Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Scales v. State 601 S.W.3d 380 (Tex. App. 2020) Defendant, Jade Derrick Scales, was convicted of two counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals which constituted a state felony. Michelle Stopka had found two puppies in an alley and took them in. On February 8, 2015, Defendant confronted Stopka in her front yard holding a knife and wearing a mask and brass knuckles. Leonard Wiley, the man Stopka was residing with, confronted the Defendant and a brief confrontation ensued which resulted in both individuals sustaining a cut. Stopka soon discovered that both puppies had been sliced open and were bleeding. The puppies did not survive their injuries. Defendant’s sentence was enhanced to a second-degree felony based on the finding of use or exhibition of a deadly weapon during the commission of, or during immediate flight following, the commission of the offense and the fact that the Defendant had a previous conviction for a second-degree-felony offense of burglary of a habitation. Defendant was sentenced to seven years and a fine of $2,000. The Defendant subsequently appealed. The first issue raised on appeal by the Defendant was the deadly weapon finding which the the Court found was appropriate. The second issue regarded a jury instruction error. The Defendant contended that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that a deadly-weapon finding is only appropriate when the weapon is used or exhibited against a human being. The Court found that although a deadly-weapon instruction should not have been given, the error was not egregious and therefore overruled the issue because a jury could have reasonably believed that the Defendant used the same knife to both inflict wounds upon the puppies and Leonard. The failure to provide such a jury instruction did not materially affect the jury’s deliberations or verdict. The third issue raised by the Defendant was that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court overruled this issue as well. The Fourth issue raised by Defendant was that his prosecution was based on two identical indictments for the same conduct committed in one criminal episode which violated double jeopardy and due process principles. The Defendant did not preserve his claim of double jeopardy and the Court further found that two separate dogs were the object of the criminal act and each dog could have been prosecuted separately. No double jeopardy violation was found on the face of the record and, therefore, the Defendant did not qualify for an exception to the preservation rule. The fifth issue Defendant raised was that his sentence was illegal because the range of punishment for the offense for which he was convicted was illegally enhanced. The Court overruled this issue because his conviction was not illegally enhanced. The trial court’s judgment was ultimately affirmed.
Scharer v. San Luis Rey Equine Hosp., Inc. 147 Cal.Rptr.3d 921 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Horse owner sued veterinarians and equine hospital for professional malpractice after horse was euthanized less than two months after surgery to remove horse’s ovaries. The Superior Court granted summary judgment for defendants based on the one-year statute of limitations. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that equitable tolling did not apply because plaintiff was not prevented from pursuing her claim in a timely manner by the defendants or the court. A provision in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act extending the statute of limitations by 90 days did not apply absent a claim for personal injury or wrongful death to a person.

Scheele v. Dustin 998 A.2d 697 (Vt.,2010)

A dog that wandered onto defendant’s property was shot and killed by defendant. The dog’s owners sued under an intentional tort theory and a claim for loss of companionship. The Supreme Court upheld the award of economic damages for the intentional destruction of property. It also held that the owners could not recover noneconomic damages for emotional distress under Vermont common law.

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.

Schmidt, d/b/a Top of the Ozark Auction 65 Agric. Dec. 60 (U.S.D.A. Feb. 10, 2006) The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), United States Department of Agriculture instituted a disciplinary proceeding alleging that Jerome Schmidt, a veterinarian, willfully violated the regulations and standards promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act. The alleged violations were based upon ten inspections conducted by a USDA inspector of Schmidt’s Top of the Ozark Auction facility where he conducted dog auctions. The 36 alleged violations centered on housing standards, structural soundness, soundness and security of the enclosures, house keeping and sanitation, trash on the premises, sufficiency of the lighting, the adequacy of the Schmidt’s insect and rodent control program, and interference and refusal of access to a USDA inspector. The Court found that the frequent inspections of Schmidt’s auction facility were inconsistent with and not based upon an objective risk-based assessment. None of the inspections, with the potential exception of one, conformed to the requirements of established Agency guidelines or policy. The inspector’s findings were exaggerated, biased, and unsupported by sufficient credible objective evidence of non-compliance. The egregious behavior of the inspector tainted the inspection results and, therefore, were precluded from being used for the purposes of an enforcement action. The Court ultimately dismissed the complaint against Schmidt and directed the Administrator of APHIS to take appropriate action to insure that the published polices and procedures of the Department are followed by APHIS personnel in future inspections.
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.
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.
Schwerdt v. Myers 683 P.2d 547 (1984)

This appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court related to the mental state requirement in determining an animal owner's liability for escape of cattle.  The Oregon Supreme Court, on review, held that simple rather than criminal negligence was the correct level of culpability for determining an animal owner's liability, and damages are available under a statute making an animal owner liable if an animal is permitted to escape onto another's property.

Scott v. Donkel 671 So.2d 741 (Ala.Civ.App.,1995)

In this Alabama case, there was an injury to a non-tenant child by a dog bite, and the defendant was a landlord.  The attack occurred off the rented premises in the public street.    The action was based upon negligence, that is, a failure to protect against a dangerous condition.   The key to such a claim is the knowledge of the landlord. Plaintiff presented no evidence of the landlord being aware of the dog let alone that he knew of its vicious propensity.   The court did not find a duty to inspect the premises and discover this information.  The court did not reach the point that the attack occurred off the premises.  The granting of the motion for summary judgment for the landlord was upheld.

Scott v. Jackson County 403 F.Supp.2d 999 (D.Or.,2005)

On July 22, 2003, plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of her constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, various state common law claims, and violation of the Oregon Property Protection Act (plaintiff's neighbor complained to animal control in May 2001 after hearing the rabbits "screaming and dying"). Plaintiff's claims arise from the seizure of over 400 rabbits from her property, and the subsequent adoption and/or euthanasia of these rabbits. Defendants move for summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity, failure to allege the proper defendant, and failure to provide notice under the Oregon Tort Claims Act. In granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court found that even if the officers' entry and seizure of plaintiff's property was unlawful, they reasonably believed their actions to be lawful, therefore affording them qualified immunity protection. Further, the court found no taking occurred where the rabbits were euthanized and/or adopted out as part of a initial criminal forfeiture action.

