Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Students for Ethical Treatment of Animals (SETA) v. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of University of Oregon (IACUC) 833 P.2d 337 (1992)

Appeal of a circuit court decision finding a summary judgment that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit where a state university student organization and other parties brought suit against the university committee that supervised animal research, including a research proposal for cranial surgery on Macaque monkeys. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs had an interest in the governmental decisions of the committee, had established a denial of access related to that interest, thus had standing to bring the suit.

U.S. v. Proceeds from Sale of Approximately 15,538 Panulirus Argus Lobster Tails 834 F. Supp. 385 (S.D. Fla. 1993)

This case arose out of the seizure of some 15,538 lobster tails of the species Panulirus argus, more commonly known as "spiny lobster," imported into the United States by the Claimant Lista Enterprises Seafood, Inc. from the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean.  The court held the government had probable cause to seize the lobster tails based on the weight criteria established under Turks and Caicos law.  Under the Lacey Act, anyone who "knowingly" imports fish or wildlife taken in violation of foreign law may be assessed a penalty of $10,000 per violation, where "knowingly" refers to situations where the violator knew or should have known that the wildlife was taken in violation of law.

U.S. v. Miranda 835 F.2d 830 (11th Cir. 1988)

Jesus Ismael Miranda with his company, J.M. Seafood, Inc., and Mario Gonzalez with his company, Mario Seafood Company, were convicted of conspiring in Florida to sell undersized spiny lobster tails, also known as "shorts."  The case was ultimately dismissed without prejudice because of a violation of the Speedy Trial Act.  The court did find sufficient evidence that defendant and his company conspired to sell undersized spiny lobster tails where an undercover agent found sufficient connections in the form of conversations and business dealing between defendant and co-defendant Gonzales.

Com. v. Hackenberger 836 A.2d 2 (Pa.2003)
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to 6 months to 2 years jail following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of cruelty to animals resulting from his shooting of a loose dog more than five times. On appeal, appellant contends that the use of a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement provision does not apply to a conviction for cruelty to animals since the purpose is to punish only those offenses where the defendant has used a deadly weapon against persons. The Commonwealth countered that the purpose behind the provision is immaterial because the plain language applies to any offense where the defendant has used a deadly weapon to commit the crime, save for those listed crimes where possession is an element of the offense. This Court agreed with the Commonwealth and held that the trial court was not prohibited from applying the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals.
Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation v. The New England Aquarium 836 F. Supp. 45 (1993)

The primary issue addressed by the court was whether a dolphin, named Kama, had standing under the MMPA. The court found the MMPA does not authorize suits brought by animals; it only authorizes suits brought by persons. The court would not impute to Congress or the President the intention to provide standing to a marine mammal without a clear statement in the statute.

Sykes v. Cook Cty. Circuit Court Prob. Div. 837 F.3d 736 (7th Cir. 2016), reh'g and suggestion for reh'g en banc denied (Oct. 27, 2016) This case dealt with the plaintiff's denial of the use of her service dog while in a courtroom to present a motion. After the denial, the plaintiff filed an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) action, alleging that there was a violation for denial of reasonable accommodations under the ADA. The district court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction, because as a federal court, it was barred from hearing the claim under the Rooker–Feldman doctrine. The Court of Appeals agreed, and held that as a federal court, it was barred from hearing the claim under the Rooker–Feldman doctrine, which prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by state court losers challenging state court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced. Additionally, the district court held that it should exercise Younger abstention because the proceeding was ongoing and because the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to raise her federal claims about her dog in state court, but the Court of Appeals held that "Younger is now a moot question because there is no ongoing state proceeding for [the Court of Appeals] to disturb." As a result, the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was AFFIRMED.
State v. Meerdink 837 N.W.2d 681 (Table) (Iowa Ct. App. 2013)

After defendant/appellant took a baseball to the head of and consequently killed a 7-month-old puppy, the Iowa District Court of Scott County found defendant/appellant guilty of animal torture under Iowa Code section 717B.3A (1). Defendant/appellant appealed the district court's decision, arguing that the evidence shown was insufficient to support a finding he acted “with a depraved or sadistic intent,” as stated by Iowa statute. The appeals court agreed and reversed and remanded the case back to district court for dismissal. Judge Vaitheswaran authored a dissenting opinion.

