Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Mark, Stoner, Setter and Pearson v Henshaw (1998) 155 ALR 118

The four appellants, members of Animal Liberation, entered premises containing battery hens without permission. This was done allegedly on concern as to the treatment of those battery hens and the appellants claimed this constituted a reasonable excuse. After a second appeal, the convictions were upheld and it was found that the appellants did not have a reasonable excuse for trespass.

The Duck Shooting Case (1997) 189 CLR 579

The plaintiff was charged with being in an area set aside for hunting, during hunting season, without a licence. The plaintiff argued that he was there in order to collect dead and wounded ducks and endangered species and to draw media attention to the cruelty associated with duck shooting. The Court found that although the regulation under which the plaintiff was charged restricted the implied freedom of political communication, it was appropriate to protect the safety of persons with conflicting aims likely to be in the area.

Animal Liberation (Vic) Inc v Gasser (1991) 1 VR 51

Animal Liberation were injuncted from publishing words claiming animal cruelty in a circus or demonstrating against that circus. They were also found guilty of nuisance resulting from their demonstration outside that circus. On appeal, the injunctions were overturned although the finding of nuisance was upheld.

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Aubertine 991 N.Y.S.2d 482 (2014) Petitioners seek, among other things, a declaration that force-fed foie gras is an adulterated food product and an order prohibiting the state respondents from allowing foie gras into the human food supply. Pre-answer motions to dismiss asserted, among other things, that petitioners lacked standing. Supreme Court granted dismissal upon such ground and petitioners appealed. Petitioner Stahlie contended he had standing based upon allegations that he occasionally ate foie gras at parties and other events and that this might increase his risk of developing secondary amyloidosis. The court, however, found the risk of exposure to be minimal and the indication of harm uncertain since Stahlie had no underlying medical conditions that might be related to an increased risk of secondary amyloidosism, that his exposure to foie gras was infrequent, and that he did not cite a situation of any person ever suffering secondary amyloidosis that was linked to foie gras. The Animal Legal Defense Fund argued that since it used its resources to investigate and litigate the alleged conduct of the state respondents, it had standing. The court, however, found that a finding of standing under this situation would essentially eliminate the standing requirement any time an advocacy organization used its resources to challenge government action or inaction. Lastly the court found that petitioners had not alleged ‘a sufficient nexus to fiscal activities of the state to allow for State Finance Law § 123-b standing.’ The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.
Hastings v. Sauve 989 N.E.2d 940 (N.Y., 2013)

After plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, she sued farm owner, operator of cattle-shipping business, and operator's assistant, alleging that defendants were negligent in not properly confining cow to its pasture. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious or abnormal propensity, or that cow's owner knew of propensity, as required to support a strict liability claim. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeals, the court held that a landowner or the owner of an animal may be liable under ordinary tort-law principles when a farm animal is negligently allowed to stray from the property on which the animal is kept.

Travis v. Murray 977 N.Y.S.2d 621 (Sup. Ct. 2013)

A short, childless marriage ended in a custody battle over a dachshund after one spouse allegedly took the dog while the other spouse was away on a business trip. After reviewing the progression of the law in New York and in other states, the court decided to apply a “best for all concerned” standard and to give the parties a full, one-day hearing. The plaintiff’s motion to order the defendant to return the couple's dog and to be awarded “sole residential custody” of the dog was therefore granted.

Mercado v. Ovalle 973 N.Y.S.2d 171 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2013)

In this New York case, plaintiff appealed the lower court's order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in a dog bite case. Defendants, a grocery store and its owner, asserted that they did not own the two pit bulls that attacked plaintiff. The only evidence plaintiff presented showing defendants' ownership and control over the dogs were hearsay statements from the mechanic who operated the lot that the dogs guarded. The court found this evidence that defendants occasionally walked and fed the dogs insufficient to show that they "harbored" the dogs. Affirmed.

