Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
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.

Weigel v. Maryland 950 F.Supp.2d 811 (D.Md 2013)
Following the Tracey v. Solesky opinion, a nonprofit, nonstock cooperative housing corporation issued a rule that banned pit bulls on its premises.  Members and leaseholders who owned dogs believed to be pit bulls sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the corporation and the state of Maryland in an amended complaint. Although the district court found the plaintiffs had adequately demonstrated standing and ripeness in their claims, the court also found that some of the leaseholders and members' charges were barred by 11th Amendment immunity and by absolute judicial immunity. Additionally, the district court found that the leaseholders and members' amended complaint failed to plead plausible void-for-vagueness, substantive due process and takings claims. The district court, therefore, granted the state's motion to dismiss and held all other motions pending before the court to be denied as moot.
Commonwealth v. Epifania 951 N.E.2d 723 (Mass.App.Ct.,2011)

Defendant appealed his conviction of arson for setting fire to a dwelling house, and wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person. The Appeals Court held that testimony that the cat belonged to the victim was sufficient to support a conviction of wilfully and maliciously killing the animal of another person.

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau , et. al. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, et. al. 952 F.3d 1216 (10th Cir. 2020) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") designated 764,207 acres in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The area was divided into six individual units. Units 5 and 6 were the ones at issue. Plaintiffs filed suit contending that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The district court ruled in favor of the Service and this appeal followed. There was no concrete evidence that jaguars were present in Units 5 and 6 at any time before 1995. The Service’s reliance on sightings in 1995, 1996, and 2006 to support a conclusion of occupation in 1972 was not based on expert opinion. It was purely speculative. The Court agreed with the Plaintiffs that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as occupied critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The Court further found that in order for an unoccupied area to be designated as a critical habitat, the Service must first find that the designation of the occupied areas is inadequate to ensure conservation of the species. The Service addressed all units together, finding that to the extent they were occupied, they were essential for the conservation of the species. The Court ultimately found that the Service did not follow its own regulations or give a rational explanation for failing to do so and as a result, its designation of Units 5 an 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The decision of the district court was reversed and remanded.
Zeid v. Pearce 953 S.W.2d 368 (Tex.App.-El Paso, 1997)

Richard and Susan Zeid appeal from the trial court's order dismissing their lawsuit against Dr. William Pearce, d/b/a Coronado Animal Clinic, for veterinary malpractice after the dog suffered from allergic reactions resulting from alleged negligent vaccinations.  The court observed that, in Texas, the recovery for the death of a dog is the dog's market value, if any, or some special or pecuniary value to the owner that may be ascertained by reference to the dog's usefulness or services.  Consequently, the court found this longstanding Texas rule to be inconsistent with the Zeids' claim for pain and suffering and mental anguish.  Because the Zeids did not plead for damages for the loss of their dog that are recoverable in Texas, the trial court did not err in sustaining Dr. Pearce's special exception and dismissing their cause of action.

Hoffa v. Bimes 954 A.2d 1241 (Pa.Super.,2008)

This case arises from the treatment of plaintiff's horse by the defendant-veterinarian. This appeal arises from plaintiff's claim that the trial court erred in granting a compulsory non-suit in favor of defendant finding that the Veterinary Immunity Act bars claims against veterinarians except those based upon gross negligence. This court agreed with the lower court that defendant was confronted with an emergency medical condition such as to fall under the protections of the Act. Further, this court held that the trial court committed no error in concluding that plaintiff's consent was not required before the veterinarian performed the abdominal tap because that procedure was rendered under an 'emergency situation.'

New Jersey Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture 955 A.2d 886 (N.J.,2008)

The issue in the case was whether the regulations promulgated by the NJDA pursuant to this authority were invalid for failing to comply with the “humane” standards requirement. Although the court held that the regulations in their entirety were not invalid, the court found that NJDA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in enacting its regulations by allowing all “routine husbandry practices,” as there was no evidence that those practices were “humane.” The court further rejected NJDA regulations allowing cattle tail docking, finding no evidence to support that the practices were “humane.” Finally, the court rejected the assertion of NJDA that certain controversial farm practices, such as castration, de-beaking, and toe-trimming, are “humane” if they are performed by a “knowledgeable individual” “in a way to minimize pain.”

