Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Carroll v. State 922 N.E.2d 755 (Ind.App., 2010)

Defendant Lee Carroll appealed his sentence after the trial court accepted his plea of guilty to two counts of class A misdemeanor dog bite resulting in serious bodily injury. While the court noted that Defendant's lack of criminal history was a mitigating factor, the "great personal injury" suffered by the victim far exceeded any mitigation. On each count, the trial court sentenced Carroll to 365 days, with four days suspended, and ordered “both” to “run consecutive to one another.” On appeal, Defendant argued that any consideration of the his dogs' breed was improper. However, the court found that the other evidence was sufficient to support his sentence (in a footnote the court addressed it directly: "We need not address whether the trial court erred to the extent it found the breed of his dogs to be an aggravator..."). The court was not persuaded that the nature of the offenses or the character of the offender justified revising his sentence.

Com. v. Beam 923 A.2d 414 (Pa.Super., 2007)

In this Pennsylvania case, defendant appeals from convictions for licensing violations under the state's Dog Law and for violation of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a copier repair person was attacked by defendant's three German Shepherds. Because the Department of Health dog warden could not gain access to either question defendant about the dogs' vaccinations or quarantine the dogs, the victim had to receive a series of rabies shots. Based on the testimony of the dog warden that he finally saw vaccination certificates, and the fact the Commonwealth did not present any contrary evidence, the fines imposed under the Rabies Act were reversed. However, the court sustained the convictions for licensing violations under the Dog Law since defendant failed to show proof of licenses for 2005 (when the attack occurred).

Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Bryson 924 F.Supp.2d 1228 (D.Or., 2013)

In order to manage sea lion predation of salmonids at the Bonneville Dam, the NMFS decided to authorize agencies from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to lethally remove sea lions that were not protected by the ESA when efforts to deter their feeding on salmonids failed. The Humane Society of the United States, Wild Fish Conservancy, Bethanie O'Driscoll, and Andrea Kozil disagreed and sued the NMFS; the agencies of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho intervened. Finding that the NMFS’s authorizations did not conflict with the MMPA’s protection of Stella Sea Lions, that the NMFS complied with the National Environmental Protection Act, and that the NMFS did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it issued the authorizations, the district court granted the NMFS’s and the state agencies’ cross motion for summary judgment. The case was therefore dismissed.

Cox v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 925 F.2d 1102 (8th Cir. 1991)

USDA had suspended a kennel owner’s license for 90 days and imposed a fine on the owner for violating AWA regulations.   These violations included delivering dogs for transportation in commerce, that were under eight weeks old, failing to hold dogs for at least five days after acquiring them, and refusing APHIS inspections.   Owner claimed that such sanctions were excessive.   However, the court found that there was willful violation of the AWA, since inspections were refused.   Also, ignorance is not considered a defense, and although the owners claimed they did not know the age of the eight-week old puppies, they could have found out.   Thus, the sanction was appropriate.

Wilkison v. City of Arapahoe 926 N.W.2d 441 (Neb.,2019) Brooke Wilkison (Brooke) got an American Staffordshire Terrier (pit bull) in 2015. In 2016, the city of Arapahoe passed an ordinance regarding dangerous dogs which contained a restriction on owning a Rottweiler or an American Staffordshire Terrier within city limits. The ordinance allowed for dogs licensed prior to January 1, 2017 to be grandfathered in as acceptable. Brooke did not have his dog licensed prior to the that date. Law enforcement told Brooke he could not keep the dog. Brooke filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction to prevent Arapahoe from implementing and enforcing the ordinance. The trial court found for Brooke and Arapahoe appealed. Arapahoe's first assignment of error is that the court erred by applying the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to the ordinance. The Court found that Arapahoe was not exempt from the strictures of the FHA. Arapahoe's second assignment of error was that the Court erred by enjoining enforcement of the ordinance against Brooke because Brooke's accommodation is not reasonable and necessary. The Court found that Brooke failed to meet his burden of proof that his requested accommodation is necessary for him to receive the same enjoyment from his home as a non-disabled person would receive. Brooke already owned another dog and the ordinance only covered certain dog breeds. Brooke's other claims for relief were remanded to the district court. In conclusion, the district court erred in entering a declaratory judgment and enjoining Arapahoe from enforcing the ordinance as applied to Brooke.
Bonner v. Martino 927 So.2d 564 (La.App. 5 Cir., 2006)

