Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
U.S. v. One Afghan Urial Ovis Orientalis 964 F.2d 474 (5th Cir. 1992)

Claimant appeals the order granting summary judgment to the government in a order of forfeiture under the Lacey Act for the hide and parts of a sheep killed in Pakistan and exported to the U.S.  Claimant argues that because there is no national Pakistani law enacted for the protection of wildlife, no Pakistani law interferes with his right to remove the respondent sheep from Pakistan based upon the provincial permit.  The court disagreed, noting the Pakistan Constitution honors provincial law to the extent that it does not conflict with national law and Pakistani law prohibits the export of "wild animal skins and garments made from such skins, products or derivatives of such skins."  The Court held that the Government established probable cause for the forfeiture, and Claimant did not demonstrate that any genuine issue of material fact exists which would preclude the award of summary judgment. 

State v. Mallis 964 N.E.2d 1096 (Ohio App. 7 Dist.,2011)

Appellant, Cheryl Mallis, appealed the judgment of the Youngstown Municipal Court convicting her on one count of failure to confine a vicious dog and one count of failure to confine a dog. She was originally charged with two counts of violating the vicious-dog statute, R.C. 955.22(D)(1), and she moved to have those charges dismissed prior to trial. The motion was overruled, and appellant now challenges that ruling on appeal. The Court of Appeals held that the state could not prosecute the dog owner for failure to confine a vicious dog under the vicious dog statute since the statute had previously been declared by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional on its face and had not been amended or modified thereafter.

Boss v. State 964 N.E.2d 931 (Ind.App.,2012) Defendant appealed her convictions of misdemeanor failure to restrain a dog and misdemeanor harboring a non-immunized dog after her dogs attacked a neighbor and a witness to the incident causing serious injury to both parties. Evidence supported her convictions for failure to restrain dogs because her fence had gaps through which the dogs could escape, and another dog was wearing only a loose collar. Evidence supported her convictions for harboring dogs that had not been immunized against rabies because she did not show proof that dogs had been immunized, which supported inferences that she was aware of the high probability that the dogs had not been immunized, and therefore, she knowingly harbored non-immunized dogs. 
Crow Indian Tribe v. United States 965 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2020) Several Indian tribes, environmental organizations, and animal-welfare groups filed suits claiming that Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violated Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by issuing final rule “delisting” or removing grizzly bear population in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from threatened species list. The distinct population segment of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population has been so successful under the ESA that the FWS has been trying to delist it for almost 15 years, according to the court. This specific case was triggered by a 2017 D.C. Circuit case (Humane Society v. Zinke) that requires the FWS to address the impact that removing a DPS from protection under the ESA would have on the remaining listed species. At the time that ruling was issued, the FWS had already published a 2017 Rule that sought to delist the grizzly bear Yellowstone DPS. This then resulted in cross motions for summary judgment in district court. The district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs and vacated the 2017 rule, remanding it to the FWS. This remand resulted in a second delisting rule by FWS that was again vacated and remanded by the district court, demanding consideration of several discrete issues by FWS. The FWS now appeals that remand for consideration that require the study of the effect of the delisting on the remaining, still listed, grizzly population in the coterminous 48 states, as well as further consideration of the threat of delisting to long term genetic diversity of the Yellowstone grizzly. In addition, states in the region of the DPS (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) as well as some private hunting and farming organizations have intervened on the government's behalf. On appeal, the Court of Appeals first found that it had authority to review the district court order and that the intervenors had standing to pursue an appeal. As to the order by the district court that the FWS needs to conduct a "comprehensive review" of the impact of delisting on the remnant grizzly population, the appellate court vacated that portion of the order using the phrase "comprehensive review." Instead, it remanded to the lower court to order a "further examination" on the delisting's effects. The court also agreed with the district court that FWS' 2017 Rule was arbitrary and capricious where it had no concrete, enforceable mechanism to ensure the long-term genetic viability of the Yellowstone DPS. Finally, the Court of Appeals agreed with the district court order to mandate a commitment to recalibration (changes in methodology to measure the Yellowstone grizzly bear population) in the rule since that is required by the ESA. The Court affirmed the district court’s remand order, with the exception of the order requiring the FWS to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the remnant grizzly population.
Houseman v. Dare 966 A.2d 24 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2009)

An engaged, live-in couple purchased a dog together and listed both of their names on the American Kennel Club registration.  While speaking to his girlfriend about ending the relationship, the boyfriend promised her that she could keep the dog, but failed to fulfill that promise; the court required specific enforcement of that promise. In addition, the court found that dogs possess special subjective value similar to "heirlooms, family treasures, and works of art."

