Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
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.

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.

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.

Gorman v. Pierce County 176 Wash. App. 63, 307 P.3d 795 (2013) review denied, 179 Wash. 2d 1010, 316 P.3d 495 (2014)

After leaving a sliding glass door open for her service dog and her neighbor's dog, the plaintiff in this case was mauled by two pit bulls. Plaintiff sued the dogs' owners under a strict liability statute and the county for negligently responding to prior complaints about the dogs. At trial, a jury not only found all defendants guilty, but also found the plaintiff contributorily negligent.  Upon appeal, the court affirmed the judgment the lower court entered based on the jury verdict.  Chief Judge Worswick concurred in part and dissented in part.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hogarth 177 F. Supp. 2d 1336 (2001)

Environmental groups challenge implementations of the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act ("IDCPA") which amended the MMPA and revised the criteria for banning tuna imports.

State v. Vander Houwen 177 P.3d 93 (Wash., 2008)

The owner of severely damaged orchards was convicted for shooting some of the responsible animals after repeated requests for state remedies were unsuccessful. The damage to defendant's orchard (with estimated losses of over $200,000 for future cherry production) occurred in 1998 and 1999, when herds of elk repeatedly came through inadequate fencing constructed by the State. The Supreme Court held that when a property owner charged with unlawful hunting or waste of wildlife presents sufficient evidence that he exercised his constitutional right to protect his property from destructive game, the burden shifts to the State to disprove this justification. In this case, the defendant was denied jury instructions regarding his constitutional right to reasonably protect his property.

McCall v. Par. of Jefferson 178 So. 3d 174 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2015) Defendant appeals a judgment from the 24th Judicial District Court (JDC) for violations of the Jefferson Parish Code. In 2014, a parish humane officer visited defendant's residence and found over 15 dogs in the yard, some of which were chained up and others who displayed injuries. Initially, defendant received a warning on the failure to vaccinate charges as long as he agreed to spay/neuter the animals. Defendant failed to do so and was again found to have numerous chained dogs that did not have adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. He was ordered to surrender all dogs in his possession and was assessed a suspended $1,500 fine. On appeal, defendant claims he was denied a fair hearing because he was denied the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. This court disagreed, finding that the JDC functioned as a court of appeal on the ordinance violations and could not receive new evidence. Before the JDC hearing, this court found defendant was afforded a hearing that met state and local laws. The JDC judgment was affirmed.
Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee 178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993)

This appeal is by the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and others who contest a City of South Milwaukee ordinance that imposes restrictions on the ownership and keeping of “pit bulls.” The Federation claims that the “pit bull” aspects of the ordinance are facially invalid because:  the definition of “pit bull” is impermissibly vague; the ordinance is overbroad; and the ordinance violates their right to equal protection. The court found that reference to recognized breeds provides sufficient specifics to withstand a vagueness challenge. With regard to equal protection, the court held that the ordinance is founded on “substantial distinctions” between the breeds of dog covered by the ordinance and other breeds of dog. Moreover, the ordinance is “germane” to the underlying purpose of the ordinance to protect persons and animals from dangerous dogs. Finally, the ordinance applies equally to the affected class of persons owning or keeping pit bulls.

ANSON v. DWIGHT 18 Iowa 241 (1865)

This case involved the killing of a dog by defendant's minor son. While the issues on appeal were mostly procedural, the court did find that dogs belong to a class of personal property for which a witness can testify as to their value.

Carpenter v. State 18 N.E.3d 998 (Ind. 2014) After being convicted by a Superior Court bench trial and having the Superior Court’s judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeals, defendant appealed the admission of evidence recovered from his home after officers entered it without a warrant in pursuit of an aggressive and bloody dog. The Supreme Court of Indiana found that the entry was unreasonable under the Indiana Constitution and that the evidence obtained pursuant to a subsequent search warrant was inadmissible. The Superior Court's judgment was therefore reversed.
In re Kulka's Estate 18 P.2d 1036 (1933)

This action relates to a court order in an estate case.  The decedent left a legacy in the form of some timber reserves to the Human Society of Portland Oregon "to be used solely for the benefit of animals."  The executor refused to pay the legacy.  This is an appeal from a circuit court decision directing and authorizing Andrew Hansen, executor of the estate of Otto Kulka, deceased, to pay the petitioner a legacy from proceeds in the executor's hands.  The court affirmed the payment of the legacy.