Plaintiff-housekeeper brought an action against her employers and their liability insurance providers after the employers' dog jumped up on a door that subsequently injured the plaintiff.  In affirming the trial court's granting of defendants' motion for summary judgment, the appellate court held that housekeeper did not demonstrate that dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm. 

Snead v. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Pennsylvania 929 A.2d 1169 (Pa.Super., 2007)

This Pennsylvania case involves cross-appeals following a jury trial in which defendant SPCA, was found liable for euthanizing the dogs belonging to plaintiff Snead, who was awarded damages in the amount of $154,926.37, including $100,000 in punitive damages. The facts stemmed from a seizure several dogs at a seemingly abandoned property owned by Snead where Snead was arrested on dog fighting charges, which were then dropped the next day. However, Snead was not aware that the charges were dropped and that the dogs were therefore available to be reclaimed. The dogs were ultimately euthanized after Snead went to reclaim them. On appeal, this court first held that the SPCA does not operate as a branch of the Commonwealth and therefore, does not enjoy the protection of sovereign immunity or protection under the Pennsylvania Tort Claims Act. The court held that there was sufficient evidence presented for Snead's Sec. 1983 to go to the jury that found the SPCA has inadequate procedures/policies in place to safeguard Snead's property interest in the dogs. As to damages, the court found the there was no evidence to impute to the SPCA evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of Snead sufficient for an award of punitive damages.  

Com. v. Seyler 929 A.2d 262 (Pa.Cmwlth., 2007)

This Pennsylvania case construes the term "owner" for purposes of the state's Dog and Rabies Laws. Gretta R. Seyler appeals from an order of the trial  court, which found her guilty of two counts each of violating Dog Law and guilty of two counts of violating Section 8 of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a pit bull jumped out of a window of her home and attacked a neighbor. First, the court found that there was no question that Seyler was caring for the dogs at the time the incident occurred or was permitting them to remain “on or about” the premises occupied by her.  Although Seyler argues that the record clearly indicates that the two dogs were owned by her adult sons, the court found that the argument is without much force, as no paperwork showing the sons' ownership of the dogs was introduced at the hearing. Further, the court observed that the plain and unambiguous intent of Sections 8 of the Rabies Act and 305 of the Dog Law is that dogs be vaccinated and confined at all times. Thus, if the person having the property interest in a dog does not perform that function, then the statutes clearly require one harboring or caring for the dog, here Seyler, to perform it. 

United States of America v. Lawrence J.Romano 929 F.Supp. 502 (D. Mass. 1996)

On July 7, 1995, a grand jury returned an eight-count indictment against the defendant charging him with violations of the Lacey Act; defendant has filed a motion to dismiss the indictment.  The court found that the Lacey Act embodies Congress' valid exercise of commerce power even when applied to a recreational hunter who purchased hunting guide services in violation of state law.

Bartlett v. State 929 So.2d 1125, (Fla.App. 4 Dist.,2006)

In this Florida case, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction for felony cruelty to animals after the defendant shot an opossum "countless" times with a BB gun after the animal had left defendant's home. As a result, the animal had to be euthanized. The court wrote separately to observe that the felony cruelty section (828.12) as written creates a potential tension between conduct criminalized by the statute and the lawful pursuit of hunting. The commission of an act that causes a "cruel death" in Section 828.12 applies to even the unintended consequence of a lawful act like hunting.