Sammons v. C.I.R. 838 F.2d 330 (9th Cir. 1988)

In a tax proceeding, the Commissioner argues that defendant should be disallowed a charitable deduction for donating several artifacts containing eagle parts to a museum because it will frustrate the purpose behind the BGEPA.  The court disagrees, finding it unlikely that such an allowance will encourage others to procure eagle artifacts for the sole purpose of obtaining a tax deduction.  Further, the court disagrees with the Commissioner that Sammons acquired illegal title to the artifacts, finding Sammons had sufficient ownership interest in the eagle artifacts for donation.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Lachenman v. Stice 838 N.E.2d 451 (Ind.App.)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog, brought an action against the neighbor to recover veterinary bills and emotional distress damages. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-neighbor, finding that however negligent the neighbor's behavior might have been in controlling his dog, his actions did not constitute outrageous behavior so as to give rise to claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court also refused to extend the bystander rule under plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim to include the dog owner's witnessing the death of his dog.

Blankenship v. Commonwealth 838 S.E.2d 568 (2020) Brandon Scott Blankenship showed up at Wally Andrews’ home although Blankenship had previously been ordered not to come onto Andrews’ property. Blankenship stood outside on Andrews’ property and continued to curse at Andrews and threaten to kill him. Andrews called law enforcement and when they arrived, Blankenship continued his cursing and yelling at the officers. Every time the officers attempted to arrest Blankenship he would ball up his fists and take a fighting stance towards the officers. At some point the officers released a police K-9 named Titan after Blankenship took off running. Blankenship kicked and punched Titan until he backed off. Titan ended up with a digestive injury in which he would not eat and seemed lethargic. Blankenship was indicted for three counts of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, one count of assault on a law enforcement animal, one count of assault and battery, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of animal cruelty. The Court struck one count of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, the count of assault on a law enforcement animal, and the count of obstruction to justice. Blankenship was convicted of the remaining four counts and he appealed assigning error to the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him. The Court found that Blankenship’s overt acts demonstrated that he intended to place the law enforcement officers in fear of bodily harm which in turn caused the officers to actually and reasonably fear bodily harm. The totality of the circumstances supported Blankenship’s conviction of assault and battery on both the law enforcement officers and Andrews. As for the animal cruelty conviction, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence from which the circuit court could find that Blankenship voluntarily acted with a consciousness that inhumane injury or pain would result from punching and kicking Titan. Blankenship had no right to resist the lawful arrest and his actions against Titan were not necessary, therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support Blankenship’s conviction for animal cruelty. The Court ultimately affirmed and remanded the case.
Luethans v. Washington University 838 S.W.2d 117 (Mo.App. E.D. 1992) Plaintiff, a licensed veterinarian, appeals from the circuit court's order dismissing his case in a wrongful discharge case. Plaintiff contends that as an at-will employee he stated a cause of action for wrongful discharge under Missouri's public policy exception to the employment at-will doctrine. Specifically, he pleaded that he was retaliated against and discharged because he performed a regulatory protected activity, i.e., reporting violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2143. The court agreed and reversed and remanded.
Caribbean Conservation Corp., Inc. v. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com'n 838 So.2d 492(Fla. 2003)

The petitioners' challenge is whether the Legislature can require the newly created Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), when adopting rules or regulations in respect to those species of marine life that are defined as endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. The petitioners are not-for-profit groups and individuals who allege several statutory sections unconstitutionally usurp the constitutional authority of the FWCC to regulate marine life.  The FWCC and the Attorney General (respondents) disagree and argue that the Legislature can require the application of the APA and that the statutes that delineate power to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are constitutional.  The issue was whether the creation of the FWCC also gave it power to regulate endangered, threatened, and species of special concern or whether that power remained with the DEP.  The court found that such power remained with the DEP regarding endangered and threatened species of marine life.  However, it could discern no statutory basis in effect on March 1, 1998, for the DEP having regulatory or executive power in respect to a category of marine species designated "of special concern" so that portion of the challenged statutes was held unconstitutional.

Kokechik Fishermen's Association v. Secretary of Commerce 839 F.2d 795 (1988)

The Secretary of Commerce issued a regulation authorizing appellant salmon federation to take a fixed number of porpoise in connection to commercial fishing for salmon.  Appellee commercial fishermen opposed the permit.  The federation sought review of a judgment which preliminarily enjoined the Secretary from issuing the permit.