Sebek v. City of Seattle 290 P.3d 159 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012)

Two Seattle taxpayers filed a taxpayer action lawsuit against the city of Seattle for violating Washington’s animal cruelty statute and Seattle’s animal cruelty ordinance with regard to a zoo’s elephant exhibit. After the lawsuit was dismissed by the King County Superior Court for lack of taxpayer standing, plaintiffs appealed the court’s decision. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision because the plaintiffs’ complaint alleged the zoological society, not the city, acted illegally and because the operating agreement between the city and the zoological society made it clear that the zoological society, not the city, had exclusive control over the operations of the elephant exhibit. Significantly, the appeals court found that a city’s contractual funding obligations to a zoological society that  cares and owns an animal exhibit at a zoo is not enough to allege a city violated animal cruelty laws.

Secretary of State for The Home Office v. BUAV and the Information Commissioner [2008] EWHC 892 (QB Appeal concerning the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and experiments involving animals. The BUAV had made an information request in respect of five research project licenses issued under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Home Office released limited summary information, relying on exemptions under FOIA to reason this; namely under section 24(1) which would prohibit information from being disclosed that had been given “in confidence.” The Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the Home Office was entitled to refuse BUAV’s information request.
Seiber v. U.S. 364 F.3rd 1356, 34 Envtl L. Rep. 20,026

Owners of commercial timberland designated as northern spotted owl nesting habitat brought suit against the United States, alleging that the land was temporarily taken when the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) denied their application to cut timber on the property which had been considered critical habitat for the endangered species. The appeals court upheld the lower court and held that no adequate claim for a "takings" was made.

SEIDNER v. DILL 206 N.E.2d 636 (Ind.App. 1965)

Charles Dill, appellee, brought this action in the Municipal Court of Marion County, Indiana, therein alleging that the defendant-appellant, Harold Seidner, maliciously and intentionally shot and killed plaintiff's dog. The case essentially involved a companion animal that was shot and killed by the defendant neighbor who alleged that the dog was after his livestock. A statute in Indiana provided that a person was authorized to kill a dog “known” for “roaming” that harmed or threatened to harm the livestock. A verdict of six hundred dollars for the wrongful killing of the dog was affirmed. This case, however, was subsequently overruled  by Puckett v. Miller , 178 Ind. App. 174 (Ind. App. Ct. 1978).

SENTELL v. NEW ORLEANS & C. R. CO. 166 U.S. 698 (1897)

This was an action originally instituted by Sentell in the civil district court for the parish of Orleans, to recover the value of a Newffoundland bitch, known as 'Countess Lona,' alleged to have been negligently killed by the railroad company.  The company answered, denying the allegation of negligence, and set up as a separate defense that plaintiff had not complied either with the requirements of the state law, or of the city ordinances, with respect to the keeping of dogs, and was therefore not entitled to recover.  Recognizing that an owner has only a conditional interest in a dog as a form of property, the Supreme Court held that the Louisiana law was within its police power, and the judgment of the court of appeals against plaintiff was therefore affirmed.

Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T - Ecuador Proceso No. 09333-2022-00667T This is the case of four cats (Luna, Manchas, Sonic, and Tiger) and two dogs (Pantera and Noah) that were inside the properties seized by the authorities in a drug trafficking case. Attorney Kevin Prendes Vivar filed a habeas corpus petition for the animals' caretaker, stating that the animals were illegally kept by the "Technical Secretary of Real Estate Management of the Public Sector" or "Inmobiliar," the government agency that seized the properties. The claimant argued that in accordance with the Constitutional Court decision 253-20-JH/22 (Estrellita case), the companion animals in the case are subjects of rights, that were left unattended, exposing them to potential health and well-being concerns, given their emotional attachment to their caretakers. The provincial court of Guyanas granted the habeas corpus, holding that animals are subjects of rights, finding that Inmobiliar had violated the animals' rights by considering them seizable personal property.
Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T - Ecuador Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T Este es el caso de cuatro gatos llamados Luna, Manchas, Sonic y Tiger y dos perros, Pantera y Noah que estaban dentro de las propiedades confiscadas por las autoridades en un caso de tráfico de drogas. El abogado Kevin Prendes Vivar presentó un recurso de habeas corpus en representación de los cuidadores de los animales, alegando que los animales estaban siendo retenidos ilegalmente por el "Secretario Técnico de Gestión Inmobiliaria del Sector Público" o "Inmobiliar", la agencia gubernamental que confiscó las propiedades. El demandante argumentó que los animales, como sujetos de derechos según la decisión de la Corte Constitucional 253-20-JH/22, estaban en un estado de soledad que los ponía en riesgo de problemas de salud y bienestar, ya que estos animales tenían un apego emocional a sus cuidadores. Los animales son seres sensibles diferentes de otros objetos, y su detrimento se refleja en su salud física y emocional, causando condiciones como depresión y ansiedad, condiciones que podrían poner fin potencialmente a su vida. Los animales estaban siendo retenidos por 'Inmobiliar', y los demandantes no habían recibido ninguna información sobre la condición de los animales. Además, los demandantes estaban preocupados por la condicion de los animales ya que no tenian conocimiento acerca de su alimentacion. Especialmente porque 'Inmobiliar' no tenía presupuesto para alimentar a los animales sujetos a confiscaciones. Según loa demandante, los animales eran miembros de su familia, y sus hijos sufrían sin ellos. El tribunal provincial de Guyanas concedió el habeas corpus, sosteniendo que los animales son sujetos de derechos, encontrando que 'Inmobiliar' había violado los derechos de los animales al considerarlos propiedad personal embargable. Por lo tanto, el tribunal determinó que su confiscación era ilegal, arbitraria e ilegítima. Para proteger sus derechos a la vida, la libertad y la integridad, ordenó a 'Inmobiliar' devolver los animales a sus cuidadores. En su análisis, el tribunal afirmó que, según el caso de Estrellita, los animales no deberían ser protegidos únicamente desde una perspectiva del ecosistema o desde la perspectiva de las necesidades humanas, sino más bien desde su individualidad y su valor intrínseco. El tribunal también instruyó a la entidad gubernamental a no considerar más a las "mascotas" como semovientes en futuros procedimientos judiciales, y a distribuir, a través del correo electrónico institucional, a todos sus funcionarios la decisión de la corte constitucional 253-20-JH/22, ordenándoles leerla y analizarla. Esta decisión fue apelada por 'Inmobiliar' y la sala especializada en lo penal de la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Guyanas anuló la decisión que otorgaba el habeas corpus a favor de los animales, afirmando que este mecanismo legal no era apropiado en el caso de animales domésticos. En su fallo, el tribunal ordenó la devolución de los animales a "Inmobiliar". Esta decisión ha sido enviada a la Corte Constitucional para su revisión. Si la corte la selecciona, decidirá si un recurso de habeas corpus es apropiado en casos relacionados específicamente con animales de compañía.
Sentencia 10013-103027-2023-00229-00 (0327) - Simona - Colombia (2023) Tribunal Superior de Bogotá, Sala Mixta, Sentencia del 6 de octubre de 2023, Rad. 10013-103027-2023-00229-00 (0327) This is the case of “Simona,” the dog in a family that went through a divorce in 2021. The husband, acting as the plaintiff, filed a lawsuit in the third Family Court to establish a visitation arrangement for their beloved companion, “Simona,” who lived with his ex-wife. The plaintiff argued that Simona was an integral part of their family and that both Simona and him had been emotionally impacted since the separation, as the defendant contended that visitations were distressing for Simona. The plaintiff further contended that Simona used to sleep with him and watch movies, but since she could no longer do so, Simona had become depressed and refused to eat. The family court dismissed the case, stating that it fell under the civil court’s jurisdiction. The Superior Tribunal of Bogotá resolved the jurisdictional conflict between the third Family Court and the twenty-seventh Civil Circuit Court.
Sentencia 25000-23-24-000-2011-00227-01(AP) 25000-23-24-000-2011-00227-01(AP) Update: on December 12, 2014, the State Council's Fourth Chamber invalidated the Third Chamber's decision by revoking defendant's license to capture monkeys on the Amazon. This decision resulted from a "Tutela" filed by the defendants arguing procedural and substantive errors. In its decision, State Council stated that the Third Chamber, Subsection C, had violated the fundamental rights to due process and scientific investigation. Therefore, defendants are allowed to hunt and capture night monkeys in the Amazon so long as they meet the requirements and conditions for granting such licenses established in Resolutions 028 of May 13, 2010, and 0632 of June 29, 2919. This case concerns the monkeys used in scientific research in the Colombian Amazon to create a malaria vaccine. In 2012, plaintiff, a primatologist, raised before the Administrative Tribunal in Cundinamarca a series of irregularities incurred by the defendant in the capture and treatment of night monkeys (Aotus vociferans). Through a popular action (A constitutional mechanism to protect collective rights), the plaintiff argued that the defendants were violating collective rights such as administrative morality, the existence of ecological balance and the management and rational use of natural resources, and public safety and health. The defendant, "Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia" (FIDIC), is a scientific institution dedicated to research and scientific study for creating and developing chemically synthesized vaccines. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, the Director, is a renowned Colombian scientist and the creator of the first vaccine against malaria accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Patarroyo had a license to hunt and capture 800 primates of this species per year for his research against malaria. In her complaint, plaintiff alleged that Patarroyo was illegally trafficking monkeys from Brazil and Peru to Colombian territory, as there was evidence that they were using monkeys from across the border with these countries without complying with legal importation requirements. Furthermore, the plaintiff argued that the defendant was experimenting on monkeys of a different species (Aotus nancymaae) found in Peru and Brazil, for which they did not have the corresponding license. Plaintiff also alleged that specimens of both species were acquired by paying members of native indigenous groups, who captured the animals without permit or supervision from respective authorities. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that governmental authorities did not perform inspections, and there were no records of how many specimens were being used and how they were being treated. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants released surviving monkeys infected with malaria back into the wild once they were of no use to the laboratory, ignoring the risks that this posed to the ecosystem and indigenous communities. The Administrative Tribunal in Cundinamarca ruled in favor of the plaintiff, revoking the defendant's permit to capture monkeys in the Amazon. Defendants appealed the decision before the Third Chamber of the State Council, which affirmed the revocation of the license. The State Council stated that the defendants had violated the collective rights and affirmed the license revocation to protect the collective rights of wild animals, particularly of the Aotus Vociferans monkeys. This ruling suspended the investigations and ordered disciplinary investigations against the governmental authorities that issued the license. In affirming the tribunal's decision, the court stated: "To the Colombian legislator, animals and plant species (for example, forests, the Amazon, páramos, water sources, resources, etc.) are subject to rights. Therefore, through popular action, any person can request their protection by acting as an unofficial agent of these entities without it being possible to acknowledge that it is a collective-subjective right belonging to society. On the contrary, it is about the express recognition by the Constitution and the Colombian legislator of attributing value in themselves to animals and plant species, for which, in each specific case, the judge must make a judgment by weighting competing interests" (...) "humans can use animals for survival, company, research, work, or recreational activities, but without violating the rights that assist them."
Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041 is one of the most important court decisions on bullfighting. On this occasion, the court held unconstitutional Article 5 of Ley 1774 of 2016 that referred to the Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection. Article 7 contains the seven activities that involve animals for entertainment that are exempted from the duty of animal protection. The practices permitted correspond to rejoneo, coleo, bullfighting, novilladas, corralejas, becerradas and tientas (all variations of bullfighting), cockfighting and all the related practices. Even though the court held that the legislature had fallen into a lack of constitutional protection towards animals, and stated that bullfighting was cruel and inhumane, it deferred the effects of its sentence and gave Congress a two-year period to decide whether bullfighting and the other exception established in Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection will continue to be legally allowed. If after this period, the Congress has not legislated on the matter, decision C-041, 2017 will take full effect and bullfighting along with all the practices established in Article 7 will be considered illegal.
Sentencia C-045/19 This Constitutional Court's decision declares sport hunting illegal in the entire territory. In its reasoning, the court stated that sport hunting is not an exception to the duty to protect animals against cruelty, as it does not satisfy any objective or purpose compatible with the Constitution. "It is not an expression of religious freedom, nor intended for food or medical or scientific experimentation. It is not done to control the species population and is not a deeply rooted cultural manifestation." The court further stated, "The sacrifice of an animal by humans is an extreme form of mistreatment as it eliminates its very existence and is an act of annihilation. When it is unjustified, an animal's death is cruel because it means understanding that the animal is exclusively a resource available to humans. Sport hunting, in short, is a harmful act insofar as it is aimed at capturing wild animals, either by killing, mutilating or catching them alive." "What happens here is an example of how the content and scope of constitutional norms adapt to a changing society. It is about the concept of a Living constitution, in which its scope and content take shape with the political community's economic, social, political, and cultural changes." Other forms of hunting, such as subsistence hunting, hunting for scientific and research purposes, and controlled hunting, continue to be allowed under the circumstances delineated by laws and regulations and with prior authorization of the natural resources managing authority.
Sentencia C-115/06 Sentencia C-115/06 In this opportunity, the Court held that bullfighting represents a cultural manifestation and artistic expression of human beings that the legal system must protect. Therefore, bullfighting could not be considered a violent act in terms of article 12 of the Constitution because the prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment presumes an act to be violent when it is against a human being. In turn, bullfighting cannot be considered a violent act because here, there is no treatment that is incompatible with human dignity.
Sentencia C-1192, 2005 C-1192/05 Decision C-1192/05 decides on a claim of unconstitutionality against Articles 1, 2, 22 and 80 of the Taurine Regulatory Statute ley 916 of 2004. In this occasion, the court upheld the constitutionality of this law confirming bullfighting as an artistic expression allowed by the Constitution: “A manifestation of Colombia’s diversity, as intangible good that symbolizes one of the many historical-cultural traditions of the Nation.” The Court stated that since bullfighting is a cultural manifestation of the nation, children do not need to be protected from this practice. The Court believes “children should be provided the opportunity to attend these events so that they can learn and judge for themselves if bullfighting is an art form, or an outdated violent practice. For that reason, the statute does not violate the fundamental rights of children. The court also held that bullfighting is not part of the interpretation of Article 12 that corresponds to the prohibition of torture. The text of the norm speaks about violence and cruel treatment as an “anthropological vision of the human being” the court asserts. With this decision, the Constitutional Court affirms that animals, in this case bulls, are not entitled to any rights. The court considered tradition and culture of a higher value than animal protection.
