Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Nava v. McMillan 176 Cal.Rptr. 473 (Cal.App.2.Dist.)

In a personal injury action brought by a pedestrian who was hit by an automobile when she stepped into a street, the trial court dismissed the complaint against occupiers of land who maintained fenced dogs, which plaintiff alleged frightened her, causing her to step into the street. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that the complaint failed to set forth facts giving rise to tortious liability on the part of the owners of fenced dogs, either on the theory of simple negligence or strict liability.

McMahon v. Craig 176 Cal.App.4th 1502, 97 Cal.Rptr.3d 555 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2009)

In this California case, the plaintiff appealed a demurrer granted by the trial court on her claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress and portions of her complaint struck that sought damages for emotional distress and loss of companionship. The case stems from defendant-veterinarian's care of plaintiff's Maltese dog after surgery. Defendant also lied to plaintiff and falsified records concerning the treatment of the dog. On appeal of the trial court demurrer, this court held that an owner cannot recover emotional distress damages for alleged veterinary malpractice. The court found that it would be incongruous to impose a duty on a veterinarian to avoid causing emotional distress to the owner of the animal being treated, while not imposing such a duty on a doctor to the parents of a child receiving treatment.

State v. Goodall 175 P. 857 (Or. 1918)

This case involved an appeal from this conviction. The trial court found that the defendant rode the animal while it had a deep ulcerated cut on its back, and supplied it with insufficient food. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

State v. Butler 175 N.H. 444, 293 A.3d 191 (2022) Defendant Kevin Butler was convicted of criminal negligence after he left his dog inside a parked vehicle for 45 minutes when the temperature was over 90 degrees outside. The charge came after a neighbor noticed a dog in the vehicle that was "scratching at the windows and the door" and appeared to be in distress. After calling the police, an animal control officer removed the animal from the unlocked car and transported the distressed dog to a local veterinary clinic. At trial, the defendant testified that he was out running errands on a "very hot" day, and asked his son to get the dog out of the car as Defendant's hands were full. An important phone call distracted him from following up on the dog's removal and only after the police knocked on his door did he realize the dog must still be in the car. On appeal here, Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to establish the mens rea of criminal negligence for both charges. The State must prove that a defendant “fail[ed] to become aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct" and that this risk constitutes a gross deviation from conduct performed by a reasonable person. Here, the court found that the record supports the trial court's conclusion that the defendant failed to become aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the dog would overheat in the car and that his failure to perceive this risk constituted a gross deviation from reasonable care. The temperature was high that day, the car was parked in direct sunlight with all the windows up, and the dog was left for around an hour. The fact that Defendant relied upon his 8-year-old son to remove the dog under these circumstances constituted a gross deviation from reasonable care. This was not "mere inattention" as Defendant claimed. The conviction was affirmed.
People v. Zamora 175 N.E.3d 700 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Defendant Juan Zamora was found guilty of failing to provide humane care and treatment for, and abusing, his 10 dogs in violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act. On appeal, defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions because the it generally showed that he treated his dogs well and they had not sustained physical or psychological injuries. Additionally, he argues that section 3(a)(4) of the act, which criminalizes the failure to provide “humane care and treatment,” is unconstitutionally vague. The conviction stems from defendant's conduct with his 10 pit bull type dogs. When the investigating officer executed a search warrant on defendant's residence, they found the ten dogs heavily chained in the basement standing on newspaper completely saturated with feces and urine, along with breeding harnesses and training treadmills indicative of dog fighting. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, defendant suggests the evidence showed he was a "considerate dog owner with healthy dogs." However, the court was unconvinced, finding the slates of the metal and wooden makeshift cages were not appropriate for indoor or outdoor housing. Further, the accumulation of dog waste also supported the officer's testimony and the presence of dog fighting supplies supported a conclusion that "defendant's treatment of the dogs reflected something other than mere companionship." As to the vagueness challenge, the court found that defendant did not demonstrate that section 3(a)(4) fails to sufficiently enable a person of ordinary intelligence to understand what conduct the statute criminalizes or that it fails to provide police officers and the courts explicit standards. In fact, the court found that "defendant did not demonstrate compassion, sympathy or consideration for the dogs when he failed to provide an adequate habitat or ensure that bodily waste did not accumulate" and that this conduct fell squarely in the conduct addressed by the law. Thus, the court affirmed the lower court's judgment and rejected defendant's claims on appeal.
Sacco v. Tate 175 Misc.2d 901 (N.Y. 1998)

Plaintiffs commenced the instant action to recover veterinary expenses incurred by reason of the fact that the dog sold to them by defendant was not healthy. The court held that plaintiffs were not entitled to avail themselves of the remedies afforded by article 35-D of the General Business Law by reason of their failure to comply with the requirements set forth in section 753 thereof (to wit, they did not produce the dog for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by the dealer, nor did they furnish the dealer with a certification of unfitness of the dog within three days after their receipt thereof). The court, however, noted that the article does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law, so the award by the court was affirmed (albeit on a different basis).