U.S. v. Atkinson 966 F.2d 1270 (9th Cir. 1992)

Melville O'Neal Atkinson was convicted of twenty-one felony violations of the Lacey Act for his role in organizing and guiding several illegal hunting expeditions.  The court found sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction based on interstate commerce where, at the end of each illegal hunt, defendant arranged or assisted in arranging to ship deer carcasses to the hunters' homes outside the state. 

Bjugan v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. 969 F.Supp.2d 1283 (D. Ore. 2013)

After a house was damaged by a tenant’s 95 cats and 2 dogs, a landlord sought to recover expenses through State Farm Insurance. State Farm, however, denied the landlord coverage due to a provision in the insurance policy that excluded damages caused by domestic animals. In a diversity action brought by the landlord, the district court found the damage caused by the tenant’s cats fell within State Farm’s policy exclusion and therefore granted State Farm’s motion for summary judgment.

People v. Tohom 969 N.Y.S.2d 123 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,2013)

This case, as a matter of first impression, considers whether a trial court was authorized to allow a "therapeutic comfort dog" to be present on witness stand for a 15-year-old-girl who was the victim in a predatory sexual assault and child endangerment case. Prosecutors sought to allow a Golden Retriever named Rose to accompany the child on the witness stand while she testified at the defendant’s trial. Prosecutors cited Criminal Procedure Law provisions regarding special witnesses and pointed to Executive Law §642-a, which allows a person supportive of a special witness to be “present and accessible” during testimony by such a witness. On appeal, defendant again argued that the dog would prejudice the jury against the defendant and would convey to the jury that the witness was under stress as a result of testifying and that this stress resulted from telling the truth. In finding that the comfort dog did not violate defendant's right to a fair trial, the appellate court agreed that the trial court's interpretation of Executive Law § 642-a "special witness" provision was correct. Further, the defendant failed to show that the dog Rose's presence was inherently prejudicial.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Dalton 97 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (2000)

Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant government official from lifting the embargo against tuna from Mexico's vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Plaintiffs alleged irreparable injury if three stocks of dolphins became extinct. The court found plaintiffs failed to produce evidence showing irreparable injury. 

People v. Robards 97 N.E.3d 600 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 12, 2018) This case is an appeal from an animal cruelty conviction against defendant Ms. Regina Robards. She seeks appeal on the grounds that the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Robards was charged with aggravated animal cruelty when her two dogs, Walker and Sparky, were discovered in her previous home emaciated, dehydrated, and dead. She had moved out of the home and into Ms. Joachim’s home in July 2014, telling Joachim that she was arranging for the dogs to be taken care of. However, when Joachim went over to the prior home in November 2014, she discovered Walker’s emaciated body on the living room floor. She called the police, who discovered Sparky’s body in a garbage bag in the bedroom. Robards’ conviction required that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally committed an act that caused serious injury or death to her two dogs, and failing to seek adequate medical care for them. On appeal, Robards concedes that the dogs both died from dehydration and starvation, and that she was the only person responsible for the dogs’ care. However, she argues that for her conviction to stand, the prosecutor must prove that she intended to cause serious injury or death to the dogs. The court disagrees, stating that for conviction only the act need be intentional, and that the act caused the death or serious injury of an animal. Notably, the court observed that "defendant is very fortunate to have only received a sentence of 12 months' probation for these heinous crimes," and criticized the circuit court for its "unjustly and inexplicably lenient" sentence simply because defendant only caused harm to an animal and not a human being.
Barrios v. Safeway Ins. Co. 97 So.3d 1019 (La.App. 4 Cir.,2012)

Louisiana dog owners sued motorist for mental anguish and property damage  after their dog was hit and killed by defendant's car. The lower court awarded damages to each of the dog owners in the total amount of $10,000. The Court upheld that the damages award of $10,000 because the dog was killed as a result of motorist's negligence, the owners were nearby and immediately arrived at scene to find their beloved dog dead, the dog was extremely valuable to owners, who had a close family-like relationship with dog for approximately 12 years, and the loss caused the owners to suffer psychic trauma.