Saxton v. Pets Warehouse 180 Misc.2d 377 (N.Y. 1999)

In this small claims action, the plaintiff purchased an unhealthy dog from defendant that died soon after purchase.  The court held that the plaintiff is not limited to the remedies provided by General Business Law § 753 (1), which sets forth a consumer's right to a refund and/or reimbursement for certain expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of an unhealthy dog or cat, as plaintiff's dog came within the definition of "goods" as set forth in UCC 2-105 and defendant was a "merchant" within the meaning of UCC 2- 104 (1).  Accordingly, plaintiff could recover damages pursuant to UCC 2-714 on the theory that defendant breached the implied warranty of merchantability.  The case was remanded for a new trial to solely on the issue of damages limited to any sales tax paid by plaintiff that was not reimbursed by the insurance policy and the reasonable cost of veterinary expenses incurred.

Rupert v. U.S. 181 F. 87 (8th Cir. 1910)

Paris N. Rupert, unlawfully, willfully and feloniously deliver to the Frisco Railroad Company, a common carrier, for transportation out of said territory and to the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois, the dead bodies of quail, which said quail had theretofore been killed in the Territory of Oklahoma in violation of the laws of said territory and with the intent and purpose of being shipped and transported out of said territory in violation of the laws of said territory.  The court held that the territory of Oklahoma had the authority to provide by legislation, as it did, that wild game, such as quail, should not be shipped out of the state, even though the game was killed during the open season.  Further, the act of Congress (the Lacey Act) is valid wherein it is declared that the shipment out of the territory in violation of the territorial law constitutes a crime under the national law.

Town of Plainville v. Almost Home Animal Rescue & Shelter, Inc. 182 Conn. App. 55 (Conn. App. Ct., 2018) This is an appeal by the town of Plainville following the lower court's granting of defendant's motion to strike both counts of the plaintiffs' complaint. The complaint raised one count of negligence per se for defendant's failure to provide care for animals at its rescue facility. Count two centered on unjust enrichment for defendant's failure to reimburse the town for expenditures in caring for the seized animals. The facts arose in 2015 after plaintiff received numerous complaints that defendant's animal rescue was neglecting its animals. Upon visiting the rescue facility, the plaintiff observed that the conditions were unsanitary and the many animals unhealthy and in need of medical care. The plaintiff then seized 25 animals from defendant and provided care for the animals at the town's expense. Soon thereafter, plaintiffs commenced an action to determine the legal status of the animals and requiring the defendant to reimburse the town for care expenses. Prior to a trial on this matter, the parties reached a stipulation agreement that provided for adoption of the impounded animals by a third party, but contained no provision addressing reimbursement by the defendant to the town. Because there was no hearing on the merits of plaintiff's petition as to whether defendant had neglected or abused the animals for reimbursement under the anti-cruelty law, the court had no authority to order the defendant to reimburse the plaintiffs. Plaintiff then filed the instant action and the lower court held that each count failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, the court held that, with respect to count one on negligence per se under § 53–247, the statute does not impose such liability on one who violates the law. Further, unjust enrichment is only available is there is no adequate remedy at law, and another law, § 22–329a (h), provides the exclusive remedy for the damages sought by the town. On appeal here, this court held that the court properly determined that the plaintiffs were not among the intended beneficiaries of § 53–247 and that that determination alone was sufficient to strike count one. The court found "absolutely no language in the statute, however, that discusses costs regarding the care of animals subjected to acts of abuse or neglect or whether violators of § 53–247 have any obligation to compensate a municipality or other party." Thus, plaintiffs could not rely upon § 53–247 as a basis for maintaining a negligence per se case against the defendant. As to count two, the court rejected plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim. Because the right of recovery for unjust enrichment is equitable in nature, if a statute exists that provides a remedy at law, the equitable solution is unavailable. The court found that Section 22–329a provides a remedy for a municipality seeking to recover costs expended in caring for animals seized as a result of abuse and neglect. The stipulation agreement signed and agreed to by the parties contained no provision for reimbursement and settled the matter before there was an adjudication that the animals were abused or neglected. As a result, the judgment was affirmed.
Roos v. Loeser 183 P. 204 (Cal.App.1.Dist.,1919)