State v. Peterson 174 Wash. App. 828, 301 P.3d 1060 review denied, 178 Wash. 2d 1021, 312 P.3d 650 (2013)
In this case, defendant appeals six counts of first degree animal cruelty charges. On appeal, the defendant argued that (1) the statute she was convicted under, RCW 16.52.205(6), was unconstitutionally vague; that (2) starvation and dehydration were alternative means of committing first degree animal cruelty and that (3) there was no substantial evidence supporting the horses suffered from dehydration. The defendant also argued that the Snohomish Superior court had no authority to order her to reimburse the county for caring for her horses. The appeals court, however, held that RCW 16.52.205(6) was not unconstitutionally vague; that starvation and dehydration were alternative means to commit first degree animal cruelty, but there was substantial evidence to support the horses suffered from dehydration; and that the superior court had authority to order the defendant to pay restitution to the county.
Washington v. Olatoye 173 A.D.3d 467, 103 N.Y.S.3d 388 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019) This New York case involves an appeal by a public housing tenant after his petition to declare his dog an assistance animal was denied and he was placed on probation with instructions to his dog from the premises. The denial stems from an incident where Petitioner's English Bulldog "Onyx" allegedly bit a NYCHA employee when the employee was delivering a hotplate to petitioner's apartment when petitioner was not home. After the incident, NYCHA notified petitioner that it would seek to terminate his tenancy for non-desirability and breach of its rules and regulations. Petitioner suffered from mental illness as well as a traumatic brain injury and was in the process of trying to register Onyx as an assistance animal, which was validated by a letter from the psychiatric support center where he received services. At a hearing, the NYCHA hearing officer sustained the charges against petitioner, required him to remove the dog from his apartment immediately and placed him on probation for one year. It did not address petitioner's request for an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation and ignored the mental health records submitted into evidence. On appeal, this court first noted that housing providers are required to allow a person who proves their burden of showing that an animal assists them with aspects of their disability to keep an assistance animal. Here, the hearing officer engaged in no such analysis and relied on the "direct threat" exemption to the Fair Housing Amendments Act. Because there was no initial record that addressed petitioner's reasonable accommodation request, the appellate court was left with an insufficient record that precluded adequate review. Thus, the petition was held in abeyance and this court remanded the proceeding to NYCHA for a determination, on the existing record, in accordance with this decision.
State v. Reber 171 P.3d 406 (Utah 2007)

In this Utah case, the State sought review of the court of appeals' decision vacating the convictions of defendants. Reber was convicted of aiding or assisting in the wanton destruction of protected wildlife in violation of state law for killing a mule deer without a license or permit. On appeal, defendant contended that the state had no jurisdiction because he was an Indian hunting in Indian country. However, the court held that the State has jurisdiction over these defendants because the State has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Indian country when a non-Indian commits a victimless crime. Defendants are not Indians, as that term has been defined by federal law, and the crimes in these cases were victimless.

Shotts v. City of Madison 170 So. 3d 554 (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) Defendant was charged with animal cruelty after burning his girlfriend's dog while giving it a bath. He said it was an accident. There were no other witnesses, and the attending veterinarian testified that the dog's injuries were consistent with defendant's account. Defendant was nevertheless convicted after the county court suggested he could be guilty of animal cruelty if he had “carelessly” hurt the dog. Instead, the appeals court found the lower court applied the wrong legal standard. The 2011 animal cruelty statute, since repealed, that applied in this case required proof beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant acted maliciously. Since the prosecution failed to meet that burden, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed and rendered the defendant's conviction. Justice James dissents finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
People v. Olary (On Appeal) 170 N.W.2d 842 (Mich. 1969)

Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, defendant argued that the Court of Appeals erroneously upheld the conviction because of his inattention to the condition of the cows and failure to provide medical treatment, when such action or failure to act was not punishable under the anti-cruelty statute.  The Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of cruelty to animals because as a farmer, defendant could have realized that his conduct was cruel. 

State v. Amos 17 N.E.3d 9 (2017) After witnessing the 73 year old defendant-appellant emerge from area by the veterinary's dumpster holding an empty, wire cage animal trap, an employee of the clinic followed the defendant-appellant's car and obtained the vehicle's license plate number. Upon returning to the dumpster, the employee found a kitten with matted eyes that seemed unhealthy. The defendant-appellant was charged with one count of animal abandonment in violation of R.C. 959.01 and was found guilty. Defendant-appellant appealed her conviction and sentence on the grounds that the court erred in finding beyond a reasonable doubt that she was a keeper or, if she was a keeper, the court erred in determining that she abandoned the animal. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that once the defendant captured the animal in a cage, she assumed the responsibility that she would treat the animal humanely and could therefore be considered a “keeper.” Since Amos captured the animal and released it in another location without taking steps to make sure the animal would be found, the Ohio Court of Appeals also held that a reasonable person could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant-appellant had “abandoned” the animal. The judgment was therefore affirmed.
Janush v. Charities Housing Development Corp. 169 F.Supp.2d 1133 (N.D. Ca., 2000)