Com. v. Kneller 971 A.2d 495 (Pa.Super.,2009) Defendant appealed a conviction for criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after Defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit Defendant’s child.   The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the conviction, finding the relevant animal cruelty statute to be ambiguous, thus requiring the reversal under the rule of lenity.   Concurring and dissenting opinions were filed, in which both agreed that the statute is unambiguous as to whether a dog owner may destroy his or her dog by use of a firearm when that dog has attacked another person, but disagreed as to whether sufficient evidence was offered to show that the dog in fact attacked another person. (See Supreme Court order - Com. v. Kneller, 978 A.2d 716, 2009 WL 5154265 (Pa.,2009)).
Cisneros v. Petland, Inc. 972 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2020) Plaintiff Cisneros purchased a Shih Tzu puppy named "Giant" from Petland Kennesaw, a Kennesaw, Georgia franchise of Petland, Inc. She received a certificate of "veterinary inspection" and a limited health guarantee at the time of purchase. Several days later, problems arose with the puppy and she brought the dog back to the Petland affiliated veterinarian who prescribed antibiotics without making a diagnosis. Shortly thereafter, an emergency pet visit revealed the dog suffered from parvovirus. Cisneros called Petland who told her to take the dog back to the Petland vet if she wanted a refund. She did so and the dog died several days later. Because the State of Georgia requires reporting of parvovirus, Cisneros received a report after the dog died, but she learned the dog's organs had been removed (an uncommon post mortem practice). As a result, plaintiff alleged that actions were the intended result of a nationwide conspiracy involving Petland and its affiliates to sell unhealthy puppies from "puppy mills" where health conditions are rubber stamped by a network of "preferred veterinarians" and buyers are deceived by sales documents that distract from the fraud. Plaintiff broadly asserted three claims: (1) a violation of the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); (2) a conspiracy to violate the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); and (3) with respect to a Georgia subclass of persons who purchased a cat or dog from a Petland franchise in Georgia from July 2013 to the present, a violation of Georgia's state RICO statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4. The district court dismissed Cisneros's federal causes of action for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her remaining state-law claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). After applying the six-fold test for a private plaintiff suing under the civil provisions of RICO, this Court found chiefly that Cisneros has alleged no facts that plausibly support the inference that the defendants were collectively trying to make money in pet sales by fraud, which is a common purpose sufficient to find a RICO enterprise. Cisneros was required to allege not just that Petland Kennesaw had a fraudulent purpose, but that it was a common purpose, formed in collaboration with Petland, PAWSitive, and the preferred veterinarians. In the end, Cisneros has alleged only that Petland operates a franchise business like any other franchisor. Even assuming that Cisneros has adequately pled fraud on the part of Petland Kennesaw, she has not alleged that its predicate acts constituted a pattern of racketeering activity. The action was affirmed in part, and vacated and remanded in part.
Lee v. State 973 N.E.2d 1207 (Ind.App. 2012)

An attendant of a dog fight was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor under section 35-46-3-4 of the Indiana Code. On appeal, the defendant-appellant argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and that the statute invited arbitrary law enforcement, which violated the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution. Though the appeals court found the defendant-appellant had waived her constitutional claims by not filing a motion at the bench trial, the appeals court found her claims lacked merit. The defendant-appellant’s conviction was therefore upheld.

Goodby v. Vetpharm, Inc. 974 A.2d 1269 (Vt.,2009)

This Vermont case answered whether noneconomic damages are available when a companion animal dies due to negligent acts of veterinarians and a pharmaceutical company, and also whether a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is allowed for the death of a pet. The Vermont Supreme Court answered both questions in the negative. Plaintiffs' cats died after taking hypertension pills produced by defendant pharmaceutical company Vetpharm, which contained a toxic level of the medication (20 times the labeled dose). After the cats were brought into defendant-veterinarians' office, plaintiff contends that defendant veterinarians negligently or wantonly failed to diagnose the toxicity in the cats, and improperly treated the cats as a result. While the plaintiffs and amici urged the court to adopt a special exception to recover noneconomic damages for the loss of their personal property (to wit, the cats), the court found that to be a role more suited to the state legislature. With regard to the NIED claim, the court held that plaintiffs were never in the "zone of danger" necessary to establish a claim.