Sentencia C-148, 2022 Sentencia C-148, 2022 In this opportunity, the Colombian Constitutional Court deemed national recreational fishing regulations unconstitutional three years after banning recreational hunting. Specifically, the Court determined that provisions pertaining to this matter, contained in the Code of Natural Renewable Resources, the General Statute of Animal Protection, and the Fishing Statute, violated the government's constitutional obligation to protect the environment, the right to environmental education, and the prohibition of animal cruelty. The Court recognized constitutional limitations on the prohibition of animal cruelty that were based on religious freedom, eating habits, medical research and experimentation, and deeply rooted cultural manifestations. Consequently, the Court held that fishing for recreational purposes was a cruel practice that did not fall within any of these exceptions.
Sentencia C-148/22 Sentencia C-148/22 Attorney Gabriel Andrés Suárez Gómez filed an unconstitutionality complaint with the Constitutional Court, arguing that recreational fishing violated the precautionary principle, the right to a healthy environment, and the prohibition of animal cruelty. Following the precedent created with C-045, 2019, prohibiting sport or trophy hunting, the Colombian Constitutional Court held on May 2, 2022, that the provisions concerning recreational fishing contained in various national laws were unconstitutional, effectively banning this practice in the entire territory. The court found that fishing for the sole purpose of recreation without any other relevant purposes like commercial or sustenance constitutes a form of animal abuse. Specifically, the court emphasized that the mandate of animal protection stems from the principle of the ecological constitution, the social function of property, and human dignity. Moreover, it was pointed out that, in this context, both the Legislature and the Court have previously recognized all animals as sentient beings. The court held that while it is not possible to define with absolute certainty the harmful consequences of recreational fishing in terms of conservation and animal welfare principles or the degradation of hydrobiological resources, there is relevant scientific information that must be considered to avoid harmful effects on fish and the habitat. Regarding animal sentience, after an exhaustive analysis, the court emphasized that there are compelling reasons to consider that fish can feel pain, and the mandate of animal protection requires treating sentient beings with dignity. Similarly, according to the FAO, there is currently no method capable of fully eliminating the mistreatment of fish, and there are environmental impacts that must be seriously considered alongside the economic benefits proposed in favor of recreational fishing. This situation led the Constitutional Court to activate the precautionary principle. The court held that there is a duty to protect animals, which implied a prohibition of animal cruelty. This duty protects both the ecosystemic balance and individual sentient animals with intrinsic value. This protection is differentiated and weighted based on the type of species involved, whether domestic or wild. Moreover, the duty of animal protection carries an indisputable binding effect, requiring assessments of reasonableness and proportionality in its application by both legislators and judges. After an extensive analysis of the positive and negative effects that the prohibition of this activity would carry out, the court concluded that recreational fishing constitutes a form of animal cruelty that violates the right to a healthy environment, specifically the prohibition against animal cruelty in accordance with laws and constitutional jurisprudence that lacked constitutional support as it is not grounded in constitutionally permissible limits for animal mistreatment, such as (a) religious freedom; (b) dietary habits; (c) medical research and experimentation; and (d) deeply rooted cultural practices. Considering the interests of those affiliated with the activity, who would be significantly impacted by the invalidation of the laws subject to this opinion, and who have been conducting activities under laws previously deemed constitutional, the court decided to defer the effects of the decision for one year. This was with the purpose of allowing those adversely affected by it to adapt to the new circumstances.
Sentencia C-148/22 Sentencia C-148/22 El abogado Gabriel Andrés Suárez Gómez presentó una demanda de inconstitucionalidad ante la Corte Constitucional, argumentando que la pesca recreativa violaba el principio de precaución, el derecho a un medio ambiente sano y la prohibición de crueldad animal. Siguiendo el precedente creado con la sentencia C-045 de 2019, que prohíbe la caza deportiva, la Corte Constitucional de Colombia decidió el 2 de mayo del 2022 que las disposiciones relativas a la pesca recreativa contenidas en diversas leyes nacionales eran inconstitucionales, prohibiendo efectivamente esta práctica en todo el territorio. La corte determinó que pescar con fines recreativos, sin ningún otro propósito relevante como comercial o de sustento, constituye una forma de crueldad animal. Específicamente, la corte enfatizó que el mandato de protección animal se deriva del principio de la constitución ecológica, la función social de la propiedad y la dignidad humana. Además, se señaló que, en este contexto, tanto el legislativo como la corte han reconocido previamente a todos los animales como seres sintientes. La corte sostuvo que, aunque no es posible definir con certeza absoluta las consecuencias dañinas de la pesca recreativa en términos de principios de conservación y bienestar animal o la degradación de los recursos hidrobiológicos, existe información científica relevante que debe ser considerada para evitar efectos perjudiciales en los peces y el hábitat. Respecto a la sintiencia animal, tras un exhaustivo análisis, la corte enfatizó que hay razones convincentes para considerar que los peces pueden sentir dolor, y el mandato de protección animal requiere tratar a los seres sintientes con dignidad. De manera similar, según la FAO, actualmente no existe ningún método capaz de eliminar completamente el maltrato a los peces, y hay impactos ambientales que deben ser considerados seriamente junto con los beneficios económicos propuestos a favor de la pesca recreativa. Esta situación llevó a la Corte Constitucional a activar el principio de precaución. La corte determinó que hay un deber de proteger a los animales que implica proteger tanto el equilibrio ecosistémico como a los animales sintientes individuales con valor intrínseco. Esta protección se diferencia y pondera en función del tipo de especie involucrada, ya sea doméstica o silvestre. Además, el deber de protección animal lleva consigo un efecto vinculante indiscutible, que requiere evaluaciones de razonabilidad y proporcionalidad en su aplicación tanto por parte de legisladores como de jueces. Tras un extenso análisis de los efectos positivos y negativos que conllevaría la prohibición de esta actividad, la corte concluyó que la pesca recreativa constituye una forma de crueldad animal que viola el derecho a un medio ambiente sano, específicamente la prohibición contra la crueldad animal de acuerdo con leyes y jurisprudencia constitucional que carecían de respaldo constitucional al no estar fundamentadas en límites permisibles constitucionalmente para el maltrato animal, como (a) la libertad religiosa; (b) los hábitos alimenticios; (c) la investigación médica y experimentación; y (d) prácticas culturales arraigadas. Teniendo en cuenta los intereses de aquellos afiliados a la actividad, que se verían significativamente afectados por la invalidación de las leyes sujetas a esta opinión, y que han estado llevando a cabo actividades bajo leyes previamente consideradas constitucionales, la corte decidió posponer los efectos de la decisión por un año. Esto con el propósito de permitir que aquellos afectados adversamente por ella se adapten a las nuevas circunstancias.
Sentencia C-283, 2014 Sentencia C-283/14 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Articles 1º, 2º and 3º of Ley 1638, 2013 that prohibit the use of native and exotic wild animals in circuses. Plaintiffs argued that these Articles violated numerous provisions of the Constitution, including the right to work, right to choose a profession, rights to culture and recreation, and a violation to the freedom private initiative of the owners of the circuses. In decision C-283, the court held that Congress has the power to prohibit certain cultural manifestations that involve animal cruelty. The Court stated that “culture needs to be permanently reevaluated so it can adapt to human evolution, to guarantee of rights and the fulfillment of duties. Especially when the purpose is to eliminate the traces of a marginalized society that has excluded certain individuals and collectives.” The court also stated that the duty to protect animals is not absolute, as its application can be limited by values, principles and constitutional norms in specific cases that are contradictory to the principales. The judge must analyze each case under a reasonableness test, in a way that cultural manifestations can work harmoniously with the rights, principles, and duties established in the legal system. The Court held Article 1 of Ley 1638, 2013 constitutional, and refrains from deciding on the constitutionality of Articles 2 and 3, for lack of evidence to render a decision.
Sentencia C-367, 2006 Sentencia C-367, 2006 Decision C-367 decides on the unconstitutionality of some of the provisions of the Taurine Regulatory Statute. The Court held the provisions constitutional, but added a limitation to the participation of minors in the practice of bullfighting. With this decision, children under 14 cannot participate in the “cuadrillas.” The term “cuadrillas” is used to describe the group of people that accompany and assist the matador in the bullring throughout the duration of the bullfight. Sentencia C-367 imposes the principle of impartiality on the behavior of Mayors. Mayors have to act in strict accordance to the Law and the Constitution, and must be impartial when it comes to making decisions that affect this activity. According to this principle, “Mayors have the duty to act, recognizing that the purpose of the different procedures is to assure and guarantee the rights of all the people without any level of discrimination.” The Court also reaffirmed that Congress has complete power to legislate on bullfighting on the national level.
Sentencia C-439, 2011 Sentencia C-439, 2011 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Article 87 of Ley 769, 2002 (Trafic Code), relating the transportation of animals on vehicles of public transportation. Article 87 of Ley 769, established that only guide dogs could travel in this type of transportation when accompanying a blind person. The Plaintiff argued that this Article, which prohibited the transportation of animals on vehicles like buses and taxis, violated the right to equality, rights to personal and family privacy, right to free development of personality, freedom of locomotion, and private property. The court concluded that there was a violation to the right to free development of personality, freedom to locomotion, and to private property of the owners of domestic animals. The court added domestic animals as an exception to article 87, of Ley 769, meaning that this prohibition still remains for specimens of the wild fauna. Domestic animals now can travel on vehicles of public transportation, so long they are transported in conditions of health, safety, comfort and tranquility according to the applicable rules. The court also considered that a pertinent regulation was necessary to establish the requirements to transport animals on public vehicles.
Sentencia C-467/16 Sentencia C-467/16 This lawsuit seeks the unconstitutionality of articles 665 and 658 of the Civil Code that define "movable objects" and "real property by destination." The plaintiff alleges that these categorizations are against the Constitution's environmental orientation and international agreements. The court upheld the validity of these articles and stated that such categorizations were not against legally considering animals as sentient beings deserving of protection against pain and suffering. In other words, the protection of animals is not affected by this language. "Animals are included in the category of property because property rights may be exercised over them, and animals are often the subjects of legal transactions. Therefore, categorizing animals as property responds to a necessity and does not affect the regulation in other provisions to develop the duty to protect animals as sentient beings (Law 1774, 2016)."
Sentencia C-666, 2010 Sentencia C-666/10 The Constitutional Court decided on an unconstitutionality claim against Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection Ley 84 of 1989 that corresponds to the exceptions to the duty of animal protection. This decision established the conditions that must be met for the exceptions of Article 7 to apply. Put in different words, through Decision C-666, the court limits the scope of the legality of bullfighting, establishing certain requirements. In its holding, the Court stated that the seven practices in Article 7 would not violate the Constitution, so long as they were done within the following parameters: (1) As long as it is understood that these animals should, in all cases, obtain special protection against suffering and pain during the execution of these activities. This exception allows the continuation of cultural expressions and entertainment with animals, so long as exceptionally cruel acts against these animals are eliminated, or lessened in the future in a process of adaptation between cultural expressions and duties of protection to animals; (2) These practices can only take place in municipalities and districts in which the practices are themselves a manifestation of a regular, periodic and uninterrupted tradition, and therefore their execution responds to a certain regularity; (3) These practices can only take place during occasions in which they have commonly taken place and in the municipalities and districts where they are authorized; (4) These are the only practices that are authorized to be part of the exception in Article 7 to the constitutional duty to protect animals; and (5) Municipal authorities cannot economically support the construction of installations for the exclusive execution of the activities listed in Article 7 with public funds.