U.S. v. Paluch (unpublished) 84 Fed. Appx. 740 (9th Cir. 2003)

The court first concluded that venue was proper for the smuggling charges and the conspiracy charge. Turning to the convictions, the court found that his convictions of felony conspiracy and smuggling were supported by sufficient evidence. The court rejected his argument that the general smuggling law was inapplicable to the acts for which he was convicted because Congress had separately criminalized this conduct as a misdemeanor under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. v. Brigham Oil and Gas, L.P. 840 F. Supp. 2d 1202, 1203 (D.N.D. 2012), appeal dismissed (Apr. 18, 2012) The Government charged Brigham Oil & Gas, L.P.with “taking” (killing) two migratory birds found dead near one of its reserve pits. But, the Court found that the use of reserve pits in commercial oil development is legal, commercially-useful activity that stands outside the reach of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Therefore, the Court held that the oil and gas companies' use of reserve pits did not violate Migratory Bird Treaty Act's prohibition against taking of protected birds, since death or injury was not intentional, and grated the defendant's motion to dismiss.
Humane Soc. of the U.S. v. Hodel 840 F.2d 45 (C.A.D.C.,1988)

In this appeal, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) challenged a series of actions by the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow hunting on some of America's national wildlife refuges. The District Court held that HSUS failed to satisfy the Supreme Court's requirements for associational standing because the 'recreational' interest of Society members was not germane to the group's self-described mission of insuring the humane treatment of animals and other wildlife. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court's finding that the Humane Society had no standing to challenge the hunt openings, and remanded the action to allow HSUS to pursue its challenge to the introduction of hunting. This Court did affirm the district court's finding on the merits that the Wildlife Service complied with NEPA when it permitted hunting at the Chincoteague preserve. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

State v. Walker 841 N.E.2d 376 (Ohio 2005)

A dog owner was placed on probation which limited him from having any animals on his property for five years.  While on probation, bears on the owner's property were confiscated after getting loose.  The trial court ordered the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the confiscated bears, but the Court of Appeals reversed holding the trial court did not the authority to require the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the bears because the forfeiture of animals penalty did not apply to conviction for failure to confine or restrain a dog.

Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Rhodes 842 F.3d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 2016)

Plaintiff, Big Cats of Serenity Springs is a Colorado-based non-profit that provides housing, food, and veterinary care for exotic animals. The facility is regulated by the Defendant, United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Three APHIS inspectors accompanied by sheriff's deputies broke into the Big Cats facility to perform an unannounced inspection of two tiger cubs. But at the time the inspectors entered the facility, the cubs were at a veterinarian's office receiving treatment. Big Cats sued the APHIS inspectors for the unauthorized entry and asserted that the entry was an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment and sought declaratory judgment and compensatory and punitive damages. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado,  granted APHIS's motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. APHIS appealed. The Court of Appeals, held that: (1) Big Cats could assert a Bivens claim; (2) Big Cats adequately alleged that the inspectors violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and (3) Big Cats had clearly-established the constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches or seizures, thus weighing against the inspectors' claim of qualified immunity; but (4) the inspectors did not act under the color of state law, as required for § 1983 liability. The Court of Appeals reasoned that Big Cats' complaint stated a claim for relief under Bivens because No APHIS inspector would reasonably have believed unauthorized forcible entry of the Big Cats facility was permissible. Also, the Court reasoned that when the agents cut the locks to conduct a non-emergency inspection without a warrant, the federal officials did not act under color of state law, and the district court erred in denying the government's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim. Therefore, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's order denying the government's motion to dismiss the Bivens claim and reversed the trial court's order denying the government's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim.

Tilikum ex rel. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Sea World Parks & Entertainment, Inc. 842 F.Supp.2d 1259 (S.D.Cal.,2012)

Plaintiffs sued aquarium for declaratory and injunctive relief seeking a declaration that wild-captured orcas were being held in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery and involuntary servitude. The court dismissed the action, holding that Plaintiffs had no standing because the Thirteenth Amendment only applies to humans, and therefore, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack 844 F.3d 1230, 1235 (10th Cir. 2017)

Between 2006 and 2011, Congress prevented commercial equine slaughter by prohibiting the use of funds for inspection of equine slaughterhouses.  In 2012, Congress lifted the ban on funding and the Food Safety Inspection Service  (FSIS) , which is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), issued grants of inspection to two commercial equine slaughter facilities: Valley Meat Company, LLC and Responsible Transportation, LLC. Plaintiffs, Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, and several other individuals and organizations (collectively, “Front Range”) sued officials of the USDA (“Federal Defendants”). Plaintiffs were seeking a declaration that the grants of inspection violated the National Environmental Policy Act and requested that the court set aside the grants of inspection.  The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico,  granted Front Range's motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), which prohibited the Federal Defendants from sending inspectors to the equine slaughterhouses  or providing equine inspection services to them. The district court also ordered Front Range to post injunction bonds for Valley Meat and for Responsible Transportation and denied Front Range's request for a permanent injunction. Front Range appealed but the appeal was dismissed as moot. However, Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation then filed a motion in the district court to recover the injunction bonds. The motion was denied. Valley Meat then appealed the denial of damages on the injunction bond.  The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth affirmed the district court and held that Valley Meat was not entitled to recover. The Appeals Court reasoned that even if Valley Meat suffered damages, it cannot recover against the bond unless it first showed wrongful enjoinment. Valley Meat failed to do so and therefore could not collect damages.