This is an action for damages alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff by reason of the killing of her dog, of the variety known as Pomeranian, by an Airedale belonging to the defendant. In 1919, a California court determined damages to be limited to the veterinary expenses connected with the injury to the animal. In the opinion, the court lovingly discusses the value of the animal. Notwithstanding these words of praise for the small animal, the court decided that the value was limited to the fair market value and related expenses.

In re Knippling 183 P.3d 365 (Wash.App. Div. 3,2008)

The Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court in Spokane County, Washington of second degree assault and first degree animal cruelty.  The Defendant requested that he receive credit against his term of community custody for the extra 24 months' confinement time he served before he was re-sentenced.    The Court of Appeals held that the Defendant was entitled to 24 months credit against his term of community custody.   

Morawek v. City of Bonney Lake 184 Wash. App. 487, 337 P.3d 1097 (2014) A woman filed a complaint with the Bonney Lake animal control authority after her neighbor’s dog killed her cat. The animal control officer served plaintiff with paperwork stating that his dog satisfied the definition of a dangerous dog under the Bonney Lake Municipal Code because the dog had killed a domestic animal without provocation while off his owner's property. Plaintiff appealed the designation to the police chief, the city hearing examiner, and the superior court; all of which affirmed the designation. The Washington Court of Appeals, however, held that the hearing examiner's finding that the owner's dog killed the neighbor's cat without provocation was not supported by substantial evidence, as required to uphold a dangerous dog designation, even though the “location” element of the dangerous dog designation was satisfied. The dangerous dog designation was therefore reversed.
Goldman v. Critter Control of New Jersey 185 A.3d 946 (N.J. App. Div. 2018) Plaintiff, Stuart Goldman, was the former chief humane law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Plaintiff alleged that in May of 2015, he learned from a resident of Matawan that Critter Control of New Jersey had trapped a female adult raccoon and removed it from the roof of a house. A few days later, baby raccoons were found in the gutters of that same house. Those baby raccoons allegedly went without sustenance for a week. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Critter Control for violation of New Jersey law. The case was dismissed with prejudice and the court stated that the statute only provided for organizations to seek a civil remedy under the New Jersey statute and that Plaintiff had brought his complaint in his individual capacity and, therefore, lacked standing. Plaintiff had also filed a second case in which the he alleged that Simplicity Farms was mistreating horses. This was ultimately dismissed by the trial court. Plaintiff appealed both cases which were ultimately consolidated on appeal. Plaintiff contended on appeal that he had standing to sue in the name on Monmouth SPCA as a qui tam action and that the court erred by not granting his motion for reconsideration to allow him to amend the complaint with the proper caption. Plaintiff also contended that his complaint against Simplicity Farms should not have been dismissed. Plaintiff argued that the N.J.S.A. 4:22-26 authorized qui tam suits because it provided that “any person in the name of the New Jersey [SPCA] or county SPCA can sue for civil penalties.” Based on the legislative history and the amendments to the PCAA, the Court concluded that the PCAA did not authorize qui tam lawsuits as the Plaintiff contended. The Court found no misapplication of discretion by the trial court denying Plaintiff’s motions to amend his complaints because the amendments would have been futile in light of his lack of standing. The Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Town of Ogden v. Lavilla 185 A.D.3d 1414, 126 N.Y.S.3d 832 (2020) This matter involves an appeal of an order for euthanasia of respondent's dog. The Justice Court of the Town of Ogden found respondent's dog to be dangerous under Agriculture and Markets Law § 123 and ordered the dog to be euthanized. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department agreed with respondent that the lower court misapprehended and misapplied the law. The court found the power to apply the most drastic measure (euthanasia) under Section 123 is reserved for aggravating circumstances, namely a serious disfigurement. The court noted that emotional trauma is not a factor in determining whether a victim has been disfigured. In addition, the language of the law is permissive, not mandatory; even with aggravating circumstances, a court may direct other measures to keep the dog contained. The court noted that the lower court repeatedly misstated the law, saying it only had two options, euthanasia or permanent confinement. As a result, this court modified the by vacating that part affirming the order of the Justice Court insofar as it directed that respondent's dog be euthanized, and remitting to the Justice Court for a determination whether petitioner established the existence of an aggravating circumstance and for the imposition of remedial measures as permitted by statute.
People v. Chung 185 Cal. App. 4th 247 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.), 110 Cal. Rptr. 3d 253 (2010), as modified on denial of reh'g (July 1, 2010)

Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. Defendant claimed officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they entered his residence without a warrant or consent to aid a dog in distress. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement applied because officers reasonably believed immediate entry was necessary to aid a dog that was being mistreated.

Jones v. Craddock 187 S.E. 558 (N.C. 1936)

The plaintiff in Jones v. Craddock , 210 N.C. 429 (N.C. 1936), brought a cause of action for negligent injury to her dog. In this case of first impression, the court embraced, “. . . the modern view that ordinarily dogs constitute a species of property, subject to all the incidents of chattel and valuable domestic animals.” The court determined that plaintiff was entitled to a cause of action for negligence since defendant could have avoided running over plaintiff’s companion animal with a slight turn.

Dodge v. Durdin 187 S.W.3d 523 (Tex. App.-Hous. (1 Dist.), 2005)

 Employee brought a negligence action against employer for injuries suffered when administering medicine to an untamed horse.  District Court granted summary judgment stating that the plaintiff was considered a "participant" under the Equine Act.  Plaintiff appealed.  Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case stating that the Equine Act did not apply because the Act covered consumers, not employees. 

Adams v. Vance 187 U.S. App. D.C. 41; 570 F.2d 950 (1977)

An American Eskimo group had hunted bowhead whales as a form of subsistence for generations and gained an exemption from the commission to hunt the potentially endangered species.  An injunction was initially granted, but the Court of Appeals vacated the injunction because the interests of the United States would likely have been compromised by requiring the filing of the objection and such an objection would have interfered with the goal of furthering international regulation and protection in whaling matters.

COMMONWEALTH v. MASSINI 188 A.2d 816 (Pa.Super 1963)

In this Pennsylvania case, defendant was prosecuted for killing a cat that belonged to his neighbor. The section under which he was prosecuted prohibited the killing of a 'domestic animal of another person.' However, a cat was not one of the animals defined as a ‘domestic animal’ by the Act. Using rules of statutory interpretation, the court found that the omission of 'cat' from the listed species of the penal code provision was intentional by the legislature, and thus the defendant's sentence was discharged.

United States v. Sandia 188 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir 1999)

This case was vacated by the Tenth Circuit in the Hardman order.  Defendant in this case sold golden eagle skins to undercover agents in New Mexico.  On appeal, defendant contended that the district court failed to consider the facts under a RFRA analysis.  The Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding that defendant never claimed that his sale of eagle parts was for religious purposes and that the sale of eagle parts negates a claim of religious infringement on appeal.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.

Mitchell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. 188 F.Supp. 869 (D.C.Cal. 1960)

In Mitchell v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. , 188 F.Supp. 869 (S.D. Cal. 1960), an expert was allowed to testify about a dog’s income-potential based on evidence that the dog could perform special tricks and made numerous appearances at charitable events. A jury verdict amounting to $5,000 was upheld where the court determined that the amount was not excessive and evidence of the dog’s income potential was not improper.

Carter v. Ide 188 S.E.2d 275 (Ga.App. 1972)
This Georgia case involves an action for injuries received by a boy after he was attacked by the defendant's dog. The lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant and the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that where there was no showing that the dog ever so much as growled at a human being before the attack, the owner of dog was not liable for injuries. Evidence that the dog previously chased a cat and had engaged in a fight with another dog was insufficient to show the owner's knowledge of the dog's vicious tendencies toward humans to create liability for the owner.
Peterson v. Eichhorn 189 P.3d 615 (Mont., 2008)

In this Montana case, the plaintiff brought claims for negligence, strict liability for abnormally dangerous domestic animal, and punitive damages against the defendant horse owner. She alleged that defendant's horse bit her while she was on land defendant used for pasturing the horse that adjoined her land. After the lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant, the plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court held that even though the Montana Supreme Court has not adopted the provision of the Second Restatement of Torts regarding an animal owner's strict liability for injury caused by an abnormally dangerous domestic animal, this was not the test case to do it. The court found that Peterson failed to produce any evidence or legal authority that the horse's biting constituted a “dangerous propensity abnormal to her class” to bring her under the Restatement's strict liability.