People v. Land 955 N.E.2d 538 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2011)

In 2009, Jenell Land was found guilty by jury of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal, a Class 4 felony under Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act. Specifically, Land placed a towing chain around the neck of her pit bull, which caused a large, gaping hole to form in the dog’s neck (the dog was later euthanized). The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the defendant’s conviction and, in so doing, rejected each of Land’s four substantive arguments on appeal. Among the arguments raised, the appellate court found that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury that the State had to prove a specific intent by Land to injure her dog did not rise to the level of "plain error."

Rupert v. Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 957 F.2d 32 (1st Cir. 1992)

Appellant was the pastor of an all-race Native American church that required the use of eagle feathers during certain worship who challenged the BGEPA after being denied a permit to obtain eagle feathers because he was not a member of a recognized Indian tribe.  Under an equal protection analysis, the court found the limitation on the use of eagle parts to Native Americans is rationally related to the government's interest in preserving the eagle population as well as the special religious and cultural interests of Native Americans.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by non-Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

U.S. v. Gonzales 957 F.Supp. 1225 (D. N.M. 1997)

Court held that defendant has standing to raise a facial challenge to the Indian eagle permit process where he declined to apply for a permit based on the intrusiveness of the questions.  Defendant is a member of a highly secretive religious sect of his tribe.  In the RFRA analysis, the court held that the permit application was not the least restrictive means of implementing the government's compelling interest where the permit required intrusive information about religious practices.  For further discussion on Native American religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

Com. v. Linhares 957 N.E.2d 243 (Mass.App.Ct., 2011)

Defendant intentionally hit a duck with his car and was convicted of cruelty to animals. The conviction was upheld by the Appeals Court because all that must be shown is that the defendant intentionally and knowingly did acts which were plainly of a nature to inflict unnecessary pain. Specific intent to cause harm is not required to support a conviction of cruelty to animals.

Rabon v. City of Seattle 957 P.2d 621 (Wash. 1998)

Petitioner dog owner sought an injunction against a Seattle ordinance that allowed the city to destroy a vicious dog once the owner has been found guilty of owning a vicious dog (two lhasa apsos) .  The majority held that the state statute regulating dogs did not preempt field of regulating dangerous dogs and the city ordinance did not irreconcilably conflict with state statute.  Notably, Justice Sanders filed a strong dissent, pointing out that these dogs are the primary companions for the elderly petitioner.  While the state law regulating dangerous dogs allows cities to regulate "potentially dangerous dogs," the Seattle ordinance in question fails to make a distinction between the two types of dogs.  Justice Sanders wrote: "As Mr. Rabon notes, if the City were correct, dog owners and defense attorneys would find themselves arguing the bite was so vicious that the dog qualifies as "dangerous" in order to spare the dog's life."  Thus, the ordinance "eviscerates" the dual definition and violates the overriding state law on dangerous dogs.