Gluckman v. American Airlines, Inc. 844 F.Supp. (151 S.D.N.Y., 1994)

Plaintiff sued American Airlines for emotional distress damages, inter alia , after his dog suffered a fatal heatstroke while being transported in the cargo hold of defendant's airliner (the temperature reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit in violation of the airline's cargo hold guidelines).  Plaintiff relied on the state case of Brousseau v. Rosenthal  and Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., Inc  in support of his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim.  The court observed that none of the decisions cited by plaintiff, including Corso, recognize an independent cause of action for loss of companionship, but rather, they provide a means for assessing the "intrinsic" value of the lost pet when the market value cannot be determined.  As a result, the court rejected plaintiff's claim for loss of companionship as well as pain and suffering without any prior authority that established the validity of such claims. 

U.S. v. Rioseco 845 F.2d 299 (11th Cir. 1988)

After defendant was found fishing in the Cay Sal Bank area of the Bahamas, Coast Guard officers informed appellant that possession of a Bahamian fishing license was necessary to fish in those waters and that failure to possess such a license would render such fishing a contravention of the United States Lacey Act.  On appeal, defendant contended that the Lacey Act is unconstitutional in that it incorporates foreign law, thereby delegating legislative power to foreign governments.  The court found that the Lacey Act which prohibited the possession or importation of fish and wildlife taken in violation of foreign laws, was not an improper delegation of legislative power simply by its reference to foreign law.

Commonwealth v. Austin 846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)

Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog.  The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.

Shumate v. Drake University 846 N.W.2d 503 (Iowa. 2014) Plaintiff Shumate was barred from bringing a dog that she was training, into the classroom and to another school event. Shumate worked as a service dog trainer, while she was a student at Drake University Law School, the Defendant in this case. In 2011, Shumate filed a lawsuit alleging that Drake University discriminated against her as a service dog trainer in violation of Iowa Code chapter 216C. She alleged that chapter 216C, implicitly provided service dog trainers with a private right to sue. The Supreme Court of Iowa held that the statute does not provide service dog trainers with a private right to sue, nor did it include them under the coverage of chapter 216. The Court reasoned that although Shumate trained dogs to assist the disabled, she was not covered because she is not a person with a disability. The Court stated that closely related statutes expressly created private enforcement actions to aid the disabled while chapter 216C does not. Because an implied right of action would circumvent the procedures of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa legislature purposely omitted a private right to sue from chapter 216C. The court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Shumate's petition with prejudice.
University Towers Associates v. Gibson 846 N.Y.S.2d 872 (N.Y.City Civ.Ct. 2007)
In this New York case, the petitioner, University Towers Associates commenced this holdover proceeding against the rent-stabilized tenant of record and various undertenants based on an alleged nuisance where the tenants allegedly harbored pit bulls. According to petitioner, the pit bull is an alleged “known dangerous animal” whose presence at the premises creates an threat. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that the landlord's notice of termination did not adequately apprise the tenant of basis for termination; further, the notice of termination and the petition in the holdover proceeding did not allege objectionable conduct over time by the tenant as was required to establish nuisance sufficient to warrant a termination of tenancy.
Missouri ex rel. Koster v. Harris 847 F.3d 646 (9th Cir. 2017) After California passed Proposition 2 to mandate more humane housing standards for egg laying hens, the state then passed Assembly Bill 1437 to extend the applicability of Proposition 2’s standards to out of state egg producers. In response, six states, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa, filed suit against the Attorney General of California seeking to block enforcement of the regulations before they went into effect. The states asserted parens patriae standing on behalf of the egg producers within their borders that would face increasing production costs as a result of compliance with the requirements of Proposition 2 and Assembly Bill 1437. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice, finding that plaintiffs lacked standing. On appeal, the court found that plaintiffs failed to establish an interest apart from those of private egg producers within their borders, and acknowledged that those private egg producers could file a claim themselves. The allegations about the potential economic impact of the regulations were also found to be speculative, since the regulations had not yet gone into effect. Lastly, the court held that the regulations themselves are nondiscriminatory, since they apply to in state egg producers as well. However, because plaintiffs could file an amended complaint after the regulations go into effect that may be sufficient to establish standing, the case was dismissed without prejudice.
State v. Hartrampf 847 P.2d 856 (Oregon 1993)

Defendant appealed a conviction for attempted involvement in animal fighting, arguing that the statutes at issue were unconstitutionally vague.  Since the defendant admitted he knowingly was among spectators at farm hosting a cockfighting event, the Court of Appeals held that a person of common intelligence could discern that defendant's conduct constituted a substantial step toward involvement in animal fighting.

