that Friends of Animals did not give the Service adequate notice before filing suit and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, this court agreed, finding that Friends of Animals "did not wait until after the issuance of the positive initial determinations to provide 60 days' notice of the allegedly overdue final determinations." In dicta, the Court noted that "[t]he Service's approach may not be the most efficient," but the deadlines are mandatory in the statutes. Thus, its suit to compel the final determination on the listings was barred and the judgment of the District Court was affirmed.
32 Pit Bulldogs and Other Property v. County of Prentiss 808 So.2d 971 (Miss. S.C. 2002) While a criminal trial regarding alleged dog-fighting was pending, the Circuit Court, Prentiss County, ordered the humane euthanization of 18 of 34 seized pit bulldogs. The alleged dog owner appealed. The Supreme Court held that allegations the dogs had been trained to fight, could not be rehabilitated as pets, and posed serious threat to other animals and people, related to the "physical condition" of the dogs, as statutory basis for humane euthanization. Affirmed.
Summit County Board of Health v. Pearson 809 N.E.2d 80 (Ohio 2004)

In this Ohio case, appellant, Lorenza Pearson, appealed from a judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas that affirmed a decision of the Summit County Board of Health finding that his property was a public health nuisance.  Lorenza and Barbara Pearson were the owners of property where they kept a collection of exotic and domestic animals, including lions, tigers, leopards, bears, foxes, pigeons, dogs, and an alligator. At the time of the Board of Health hearing, they had 44 large cat species and 16 black bears.  The court held that the administrative body’s determination of a public nuisance resulting from unsanitary confinement of exotic pets was not arbitrary and capricious, and was “supported by a preponderance of reliable, probative and substantial evidence.”

Crowder v. Kitagawa 81 F.3d 1480 (C.A.9 Hawai‘i,1996)

The plaintiffs in this case were a class of visually-impaired persons who use guide dogs. Plaintiffs sought exemption from Hawaii's imposition of a 120-day quarantine on carnivorous animals entering the state (which necessarily included their guide dogs). Specifically, they contend Hawaii's quarantine, designed to prevent the importation of rabies, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),and their constitutional rights of travel, equal protection and substantive due process. On appeal of summary judgment, this Court held that without reasonable modifications to its quarantine requirement for the benefit of visually-impaired individuals who rely on guide dogs, Hawaii's quarantine requirement effectively prevents such persons from enjoying the benefits of state services and activities in violation of the ADA. The district court's issuance of summary judgment in favor of Hawaii, was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Klitzka ex rel. Teutonico v. Hellios 810 N.E.2d 252 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this Illinois case, the Appellate Court considered, as a matter of first impression, under what circumstances does a landlord owe a duty of care to his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from an attack by an animal kept by the tenant on the leased premises?  A minor invitee (Alexus) of the tenants was bitten by tenants' dog and brought a negligence action against residential landlords.  It was undisputed that the tenants held exclusive control over the premises and paid $700 a month in rent to the landlords.  The Appellate Court held that even if landlords knew tenants' dog was dangerous, the landlords had no duty to protect the tenants' invitee because landlords retained no control over the leased premises where injury occurred.  "Here, the tenants' affirmative conduct of bringing the dog into the living space of the home, an area over which the landlords had no control, is what might have been the proximate cause of Alexus' injuries."

Friends of Animals v. Clay 811 F.3d 94 (2d Cir. 2016) Friends of Animals (“FOA”) appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granting summary judgment in favor of defendants-appellees William Clay in his official capacity as a Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture-APHIS and the FWS. FOA challenged FWS's issuance of a “depredation permit” to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorizing the emergency “take” of migratory birds that threaten to interfere with aircraft at JFK Airport. FOA argues that FWS's own regulations unambiguously prohibit it from issuing such a permit and that the permit should therefore be set aside as the product of agency action that was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The District Court granted summary judgment for defendant FWS. On appeal, this court affirmed that ruling. FOA pointed out that the "emergency take" regulation at 50 C.F.R. § 21.41 does not authorize FWS to issue a permit that allows the emergency take of a migratory bird irrespective of its species, but instead requires a "species-specific" inquiry. However, this court disagreed, finding that "§ 21.41 does not place Port Authority officials in the untenable position of having to choose between violating federal law and deliberately ignoring serious threats to human safety." Further, the court found the specific requirements in § 21.41 concern only applicants seeking a permit and not the FWS itself. In this situation, the court found the 2014 permit's emergency-take provision satisfied § 21.41. The District Court's order was affirmed.
In re New Jersey Pinelands Com'n Resolution 812 A.2d 1113 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2003)

This case concerns the approval of a settlement agreement for a residential development project that contained habitat critical to the survival of a local population of timber rattlesnakes, an endangered species in New Jersey.  The court's review of the record found that there is no reason to interfere with the determination by the Commission, since there was ample evidence to support the Commission's decision to approve the settlement.  The court also agreed with the lower court that the environmental organizations lacked standing to bring an endangered species counterclaim before the lower court.  Specifically, the court found that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Commission did not fail to act in implementing the endangered species act; thus, no standing was conferred upon the groups.  The court also noted that the DEP and the Commission acted in their requisite complementary roles in effecting the Act.

U.S. v. Zarauskas 814 F.3d 509 (1st Cir. 2016) Defendant was found guilty by a jury of illegally importing narwhal tusks under several federal laws, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, among others. On appeal, defendant contends that the district court erred by allowing and failing to cure statements by the prosecutor that allegedly violated defendant's Fifth Amendment protections. Prior to being charged, defendant met with FWS and Canadian agents where he did not proclaim his innocence when questioned on the tusks. In the process of showing inconsistency in defendant's statements, the prosecutor pointed out defendant's failure to state his innocence with the federal agents, which defendant claimed improperly burdened him at trial. Other arguments by defendant also pointed to error by the prosecution during direct examination and rebuttal argument with respect to defendant's silence during interviews with agents. The appellate court found the errors to be harmless or in response to defendant's attorney's statements. Finally, as a matter of first impression, the court found that Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) reports logging date, time, and location of border crossing and license plate of the vehicle were admissible hearsay. The convictions were affirmed.
Long v. Noah's Lost Ark, Inc. 814 N.E.2d 555 (Ohio 2004)

Owner of lion cub sued animal shelter for refusing to return the cub to him, alleging breach of contract, conversion, replevin, fraud, and intentional misrepresentation.  The Trial Court granted summary judgment for plaintiff and defendant appealed.  On appeal, the Court affirmed for plaintiff, as plaintiff had established that he was the legal owner of the lion and was entitled to possession.

State v. Cowan 814 N.E.2d 846 (Ohio 2004)

A neighbor of the owner of 3 dogs complained to the dog warden, alleging that two of the dogs bit her.  The dog warden then advised the owner that her dogs were dangerous and vicious and that she must follow the statutory rules for owning vicious dogs.  When she failed to follow those statutory rules, she was criminally prosecuted.  The Supreme Court of Ohio said that her constitutional right to due process was infringed because she had no chance before trial to challenge the designation of her dogs as vicious.

Felgemacher v. Rugg 814 N.Y.S.2d 452 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

Bailey v. Veitch 814 N.Y.S.2d 459 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York memorandum opinion, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that fact issues remained as to whether injuries sustained by child were caused by dog, and whether defendants knew or should have known of dog's vicious propensities. At the time of the alleged bite, the four-year-old child was alone in a room with the dog and sustained a gaping laceration on her nose and multiple puncture wounds on her face. The court also determined there was an issue of fact as to whether the dog previously displayed vicious tendencies where the dog bit its owner's grandson on the hand two weeks prior to the instant incident.

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