State v. Hearl 190 A.3d 42 (Con. App. Ct. May 29, 2018) Defendant Hearl was convicted of nineteen counts of animal cruelty by jury. The convictions stem from the care of his goat herd used for his goat cheese manufacturing business in Connecticut in 2014. Defendant and his business partner moved a herd from Massachusetts to Cornall, CT in May of 2014, where they rented an open air barn space (mainly used for dairy cows), but did not negotiate any boarding or care of the goats. Another farmer (Betti) rented the other half of the barn space for his dairy cows. Betti became concerned about defendant's goat herd in Fall 2014. As the condition of the goats deteriorated (to the point of death for some of the goats), Betti informed the state Dept. of Agriculture and this spurred the investigation which culminated in the seizure of defendant's remaining living goats in January 2015. On appeal of his conviction, defendant raises four main arguments: (1) the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to sustain his conviction, (2) the trial court did not provide the jury with a proper instruction on the required mental state; (3) § 53–247 (a) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to his conduct; and (4) his conviction and sentencing on nineteen separate counts of animal cruelty violates the constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy. As to defendant's first insufficiency of the evidence claim, defendant's argument centered on whether he had charge or custody of the goats necessary to impute responsibility to him. The court found that there was ample evidence before the jury to support the finding that the defendant confined, or had charge or custody of, the goats. Not only did the defendant play an active role in the management of the goats according to testimony, but.in converstations with officers, defendant “took the lead on telling me what was being done with the management of the goats” and that he “predominated the conversation” about the mortality rates in the herd. In fact, the court found compelling evidence of defendant's custody role where since he had authority to order the euthanization of the animals. Defendant's attempts to characterize his role as mere "ownership," with no role in the particulars of confinement, were unpersuasive. Ownership itself "can still be probative evidence that the defendant bore the responsibility of caring for the goats and authorizing their confinement." Equally unpersuasive was defendant's claim that his business partner was the was who alone confined the 20 plus goats in the open air barn. However, the court noted that there is "no authority limits liability under the statute to a single actor when the facts demonstrate that more than one person may have confined the goats or had charge or custody of them." The jury reasonably could have concluded that the defendant, having confined, or having charge or custody of, the goats, failed to give the goats proper care or food, water, and shelter. On defendant's second claim, the court concluded that the mens rea required for a conviction under the relevant portion of § 53–247 (a) is general intent and that the trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on criminal negligence. Defendant's third argument - that § 53–247 (a), was unconstitutionally vague - was also dispensed by the court. Even if the terms "charge" or "custody" are susceptible to some degree of interpretation, the record here shows that defendant had definite notice that his conduct violated the law. Further, the evidence at trial showed that he had notice from the state on things like heat lamps and shelter from the wind and failed to protect the animals by acting on those instructions. Finally, the court considered defendant's final double jeopardy argument and whether the legislature intended to authorize multiple convictions for cruelty for each goat or one conviction for the cruel treatment of the nineteen goats under § 53–247 (a). In looking at previous versions of the anti-cruelty law and other laws within the chapter, the court found that defendant's separate abuse and maltreatment of each goat supports the nineteen separate counts filed by the prosecutor. The judgment was affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Arcelay 190 A.3d 609 (Pa. Super. Ct. June 12, 2018) The appellant Arcelay appeals his conviction for the summary offense of cruelty to animals after he left his two small Yorkie dogs were found inside of his vehicle on an 87 to 90 degree day for approximately two hours at Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The dogs were rescued from the car and survived (law enforcement gave the dogs water and placed them inside an air conditioned building). After receiving a citation for leaving the animals, appellant entered a plea of not guilty and appeared for the Magisterial Judge. He was found guilty and assessed fines and costs of $454.96. At a Summary Appeal de novo hearing, the officers who responded to the scene presented evidence, including testimony on the dogs being in the car for two hours and photographs of the area showing no shade was available. Appellant testified that he was retired from the Reserves and was at the base to set up for a family picnic. During the morning, he indicated that he checked on the dogs every fifteen minutes. Appellant testified that "he believes the public overreacts when they see dogs in a car" and he was upset that someone had gone into his vehicle to remove the dogs. The court ultimately found appellant guilty of the summary offense, but put appellant on a probation for three months in lieu of fines and costs, taking into account Appellant's lack income. On the instant appeal, appellant first questions whether the Court of Common Pleas had jurisdiction to hear this matter since it occurred on a military installation. Appellant also raises whether the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law for the cruelty to animals conviction. As to the jurisdictional argument, the court here found the issuance of the summary citation at the military base was appropriate. The court observed that it is well-settled that military and non-military courts may exercise concurrent subject matter jurisdiction for criminal matters. The court also found that there was sufficient evidence to support appellant's conviction, where his conduct in leaving the dogs in a closed car on a hot, summer day presented an unreasonable risk of harm. The judgment was affirmed.
Farmegg Products, Inc. v. Humboldt County 190 N.W.2d 454 (Iowa 1971)