Cavallini v. Pet City and Supply 848 A.2d 1002 (Pa. 2004)

Appellant, Pet City and Supplies, Inc. appealed from the judgment in the amount of $1,638.52 entered in favor of Appellee, Christopher A. Cavallini following a bench trial. The trial court determined that Cavallini was entitled to damages due to Pet City's violations of the Dog Purchaser Protection provisions of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). Cavallini purchased a Yorkshire terrier puppy from Pet City that was represented as a pure bred. After several attempts, Pet City failed to supply Cavallini with the requisite registration papers. On appeal, Pet City contended that the trial court erred as a matter of law by determining a private action can be brought under the Dog provisions of the UTPCPL, and erred as a matter of law by imposing a civil penalty against Pet City under the UPTCPL. In finding that the statute does provide a private cause of action, the court looked to the purpose of the statute rather than the plain language. However, the court found the inclusion of a civil penalty in the part that allows a private action was inconsistent with the statute.

Trimble v. State 848 N.E.2d 278 (Ind., 2006)

In this Indiana case, the defendant was convicted after a bench trial of cruelty to an animal and harboring a non-immunized dog. On rehearing, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant abandoned or neglected dog left in his care, so as to support conviction for cruelty to an animal. The court held that the evidence of Butchie's starved appearance, injured leg, and frost bitten extremities was sufficient to allow the trial judge to discount Trimble's testimony and infer that Trimble was responsible for feeding and caring for Butchie, and that he failed to do so.

Larry BARD et al., Appellants, v. Reinhardt JAHNKE, Individually And Doing Business as Hemlock Valley Farms, Respondent, et al., Defendant. 848 N.E.2d 463 (N.Y., 2006)

The accident underlying this litigation occurred on a dairy farm owned and operated by defendant. Plaintiff Larry Bard, a self-employed carpenter, arrived at the farm to meet defendant John Timer, another self-employed carpenter to repair of the dairy barn. While working, Bard was seriously injured by a bull. Bard, with his wife suing derivatively, commenced an action against both Jahnke and Timer to recover damages for his personal injuries, alleging causes of action sounding in strict liability and negligence. In affirming the Appellate Division's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, this court found that Jahnke was not liable for Bard's injuries unless he knew or should have known of the bull's vicious or violent propensities. The Court noted that the record contained no such evidence.

Mills v. State 848 S.W.2d 878 (Tex. App. 1993).

In an animal cruelty conviction, the law requires that sentences arising out of same criminal offenses be prosecuted in single action and run concurrently.

Hass v. Money 849 P.2d 1106 (Okla. Civ. App. 1993)

While the Moneys (Defendants) were on vacation, they boarded their dog at Peppertree Animal Clinic (Peppertree). On June 16, 1990, Julie Hass (Plaintiff), an employee of Peppertree, was bitten by the dog while walking him.  The Court reverses the Defendants' summary judgment and remands to the trial court because the dog bite statute applies a strict liability standard and that the owner of a dog is only the person who has legal right to the dog. 