Tenant brought action under the Federal Fair Housing Act alleging that her landlord failed to reasonably accommodate her mental disability by refusing to allow her to keep companion animals in her rental unit. Tenant put forth evidence establishing that the animals lessened the effects of her mental disability by providing companionship. The housing authority argued that only service dogs are a reasonable accommodation. The court rejected the housing authority's argument, holding that animals other than service animal can be a reasonable accommodation for a disability. Also, the court noted that whether an accommodation is reasonable is a fact-specific inquiry, requiring an analysis of the burdens imposed on the housing authority and the benefits to the disabled person.

Allen v. Municipality of Anchorage 168 P.3d 890 (Alaska App., 2007)

Krystal R. Allen pleaded no contest to two counts of cruelty to animals after animal control officers came to her home and found 180 to 200 cats, 3 dogs, 13 birds, and 3 chickens in deplorable conditions. She was sentenced to a 30-day jail term and was placed on probation for 10 years. One of the conditions of Allen's probation prohibits her from possessing any animals other than her son's dog. In first deciding that its jurisdictional reach extends to claims not just based on the term of imprisonment, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by restricting Allen's possession of animals during the term of her probation.  

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Lenoir County SPCA, Inc. 168 N.C. App. 298, 607 S.E.2d 317 aff'd on other grounds, 360 N.C. 48, 619 S.E.2d 494 (2005)

An animal control facility's practice of euthanizing feral cats without holding them for 72 hours was challenged by a non-profit organization.  The animal control facility's method for determining if a cat is feral consisted only of poking the animal and gaging its reaction.  The trial court dismissed the claim, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

Miller v. Dep't of Agric. 168 Conn. App. 255, 145 A.3d 393 (2016) The Plaintiff, Kim Miller, argued “a severe deprivation” of her rights when the Superior Court dismissed her appeal to prevent her dogs from being euthanized. Miller owned two Rottweiler dogs that attacked the victim Cynthia Reed, causing injuries to Reed's head, the back of her neck, and her back. An animal control officer issued two disposal orders to euthanize Miller’s dogs. The Defendant, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, then affirmed the orders and Miller appealed. The Superior Court also dismissed the appeal, and Miller appealed further to the Appellate Court of Connecticut. Here, Miller argues, among other things, that her Sixth Amendment rights to confront witnesses were violated when witnesses were not available for cross-examination. Plaintiff Miller also claims that there were procedural violations in the initial hearing because of lack of written rules that applied to dog disposal orders and claimed error when the hearing officer acted acted arbitrarily and capriciously by “interject[ing] his opinion” while questioning a witness. The Appellate Court held that: (1) the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) did not preclude the admission of statements from the victim and an eyewitness, even though the victim and witness did not testify at the hearing. The court reasoned that in administrative proceedings under the UAPA, evidence is not inadmissible solely because it constitutes hearsay, as long as the evidence is reliable and probative. Additionally, a party to an administrative proceeding under the UAPA is not required to call any particular witness. (2) A dog owner's appeal of disposal orders for a biting animal is not a criminal prosecution that invokes Sixth Amendment protections. The court reasoned that the issuance of a disposal order does not, by itself, trigger the imposition of a fine or prison term on the owner. Rather, by obviating the threat that dangerous animals pose to the public, the provision is remedial and civil in nature. The judgment of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's appeal was affirmed.
State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005)

Police seized 120 neglected horses pursuant to a search warrant and a Circuit Court Judge allowed humane societies to dispose of the horses.  The owner of the horses sought a writ of mandamus against the Circuit Court Judge.  The Missouri Supreme Court held the Circuit Court Judge had jurisdiction to permit the seized horses to be disposed of and the impoundment statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo. 2005)

After a judge granted two humane societies permission to dispose of nearly 120 severely emaciated and malnourished horses, the horses' owner, instead of posting a bond or security, filed for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The appeals court issued a stop order and transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Here, the horses’ owner argued two points, but the Missouri Supreme Court found that (1) the spoliation of evidence doctrine does not apply at this juncture and that (2) the statute was not unconstitutionally vague, nor does the owner allege that the statute discriminates based upon classification or that the statute discriminates in its application so as to violate the equal protection clause. The stop order was therefore dissolved and the petition for the writ of mandamus was denied.

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

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

WERTMAN v. TIPPING 166 So.2d 666 (Fla.App., 1964)

The plaintiffs, owners of a seven-year-old trained, registered full blood German Shepherd dog, sued the defendants for the loss of this dog from the kennels at the animal hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The dog had been boarded at defendant's place and while there escaped from the kennel and was never found. This case set the wheels in motion for companion animals damages in Florida when the court affirmed a verdict of $1000, for a purebred dog. The court declined in only applying the fair market value and held that recovery could include special or pecuniary value to the owner.