State v. Peck 93 A.3d 256 (Me. 2014) Defendant appealed a judgment entered in the District Court after a bench trial found she committed the civil violation of cruelty to animals. Defendant contended that the court abused its discretion in quashing a subpoena that would have compelled one of her witnesses to testify; that the cruelty-to-animals statute is unconstitutionally vague; and that the record contains insufficient evidence to sustain a finding of cruelty to animals and to support the court's restitution order. The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, however, disagreed and affirmed the lower court's judgment.
Hamlin v. Sullivan 93 A.D.3d 1013 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.)

Plaintiff was walking her dog in an area of state where dogs go off-leash. Plaintiff and defendant were back in the parking lot talking when defendant's dog, who was still off-leash, ran into her, causing her to fall and sustain injuries. The appellate court found that plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to meet the burden establishing that the dog had a proclivity to run into people and knock them over. While testimony showed that the dog (Quinn) routinely ran up to people and put his paws on their chest to "greet" them, this was different than a propensity to knock people down. The court found that the behavior of jumping on people "was not the behavior that resulted in plaintiff's injury, and plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that defendant had notice of a proclivity by Quinn to run into people and knock them over. . ." The court also noted that the dog's rambunctious behavior, occurring at a dog park where dogs freely run around, was insufficient to establish vicious propensities. Summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed.

Nigro v. New York Racing Ass'n, Inc. 93 A.D.3d 647 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2012)

An experienced exercise rider sued the owner of a race track seeking damages for personal injury after the horse she was riding fell on her while crossing a gravel-strewn asphalt road. The Supreme Court held that the rider assumed the risk that the horse might fall by choosing to cross the road despite being aware of the danger. The doctrine of “primary assumption of the risk” applied, and the owner of the premises was not at fault.

Brower v. Daley 93 F. Supp. 2d 1071 (2000)

Based on the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to weaken the dolphin-safe standard, David Brower, Earth Island Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, and other individuals and organizations challenged the finding as arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law.  The District Court for the Northern District of California found that the Secretary’s Initial Finding was not in accordance with the law and was an abuse of discretion because the Secretary failed to properly consider these studies.

Porter v. DiBlasio 93 F.3d 301 (Wis.,1996)

Nine horses were seized by a humane society due to neglect of a care taker without giving the owner, who lived in another state, notice or an opportunity for a hearing. The owner filed a section 1983 suit against the humane society, the county, a humane officer and the district attorney that alleged violations of substantive and procedural due process, conspiracy, and conversion. The district court dismissed the claims for failure to state a viable claim. On appeal, the court found that the owner had two viable due process claims, but upheld the dismissal for the others.

CHAPMAN v. DECROW 93 Me. 378, 45 A. 295 (1899)

In this Maine case, the defendant was found liable for trespass after he killed the plaintiff's dog. Defendant asserted that the dog was trespassing on his premises, and was “then, or had been immediately before the shooting, engaged, with two other dogs, in chasing and worrying his domesticated animals, to wit, tame rabbits." As a result, he claimed that the killing was justified. This court first disagreed with defendant's claim that an unlicensed dog is not property because it constitutes a nuisance.  This court found that, by the common law, a dog is property, for an injury to which an action will lie.  Moreover, the statute to which defendant claims authority to kill an unlicensed dog only allows a constable to do so after a proscribed lapse.

Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 930 F. Supp. 2d 198 (D.D.C. 2013)

Using the Administrative Procedures Act, the Sierra Club filed a suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) due to the USFWS's response to the Sierra Club's petition to revise critical habitat for the leatherback sea turtle; the Sierra Club also charged the USFWS with unlawfully delaying the designation of the Northeastern Ecological Corridor of Puerto Rico as critical habitat for the leatherback sea turtle. While both sides filed a motion for summary judgment, the District Court only granted the USFWS motion for summary judgment because the USFWS's 12–month determination was unreviewable under the Administrative Procedures Act.

Granger v. Folk 931 S.W.2d 390 (Tex. App. 1996).

The State allows for two methods of protecting animals from cruelty: through criminal prosecution under the Penal Code or through civil remedy under the Health & Safety Code.