Southbark, Inc. v. Mobile County Com'n 974 F.Supp.2d 1372 (S.D.Ala.,2013)

In the past, SouthBARK, a charitable non-profit no kill shelter, acquired dogs from the Mobile County Animal Shelter (MCAS) to prevent their euthanization. However, after a SouthBARK employee threatened a shelter worker and after numerous statements from SouthBark about the number of animals being killed at MCAS, MCAS refused to let SouthBARK take anymore dogs for a 6 month period. After the 6 month period, MCAS allowed SouthBARK to take dogs again, but soon afterwards sent a letter to SouthBARK informing them that they could not take any more animals. SouthBARK and Dusty Feller, the Vice President of SouthBARK, brought this action against Mobile County Commission and MCAS. On July 8, Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss. The District Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part, stating that it was "not inclinded to make Defendants' arguments for them."

Duncan v. State 975 N.E.2d 838 (Ct. App. Ind. 2012)

A complaint regarding the welfare of horses led to the defendant being convicted of 6 charges of animal cruelty, all of which were class A misdemeanors. Upon appeal, the defendant argued that he had not knowingly waived his right to a jury trial, that Indiana’s animal cruelty law was unconstitutionally vague and that there was no sufficient evidence to overcome a defense of necessity. The appeals court agreed that the defendant did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial and therefore reversed and remanded the case on that issue; however, the appeals court disagreed with the defendant on the other issues.  The case was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Weber 979 F.Supp.2d 1118 (D.Mont.,2013)

An environmental group sued the U.S. Forest Service claiming it violated the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it permitted the implementation of the Flathead National Forest Precommercial Thinning Project. The court that the defendants' designation of matrix habitat was not arbitrary and that there was no showing of irreparable harm to lynx habitat to require the Service to be enjoined from implementing project. Likewise, plaintiffs’ claims regarding the grizzly bear’s critical habitat did not prevail; nor did the plaintiffs’ claims regarding the National Forest Management Act’s Inland Native Fish Strategy. The court, therefore, granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and denied the plaintiffs' motion.

Hawthorn Corp. v. U.S. 98 F.Supp.3d 1226 (M.D. Fla., 2015) Plaintiff's complaint was based on government employees’ duty to exercise reasonable care in the execution of their official duties. Government moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court found the action was barred by three exceptions to the Federal Torts Claims Act: the misrepresentation exception, the discretionary exception, and the interference with contracts exception. Government motion was granted.
Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of East Providence 98 F.Supp.3d 408 (D.R.I. 2015) Due to public concern about puppy mills, City passed an ordinance banning pet stores located within its limits from selling dogs and cats unless those animals were owned by a city animal shelter or animal control agency, humane society, or non-profit rescue organization and the pet store maintained those animals for the purpose of public adoption. In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff, a pet store, raised numerous challenges to the ordinance under the Constitutions of the United States and of Rhode Island, claiming that it violated the dormant Commerce Clause, the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, and Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights, and that it was preempted by state statute. Plaintiff and Defendant both sought summary judgment to all challenges. Plaintiff's motion was DENIED and Defendant's motion was GRANTED to all counts in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint except Count Three, the Takings claim, which was REMANDED to the Rhode Island Superior Court. (2016: Affirmed in part and appeal dismissed in part at 807 F.3d 415, 417 (1st Cir. 2015)).
Pickford v. Masion 98 P.3d 1232 (Wa. 2004)

Plaintiffs' dog was mauled by Defendants' dogs and sustained permanent injuries.  The trial court granted summary judgment against Plaintiffs' claims of negligent and malicious infliction of emotional distress.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment and further held the destruction of the companionship relationship could not be extended to dogs.

Baldwin v. Fish and Game Commission of Montana 98 S.Ct. 1852(1978)

Appellants brought this action for declaratory and other relief claiming that the Montana statutory elk-hunting license scheme, which imposes substantially higher (at least 7 1/2 times) license fees on nonresidents of the State than on residents, and which requires nonresidents (but not residents) to purchase a "combination" license in order to be able to obtain a single elk, denies nonresidents their constitutional rights guaranteed by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Art. IV, § 2, and by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The court held that the Privileges and Immunity Clause is not implicated, as access to recreational hunting is not fundamental and Montana has provided equal access for both residents and non-residents.  Further, the statutory scheme does not violate the Equal Protection Clause because the state has demonstrated a rational relationship between the increased fee to non-residents (i.e., protection of a finite resource (elk) where there has been a substantial increase in non-resident hunters).