U.S. v. CITGO Petroleum Corp. 893 F.Supp.2d 841 (S,D.Tex.,2014) In 2007, CITGO was convicted of unlawfully taking and aiding and abetting the taking of migratory birds under MBTA § 707(a) after ten dead birds were found in two large open-top oil tanks. CITGO moved the Court to vacate its convictions, arguing that the MTBA criminalizes the unlawful taking or killing of migratory birds by hunting, trapping, poaching, or similar means, but does not criminalize commercial activities in which migratory birds are unintentionally killed as a result of activity completely unrelated to hunting, trapping, or poaching. In response, the Government argued that the MTBA prohibits the taking or killing of a migratory bird at any time, by any means or in any manner. The evidence presented at trial established that a number of individuals saw oil-covered birds, both dead and alive. An employee told senior management and suggested to another member of CITGO's senior management team that CITGO install nets on the tanks to prevent birds from landing in the oil. Based on this evidence, the court held that not only was it reasonably foreseeable that protected migratory birds might become trapped in the layers of oil on top of the tanks, but that CITGO was aware that this was happening for years and did nothing to stop it. Because CITGO's unlawful, open-air oil tanks proximately caused the deaths of migratory birds in violation of the MBTA, CITGO's Motion to Vacate CITGO's Conviction for Violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was denied.
Stevens v. Hollywood Towers and Condominium Ass'n 836 F.Supp.2d 800 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Plaintiffs brought the instant suit contending that their Condo Board's refusal to accommodate the need for an emotional support animal forced them to sell their condo. The Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. After finding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to unrestricted access for their dog despite a no pet waiver and after needing more facts to determine whether Defendants restrictions on Plaintiffs’ access to the building were reasonable, the District Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under the Federal Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The District Court also found Plaintiffs' interference or intimidation allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. However, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because Plaintiffs had not contended that Defendants unreasonably used their own property to interfere in Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home, but rather, contended that Defendants made rules that interfered with the Plaintiff's ability to use the common areas of the property as they wished. Plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was also dismissed because Plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that Defendants' conduct was extreme or outrageous. Finally, the constructive eviction claim was dismissed because more than a year had past between the owners’ accommodation request and the sale of their condominium. In sum, Counts I, II, and III went forward, but the remainder of the complaint was dismissed. Additionally, Defendant Sudler Building Services was dismissed from the complaint.
Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Property Management, Inc. 78 F.Supp.2d 1028 (D.N.D. 2011) Plaintiffs bring this action against Goldmark Property Management alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The alleged discriminatory policy is a mandatory application fee, non-refundable deposit, and monthly charge that Goldmark imposes on tenants with disabilities who reside with a non-specially trained assistance animal (i.e. a companion pet). These same fees are waived for tenants with disabilities who reside with a trained assistance animal (i.e. a seeing eye dog). The FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training; therefore, Goldmark's policy implicates the FHA. Further, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a prima face case of discrimination and have presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues for trial on the questions of the necessity and reasonableness of the requested accommodation and whether Goldmark's alleged objective for the policy is permissible under the FHA and not pretextual. Therefore, Goldmark's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to Plaintiffs' claim of disparate treatment because no proof was offered of a discriminatory intent. It is denied as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact and failure to make a reasonable accommodation.
Jackson v. Mateus 70 P.3d 78 (Utah 2003) Plaintiff filed suit against the defendant after she was bitten by the defendant’s cat and required medical attention as a result of the bite. Plaintiff found the defendant’s cat on her property and mistakenly started petting the cat, thinking that it was one of her own cats. As plaintiff was petting the cat, it bit her causing her injury. Plaintiff filed a negligence claim against defendant for not restraining the cat. The court held in favor of the defendant because the court found that this incident was not foreseeable and because it was not foreseeable, the defendant did not owe a duty to restrain the animal under the common law, municipal law, or state law.
Leigh v. State 58 So. 3d 396 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) Philip Leigh (Defendant) appeals from an order summarily denying his motion for postconviction relief. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. Defendant claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to appear in a leg restraint and for failing to object to the presence of a dog. Apparently, the dog became disruptive on more than one occasion and was visible to the judge and jury. The Florida appellate court reversed and remanded, with a provision that the trial court could attach portions of the record that would refute the possibility that defense counsel’s failure to object to the dog’s presence indicated ineffective assistance of counsel. Since there was apparently no evidence of the dog’s presence in the record at all, the trial court was presumably obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter.