U.S. v. Lundquist 932 F. Supp. 1237 (D. Or. 1996)

Defendant, a non-Native American practitioner of Native American religion, challenged his conviction as a religious exercise violation where there was no evidence that defendant was trafficking in eagle parts.  Employing a RFRA analysis, the court found that while the limitation under the BGEPA to members of federally-recognized Indian tribes did substantially burden defendant's exercise of religion, the government asserted a compelling interest in protecting a rare species and maintaining Indian culture that was administered through the least restrictive means (e.g., the permit process).  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by non-Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

ALDF v. Quigg 932 F.2d 920(Fed. Cir. 1991) This case establishes the relative inability of third parties to challenge the veracity of an existing patent for genetically engineered animals.  Judicial review is rare in such cases because third party plaintiffs, under the Administrative Procedures Act, lack standing to challenge the Patent and Trademark Office's interpretation of existing law.
Morehead v. Deitrich 932 N.E.2d 1272 (Ind.App.,2010)

Postal carrier sued landlord for negligence after tenant's dog bit her.  The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that landlord did not have a duty to keep dog from biting postal carrier absent control over the property.

Moore v. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. 932 N.E.2d 448 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2010)

Plaintiffs, Ami Moore and Doggie Do Right-911, Inc., aver that defendants PETA, Diane Opresnik, John Keene, and Mary DePaolo defamed them and placed them in a false light by stating that the plaintiff dog trainer placed a shock device on a dog's genitals and allegedly shocked it. Prior to this action, the claim against PETA was settled and dismissed. The defamation claims against Opresnik, Keene, and DePaolo, persisted. In dismissing the remaining claims, the court found that there was no positive factual statement of criminal animal cruelty to support a defamation per se claim. Further, another claim fell outside the statute of limitations period and was also inadequately supported by specific allegations.

Ridley v. Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue, Inc. 932 N.W.2d 576 (S.D., 2019) Plaintiff Ridley was walking at a campground where she was attacked and injured by a pit bull type dog belonging to Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue, Inc. (SEPR) and in the care of Susan Tribble-Zacher and Harry Podhradsky. At the time, the dog was tethered to a tree near the Zacher and Podhradsky campsite. SEPR functions as a pit bull fostering organization that takes pit bulls from situations of abuse and neglect and places them with foster providers until a permanent home can be found. The lower court granted both Zacher's and Podhradsky's motions for summary judgment, which Ridley appeals in this instant case. On appeal, Ridley claims the trial court erred by incorrectly weighing the evidence by viewing the facts in a light most favorable to SEPR instead of plaintiff. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the motion for summary judgment was granted on the basis that the injury to Ridley was not foreseeable. The court rejected Ridley's argument that pit bull type dogs have inherently dangerous breed tendencies and, as a result, the attack was foreseeable and the keepers should be held to a higher standard of care. The court noted that South Dakota law does not support any "breed-specific standard of care," and that every dog is presumed tame so that the burden is on a plaintiff to prove otherwise. The dog who attacked Ridley had no prior history of aggression toward humans to make the attack on Ridley foreseeable. In addition, the fact that Zacher and Podhradsky may have violated a policy by SEPR to keep the dog in a two-week "shutdown period," where the dog would not travel outside the home, did not make it foreseeable that the dog would attack Ridley. Thus, the defendants did not breach their duty of reasonable care toward Ridley. The motions for summary judgment were affirmed.
U.S. v. Gregory (Unpublished Opinion) 933 F.2d 1016 (1991)

Defendant challenged the search of his residence in a drug raid in which his dog was shot.  The court held that the shooting of Gregory's dog was done excusably by an officer who reacted quickly in a potentially dangerous situation to a perceived attack by an animal reasonably believed to be an attack dog. The shooting of the dog did not render the search unreasonable.