Sentencia C-889, 2012 Sentencia C-889/12 Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality.
Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Ramba was known as the last circus elephant in Chile. She was an Asian elephant that spent 40 years of her life alone, being forced to perform. Her owner was found guilty of animal mistreatment and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and to pay a fine of 10 monthly tax units (UTM). Ramba was forced to perform difficult tricks and was not provided medical care. In addition, she was kept chained in a small enclosure without adequate space, temperature, or enrichment. Ramba was officially “confiscated” in 1997 due to abuse and neglect. However, she remained with the circus but was not allowed to perform. She was removed from the circus and temporarily relocated to "Parque Safari in Rancagua" in 2011. In 2019, Ramba was relocated to Global Sanctuary for Elephants in Brazil. Unfortunately, Ramba died a few months later after arriving at the sanctuary due to kidney disease.
Sentencia Constitucional 1982/2011-R- Bolivia Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional de Bolivia, Sentencia Constitucional 1982/2011-R The Bolivia Constitutional Tribunal issued this decision in response to a "popular action," a constitutional mechanism safeguarding collective and diffuse rights. The complaint alleged that the municipal Mayor had infringed upon the right to integral education and environmental balance by neglecting to address requests for relocating animals at the "Oscar Alfaro Zoo," where they endured highly inadequate conditions. In its ruling, the tribunal highlighted the interconnectedness of humans with the environment, stressing that environmental preservation hinges on balance and health. Disruption of this delicate equilibrium poses risks to the environment and humans, who are also part of the biological chain. Recognizing the right to a healthy environment as a diffuse right, the court stresses it affects all members of the collective, which includes all elements of the environment and its ecosystems. Thus, the tribunal granted the requested protection, finding the Mayor responsible for violating the right to a healthy environment and the duty to preserve and protect it. The Mayor's inaction led to the tragic death of numerous animals at the zoo. The court ordered the immediate temporary relocation of the animals to specialized facilities to ensure their survival and the conservation of species at the zoo. However, it clarified that the popular action mechanism could not address the right to integral education.
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights.
Sentencia Jane Margarita Cósar Camacho y otros contra Resolucion De Fojas 258 - Perros guia - Espanol- Peru (2014) Exp No. 02437-2013 La demandante, una mujer con discapacidad visual, presentó una demanda constitucional contra la decisión emitida por la Quinta Sala Civil de la Corte Superior de Justicia de Lima el 15 de enero de 2013. Esta decisión negó la acción de amparo después de que los demandados le negaran la entrada a la perra guía de la demandante en sus supermercados. El Tribunal Constitucional ordenó que se permitiera a las personas ciegas ingresar a los supermercados con sus perros guía.
Sentencia STC1926-2023 Sentencia STC1926-2023 Romeo and Salvador, two beloved family dogs that found themselves in the center of a heartbreaking divorce. The divorce resulted in the family judge ordering the foreclosure of the dogs in the divorce proceeding. The plaintiff filed a writ of protection or "Recurso de Tutela" before the Chamber of Civil Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice to protect her rights to family unity, free personality development, and health. Furthermore, she argued that the lower court decision had violated not just her rights but her children's rights, who had developed a filial bond with the dogs, as they are sentient beings and not just mere property. The Court denied the "tutela." It affirmed the lower court decision allowing foreclosure upon companion animals, holding that the "tutela" was not the appropriate legal mechanism to protect procedural guarantees. In his dissenting opinion, Magistrate Aroldo Wilson Quiróz stated that the court had missed a valuable opportunity to address the issue of the multispecies families in Colombia. This novel legal concept is supported under Art. 42 of the Constitution, and that it was the responsibility of the court, as the body of last instance, to delve into this subject, pointing out the fact that even though animals are considered property, they are also sentient beings in the eyes of the law with rights that limit the right to own them. Like in other family cases, the magistrate suggested that courts should address issues such as custody, visitation rights, and alimony payments when companion animals are involved.
Sentencia SU016/20 Sentencia SU016/20 In decision SU016 of 2020, the court confirmed its decision to revoke the habeas corpus granted to Chucho, the Andean bear. After holding a public audience where many experts spoke as to the possibility of granting wild animals the status of legal persons and the right to freedom, the Constitutional Court held that the judge that have granted habeas corpus had incurred in a legal error as animals have not a right to freedom, and the habeas corpus is a legal mechanism available for humans that are illegally and unjustly detained. It is no available to animals. Moreover, the court stated that there were other more adequate mechanism to guarantee the well-being of animals, such as an inquiry for intervention of the environmental authorities, or a popular action. With this decision, the status of animals remains the same. Animals are legally recognized as sentient beings, subject to special legal protection, and humans have the duty to take care of them.
Sentencia SU056/18 Sentencia SU056/18 The Constitutional Court held unconstitutional the decision of the administrative tribunal of Cundinamarca that allowed the city of Bogota to carry out a popular consultation intended to ask residents of Bogota whether they agreed to have bullfighting in the city. The court held that the decision to invalidate such a ruling was based on the principles of legal precedent and res jusdicata. The administrative court decision was against authority established in decisions A-025 of 2015, T-296 of 2013, C-889 of 2012, y C-666 of 2010 of the constitutional court, which held that the power to prohibit bullfighting rest in Congress and local governments only have police power. Allowing a mayor to carry out a popular consultation regarding the future of bullfighting is to go against authority established by the Constitutional Court, and it violates the right to due process and the right to be treated equally by the law.
Sentencia T-034/13 Sentencia T-034/13 Plaintiff filed a tutela against the homeowner’s association, who changed change the apartment complex rules to prohibit pets from using the elevator. In this decision, the court held that It is not viable for homeowners’ associations to prohibit pets from using the elevators. This is because the right to free development of personality and the right to personal and family intimacy encompass the right to have a pet. Horizontal property rules may not go against current laws or violate the resident’s fundamental rights. However, there can be limitations and parameters to these rights so long as they are established to guarantee respect for the rights of others, a peaceful coexistence, and the regulations are reasonable and proportionate.
Sentencia T-095, 2016 Sentencia T-095/16 In this decision, the court drew a line between the concept of animal welfare and the concept of animal rights. The court continues to see animal protection from a moral perspective when it states animals do not necessarily have rights, even though they should be treated with respect and should not be abused. The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary, created for the sole purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against ‘la Personería Local of Fontibón’, the local Mayor’s office of Fontibon, the District Secretary of Health, the Zoonosis Center and the Distril Secretary of the environment of Bogota. The Plaintiff argued that these governmental entities had violated his fundamental right to petition and the right to animal welfare of twenty five dogs, when the authorities ordered the confiscation the canines that were located in the District Ecological Park of the Wetland of Capellanía and who were cared for by volunteers. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants did not respond to his request to provide funds to build a shelter and provide food and veterinary assistance of the dogs or funds to relocate them. The Plaintiff sought a response from governmental authorities on the petition and to provide the funds to save the animals, thereby avoiding the Zoonosis Center to assume their care, who would euthanize the sick animals that were not adopted after five days of being up for adoption. The lower court denied the protection of the fundamental right to petition, as it found that the authorities responded to the petition of the Plaintiff in a clear and timely matter by denying the request to fund the Plaintiff to relocate the dogs or build a shelter for them. In regards to the right to animal welfare, the lower court considered it was a legal rather than a constitutional issue, therefore the action of ‘tutela’ was not the appropriate mechanism as its purpose is to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. The court held that there was a constitutional duty of animal protection that derives from the duty to protect the environment. However, this duty to guarantee the well-being of animals as sentient beings is not absolute and may be subject to exceptions. The court determines that the mandate to protect the environment, which includes sentient beings, does not translate into a right to animal welfare, and for that reason such duty is not enforceable through an action of tutela. The duty to protect animals presumes an obligation to care and prohibits maltreatment and cruelty against animals, unless these actions come from one of the limits stipulated in the constitution. The court affirmed the lower court decision to deny the protection to the right to petition and declared the inadmissibility of the action of tutela for the protection of animal welfare.
Sentencia T-146/16 Sentencia T-146/16 Plaintiffs, a family that owned a howler monkey named "bebé" or "King Kong," filed "Amparo" seeking the protection of their rights to life and health, arguing that such rights had been violated by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca's" (CAR) refusal to return "bebé" to his family. The plaintiffs alleged that "bebé" was a member of their family, and not having him affected the family's emotional and physical health. Finally, they argued that the sadness and depression were so severe that they took group therapy with a psychologist. The monkey was stolen from the family's property and rescued was assisted by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca," who sent the monkey to "Fundación Bioandina." However, the defendants reported the monkey to be completely "humanized." He was so stressed that he did not eat and had to be relocated to the Medellin Zoo to be rehabilitated. The Second Chamber of Review of the Constitutional Court determined that wildlife is not subject to property by individuals and that the state of freedom of wildlife should be privileged. According to article 248 of the National Code of Renewable Natural Resources, the court stated that wildlife belongs to the nation. Therefore, the defendant's actions did not violate the family's well-being, as the forfeiture of wildlife is necessary to ensure their conservation protection as it is a constitutional mandate to protect biodiversity and environmental integrity. The court noted that the monkey had completed his rehabilitation process and had been reintroduced to his natural habitat.
Sentencia T-608, 2011 Sentencia T-608/11 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) acting as the legal guardian of her husband, who had spastic quadriplegia and mixed aphasia as a result of a severe cranioencephalic trauma, against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’. The Plaintiff argued that Corpocaldas had violated the rights to health and dignified life of her husband when the Defendant confiscated a parrot that was part of the Plaintiff’s rehabilitation treatment. The Plaintiff sought immediate restitution of the parrot by the Defendant. The court affirmed the decision of the lower court to deny the Plaintiff’s petition. The court determined that the confiscation of the parrot by Corpocaldas was reasonable and according to the law, therefore there was not a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff. The court stated that as wild animals belong to the nation and they can only be reduced to property when the are obtained through legal hunting or from legal breeders. In this particular case, the Plaintiff obtained the parrot as a present from her cousin, and she did not present evidence of title. The court concluded that the bird belonged to the nation, and therefore the environmental authority had acted in accordance to its duties. The court stated that even though there was a narrow relationship between the rights to health and life with the right to environment, the protection of the environment did not only aim to the protection of humans. The court indicated that the environment should be protected whether or not it offered a benefit to the human species. The rest of the beings that are part of the environment are dignified beings that are not at the absolute and unlimited disposition of the human beings. Humans are just another element of nature, and not a superior entity that has the environment at their disposition. Therefore, the use of natural resources should not cause damage or deterioration that could threaten diversity and environmental integrity, the court stated in its reasoning.
Sentencia T-622, 2016 Sentencia T-622/16