Brown v. State 166 So. 3d 817 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
De Leon v. Vornado Montehiedra Acquisition L.P. 166 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.P.R. 2016) The defendant in this case sought to dismiss plaintiff’s case, stating that the plaintiff claim did not have proper constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court denied defendant’s request and held that plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to establish standing under the ADA. In order to establish standing, the plaintiff needed to prove three elements: (1) actual or threatened injury, (2) causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable court decision can redress the injury. The court determined that plaintiff did satisfy all three elements by showing that plaintiff’s disabled daughter was not allowed in defendant’s shopping mall with her service dog after the mall security guard was not properly informed of protocol regarding service dogs. Ultimately, the security guard mistakenly believed that the service dog needed documentation in order to enter the mall; however, the dog was properly identified as a certified service dog and should have been allowed into the mall. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.
Salinas v. Martin 166 Cal.App.4th 404

Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.  

Longhi v. APHIS 165 F3d 1057 (6th Cir. 1999)

APHIS was unsuccessful in asserting that an applicant who is part of one license as a partnership can not apply for another as a corporation.

American Soc. for Cruelty to Animals v. Board of Trustees of State 165 A.D.2d 561 (N.Y. 1991) In New York, an animal protection organization sought a judgment that would allow the public to attend meetings for a university’s animal use organization.   Such attendance was required under the New York Consolidated Law.   However, because the university meetings did not involve matters affecting the public or public policy, and since the animal protection organization was not considered a “public body,” public attendance was not ordered.  
Olier v. Bailey 164 So. 3d 982 (Miss. 2015) Plaintiff was attacked and chased by a domestic goose in Defendant’s yard. As Plaintiff attempted to flee, she fell and broke her arm. Plaintiff sued Defendant in the County Court of Jackson County under a theory of premises liability and, alternatively, under the dangerous-propensity rule. The trial court granted summary judgment because it found that Plaintiff was a licensee on Defendant's property and that Defendant did not breach her duty of care toward Plaintiff. It also denied relief under the dangerous-propensity rule because there was no evidence that the particular goose that bit Plaintiff ever had exhibited dangerous propensities prior to the incident. Plaintiff appealed to the Jackson County Circuit Court, which affirmed. Plaintiff then filed the instant appeal. The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that, while Plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, pursue her claim under her theory of general premises liability, she can proceed under the dangerous-propensity theory because the court found an issue of fact regarding whether Defendant was on notice of her geese's alleged dangerous propensity. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court judgment in part, reversed it in part, and remanded for further proceedings.
Gabriel v. Lovewell 164 S.W.3d 835 (Texas, 2005)

A Texas horse owner brought action against horse farm for negligence and breach of implied warranty in connection with the death of a horse in care of horse farm. On appeal of a decision in favor of the horse owner, the Court of Appeals held that by asking veterinarian if veterinarian told the horse owner that the horse died because it was not brought to veterinary clinic soon enough, the horse farm opened the door, and thus, the previously-rejected hearsay testimony regarding horse owner's conversation with veterinarian was admissible for limited purpose of impeaching veterinarian's testimony. Thus, the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Robeson County 164 N.C. App. 366, 595 S.E.2d 773 (2004)

Non-profit and advocate challenged the improper treatment/euthanasia of animals and complaint was dismissed.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's qualified as "aggrieved persons" within the statute, but that all administrative remedies were not sought.  Affirmed.

LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc. 163 So.2d 267 (Fla. 1964)

Respondent was a corporation engaged in the garbage collection business.  One of its employees maliciously hurled an empty garbage can at plaintiff's pet pedigreed dog, who was tethered at the time, killing it.  The issue before the court was the reconsideration not of  the issue of liability, but for determination only of compensatory and punitive damages.  The court stated that it was obvious from the facts that the act performed by the representative of the respondent was malicious and demonstrated an extreme indifference to the rights of the petitioner. Having this view, there was no prohibition of punitive damages relative to awarding compensation for mental pain, as would be the case if there had been physical injury resulting only from simple negligence.  The court went on to say that the restriction of the loss of a pet to its intrinsic value in circumstances such as the ones before us is a principle we cannot accept and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training.