U.S. v. FMC Corp. 572 F.2d 902 (2nd Cir., 1978) FMC operated a plant which manufactured various pesticides, requiring large amounts of wastewater which was stored in a pond. The pond attracted waterfowl during migration, some of which died. FMC attempted various measures to keep birds away from the pond. But, the Court held that FMC had engaged in an activity involving the manufacture of a highly toxic chemical and had failed to prevent this chemical from escaping into the pond and killing birds. The Court, therefore, held that this was sufficient to impose strict liability on FMC.
Warren v. Delvista Towers Condominium Ass'n, Inc. 49 F.Supp.3d 1082 (S.D. Fla. 2014) In its motion for summary judgment, Defendant argues Plaintiff’s accommodation request under the Federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”) to modify Defendant's “no pet” policy was unreasonable because Plaintiff's emotional support animal was a pit bull and pit bulls were banned by county ordinance. In denying the Defendant’s motion, the District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. However, in line with US Department of Housing and Urban Development notices, the court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the dog posed a direct threat to members of the condominium association, and whether that threat could be reduced by other reasonable accommodations.
BARKING HOUND VILLAGE, LLC., et al. v. MONYAK, et al. 299 Ga. 144, 787 S.E.2d 191 (Ga., 2016) In 2012, Plaintiffs Robert and Elizabeth Monyaks took their dogs Lola and Callie, for ten days to a kennel owned by Defendants Barking Hound Village, LLC (“BHV”) and managed by William Furman. Callie, had been prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis pain. However, three days after picking up their dogs from BHV, Lola was diagnosed with acute renal failure and died in March 2013.The Monyaks sued BHV and Furman for damages alleging that while at the kennel Lola was administered toxic doses of the arthritis medication prescribed for Callie. BHV and Furman moved for summary judgment on all the Monyaks' claims asserting that the measure of damages for the death of a dog was capped at the dog's fair market value and the Monyaks failed to prove that Lola had any market value. The Court of Appeals concluded that the proper measure of damages for the loss of a pet is the actual value of the dog to its owners rather than the dog’s fair market value. The court stated that the actual value of the animal could be demonstrated by reasonable veterinary and other expenses incurred by its owners in treating injuries, as well as by other economic factors. However, evidence of non-economic factors demonstrating the dog's intrinsic value to its owners would not be admissible. The Supreme Court of Georgia reversed in part and held that the damages recoverable by the owners of an animal negligently killed by another includes both the animal's fair market value at the time of the loss plus interest, and, in addition, any medical and other expenses reasonably incurred in treating the animal. The Supreme Court reasoned that “[t]he value of [a] dog may be proved, as that of any other property, by evidence that he was of a particular breed, and had certain qualities, and by witnesses who knew the market value of such animal, if any market value be shown.” The Supreme Court also affirmed the Court of Appeals in part and found no error in the court's determination that Georgia precedent does not allow for the recovery of damages based on the sentimental value of personal property to its owner.
Ohio v. George 2014-Ohio-5781 (App. Ct, 2014) Clayton George was convicted of raping two children of his girlfriend, age six and eight at the time of the crime. Among assignments of error on appeal was that the trial court had abused its discretion in allowing Avery, a facility dog, to accompany the two children during their testimony without a showing of necessity. On appeal, the defense argued that (1) unlike the facility dogs in Tohom, Spence, and Dye, Avery was “recognizable on the record while he was in court,” (2) the prosecution failed to show necessity for having Avery at trial, and (3) the standards set in Tohom, Spence, and Dye should have applied to determine whether Avery was permitted at trial. The appellate court noted that the defense had not objected to the presence of the dog during the trial nor had he made these three points at trial, meaning that the appellate court did not need to consider them for the first time on appeal under Ohio appellate law. The assignments of error were all overruled and the judgement of the trial court was affirmed.
In re: Jennifer Caudill 2013 WL 604009 (U.S.D.A. Feb. 1, 2013) Although the Complaint alleged that Caudill made false or fraudulent statements and/or provided false or fraudulent records to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the emphasis in the Complaint suggested that primary reliance was being placed upon the more general determination of unfitness. The Complaint alleged that Respondents (collectively, including Caudill) engaged in activities designed to circumvent an order of the Secretary of Agriculture in revoking the Animal Welfare Act exhibitor's license previously held by Lancelot Kollman Ramos, and have acted as surrogates for Ramos. Caudill and Kalmanson were alleged to continue to act as Ramos's surrogates, and to facilitate the circumvention of his license revocation order. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found factual support for termination on the grounds of false statements and providing false documents to be lacking. The AJL also found little support for the conclusion that Caudill in any way was operating as a surrogate for Ramos. The ALJ did find that although Caudill had initiated discussions with Ramos concerning the purchase of his animals prior to the effective date of his license revocation, her subsequent consummation of the transaction after his license had been revoked constitutes a violation of 9 C.F.R. § 2.132. In the end, however, the evidence was insufficient to find that Respondent Caudill was unfit to hold an AWA license or that maintenance of a license by her would in any way be contrary to the purposes of the Act