This is not a judicial decision that touches on animal welfare issues. However, it is important to mention as the Constitutional Court granted for the first time the status of legal person to a river. The Plaintiff, ‘Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social “Tierra Digna”’ brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) in representation of various community councils of the Atrato region in the Colombian Pacific against the Presidency of the Republic and others. The basin of the Atrato river covers and area of about 40,000 KM2 (15,444.086 sq mi) It is considered one of the highest water yields in the world. There are many ethnic communities that live in the adjoined municipalities that include Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous communities and mixed communities that obtain their sustenance from activities such as artisanal mining, agriculture, hunting and fishing by this river. The water of the river is also used for direct consumption. The Plaintiff alleged that the contamination of the river is a threat to the health of the communities that use the river as a source of work, recreation and to obtain food. The Plaintiffs sought that the court stop the large-scale and permanent use of illegal extraction methods of minerals such as gold and platinum. Additionally, logging that includes the use of heavy machinery and highly toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide as well as other toxic chemicals used in mining of the Atrato river. They argued that the illegal mining in the Atrato river was resulting in harmful and irreversible consequences on the environment, affecting the fundamental rights of ethnic communities that live in the area and the natural balance of the territory. For these reasons, the Plaintiffs asked the court to declare protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities: life, health, water, food security, a healthy living environment, to culture and to the territory, by ordering the implementation of structural changes. The lower courts denied the action of ‘tutela’ in first and second instance, arguing that the Plaintiff sought the protection of collective rights, rather than fundamental rights. Therefore, this constitutional mechanism was not appropriate. After holding that the action of ‘tutela’ was the appropriate mechanism for the protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities, the court established in its ruling that the right to water was a fundamental right, as it is a necessary component to the right to a dignified life, and it is essential for many organisms that inhabit the planet to be able to survive. The use of mercury and other toxic substances in mining activities is prohibited, regardless the legality of the activity. In a new approach, the court held that the Atrato river is subject to rights that imply its protection, conservation and maintenance and instructs the national government to be the guardian and to exercise the river’s legal representation through the president or whichever he appointed, along with the ethnic communities that inhabit the basin of the river. Thus, it guarantees the Atrato river is represented by a member of these communities and a delegate of the Colombian government.