Rohrer v. Humane Soc'y of Washington Cty. 163 A.3d 146 (Md., 2017) In this Maryland appeal, appellant Rohrer questions the authority of the Humane Society to act under CR § 10–615 (the law that allows an officer of a humane society to take possession of an animal from its owner). Rohrer also challenges the legal ownership of the animals in state custody. The seizure of Rohrer's animals began in 2014, when an anonymous tip led humane investigators to Rohrer's farm. Field officers and a local veterinarian observed cattle that were "extremely thin" on Rohrer's farm. These concerns led to a search warrant of appellant's property. Due to the presence of dead animal bodies intermingled with the living, high piles of animal feces, and goats with hooves so overgrown they could not walk, the Humane Society (HS) and Sheriff's office seized all the animals under the warrant. The actual "seizure" resulted in a transfer of some animals to foster farms and an agreement between HS and Rohrer to adequately care for remaining animals on the property. Rohrer was charged with 318 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, eventually being found guilty on only 5 counts and sentenced to supervised probation. During the initial proceedings, Rohrer filed a "petition for return of seized animals" under CR § 10–615(d)(2). When the District Court gave conclusions on the petition, it lamented on the "lack of guidance" in the statute and noted that that the "statute really doesn't say" whether Rohrer would lose ownership of the animals. After the criminal trial, Rohrer again sought return of the animals after negotiations with the HS failed. The Circuit Court upheld the District Court's denial of the Petition for Return, finding the ruling was not clearly erroneous and it was not in the best interests of the animals to return to Rohrer. On a writ of certiorari to this court, Rohrer raises three issues: (1) can the HS seize an animal already in state custody from a search warrant; (2) must the seizure by the HS be justified by the conditions at the time of seizure or may it be based on previously observed conditions; and (3) how does a denial of a petition to return the animals affect the owner's property rights in the animals? In looking at prior codifications of the law as well as surrounding legislative history, the court first held that a HS officer may notify the owner of animal seized by the state in connection with a criminal warrant of its intent to take possession of the animal upon its release from state custody. Secondly, a HS officer may rely on previously-observed conditions to justify seizure under Section 10-615. The court noted that, similar to a search warrant, the factors justifying seizure can become weaker with time. So, when an owner files a petition for return, the HS has the burden of showing the court the seizure was necessary under the statute. In Rohrer's case, this Court found the District and Circuit Courts did not reach the question of whether the necessity supporting HS' possession of the animals continued. Since the animals were released after the criminal trial concluded, this Court stated that the District Court may now consider this question. Finally, the Court weighed in on whether the denial of a Petition for Return affects ownership interests. This Court declined to adopt the standard of "best interests" of the animals. Instead, the Court found that the function of the Petition for Return is to determine who has the right to temporarily possess an animal in question and this does not vest ownership rights in the animal if the petition is denied. This case was remanded to Circuit Court so that court can determine whether the final disposition of the criminal case and subsequent release of the animals held under the search warrant affects the disposition of Rohrer's Petition for Return of this animals.
People v. Olary 160 N.W.2d 348 (Mich. 1968)

Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows.  The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals. 

People v. Collier 160 N.E.3d 137 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
State v. Acker 160 Conn. App. 734 (2015) Defendant, the director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut, Inc., was charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty for failing to give animals “proper care by exposing [them] to conditions that placed [them] at risk of hypothermia, dehydration, or to conditions injurious to [their] well-being....” Defendant was the director of a nonprofit animal rescue organization and housed rescued dogs in an uninsulated outdoor barn heated solely by space heaters. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of 15 counts and acquitted of the remaining 48 counts of animal cruelty. On appeal, the defendant claimed that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction and (2)C.G.S.A. § 53-247(a) was unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case. The appellate court rejected defendant’s claims and affirmed the trial court’s decision.
State v. Jallow 16 Wash. App. 2d 625, 482 P.3d 959 (2021) Defendant Jallow appeals his conviction of two counts of animal cruelty in the first degree, arguing that (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict him of animal cruelty, (2) the to-convict instruction omitted the element of causation, thus relieving the State of its burden of proof, and (3) because animal cruelty is an alternative means crime, violation of the unanimous jury verdict requires reversal of one of the animal cruelty convictions. The cruelty convictions stemmed from events first occurring in late 2016. An animal control officer (Davis) received a report on sheep and goats at defendant's property that were in poor condition. On the officer's second documented visit, he observed a a lifeless sheep. On a subsequent visit, the officer took a sheep that a neighbor has wrapped in a blanket to a local veterinarian who scored it very low on a health scale and ultimately had to euthanize the animal. After a couple more visits to bring food and monitor the animals, and after no contact from Jallow despite requests, Davis returned with a search warrant to seize the animals. Jallow was charged with three counts of first degree cruelty to animals and one count of bail jumping. At trial, Jallow contended that he contracted with another person (Jabang) to care for the animals after he went on an extended trip in October of 2016. After hearing testimony from both Jallow and Jabang (hired to care for the animals), Jallow was ultimately convicted of first degree cruelty. On appeal, Jallow first argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that he was not criminally negligent because he arranged for someone else to care for the animals. However, the evidence showed that despite being aware that his caretaker was not providing sufficient care, Jallow continued to rely on him and did not take further action. The court noted that a reasonable person in this situation would have found an alternate caretaker. "Although Jallow himself was not neglecting to feed and water the animals, he was directly responsible for not ensuring that his animals were properly cared for. Because any rational trier of fact could have found that Jallow acted with criminal negligence, sufficient evidence supported his conviction." As to Jallow's contention that the jury instruction was incorrect, the appellate court agreed. The omission of the language "as a result causes" removed an essential element of the crime and did not allow Jallow to pursue his theory that it was his employee Jabang's intervening actions that caused the injury to the sheep. Finally, defendant argued on appeal that first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime and thus, the trial court committed instructional error when it did not give particularized expressions of jury unanimity on each alternative means for commission of the crime. Notably, at the prosecution's urging, the court ultimately held that the previous case that held first degree animal cruelty is an alternative means crime was wrongly decided. However, the two instructional errors necessitated reversal of Jallow's conviction here. Reversed.
Swido v. Lafayette Insurance Co. 16 So.2d 399 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2005)