Ladnier v. Hester 98 So.3d 1025 (Miss., 2012)

Plaintiff motorist sued horse owner for negligence after he collided with the horse that was loose on the highway. Plaintiff sought damages for personal injury. The Court of Appeals sustained summary judgment for horse owner because the motorist produced no evidence that owner 1) had failed to act with reasonable care in enclosing his horses, and 2) that horse had a propensity to escape or cause injury that gave rise to a heightened duty on owner's part. After being granted a writ of certiorari by the Mississippi Supreme Court, the court held that the Plaintiffs had offered sufficient evidence to withstand the horse owner's motion for summary judgment.The case was then reversed and remanded.

Ladnier v. Hester 98 So.3d 1074 (Miss.App., 2011)

Plaintiff motorist sued horse owner for negligence after he collided with the horse that was loose on the highway. The Court of Appeals sustained summary judgment for owner because the motorist produced no evidence that owner 1) had failed to act with reasonable care in enclosing his horses, 2) that horse had a propensity to escape or cause injury that gave rise to a heightened duty on owner's part, and 3) motorist produced no circumstantial evidence that would imply negligence, such as a dilapidated fence. This judgment was Reversed by Ladnier v. Hester, 98 So.3d 1025 (Miss., 2012).

State v. Cleve 980 P.2d 23 (N.M. 1999)

Defendant was convicted of two counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of unlawful hunting, and negligent use of firearm. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that "any animal," within meaning of animal cruelty statute, applied only to domesticated animals and wild animals previously reduced to captivity, and thus, the animal cruelty statute did not apply to defendant's conduct in snaring two deer.  The court also held that even if the Legislature had intended to protect wild animals in Section 30-18-1, New Mexico's laws governing hunting and fishing preempt the application of Section 30-18-1 to the taking of deer by Cleve in this case.

U.S. v. Mitchell 985 F.2d 1275 (4th Cir. 1993)

Defendant, a zoologist working for the Department of Interior, was charged in nine count indictment taking and transporting animals in violation of foreign law under the Lacey Act among other violations.  Defendant filed motion to dismiss and government filed motion to determine foreign law.  The government alleged in Count 8 that in September of 1987, Mitchell transported the hides and horns of a Punjab urial (wild sheep) and a Chinkara gazelle out of Pakistan and into the United States knowing that the animals had been taken, possessed or transported in violation of Pakistani law; the Pakistani Imports and Exports (Control) Act of 1950 and the Punjab Wildlife Act of 1974.  The court rejected defendant's reading of the imports and exports law and found it unnecessary to determine the constitutionality of the Punjab Wildlife Act as the Lacey Act impinges on whether defendant violated the portions of the law prohibiting possession of the animals without a permit. 

Hernandez-Gotay v. United States 985 F.3d 71 (1st Cir. Jan. 14, 2021) Plaintiffs filed suit to enjoin the enforcement and challenge the constitutionality of Section 12616 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Section 12616”), which bans the “sponsor[ship]” and “exhibit[ion]” of cockfighting matches in Puerto Rico. The district court upheld Section 12616 as a valid exercise of Congress's Commerce Clause power. On appeal here, the court first determined whether the plaintiffs had sufficient standing to challenge the law. It concluded that plaintiff Ángel Manuel Ortiz-Díaz, the owner of two cockfighting venues and a breeder and owner of more than 200 gamecocks, has standing to challenge Section 12616. Ortiz faces a credible threat of prosecution under Section 12616 because he regularly sponsors and exhibits cockfighting matches. Finding standing, the court considered plaintiffs' claim that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting Section 12616. The court found that cockfighting is an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce and Congress passing Section 12616 was a legitimate exercise of Commerce Clause power. Finally, plaintiffs contend that Section 12616 infringes on their First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. In rejecting this argument, the court held that plaintiffs failed to identify the necessary "expressive element" in cockfighting activities that would render it subject to First Amendment protections and, even if they made such a showing, Section 12616 is a permissible restraint on such speech. Finally, nothing in Section 12616 infringes on the associational right to assemble since it does not prevent individuals from gathering to express their views on cockfighting. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
Com. v. Kneller 987 A.2d 716 (Pa., 2009)

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up this appeal involving the defendant's criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after the defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit the defendant’s child. The Supreme Court vacated the order of the Superior Court and remanded the case to the Superior Court (--- A.2d ----, 2009 WL 215322) in accordance with the dissenting opinion of the Superior Court's order. The Court further observed that the facts revealed no immediate need to kill the dog and that there was "unquestionably malicious beating of the dog" prior to it being shot.