U.S. v. Carpenter 933 F.2d 748 (9th Cir. 1991)

Defendant owned a goldfish farm and hired lethal "birdmen" to kill various birds that interfered with his operation, including herons and egrets, by means of shooting, trapping, and poisoning.  In reversing defendant's conviction under the Lacey Act, the Court disagreed with the government's position that the act of taking of the birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act also implicated the Lacey Act.  The court held that the Lacey Act requires something beyond the first taking; indeed a person must do something to wildlife that has already been "taken or possessed" in violation of law.

McBride v. XYZ Ins. 935 So.2d 326 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2006)

In this Louisiana dog bite case, a guest individually and on behalf of child brought an action against the dog owner to recover for bites.  The child's bites occurred while the guest and her child were visiting defendant's home after the child had been petting and hugging the dog (a fairly large Chow).  The appellate court held that the adult guest's conduct of swatting the dog with a shoe after the dog had released the child's arm was not provocation and the defendant was strictly liable for the injuries.  While the district court reasoned that the guest failed to use reasonable caution in reading the warning signs and provoked the dog by striking him after he had already released the child, this court found that the guest and her children entered the yard through the house, and she did not notice the signs. Moreover, both witnesses testified that events unfolded very fast; the record persuaded the court that Ms. McBride's conduct in swatting Smokey with a shoe was not an intentional provocation but a natural and inevitable reaction to seeing her child's arm in the dog's jaws.  

Austin v. Bundrick 935 So.2d 836 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2006)

This Louisiana case involves a suit against the owner of a cow (Bundrick) that wandered into the road where it was struck by plaintiff Austin's vehicle.  Bundrick and his insurer, Colony Insurance Company, appealed the partial summary judgment finding Bundrick liable for the damages resulting from the accident. In reversing the lower court's order for partial summary judgment and remanding for a trial on the merits, the court noted that it is well settled that when an auto strikes a cow on one of the enumerated "stock law" highways, the burden of proof rests upon the owner of the animal to exculpate himself from even the slightest degree of negligence.

U.S. v. Lee 937 F.2d 1388 (9th Cir. 1991)

Fishermen who took part in importing salmon that they knew or should have known had been taken in violation of Taiwanese regulation, could be subjected to criminal penalties for violation of the Lacey Act, despite the fact not all fishermen who were involved actually violated the Taiwanese regulation.  The fishermen argue that the term "any foreign law" encompasses only foreign statutes, not foreign regulations; however, the court previously ruled that a Taiwanese regulation prohibiting the export of salmon without a permit constituted a "foreign law" under section 3372(a)(2)(A) and thereby supported an Act violation.

In re Marriage of Tevis-Bleich 939 P.2d 966 (Kan. Ct. App. 1997) A couple had agreed to a divorce settlement where they each had visitation rights with their dog; the trial court approved of the arrangement.  The wife later tried to have that section removed from the decree, but the trial court held that they did not have jurisdiction to make such a change.  The appellate court affirmed the decision, which left visitation intact
Hastings v. Sauve 94 A.D.3d 1171 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012) Plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, and sued owner for negligently failing to confine cow. The Supreme Court held that injury claims could only proceed under strict liability theory based on owner's knowledge of animal's vicious propensities. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious propensity, or that owner knew of propensity, thus, owner was not liable. This order was Reversed by Hastings v. Sauve , 2013 WL 1829834 (N.Y., 2013).
Department of Game of Wash. v. Puyallup Tribe 94 S.Ct. 330 (1973)

The Washington Department of Game and the Department of Fisheries brought action for declaratory judgment that members of the Puyallup Indian tribe were not exempt from application of state fishery conservation measures.  The Supreme Court held that commercial net fishing by Puyallup Indians, for which the Indians have treaty protection, Puyallup Tribe v. Dept. of Game, 391 U.S. 392, 88 S.Ct. 1725, 20 L.Ed.2d 689, forecloses the bar against net fishing of steelhead trout imposed by Washington State Game Department's regulation, which discriminates against the Puyallups, and as long as steelhead fishing is permitted, the regulation must achieve an accommodation between the Puyallups' net-fishing rights and the rights of sports fishermen.