Loy v. Kenney 85 Cal. App. 5th 403, 301 Cal. Rptr. 3d 352 (2022), reh'g denied (Dec. 2, 2022) The background of the case involves buyers who sued alleged sellers of dogs for falsely advertising their pets as healthy when they were actually sick and died soon after. The buyers claimed that this violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The Superior Court in Los Angeles County granted the buyers' motion for a preliminary injunction, which prevented the sellers from selling or advertising dogs. However, the sellers appealed this decision. The sellers' main issue at the the Court of Appeal was whether there was sufficient evidence to support the claim that the buyers purchased the puppies in question from the sellers. The court found relying on the buyers' declarations to establish the sellers' identities did not result in any harm. In addition, the buyers had provided adequate evidence to support their allegations that the puppies had been dyed brown. The court found the objections raised by the sellers regarding the evidentiary foundations for allegations relating to the dogs' ages, vaccinations, and causes of death were not relevant to the preliminary injunction. Substantial evidence existed to suggest that the buyers would likely succeed in their claim against the sellers and the balance of harms favored granting the preliminary injunction. Lastly, the sellers' persistence in their routine indicated that the public interest favored the grant of the preliminary injunction. Therefore, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision.
Irwin v. Degtiarov 85 Mass.App.Ct. 234 (2014) In this case, Degtiarov's unleashed dog attacked Irwin's dog without provocation. Though Irwin's dog survived, there were significant veterinary costs. Irwin brought this suit for damages in the form of veterinary costs, which were granted by the district court and affirmed by the appellate court. The sole issue on appeal considers whether damages should be capped at the market value of the dog, despite the reasonableness of the veterinary costs necessary to treat the dog's injuries. The appellate court affirms the damages for reasonable veterinary costs that were incurred for damage caused by a dog, even if these costs exceed the market or replacement value of the animal injured by the dog.
People v. Gordon 85 N.Y.S.3d 725, (N.Y.Crim.Ct. Oct. 4, 2018) This New York case reflects Defendant's motion to dismiss the "accusatory instrument" in the interests of justice (essentially asking the complaint to be dismissed) for violating Agricultural and Markets Law (AML) § 353, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals or Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals. Defendant's primary argument is that she is not the owner of the dog nor is she responsible for care of the dog. The dog belongs to her "abusive and estranged" husband. The husband left the dog in the care of their daughter, who lives on the second floor above defendant. When the husband left for Florida, he placed the dog in the backyard attached to his and defendant's ground floor apartment. The dog did not have proper food, water, or shelter, and slowly began to starve resulting in emaciation. While defendant asserts she has been a victim of domestic violence who has no criminal record, the People counter that defendant was aware of the dog's presence at her residence and allowed the dog to needlessly suffer. This court noted that defendant's motion is time-barred and must be denied. Further, despite the time bar, defendant did not meet her burden to dismiss in the interests of justice. The court noted that, even viewing animals as property, failure to provide sustenance of the dog caused it to suffer needlessly. In fact, the court quoted from in Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery (in which denied a writ of habeas corpus for two chimpanzees) where the court said "there is not doubt that [a chimpanzee] is not merely a thing." This buttressed the court's decision with regard to the dog here because "he Court finds that their protection from abuse and neglect are very important considerations in the present case." Defendant's motion to dismiss in the interest of justice was denied.
N.Y. Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of N.Y. 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017)

In 2015, New York City enacted a group of laws aimed at dealing with problems associated with the companion animal business in the city by regulating the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops. On the day the laws were to go into effect, the New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA) filed suit challenging two of the laws. The first law, the “Sourcing Law,” required that pet shops sell only animals acquired from breeders holding a Class A license issued under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The second law law, the “Spay/Neuter Law,” required that pet shops sterilize each animal before releasing it to a consumer. NYPWA argued that the Sourcing Law violated the “dormant” Commerce Clause and is preempted by the AWA, and that the Spay/Neuter Law is preempted by New York law. The district court dismissed NYPWA’s complaint and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision. First, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Sourcing Law did not violate the Commerce Clause because it did not discriminate against interstate commerce. The 2nd Circuit found that the Sourcing Law may make it difficult for certain out of state breeders to sell to city shops, but so long as breeders from other states are allowed to sell in the city, then it is not considered to be discriminatory. Also, the 2nd Circuit found that NYPWA was unable to show that any incidental burden that the Sourcing Law placed on out of state breeders was excessive and therefore the law passed under the Pike Balancing test. Lastly, the 2nd Circuit determined that the Spay/Neuter Law was not preempted by New York Law because NYPWA failed to identify a single New York statute or case that suggests that the new law would be preempted in any way. As a result, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.