Sentencia T-760, 2007 Sentencia T-760/07 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’, arguing that ‘CORPOCALDAS’ had violated the fundamental rights to health, personal integrity, life and human integrity of the Plaintiff’s wife, who became severely depressed when the Defendant confiscated an amazonian parrot she kept as her pet. The Plaintiff argued that the parrot was the only company the Plaintiff’s wife had for over five years, and that the confiscation of their parrot, was a violation of the Plaintiff's wife's fundamental rights. Furthermore, the Plaintiff argued that his wife was 65 years old, had raised the parrot that was never abused or neglected and who was allowed to move freely as her wings were never trimmed. The Plaintiff sought the the return of the parrot by the environmental authority ‘CORPOCALDAS’ to his wife, as well as the granting of the parrot’s title to her. The Court was able to find that the Plaintiff’s wife’s health was indeed diminished after the confiscation of the bird and the she had to undergo treatment as a result of it. However, the court found that the Plaintiffs were unable to provide evidence tending to prove that they had acquired the animal in a legal manner, as no permit, hunting license, or evidence that the parrot was obtained from a legal breeder were provided. The court determined that CORPOCALDAS did not overstep its responsibilities, as it is its duty to protect the wild fauna of the nation. Touching on the issue of whether the the fundamental rights of the plaintiff had been violated, the court concluded there was not such violation, as the environmental authority’s action was legal, reasonable, necessary and legitimate, and the Plaintiff did not obtained the parrot in accordance with the requirements legally established. In this case, the collective right to a healthy environment prevailed over the personal interest of the Plaintiff. The Constitutional Court affirmed the judgment of the ‘Juzgado Segundo Laboral del Circuito de Manizales’.
Settle v. Commonwealth 55 Va.App. 212, 685 S.E.2d 182 (Va.,2009)