McCready v. Virginia 94 U.S. 391 (1876)

McCready, a citizen of Maryland, was indicted, convicted, and fined $500, in the Circuit Court of Gloucester County, Va., for planting oysters in Ware River, a stream in which the tide ebbs and flows, in violation of sect. 22 of the act of the assembly of Virginia.  The precise question to be determined in this case is, whether the State of Virginia can prohibit the citizens of other States from planting oysters in Ware River, a stream in that State where the tide ebbs and flows, when its own citizens have that privilege.  The Court held that the fisheries of a state are not a privilege or immunity of the citizens therein, but rather a property right of the people of the state.  Thus, the citizens of one State are not invested by this clause of the Constitution with any interest in the common property of the citizens of another State.  The Court also found the Commerce Clause inapplicable, as there is here no question of transportation or exchange of commodities, but only of cultivation and production.

United States v. Univ. of Neb. at Kearney 940 F. Supp. 2d 974, 975 (D. Neb. 2013). This case considers whether student housing at the University of Nebraska–Kearney (UNK) is a “dwelling” within the meaning of the FHA. The plaintiff had a service dog (or therapy dog as the court describes it) trained to respond to her anxiety attacks. When she enrolled and signed a lease for student housing (an apartment-style residence about a mile off-campus), her requests to have her service dog were denied, citing UNK's "no pets" policy for student housing. The United States, on behalf of plaintiff, filed this suit alleging that UNK's actions violated the FHA. UNK brought a motion for summary judgment alleging that UNK's student housing is not a "dwelling" covered by the FHA. Specifically, UNK argues that students are "transient visitors" and the student housing is not residential like other temporary housing (migrant housing, halfway houses, etc.) and more akin to jail. However, this court was not convinced, finding that "UNK's student housing facilities are clearly 'dwellings' within the meaning of the FHA."
Swartz v. Heartland Equine Rescue 940 F.3d 387 (7th Cir., 2019) The Plaintiff, Jamie and Sandra Swartz, acquired several horses, goats, and a donkey to keep on their farm in Indiana. In April of 2013, the county’s animal control officer, Randy Lee, called a veterinarian to help evaluate a thin horse that had been observed on the Swartzes’ property. Lee and the veterinarian visited the Swartzes’ on multiple occasions. The veterinarian became worried on its final visit that the Swartzes’ were not properly caring for the animals. Lee used the veterinarian’s Animal Case Welfare Reports to support a finding of probable cause to seize the animals. Subsequently, the Superior Court of Indiana entered an order to seize the animals. On June 20, 2014, the state of Indiana filed three counts of animal cruelty charges against the Swartzes. However, the state deferred prosecuting the Swartzes due to a pretrial diversion agreement. The Swartzes filed this federal lawsuit alleging that the defendants acted in concert to cause their livestock to be seized without probable cause and distributed the animals to a sanctuary and equine rescue based on false information contrary to the 4th and 14th amendments. The district court dismissed the Swartzes' claims to which, they appealed. The Court of Appeals focused on whether the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the Swartzes’ claims. The Court applied the Rooker-Feldman doctrine which prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by those who lose in state court challenging state court judgments. Due to the fact that the Swartzes’ alleged injury was directly caused by the state court’s orders, Rooker-Feldman barred federal review. The Swartzes also must have had a reasonable opportunity to litigate their claims in state court for the bar to apply. The Court, after reviewing the record, showed that the Swartzes had multiple opportunities to litigate whether the animals should have been seized, thus Rooker-Feldman applied. The case should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine at the outset. The Court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Rosenfeld v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Mendon 940 N.E.2d 891 (Ma. App., 2011)

A zoning board granted landowner’s application for a special permit, and neighbor property owners appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that defendant’s proposed use of land for horse stables fit within the agricultural use exception of the zoning ordinance and by-laws, and that plaintiffs had standing to enforce a deed restriction on defendant’s property.