Court held that intensive egg-laying facilities did not constitute buildings used for 'agricultural purposes' and were not exempt from county zoning ordinances.

Dyess v. Caraway 190 So.2d (666 La.App., 1966)

Plaintiff claimed damages for the death of five pedigreed Norwegian Elkhound puppies resulting from the negligence of defendant, Hugh L. Caraway, a duly licensed veterinarian. Specifically, defendant allegedly failed to make proper diagnostic tests, failed to give proper treatment for coccidia from which the puppy died, although the defendant had professional knowledge that the puppy was suffering from that disease, and failed to exercise the standard of care required by the average prudent veterinarian in the community. The court first noted the difficulty in diagnosing distemper. It also found the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in applicable in the instant case, primarily for the reason that the instant case involves a question of diagnosis and treatment of a professional nature which in itself requires judgment.

State v. Mortensen 191 P.3d 1097 (Hawai'i App., 2008)

Defendant found guilty of Cruelty to Animals under a State statute after firing a pellet gun at/toward a cat which was later found with and died from a fatal wound.   On Defendant’s appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai’i affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that evidence that Defendant knowingly fired the pellet gun at a group of cats within the range of such a gun was sufficient to find that Defendant recklessly shot and killed the cat.   In making its decision, the Court of Appeals further found that the legislature clearly did not intend for a cat to be considered vermin or a pest for purposes of the relevant State anti-cruelty statute’s exception, and instead clearly intended for a cat to be considered a “pet animal.”  

Haggblom v. City of Dillingham 191 P.3d 991 (Alaska 2008) This is an owner's appeal of the city order which ordered her dog be euthanized or banished from city limits because the dog bit a person without provocation. The order had been affirmed by the superior court and is now in front of the state Supreme Court. Haggblom argues that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it does not provide meaningful process, and is too vague because it does not explicitly offer the alternative of banishment from city limits. This court found that due process was satisfied and that the ordinance is constitutionally clear, and thus affirms the order.
Volosen v. State 192 S.W.3d 597(Tex.App.-Fort Worth, 2006)

In this Texas case, the trial court found Appellant Mircea Volosen guilty of animal cruelty for killing a neighbor's dog. The sole issue on appeal is whether the State met its burden of presenting legally sufficient evidence that Volosen was "without legal authority" to kill the dog. By statute, a dog that "is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked ... fowls may be killed by ... any person witnessing the attack." The court found that no rational trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog was not attacking or had not recently attacked chickens in a pen in Volosen's yard; thus, the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that Volosen killed the dog "without legal authority" as required to sustain a conviction for animal cruelty.  Judgment Reversed by Volosen v. State , 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex.Crim.App., 2007).