The defendant-appellant, Charles E. Settle, Jr., was convicted of two counts of inadequate care by owner of companion animals and one count of dog at large under a county ordinance, after Fauquier County Sherriff's officers were dispatched to his home on multiple occasions over the course of one calendar year in response to animal noise and health and safety complaints from his neighbors.  Consequently, all of the affected dogs were seized from Settle and relocated to local animal shelters.  The trial court also declared three of the animals to be dangerous dogs pursuant to another county ordinance.  The Court of Appeals of Virginia held that: (1) because the forfeiture of dogs was a civil matter the Court of Appeals lacked subject matter jurisdiction and was not the proper forum to decide the case; (2) that Settle failed to join the County as an indispensible party in the notice of appeal from conviction for the county ordinance violation; and (3) that the evidence was sufficient to identify Settle as the owner of the neglected companion animals.

Sexton v. Brown Not Reported in P.3d, 147 Wash.App. 1005, 2008 WL 4616705 (Wash.App. Div. 1)

In this Washington case, Valeri Sexton and Corey Recla sued Kenny Brown, DVM, for damages arising from the death of their dog. Plaintiffs alleged a number of causes of action including negligence, breach of bailment, conversion, and trespass to chattels. The incident occurred after plaintiff's dog ran away while plaintiff was camping Marblemount area. Another party found the Yorkshire terrier and took it to defendant-veterinarian's office, the Pet Emergency Center (PEC). After being examined first by a one veterinarian, defendant-veterinarian Brown took over care and determined that the dog suffered from a life threatening condition; he then told the finders that if they did not want to pay for further care, they could have the dog euthanized. This court affirmed the trial court's decision that the medical malpractice act does not apply to veterinarians. It also affirmed the dismissal of Sexton's breach of bailment claim, finding that Brown was not a finder under relevant Washington law. The court did find that there were material issues of fact about the measure of damages, and reversed the decision to limit damages to the fair market or replacement value of the dog. Further, the court found genuine issues of material fact about whether Brown's actions were justified when viewed under the requirements of Washington's veterinary practice laws.

Shelvey v. Bicknell 1996CarswellBC1131

Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

Shera v. N.C. State University Veterinary Teaching Hosp. 723 S.E.2d 352 (N.C. Ct. App. 2012)

After an animal hospital caused the death of a dog due to an improperly placed feeding tube, the dog owners sued for veterinary malpractice under the Tort Claims Act. The Court of Appeals held that the replacement value of the dog was the appropriate measure of damages, and not the intrinsic value. Owners’ emotional bond with the dog was not compensable under North Carolina law.

Sherman v. Kissinger 195 P.3d 539 (Wash.,2008)

A dog owner sued a veterinarian and a veterinary hospital after her dog died. The Court of Appeals held that the medical malpractice act did not apply to veterinarians, and thus, did not bar claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass to chattels, and breach of bailment contract; the three-part analysis in McCurdy controlled the measure of damages and the burden of proof for damages; genuine issues of material fact about the market value of the dog, whether it could be replaced, and whether owner was entitled to present evidence of the dog’s intrinsic value, precluded summary judgment limiting owner's damages; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking expert’s testimony about the loss of the human-animal bond because owner was not entitled to emotional distress damages; and defendants were not entitled to attorney fees under the small claims statute.

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