Allen v. Cox 942 A.2d 296 (Conn. 2008)

The plaintiff (Allen) brought this action against the defendants (Jessica Cox and Daniel Cox) alleging that she was injured by the defendants' cat after the defendants negligently allowed the cat to roam free. The trial court rendered summary judgment for the defendants. Relying mainly on the Restatement (Second), this court held that when a cat has a propensity to attack other cats, knowledge of that propensity may render the owner liable for injuries to people that foreseeably result from such behavior. 

Auster v. Norwalk 943 A.2d 391 (Conn. 2008)

Plaintiff, while on church premises, was bitten by a church employee's dog.  Plaintiff seeks damages from church under the state dog bite statute, which imposes strict liability for damages on the dog's keeper.  The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church, reasoning that a non-owner must be responsible for maintaining and controlling the dog at the time the damage is done in order to be held liable under the statute.

U.S. v. One Bell Jet Ranger II Helicopter 943 F.2d 1121 (9th Cir. 1991)

Sam Jaksick, Michael Boyce, and Chris Christensen were charged with conspiring to violate both the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA), 16 U.S.C. 742j-1 and the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981.  They were also charged with knowingly using a helicopter to harass bighorn sheep in violation of the AHA.  After a  jury acquitted of the last two charges, the government, still convinced that the bighorn sheep had been harassed by the hunters, then brought this forfeiture action.  While the court denied the forfeiture based for the most part on actions by the government in the case, it did hold that defendants' use of the helicopter to get as close as possible to identify the best trophy ram constituted sufficient intent for harassment under the Airborne Hunting Act. 

People v. Curtis 944 N.E.2d 806 (Ill.App. 2 Dist., 2011)

Defendant owned five cats and housed 82 feral cats in her home. One of her pet cats developed a respiratory infection and had to be euthanized as a result of unsanitary conditions. Defendant was convicted of violating the duties of an animal owner, and she appealed. The Appellate Court held that the statute requiring animal owners to provide humane care and treatment contained sufficiently definite standards for unbiased application, and that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider defendant's conduct toward her pet cat to be inhumane.

State v. Spreitz 945 P.2d 1260 (1997)

The court held that admission of photographs of the victim was harmless because based on the overwhelming evidence against defendant, the jury would have found him guilty without the photographs.

Am. Anti-Vivisection Soc'y et. al. v. USDA et. al. 946 F.3d 615 (D.C. Cir. 2020) Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) in 1966 to insure that animals intended for use in research facilities, for exhibition purposes, or for use as pets were provided humane care and treatment. Initially the definition of the word “animal” excluded birds according to the USDA. In 2002, Congress amended the AWA to make it known that birds were to be protected as well. The USDA promised to publish a proposed rule for public comment once it determined how to best regulate birds and adopt appropriate standards. Eighteen years later, the USDA has yet to issue any standards regarding birds. The American Anti-Vivisection Society and the Avian Welfare Coalition sued to compel the USDA to either issue bird-specific standards or to apply its general standards to birds. These animal-rights groups argued that the USDA’s utter failure to promulgate any bird specific standards amounted to arbitrary and capricious agency action. Their second argument was that USDA unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed action. The district court dismissed their complaint for failure to state a claim to which the animal-rights groups appealed. The Court of Appeals found that the AWA, when it was amended in 2002, required the USDA to issue standards governing the humane treatment, not of animals generally, but of animals as a defined category of creatures including birds not bred for use in research. The USDA failed to take “discrete action” issuing standards to protect birds that the AWA requires it to take. The Court ultimately affirmed the district court as to the arbitrary and capricious claim but reversed and remanded as to the unreasonable delay claim to determine whether the issuance of bird-specific standards has been unreasonably delayed.
Alvarez v. Clasen 946 So.2d 181 (La.,2006)

Plaintiff sued neighbors who trapped cat outside and brought it to an animal shelter where it was euthanized. This court held that private parties trapping a stray cat were not liable for conversion because local ordinances permitted animal shelters to hold stray cats. 