Wyoming Farm Bureau v. Babbitt 987 F.Supp. 1349 (D. Wyoming 1997)

The Wyoming Farm Bureau, amateur researchers, and environmental groups appealed an agency to introduce experimental population of gray wolves in a national park and central Idaho. After ruling on the various standing issues, the court held that the ESA section allowing experimental population to be maintained only when it is "wholly separate geographically" from nonexperimental populations includes overlap even with individual members of nonexperimental species.   However, the defendants' treatment of all wolves found within boundaries of designated experimental population areas as nonessential experimental animals was contrary to law as provided in their own regulations.   Therefore, the court ordered that Defendants' Final Rules establishing a nonessential experimental population of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, central Idaho and southwestern Montana was unlawful.   Further, that by virtue of the plan being set aside, defendants must remove reintroduced non-native wolves and their offspring from the Yellowstone and central Idaho experimental population areas.  This decision was reversed in 199 F.3d 1224.

Hayes v. Adams 987 N.E.2d 402 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2013)

An 8-year-old girl suffered injuries as a result of being bitten by a dog that escaped from a veterinarian clinic. The girl sued the clinic and the owner of the dog, but the owner was granted a motion for summary judgment because she did not have care or dominion over the animal at the time of the injury; this decision was then appealed.  The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois held the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16) did not impose strict liability on a dog owner solely because he or she was the legal owner of a dog. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed because there was no reasonable or factual basis to impose liability.

Hurd v. State 988 A.2d 1143 (Md. App., 2010)

 In this Maryland case, Defendant appealed his convictions for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of malicious destruction of property valued under $500 relating to the fatal shooting of two of his neighbor's (Randolph's) dogs. On appeal, Defendant maintains the language of the former text of 10-416(b)(3), a section of the Natural Resources Code dealing with deer hunting, renders the shooting justifiable. The Court found that Section 10-416(b)(3) is ambiguous; as such, based on the rule of lenity, the Court construed section 10-416(b)(3), with one exception, as giving persons in Washington County (prior to the 2009 amendment) a right to kill a dog pursing a deer whether or not the dog was being used for purposes of deer hunting. However, the Court found that Section 10-416 of the Natural Resources Article gave Defendant no privilege to kill a dog pursuing a turkey.

Parker v. Obert's Legacy Dairy, LCC 988 N.E.2d 319 (In. Ct. App., 2013)

A neighboring landowner brought a nuisance claim against a dairy farm when the dairy farm decided to expand its operations; the dairy farm, however, used Indiana’s Right to Farm Act as an affirmative defense. Agreeing with the dairy farm, the trial court granted the dairy farm’s motion for summary judgment.  Upon appeal, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

In the Matter of the Application of Richard M. COPLAND, as an Executor of the estate of Lenore Lewis Abels, Deceased 988 N.Y.S.2d 458 Co-executor of an estate petitioned the Westchester County Surrogate's Court for a decree in accordance with EPTL 7–8.1[d] reducing the amount of money to be transferred from the estate to the trustees of a testamentary pet trust established under the decedent's will. Since the decedent gave very specific instructions as to how she wanted her cats to be cared for and the petition was in opposition to the decedent’s wishes, the court denied the reduction.
City of Delray Beach v. St. Juste 989 So.2d 655 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 2008) In this Florida case, the city of Delray Beach appealed from a judgment for damages in favor of appellee plaintiff, who was injured by two loose dogs. The theory of liability was based on the city's knowledge, from prior complaints, that these dogs were loose from time to time and dangerous. The plaintiff suggested that the city's failure to impound the dogs after prior numerous complaints contributed to the attack. The court concluded that decisions made by the city's animal control officer and police to not impound the dogs were discretionary decisions, and therefore the city was immune.
City of Delray Beach v. St. Juste 989 So.2d 655 (Fla.App. 4 Dist.,2008)

In this Florida case, the city of Delray Beach appeals a judgment for damages in favor of  plaintiff, who was injured by two loose dogs. Plaintiff was attacked and severely injured by two large dogs owned by a resident of Delray Beach, when the dogs escaped from the resident's fenced yard. The theory of liability was based on the city's knowledge, from prior complaints and an actual visit by an animal control officer, that these dogs were loose from time to time and dangerous. This court agreed with the city, finding that the decision of an animal control officer was discretionary and therefore immune from liability under these circumstances.