Revock v. Cowpet Bay West Condominium Association 853 F.3d 96 (3d Cir. 2017) Homeowners brought action against thier condominium association and other homeowners, claiming that the association failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for homeowners' disability in the form of emotional support animals, and that the other homeowners interfered with the fair exercise of their fair housing rights, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Court of Appeals held that: 1) Fair Housing Act claims survive the death of a party; 2) issue of fact as to whether association reviewed homeowners' paperwork for an emotional support animal precluded summary judgment on claims association failed to make a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act; 3) issue of fact as to whether association reviewed homeowners' paperwork for an emotional support animal precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims; 4) issue of fact as to whether neighbor's comments about homeowners were sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with homeowners' Fair Housing Act rights precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims; and 5) issue of fact as to whether neighbor's blog posts about homeowners were sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with homeowners' Fair Housing Act rights precluded summary judgment on Fair Housing Act interference claims. Reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish v. United States Department of the Interior 854 F.3d 1236 (10th Cir. 2017) Defendant, The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released two Mexican gray wolf pups on federal land in New Mexico without a permit. Their goal was to increase the recovery of the wolf population more rapidly. The Plaintiff, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish ("Department") brought action against FWS and the United States Department of Interior. The Department requested declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit FWS from releasing more Mexican gray wolves within New Mexico’s borders. Other wildlife organizations and various states also intervened as Defendants. The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, entered an order granting the Department a preliminary injunction. The Defendants appealed. The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, reversed and remanded. The Court held that: (1) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to its wildlife management efforts, and (2) the Department failed to establish a significant risk of irreparable injury to New Mexico’s sovereignty.
Zimmerman v. Robertson 854 P.2d 338 (Mont. 1993)

Plaintiff horse owner sought review of a judgment by the District Court of Yellowstone County, Thirteenth Judicial District (Montana), which entered a directed verdict in favor of defendant veterinarian on the owner's claims of professional negligence. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's decision, holding that the owner was required to prove the veterinarian's negligence by expert testimony, and that he failed to do so.  In addition, the court The court found that the "defendant's admissions" exception to the expert testimony requirement did not apply because the veterinarian did not admit that he deviated from the standard of care.

Zimmerman v. Robertson 854 P.2d 338 (Mont. 1993)

Defendant-veterinarian was contracted to castrate plaintiff’s horse. Post-surgical care resulted in a fatal infection of the horse.  The court found that, indeed, expert testimony is required in malpractice cases, as negligence cannot be inferred from the existence of a loss.  The court disagreed with plaintiff that defendant’s own "admissions" in his testimony at trial provided sufficient evidence of deviation from the standard of care to withstand a directed verdict by defendant.  As to plaintiff’s argument regarding a lack of informed consent, the court noted that a medical malpractice claim premised on a theory of lack of informed consent is a separate cause of action rather than an "element" in an otherwise specifically alleged claim of professional negligence.

Powell v. Johnson 855 F. Supp. 2d 871, 877 (D. Minn. 2012) Blu, a pit bull was shot in the head and killed after Officer Johnson entered the pit bull’s yard. The Plaintiffs, who were owners of Blu, filed a complaint asserting a: violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by shooting and killing Blu (Count I); violation of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to the City's failure to adequately hire, train, and supervise Johnson (Count II); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count III); negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of Johnson (Count IV); vicarious liability (Count V); and trespass and conversion (Count VI). The Defendants, Officer Johnson and the City of Minneapolis, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The court held that the Motion would be granted in part. The court reasoned that Blu was property, rather than a person, for Fourth Amendment purposes and the officer's shooting and killing of Blu constituted a “seizure.” However, the court concluded that Officer Johnson was entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim. The court reasoned that it was not unreasonable for the Officer to perceive a threat to his safety when the large pit bull jogged up behind him. The court also held that The Motion for summary judgment was granted as to the remaining claims because the evidence in the record, failed to establish a constitutional violation by Defendants.
Powell v. Johnson 855 F.Supp.2d 871 (D. Minn. 2012) While searching for a person involved in a shooting, a police officer happened upon the plaintiff’s home and noticed the garage door and opening to the backyard were open. Upon finding nothing suspicious, he began to leave the area. The plaintiff’s dog caught sight of the officer and began walking toward him, eventually running towards him, the officer claimed. The officer then pulled out his service revolver and fired one shot, killing the dog instantly. The plaintiff claimed, inter alia, violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and supervision on the part of the officer and municipality. The court held that the plaintiff did not meet his burden in defeating the officer’s qualified immunity, as the officer’s account of the incident constituted a reasonable seizure.
Van Kleek v. Farmers Insurance Exchange 857 N.W.2d 297 (Neb., 2014) Plaintiff agreed to watch a couple’s dog while they were out of town. While plaintiff was caring for the dog, the animal bit her on her lower lip. Plaintiff filed a claim with the couple's insurance company. The insurance company rejected the claim because the plaintiff was also "insured," defined to include “any person ... legally responsible” for covered animals, and the policy excluded coverage for bodily injuries to "insureds." Plaintiff filed an action for declaratory judgment against the insurance company, seeking a determination that the policy covered her claim. The insurance company moved for summary judgment, and the district court sustained the insurance company's motion, reasoning that plaintiff was “legally responsible” for the dog because she fed and watered the animal and let it out of the house while the couple was away. The Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed and held the insurance company was entitled to summary judgment.
Winingham v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. 859 F.Supp. 1019 (1994)

Ostrich owners sued to recover actual and exemplary damages, attorney fees, costs and interests for gross negligence after an airship flew over their property at  low altitude, which frightened interfered with the ostriches’ breeding. The District Court held that: (1) allegations of fright and temporary loss of libido failed to allege compensable injury absent proof of physical injury; and (2) owners were not entitled to recover speculative value of unborn offspring; and (3) absent actual damages, exemplary damages could not be awarded.