Francis v. City of Indianapolis 958 N.E.2d 816 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011, table, unpublished) A dog rescue organization was cited with a violation of the city code for having a dog at large. One rescue dog escaped and lunged at a neighbor. Francis argued that the trial court erred in applying strict liability, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, and challenged the constitutionality of the municipal ordinance. The trial court also found that a violation of the ordinance also imposed restrictions on Francis; she could no longer operate the animal rescue shelter and could only own or keep two dogs. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt 961 F.3d 1197 (D.C. Cir. 2020) Appellants consisting of conversation organizations and a safari guide challenged a series of actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) governing imports of sport-hunted animal trophies from Africa. The Appellants challenged certain findings that the Service made allowing animal trophies to be imported. The Court had reviewed a similar set of findings in another case and concluded that they were legislative rules illegally issued without notice and comment. FWS subsequently withdrew all its findings that were issued without notice and comment including the ones that were challenged by the Appellants in a subsequent memorandum. The Appellants still desired to contest the withdrawn findings. The Appellants alleged that it was illegal for the FWS to abandon its prior findings without engaging in APA informal rulemaking and that it was illegal for the FWS to announce its intent to the make the necessary findings through informal adjudications in the future. The Appellant’s claims fell into three categories: (1) challenges to the 2017 Zimbabwe findings that sport-hunting of elephants would enhance the survival of the species; (2) challenges to the memorandum by the FWS withdrawing their prior findings; and (3) challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intends to making findings on a case-by-case basis when considering individual permit applications. The Court found that since the FWS had withdrew the 2017 findings, they no longer caused the appellants any injury which made any challenges to them moot. The Appellants attempted to argue that the flaws in the 2017 Zimbabwe elephant finding were capable of repetition yet would evade review. The Court rejected this argument. As for the second challenges regarding the memorandum’s withdrawal of its prior findings, the Court found that the withdrawal caused no injury to the Appellants. The Court rejected the challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intended to make findings on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately the Court affirmed the district court’s judgment.
Guenther v. Walnut Grove Hillside Condominium Regime No. 3, Inc. 961 N.W.2d 825 (Neb., 2021) Plaintiff Christine Guenther appeals her dismissal of her complaint for declaratory judgment against her condominium complex. Guenther contended that Walnut Grove refused to make a reasonable accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Nebraska Fair Housing Act (collectively FHA), by denying her request to secure her daughter's emotional support dogs through construction of a fence in a common area. In 2018, Guenther made a request to Walnut Grove to construct a fence through part of the common area behind her condominium so that her dogs can safely spend time outside. Guenther stated that she made this request because she witnessed (via sounds) her first emotional support animal killed by either another dog or a car shortly after she moved in. However, Walnut Grove denied Guenther's request, contending that it lacked the authority to divide or partition the "common elements" of the property. As a result, Guenther filed a complaint in the district court for Douglas County seeking a declaration that Walnut Grove refused a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. A trial was held and the lower court dismissed Guenther's complaint, holding that Guenther's daughter did not suffer from a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of her major life activities and that therefore, Guenther failed to show that N.G. is a handicapped person. Additionally, the court held that Guenther failed to prove that her requested accommodation is necessary to afford the daughter an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. On appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court, the court found the case boiled down to whether Guenther "carried her burden of proving her request to build a fence in Walnut Grove's common area (1) is reasonable and (2) necessary (3) to afford a handicapped person the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling." As to the factors, the court found that while it is undisputed that the daughter suffered from mental health disorders that were benefited by the interaction with the family dogs, there was insufficient proof that a fence was necessary. In fact, testimony revealed that the daughter freely enjoyed the use of the animals while at Walnut Grove. The fence was not a necessary part of Guenther's ability to use and enjoy the dwelling. Further, Guenther failed to prove that the alternatives proposed by Walnut Grove would not have been effective. Because Guenther failed to meet her burden to prove that construction of the fence is necessary, her claim for refusal of a reasonable accommodation under the FHA failed the judgment was affirmed.
LaPlace v. Briere 962 A.2d 1139 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2009)
In this New Jersey case, a horse owner brought an action against the person who exercised his horse while the horse was being boarded at the defendant's stable. While the stable employee was "lunging" the horse, the horse reared up, collapsed on his side with blood pouring from his nostrils, and then died. On appeal of summary judgment for the defendant, the court held that the person who exercised horse could not be liable under the tort of conversion as she did not exercise such control and dominion over the horse that she seriously interfered with plaintiff's ownership rights in the horse. While the court found that a bailment relationship existed, the plaintiff failed to come forward with any additional evidence that established the horse was negligently exercised or that the exercise itself was a proximate cause of its death. The grant of summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed.

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