In this Louisiana case, a prospective horse buyer filed an action against the prior sellers and their insurer to recover for injuries when she attempted to ride a horse offered for sale by the initial buyer. At the time of the injury, the horse was under the custody of the original sellers who were paid an additional amount to have the horse trained. The Court of Appeal held that sale of horse was perfected when the first buyer paid the sale price, even though the first buyer paid an additional amount for the sellers to finish training the horse. On the negligence issue, the court found the "green-broke" horse did not present an unreasonable risk of harm when the potential buyer attempted to ride it bareback as to assign strict liability to the prior sellers who had custody of the horse. 

Heiligmann v. Rose 16 S.W. 931 (Tex.,1891)

Appellees sued appellant for damages after he poisoned three of their dogs. The Court held that an owner has an action and remedy against a trespasser for damages resulting from injuries inflicted upon dogs because they are property. The Court elaborated on the true rule in determining the value of dogs, explaining that  It may be either a market value or some special or pecuniary value to the owner. The Court allowed actual damages.

Geer v. Connecticut 16 S.Ct. 600 (1896) (overruled by Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322)

Defendant was charged with the possession of game birds, for the purpose of transporting them beyond the state, which birds had been lawfully killed within the state.   The sole issue which the case presents is, was it lawful, under the constitution of the United States (section 8, art. 1) (the Commerce Clause), for the state of Connecticut to allow the killing of birds within the state during a designated open season, to allow such birds, when so killed, to be used, to be sold, and to be bought for use, within the state, and yet to forbid their transportation beyond the state?  The Court held that, aside from the authority of the state, derived from the common ownership of game, and the trust for the benefit of its people which the state exercises in relation thereto, there is another view of the power of the state in regard to the property in game, which is equally conclusive. The right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the state of a police power to that end, which may be none the less efficiently called into play, because, by doing so, interstate commerce may be remotely and indirectly affected.  This decision was later overruled in Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322.