Hughes v. Oklahoma 99 S.Ct. 1727 (1979)

The Oklahoma statute at issue prohibited transporting or shipping outside the State for sale natural minnows seined or procured from waters within the State. Appellant, who held a Texas license to operate a commercial minnow business in Texas, was charged with violating the Oklahoma statute by transporting from Oklahoma to Texas a load of natural minnows purchased from a minnow dealer licensed to do business in Oklahoma.  In overruling Geer v. Connecticut, the Court held that the Oklahoma statute on its face discriminated against interstate commerce by forbidding the transportation of natural minnows out of the State for purposes of sale, and thus overtly blocking the flow of interstate commerce at the State's border.

Southeastern Community College v. Davis 99 S.Ct. 2361 (1979)

Applicant to nursing program brought suit against the college alleging discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for denying her acceptance to the program based on her physical disability of being deaf. The college alleged that the applicant was not "otherwise qualified" under the statute because, even if provided accommodations for her hearing disability, she would be unable to safely participate in the clinical training program. The court held that "otherwise qualified" under the statute means that a person is qualified for the program "in spite of" the handicap, and that the applicant here was not otherwise qualified for the program. The court also held that a program authority is not required to ignore the disability of the applicant when determining eligibility for the program. Rather, the statute only requires that the disabled person not be denied the benefits of the program solely because of the disability.

Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass'n 99 S.Ct. 3055 (1979)

The United States initiated an action seeking an interpretation of Indian fishing rights under treaties with Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest.  The Court held that the language of the treaties securing a "right of taking fish . . . in common with all citizens of the Territory" was not intended merely to guarantee the Indians access to usual and accustomed fishing sites and an "equal opportunity" for individual Indians, along with non-Indians, to try to catch fish, but instead secures to the Indian tribes a right to harvest a share of each run of anadromous fish that passes through tribal fishing areas.  Thus, an equitable measure of the common right to take fish should initially divide the harvestable portion of each run that passes through a "usual and accustomed" place into approximately equal treaty and nontreaty shares, and should then reduce the treaty share if tribal needs may be satisfied by a lesser amount.  The Court also held that any state-law prohibition against compliance with the District Court's decree cannot survive the command of the Supremacy Clause, and the State Game and Fisheries Departments, as parties to this litigation, may be ordered to prepare a set of rules that will implement the court's interpretation of the parties' rights even if state law withholds from them the power to do so.

Kimball v. Betts 99 Wash. 348 (1918)

In an action for conversion of household goods kept for use and not for sale, it is not necessary to prove that such goods have no market value as a condition precedent to the right to introduce proof of actual value. If they have no market value, the measure of damages for their conversion is their value to the owner based on the actual money lost.

Johnson-Schmitt v. Robinson 990 F. Supp. 2d 331 (W.D.N.Y. 2013)

Seeking compensatory and injunctive relief, Plaintiffs commenced a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Defendants County of Erie, Erie County Sheriff's Department, and John Does 1 and 2; Defendants Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ("SPCA") and a SPCA peace officer; and a dog control officer based on alleged searches of Plaintiffs' property and seizure of animals purportedly belonging to Plaintiffs. After reviewing the defendants moved for summary judgment, the district court granted and dismissed the motion in part.

State v. Ancona 991 A.2d 663 (Conn.App.,2010)

Defendant Michael Ancona appealed his conviction of permitting a dog to roam at large in violation of General Statutes § 22-364(a). The defendant claims that (1) the court improperly held him responsible as a keeper of a dog when the owner was present and known to the authorities, and (2) the state adduced insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. The plain language of the statute § 22-364(a) states that an “owner or keeper” is prohibited from allowing a dog to roam on a public highway. Either the owner or keeper or both can be held liable for a violation of the statute. The court also found sufficient evidence that defendant was the keeper of the pit bull: the dog stayed at his house, he initially responded to the incident and tried to pull the dog away, and defendant yelled at the Officer Rogers that she was not to take "his dog."

State v. Long 991 P.2d 102 (Wash.App. Div. 2,2000)

Defendant shot and killed two hunting dogs, estimated to be worth $5,000 to $8,000 each, who were chasing deer across his property. The defendant was later convicted by the jury under the first degree malicious mischief felony for “knowingly and maliciously ... [causing] physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars.”  On appeal, the court upheld the jury’s conviction because the defendant had no right to kill the dogs chasing deer across his property and because the prosecution was allowed to charge under the first degree malicious mischief felony for “knowingly and maliciously ... [causing] physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars.”