Mann v. Regan 948 A.2d 1075 (Conn.App.2008)

The plaintiff (Mann) brought this action to recover damages for injuries she sustained to her face when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant (Regan). The incident occurred when the defendant’s dog was being cared for by the plaintiff at her house while the defendant traveled out of state. With regard to defendant's tacit admission challenge, this court found that defendant’s silence in response to her daughter’s statement, “Well, mom, you know he bit you,” was within the trial court’s discretion to admit as a hearsay exception. As to the jury instructions, this court was not persuaded that there is a meaningful distinction between the words “vicious” and “dangerous” as used in the context of an action stemming from a dog bite.

Davis v. Animal Control–City of Evansville 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind., 2011)

Dog attack victim sued city and its animal control department, seeking damages for injuries he sustained from a dog attack in his neighborhood. The victim claimed that the city failed to enforce its animal control ordinance. The Supreme Court held that city and its animal control department had law enforcement immunity because the Tort Claims Act provided immunity to governmental entities for any loss due to failure to enforce a law.

Kindel v. Tennis 949 N.E.2d 1119 (Ill.App. 5 Dist., 2011)

Plaintiff was an employee of a dairy farm owned by defendants. In 2007, he was injured by a bull owned and controlled by defendants while working on the defendants' farm . The Appellate Court disagreed with the lower court, finding that the employee's allegations were sufficient to support a claim against the farm owners under the Animal Control Act. The court found it was a question of fact whether it was plaintiff's job to care for the bull, and whether that animal was in the care and/or custody of plaintiff at the time of the injury.

Roach v. Jackson County 949 P.2d 1227 (Or. 1997)

This is an appeal of a county board and circuit court decision ordering destruction of a dog for chasing livestock.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decision and held that the dog must be killed in a humane manner.

Ware v. State 949 So. 2d 169 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006)

In this Alabama case, defendant Walter Tyrone Ware was indicted on six counts of owning, possessing, keeping, and/or training a dog for fighting purposes, and one count of possessing a controlled substance.  Police were dispatched to defendant's residence after receiving an anonymous tip about alleged dogfighting.  Upon arriving, police found a bleeding dog on the ground next to an SUV, a puppy in the SUV, and 22 more pit bull dogs in the backyard.  Most of the dogs were very thin or emaciated, and at least two dogs had fresh cuts or puncture wounds.  On appeal, defendant claimed that there was no evidence that he had attended a dog fight or hosted one.  However, the court observed that Alabama's dogfighting statute does not require such direct evidence; rather, a case was made based on evidence of training equipment, injured dogs, and the dogs' aggressive behavior exhibited at the animal shelter after seizure. 

Ruffin v. Wood 95 A.D.3d 1290 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.)

While the plaintiff was tending her garden, the defendant's dog jumped on a chain-linked fence that separated the plaintiff's and defendant's property. Startled, the plaintiff fell and injured herself. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the defendant. Finding the dog had no vicious propensities, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant; the plaintiff then appealed and lost.

Chambers v. Justice Court Precinct One 95 S.W.3d 874 (Tex.App.-Dallas, 2006)

In this Texas case, a justice court divested an animal owner of over 100 animals and ordered that the animals be given to a nonprofit organization. The owner sought review of the forfeiture in district court. The district court subsequently dismissed appellant's suit for lack of jurisdiction. Under the Texas Code, an owner may only appeal if the justice court orders the animal to be sold at a public auction. Thus, the Court of Appeals held that the statute limiting right of appeal in animal forfeiture cases precluded animal owner from appealing the justice court order.

Wilhelm v. Flores 95 S.W.3d 96 (Tex. 2006)

In this Texas case, a deceased worker's estate and his four adult children brought a negligence action against the beekeeper and others, after the worker died from anaphylactic shock caused by bee stings.  On petition for review, the Supreme Court held that beekeeper did not owe worker, a commercial buyer's employee, any duty to warn him of dangers associated with bee stings or to protect worker from being stung.

Pages