DICKERSON v. BRITTINGHAM. 86 A. 106 (Del.Super. 1913)

In this Delaware case, the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant to recover damages for the death of plaintiff's horse, alleged to have been caused by the negligent driving by the defendant of his team. This resulted in a head-on collision, which caused the death of the horse days after. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, the court held that if the jury believed from the evidence presented that the defendant was driving without ordinary care, the verdict should stand for the plaintiff.

Gannon v. Conti 86 A.D.3d 704 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2011)

In 2008, defendants' dog allegedly left their yard by passing through an underground "invisible" electrical fence system and bit the plaintiff who was sitting on her bike on the adjacent property. Plaintiff filed suit seeking damages for injury based on common-law negligence and strict liability. The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the fact that they had no prior knowledge of the dog's alleged vicious propensities. On appeal, the court found that even defendants' own depositions raised an issue of fact as to notice of their dog's alleged vicious propensities. Specifically, one defendant admitted he used a "bite sleeve" obtained through his employment as a police officer to encourage the dog to bite and hold a perpetrator's arm. This evidence that the dog was encouraged to leap up and bite a human arm created a sufficient issue of fact for the jury despite defendants' claim that this was a "play activity" for the dog.

Brown v. Kemp 86 F.4th 745 (7th Cir. 2023) This is a case brought by a group of hunting opponents against Wisconsin state employees to challenge Wisconsin’s hunter harassment statute. The challenged statute criminalizes those who photograph or videotape hunting activities with intent to interfere with the hunting. The challengers, who intended to use the footage to spur public debate about hunting and ensure hunters are following state taking limits, allege that the law violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutionally vague. The trial court granted summary judgment to the state employees after finding that the statute did not violate the First Amendment, and the hunting opponents appealed. On appeal, the court found that the statutory provisions on visual/physical proximity and approaching/confronting hunters were unconstitutionally vague, the photographing/recording provision was unconstitutionally overbroad, and the entire statute was an unconstitutional viewpoint-based regulation of speech.
Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Soc. 860 F. Supp. 2d 1216 (W.D. Wash. 2012) rev'd, 708 F.3d 1099 (9th Cir. 2013) and rev'd, 725 F.3d 940 (9th Cir. 2013) The Institute of Cetacean Research, a Japanese whaling group, sued the direct action environmental protection organization Sea Shepherd, claiming that Sea Shepherd’s actions taken against the whaling group’s vessels in the Antarctic are violent and dangerous. The Institute claimed that Sea Shepherd had rammed whaling ships, thrown dangerous objects on to the ships, attempted to prevent them from moving forward, and navigated its vessels in such a way as to endanger the Japanese ships and their crews. The Institute’s request for an injunction was denied when the Court held that the Institute did not establish the necessary factors. The Court did state, however, that though Sea Shepherd’s acts did not constitute piracy, it did not approve of the organization’s methods or mission.
Animal Protection Institute of America v. Hodel 860 F.2d 920 (C.A.9 (Nev.),1988)

The Ninth Circuit held that the Secretary could not transfer title to a private individual whom the secretary knows will commercially exploit the adopted horse. The Secretary argued that the WFRHBA placed only one requirement on the transfer of title: the private individual must humanely care for and maintain the horse for one year prior to title transfer.  The court, however, concluded that the statute commands the secretary to not only determine that the animal has been well cared for, but also that the adopter remains a qualified individual.  Given the statute’s prohibition of commercial exploitation of wild horses as well as its concern with their humane treatment, the court concluded that a private individual cannot remain a “qualified individual” if he or she intends to commercially exploit the horse after they obtain title.

Commonwealth v. Gosselin 861 A.2d 996 (Pa. 2004)

A woman was convicted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for owning a domesticated squirrel.  The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction  They reasoned since the squirrel was domesticated in South Carolina, and South Carolina does not have any prohibition against the taking and domestication of squirrels, the trial court could not rely on the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting such.

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