Mississippi State University v. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. 992 So.2d 595 (Miss., 2008)

PETA, an animal rights group, sought disclosure of records pursuant to the Public Records Act from Mississippi State University regarding the IAMS's company care of animals used in research, which was conducted at university. After the lower court granted the request, the University and company appealed. The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that substantive portions of company's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol forms were exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The court found that PETA failed to rebut the evidence presented by MSU and Iams that the data and information requested in the subject records constituted trade secrets and/or confidential commercial and financial information of a proprietary nature developed by MSU under contract with Iams. Therefore, the data and information requested by PETA is exempted from the provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Act.

Romero v. Bexar County 993 F.Supp.2d 658 (W.D. Tex. 2014) Several reports to the police were made that a man had threatened several individuals with a firearm. In responding to the calls, the police identified the plaintiff pet owner as the allegedly armed man. Officers then proceeded to the plaintiff’s home and acknowledged that they saw a “Beware of Dogs” sign, but still entered the fenced-in premises. Upon entering the yard, four dogs approached and one of the officers shot and killed one of the dogs. The plaintiff brought suit against the officer and municipality and alleged violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In evaluating the officer’s claim of qualified immunity, the court held that the officer’s actions were objectively reasonable, considering he had reason to believe the plaintiff may be armed and dangerous and claimed “several large dogs ran out aggressively charging, barking and growling.” The officer’s relation of events was backed up by his fellow officer on the scene.
Green v. Housing Authority of Clackamas County 994 F.Supp. 1253 (D. Oregon, 1998)

Plaintiffs were tenants of a county housing authority and alleged that the housing authority violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, by failing to reasonably accommodate their request for a waiver of a "no pets" policy to allow for a hearing assistance animal in the rental unit to reasonably accommodate a hearing disability. The housing authority argued that the dog was not a reasonable accommodation for the tenant's specific disability because the dog was not certified as a hearing assistance animal. The court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, holding that the housing authority violated the federal statutes when it required proof from the tenants that the dog had received hearing assistance training.  

Giacalone v. Housing Authority of Town of Wallingford 998 A.2d 222 (Conn.App,2010)

In this Connecticut case, a tenant, who was bitten by a neighbor's dog, brought a common law negligence action against the landlord, the housing authority of the town of Wallingford. The tenant then appealed after the lower court granted the landlord's motion to strike the complaint. On appeal, this Court held that the tenant properly stated a claim under common law negligence against the landlord. Relying on Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church, 286 Conn. 152, 943 A.2d 391 (2008) , the court concluded that a common-law negligence action brought against a landlord in a dog bite case should not be striken simply because the landlord was the the owner or keeper of the dog.

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

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

Commonwealth v. Kneller 999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)

Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.

Spangler v. Stark County Dog Warden 999 N.E.2d 1247 (Ohio App. 5 Dist.,2013)

The appellant Robert T. Spangler appealed the decision of the Canton Municipal Court, Stark County that affirmed a dog warden's classification of his dog as "dangerous" under R.C. 955.11. While there are no cases on point that interpret this specific procedure on appeal, the court found the record did not reveal an abuse of discretion that would create a manifest miscarriage of justice. Even where there was potentially conflicting testimony whether appellant's dog actually bit the other dog's owner or whether it was caused by his own dog, the statute only requires a demonstration that the dog in question "caused injury" without provocation. Appellant's dog leaving the property lead to a "chain of events resulting in some sort of puncture injury" to the other dog owner's leg.

Crisman v. Hallows 999 P.2d 1249 (Utah App.,2000)

Plaintiff dog owners appeal the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant Ted Hallows. Hallows. a Division of Wildlife Resources employee, shot the dogs after they got loose from plaintiffs' backyard. While the factual accounts of the shooting differed, Hallows asserted that he shot the dogs within the scope of his employment and was therefore protected under the Governmental Immunity Act. On appeal, the court first found that plaintiffs may maintain an action against Hallows for conduct outside the scope of his employment and this claim was not barred by their admitted failure to comply with the Immunity Act's notice of claim and statute of limitations requirements. Further, as to plaintiffs' claims that Hallows was not acting within his scope of employment when the shooting occurred, there was sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact.

Pages