People v. Miller 159 A.D.3d 1608 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree, petit larceny, and criminal contempt in the first degree. The incident occurred when defendant went back over to his girlfriend's house after he called her to ask permission to visit the dogs. The complainant declined, saying she had plans for an outing with the dogs that day. Witnesses later observed defendant banging on the complainant's door and subsequently opening a window and climbing in her residence. After forcing entry, defendant took the dogs and complainant called 911. Subsequently, defendant led police on a high speed chase, and, after being arrested, defendant claimed the dogs were licensed to him. The appellate court viewed all the evidence of the elements for each crime and rejected defendant's contention that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Thus, the judgment was affirmed. Notably, two judges dissented on this appeal, finding that defendant "had at least a good faith basis for claiming an ownership interest the dogs." The dissent found the dogs may have been jointly owned and that, prior to his arrest, "defendant simply intended to take the dogs for a walk and then return them."
Brown by Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. 158 N.E.3d 401 (Ind. Ct. App. 2020), adhered to on reh'g sub nom. Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc., 162 N.E.3d 1121 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021) This case from Indiana explores whether an animal shelter had a duty to inform a dog adopter of a dog's vicious propensities. Plaintiffs (the Browns) appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. (“Southside”). The case stems from the adoption of a dog from defendant animal shelter. In 2014, the dog was surrendered by its owner to a neighboring animal shelter because it did not get along with another dog. The dog was then adopted to another party where it attacked the family's two-year-old boy, causing significant injuries. The dog was then surrendered to the county animal shelter, who recorded the bite incident upon intake of the dog. After the mandated quarantine, the dog was eventually transferred to defendant animal shelter who was informed of the bite according to deposition testimony. However, during an 8-day aggression observation, the dog showed no signs of aggression. In late 2015, plaintiffs adopted the dog with a release that stated the history of the dog was unknown and the shelter was released from all liability resulting from illness or actions by the dog. Less than a month later, the dog attacked the Brown's six-year-old daughter causing injuries to her face. In the trial court action by the Browns against Southside, the court granted the defendant's motion of summary judgment based on the adoption release and dismissed the case. In this instant appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals, the court focused on whether Southside owed a duty to the Browns to establish liability for the dog bite. The court found factual disputes remain as to whether Southside knew or should have known of the dog's past aggression and whether the knowledge from the volunteer who did intake for the dog imputed knowledge to the animal shelter. Additionally, the court indicated there was a question of fact whether Southside exercised reasonable care in evaluating the dog's behavioral history prior to adoption. Ultimately, the Court found that Southside had a duty to the Browns to inform them of the dog's past bite history, and factual issues relating to that duty preclude the granting of summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Tranchita v. Dep't of Nat. Res. 158 N.E.3d 1230 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Plaintiff Tomi Tranchita alleged that she cared for four abused and abandoned coyotes for 13 years. The coyotes were housed within a fully fenced-in backyard, ate appropriate food, and received medical care from a veterinarian. The Plaintiff possessed a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class C exhibitor’s license which imposed restrictions on the licensee such as unannounced annual inspections by a veterinarian or specially trained animal expert. Plaintiff alleged that she had never been cited for any USDA violations and had passed all inspections. Plaintiff also held an Illinois state permit as a fur-bearing mammal breeder from 2011 to 2016, however, this permit lapsed after Plaintiff failed to pay the annual fee. On April 24, 2019, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) executed a search warrant on Plaintiff’s premises. The coyotes were seized during this raid. Plaintiff was told that if she did not sign a relinquishment form that the coyotes would be euthanized or confined to a small space that would end up killing them. IDNR cited Plaintiff for lacking proper permits and for several criminal violations of the Wildlife code. Three of the four coyotes ended up dying from what was believed to be distemper. Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims under the fourth and fourteenth amendments. Plaintiff also filed an emergency motion for preliminary injunctive relief arguing that the coyote’s lives were at risk if they were not returned. Plaintiff alleged that she had a protected property interest in the coyotes pursuant to her federal exhibitor license. The trial court found that Plaintiff did not have a protected property interest in the coyotes because she did not possess the proper Illinois permit at the time of the seizure. The trial court subsequently denied her motion for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff then appealed. The Court looked to state law to determine whether Plaintiff had a property interest in the coyotes. Under the Illinois Wildlife Code, a fur-bearing mammal breeder permit is necessary in order to possess or raise a coyote. Plaintiff was in violation of Illinois law the moment her permit lapsed in 2016. This made the coyotes contraband since they were possessed in violation of Illinois’ Wildlife Code. No person is permitted to assert legal ownership or a right to possession of property that is contraband. Plaintiff argued that her federal exhibitor’s license recognized a right of property in her coyotes, however, the Court found that the mere possession of a federal exhibitor’s license does not automatically vest a property right in the permit holder. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgement of the trial court.
Clyncke v. Waneka 157 P.3d 1072 (Colo. 2007)

In this Colorado case, an inexperienced horse rider who was injured in fall from horse during a horse roundup, brought an action under the Colorado Equine Activities Statute against the owners of riding stable. The lower court, after a jury trial, entered a judgment for the stable owners. On appeal at the Supreme Court, the Court found that the Equine Statute places a two-pronged duty on sponsors; a sponsor is liable when he or she fails to make reasonable efforts to determine either a participant's ability to engage in the equine activity or a participant's ability to manage a particular horse. Here, a new trial was in order because the result may have been different if court had properly instructed the jury regarding the exception from civil liability for the sponsor.

Moreno v. Hughes 157 F.Supp.3d 687 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2016) This § 1983 action arises from the shooting of Plaintiffs' dog by Defendant Ronald Hughes, a Michigan Department of Corrections Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator. Defendant shot Plaintiffs' dog after entering her house by mistake to execute a fugitive warrant. This proceeding concerns a Motion in Limine filed by defendant seeking an order that plaintiffs are not entitled to noneconomic losses for the pain and suffering they sustained as a result of Defendant shooting their dog. Defendant contends that damage to personal property (including dogs) is limited to market value only. In rejecting Defendant's argument, this court found that it is "beyond dispute" that compensatory damages under § 1983 may include noneconomic injuries. A Plaintiff's interests in § 1983 actions contain different policy considerations than in traditional negligence claims. In fact, the court stated that, "[p]rohibiting recovery for emotional damages stemming from the loss of, or harm to, an animal caused by a constitutional violation would conflict with the compensatory and deterrence aims of § 1983." Additionally, applying Michigan law on the issue of emotional damages for injury to an animal would create inconsistency in civil rights actions since other states allow such damages. The court found that the determination of both compensatory and punitive damages must be left to the fact finder for each case, including this one. Defendant's Motion in Limine was denied.
Brandon v. Village of Maywood 157 F. Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001)

Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.