ASSOCIACAO SANTUARIO DE ELEFANTES BRASIL 1001993-45.2019.8.11.0024 This case from Brazil concerns the elephant named "Ramba." Ramba is a former circus elephant who spent more than 30 years at circuses in Chile and Argentina. On October 18, 2019, she arrived at Santuário de Elefantes do Brasil (Brazil Elephants Sanctuary) after a 73 hour trip all the way from Chile. Before Ramba was transferred, Judge Leonísio Salles de Abreu Junior, from the 1st Civil Court at Chapada dos Guimarães, the region where the sanctuary is located in Mato Grosso , Brazil, made a ruling changing her status from a mere "good." The judge prohibited the local Government from charging the sanctuary R$ 50.000 (approximately US $ 13.00) in a tax on movement of goods finding that Ramba is not a thing, and is not a subject to importation good tax. According to an article at https://www.ambientesecom.net/2019/10/24/groundbreaking-decision-of-brazilian-judge-for-captive-elephant, the judge said further, "Her position, far from being a commodity (as she was in the life of exploitation to what she was submitted to by her former owners), is now that of a guest, who seeks for a new destination on the margins of what human evil has already caused her." Attached case is in Portuguese.
Douglas Furbee, et al. v. Gregory L. Wilson, et. al. --- N.E.3d ----, 2020 WL 1503236 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 30, 2020) Shelly Linder lived in an apartment complex with a no-pet policy. Linder asked if she could have an emotional-support animal and provided a letter from a licensed family and marriage therapist, which stated that Linder had a disability and required an emotional-support animal to help alleviate her symptoms. The letter did not identify a specific disability and the landlord subsequently requested more information from Linder. Linder did not provide any additional information and instead brought her cat into her apartment as her emotional-support animal. The landlord charged Linder a fine after discovering the cat on the premises and gave her seven days in which to remove the cat. Linder failed to comply which led to Linder’s eviction. The Indiana Civil Rights Commission filed a complaint against the landlord on behalf of Linder in Delaware Circuit Court alleging that the landlord failed to accommodate her request for an emotional-support animal in turn violating the Indiana Fair Housing Act. The trial court denied summary judgment for the landlord and this appeal followed. The landlord conceded that Linder was disabled and requested a reasonable accommodation, however, the landlord argued that it was not given enough information from which to “meaningfully” review Linder’s request. The Delaware Court of Appeals agreed that the Landlord did not have sufficient information to meaningfully review Linder’s request and because Linder did not inform the Landlord about her disability and her need for the cat, she was acting in bad faith. The Court ultimately reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.
People v. Zamora --- N.E.3d ---- 2020 IL App (1st) 172011 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.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Olympic Game Farm, Inc. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 2191876 (W.D. Wash. May 21, 2019) This case has to do with the mistreatment and unsafe captivity of numerous animals kept at a roadside zoo in Sequim, Washington called Olympic Game Farm (OGF). The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) alleged that OGF’s failure to abide by the Federal Endangered Species Act, as well as alleged violations of Washington State animal cruelty laws created a public nuisance. OGF admitted one of the allegations, specifically, that they are not accredited but possess or display Roosevelt Elk. That was an admitted violation of Washington law which makes it unlawful for a non-accredited facility to possess such a species. That single admission supported ALDF’s public nuisance claim in addition to all of the other alleged state violations. The court stated that ALDF met the "low bar" of standing in a public nuisance context. Accordingly, OGF’s Motion to Dismiss was denied.
Horton v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 559 Fed.Appx. 527 (6th Cir. 2014) Petitioner sold dogs and puppies without an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) dealer license. An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found the Petitioner violated the AWA and issued a cease and desist order to prevent further violations of the Act and ordered Petitioner to pay $14,430 in civil penalties. Both Petitioner and Respondent, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), appealed the ALJ's decision to a judicial officer (“JO”), acting for the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, who increased the civil penalties amount from $14,430 to $191,200. Petitioner appealed this decision, alleging that (1) the ALJ and JO erred by failing to determine the willfulness of his actions, and (2) the JO improperly applied the Department's criteria for assessing civil penalties. The 6th Circuit found that since the AWA did not contain a willfulness requirement, the JO's failure to make a willfulness determination was not an abuse of discretion. Further, the 6th Circuit held that the JO's factual findings regarding Petitioner's dog sales were supported by substantial evidence. Lastly, the 6th Circuit held the size of the civil penalty assessed against Petitioner was warranted by law. The court denied the petition for review and affirmed the Secretary's Decision and Order.
Suica - Habeas Corpus