Central Park Sightseeing LLC v. New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets, Inc. 157 A.D.3d 28, 66 N.Y.S.3d 477 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017) This New York cases balances animal right protestors' First Amendment rights against the government's interest in preserving public safety and flow of traffic on public streets. Plaintiff here is a business that operates horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park. Defendant is an animal rights organization that protests the horse-and-carriage industry, often demonstrating where carriage operators drop off and pick up customers. At issue, is the manner in which defendants conduct their protests in the designated horse-drawn carriage zones. Plaintiff's claim defendants harass and threaten customers and drivers, and create a public safety issue by chasing after carriages. The court granted a preliminary injunction that enjoined defendants from things like physically blocking or impeding persons from riding or disembarking from carriages, physically touching associated persons or horses, yelling or shouting at persons or horses, obstructing the progress of a carriage ride, and handing literature to a person situated within a horse carriage. The court found the plaintiffs also established a likelihood of success on an action for public nuisance and a showing of a "special injury" aimed at plaintiff's business. Finding the injunction was content-neutral, this reviewing court then considered whether the challenged portions of the injunction burden speech no more than is necessary to assert the significant government interest. The court agreed with defendant that the "floating buffer zone" of the original order would be difficult for a protestor to assess and would burden speech more than is necessary. Thus, this court modified the order to prohibit any person from knowingly approaching within nine feet of a person in the loading/unloading carriage zone (a “conversational distance," said the court). The court also noted that the First Amendment does not require that protestors be allowed to interrupt the flow of traffic or endanger the public in the delivery of speech. The court also limited language in the original order that extended the reach of the injunction to “anyone else who becomes aware of this [d]ecision and [o]rder.” The court changed to this to defendants and “those acting in concert with the named parties” The order from the Supreme Court, New York County was modified as specified in this decision.
Brookover v. Roberts Enterprises, Inc. 156 P.3d 1157 (Ariz.App. Div. 1,2007)

Plaintiffs-appellants Brookovers appeal the trial court's decision granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Roberts Enterprises, Inc.. The Brookovers claimed that Roberts was negligent in allowing its cow to enter the highway where it collided with the Brookovers' automobile. They contend that they presented evidence that defendants were aware of the risk of significant numbers of collisions between cattle and automobiles when cows were allowed to graze in the vicinity of a paved highway. Here, however, the court stated that the record indicates that the accident involving the Brookovers was the first reported cattle-automobile accident to occur on the Salome Highway through the Clem Allotment since Roberts began to lease the premises. Further, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling on the inapplicability of res ipsa loquitur based on the Brookovers' inability to establish that the accident is of a type that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.

Perkins v. Hattery 155 N.E.2d 73 (Ohio App. 1958)

This Ohio case examined the propriety of a county dog warden killing a dog that had killed a sheep nine hours before such seizure.  The Court of Appeals held that dog warden was not authorized to destroy or otherwise dispose of a duly licensed dog found and seized by such warden upon the premises of its owner following a complaint made to the warden by the owner of sheep that the dog had killed certain of his sheep approximately nine hours before such seizure.

Thacker ex rel. Thacker v. Kroger Co. 155 Fed.Appx. 946 (C.A.8 (Mo.),2005)

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed district court decision that Thacker family failed to link an injury to ground beef on which the USDA requested a recall.

People v. Richardson 155 A.D.3d 1595, 66 N.Y.S.3d 757 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017), leave to appeal denied, 30 N.Y.3d 1119 (2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals from a three-county felony animal fighting conviction. Defendant's dog fighting activities came to light when police were dispatched to defendant's residence after defendant's wife reported a burglary in progress. Upon entry by consent, police found, in plain view, a wounded dog in a cage, several modified treadmills for use by dogs, blood on a water heater, and apparent dogfighting paraphernalia. After seeking a search warrant, the items were photographed and other evidence (supplements, training sticks, etc.) was collected. On appeal, the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress all of the physical evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree. The court noted that the dogfighting paraphernalia were observed in plain view by responding policy officers. Additionally, police officers remaining at the house after the protective sweep to prevent the destruction of evidence while the search warrant was issued did not render the search unlawful. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant intended to engage in dogfighting and that the dogs were deprived of medical treatment. In addition to the paraphernalia and collection of literature on dogfighting, defendant's dogs had extensive scarring and healing consistent with dogfighting and inconsistent with defendant's proffered "cat-scratch" and "broken window" explanations. Defendant's convictions and judgment of sentence were affirmed.
ALDF v. Glickman 154 F.3d 426 (1998)

Animal welfare group and individual plaintiffs brought action against, inter alia, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), challenging its regulations concerning treatment of nonhuman primates on grounds that they violated USDA's statutory mandate under Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Moreland v. Adams 152 P.3d 558 (Idaho, 2007)

A motorcyclist died when he ran into a calf on the road. His family sued for wrongful death. The court held that the owner of the calf was not liable because of open range immunity.

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