First case to consider that a chimpanzee might be a legal person to come before the court under a petition for Habeas Corpus.

SuiÁa impetraram este HABEAS CORPUS REPRESSIVO, em favor da chimpanzÈ "SuiÁa" (nome cientifico anthropopithecus troglodytes), macaca que se encontra enjaulada no Parque Zoobot‚nico Get˙lio Vargas (Jardim ZoolÛgico de Salvador), situado na Av. Ademar de Barros
Rapa Ltd. v. Trafford Borough Council

Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951 states that a person shall be guilty of an offence if he "carries on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, [or] at a stall or barrow in a market". Small transparent cubes containing water and live fish were sold as novelty items, known as 'aquababies', from a barrow in a thoroughfare of a large indoor shopping mall. The Court found that this activity involved the carrying on of a business of selling pets in a "public place" and was therefore prohibited by section 2.

Rogers v. Teignbridge District Council

A planned event called "The Creepy Crawly Show" was to have been held at a racecourse and to have involved the display and sale of small exotic animals by a number of different breeders, dealers and enthusiasts. The event's organizer applied to the local council for a pet shop licence under the Pet Animals Act 1951. The application was refused on the ground that the event was prohibited by section 2 of the Act which states that a person is guilty of an offence if he "carries on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, [or] at a stall or barrow in a market". The organizer's appeal to the local magistrates court was dismissed. Held: the holding of the event would have involved the carrying on a business of selling pets in a "public place". It would also have involved the selling of animals in a market. The event was therefore prohibited by section 2 and that it would have been unlawful for the local authority to have licensed it.

PetConnect Rescue, Inc. v. Salinas PetConnect Rescue, Inc., Lucky Pup Dog Rescue.com and Sarah Gonzalez (“Plaintiffs”) alleged that the Defendants fraudulently represented dogs that the Defendants sold as rescue animals in order to circumvent California law prohibiting the sale of non-rescue dogs in pet stores. On April 6, 2020, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against the Defendants alleging trademark infringement and dilution under the Lanham Act, unfair business practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), fraud, and accounting. Several Defendant filed motions to dismiss and to strike sections of the amended complaint. The United States District Court for the Southern District of California found that Plaintiff PetConnect alleged a cognizable injury in fact in that the Defendants’ use of an infringing mark harmed Plaintiff PetConnect Rescue’s reputation and caused consumer confusion. The Defendants’ Pet Connect Rescue, Inc. brokered the sale of dogs from puppy mills rather than rescue dogs which affected Plaintiff PetConnect’s reputation. The Court also found that Plaintiff PetConnect Rescue raised a claim within the Lanham Act’s zone of interests because the Lanham Act’s protections extended to non-profit organizations’ use of marks, even when those marks do not accompany a sale. The Court refused to dismiss Plaintiffs claims regarding trademark infringement. The Court also refused to dismiss the Plaintiff’s claims under the Lanham Act because the matter of whether Plaintiff’s mark was distinct and had acquired a secondary meaning was a matter more appropriate when the evidentiary record becomes further developed. As for the Unfair Competition claim, the Court found that the Plaintiffs had alleged sufficient facts to state a UCL violation. The Court subsequently rejected the Defendants’ motions to strike thirty-four lines or phrases from the amended complaint because Plaintiff’s use of the terms “puppy mill,” and the allegations that Defendants operate “fake” entities that “induce” purchases, reflected Plaintiff’s allegations of fraud and misrepresentation. The Court found that the Plaintiffs’ references were pertinent to the Plaintiff’s allegations. The Court ultimately denied each of the Defendant’s motions to dismiss and strike.

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