State v. Overholt 193 P.3d 1100 (Wash. App. Div. 3,2008)

Defendant was convicted of several counts of second degree unlawful hunting of big game after a game agent (“agent”) followed vehicle tracks to Defendant’s home upon finding fresh cow elk gut piles, and Defendant showed the agent two cow elk carcasses hanging in Defendant’s shed.   On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3 found that because the agent was in fresh pursuit of criminal activity and did not enter Defendant’s property with the intent to obtain consent to search in order to evade a search warrant, the agent was not obligated to issue Ferrier warnings, and that suppressing the seized carcasses from evidence would not have altered the outcome of the case in light of the substantial evidence obtained prior to seizing the carcasses.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture 194 F. Supp. 3d 404 (E.D.N.C. 2016), aff'd sub nom. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Dep't of Agric., 861 F.3d 502 (4th Cir. 2017) In this case, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, In.c (PETA) filed a complaint against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). PETA argued that the USDA had violated the APA because the USDA has a “policy, pattern, and practice or rubber stamping” exhibitor license renewals to noncompliant animal exhibitors. Under the APA, any agency action that is found to be “arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion” must be held unlawful by the courts. The court in this case reviewed the facts of the case in accordance with the Chevron decision. According to the court in Chevron, a court must give deference to an agency if: (1) "the statutory language is silent or ambiguous with respect to the question posed," or (2) "the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.” The statutory language that the court considered in this case was the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that regulate the transportation, handling, and treatment of animals. Ultimately, the court determined that the AWA was silent with regard to exhibitor renewals and therefore moved to the second step of the Chevron decision. The court found that the AWA does not prohibit the USDA’s administrative renewal process for animal exhibitor licenses. The court held that the USDA did not act arbitrarily or abuse its description when it chose to renew certain exhibitor licenses. As a result, the court rejected PETA’s claim against the USDA.
Kanab City v. Popowich 194 P.3d 198, (Utah App.,2008)

In this Utah case, the defendant appeals the decision of the district court finding him guilty on four counts of failing to maintain a city dog license and one count of running an illegal kennel. In December 2005, a Kanab City animal control officer responded to numerous complaints of barking dogs at Defendant's residence. This officer observed four dogs over the age of three months on the premises during two separate visits to Defendant's home that month and on subsequent random visits in the following months. On appeal, defendant argued that the city ordinance on which his conviction for operating an illegal kennel is based is unconstitutionally vague. This court disagreed, finding that an ordinary person reading the ordinance would understand that, in order to keep more than two dogs over the age of three months in the same residence, a citizen must register for a kennel permit.

State v. Milewski 194 So. 3d 376 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016), reh'g denied (June 3, 2016), review denied, No. SC16-1187, 2016 WL 6722865 (Fla. Nov. 15, 2016) This Florida case involves the appeal of defendant's motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. Specifically, defendant Milewski challenged the evidence obtained during the necropsy of his puppy, alleging that he did not abandon his property interest in the body of the deceased dog because he thought the puppy's remains would be returned to him in the form of ashes. The necropsy showed that the puppy suffered a severe brain hemorrhage, extensive body bruises, and a separated spinal column that were consistent with severe physical abuse (which was later corroborated by Milewski's confession that he had thrown the dog). The trial court granted the motion to suppress and further found that law enforcement infringed on defendant's rights as the "patient's owner" when they interviewed the veterinarian and obtained veterinary records without consent or a subpoena, contrary to Florida law. On appeal, this court found that the Fourth Amendment does not extend to abandoned property. When Milewski abandoned his puppy's remains for the less-expensive "group cremation" at the vet's office, he gave up his expectation of privacy. As such, the court found that he was not deprived of his property without consent or due process when animal services seized the puppy's remains without a warrant. Further, this court found that there was no basis to suppress the veterinarian's voluntary statements about the puppy's condition or the necropsy report. The motion to suppress was reversed as to the doctor's statements/testimony and the evidence from the necropsy. The trial court's suppression of the hospital's medical records obtained without a subpoena was affirmed.
Daniels v. Drake 195 N.E.3d 866 (Ind. Ct. App. 2022), transfer denied, 208 N.E.3d 1250 (Ind. 2023) Plaintiff Damon Daniels appeals from the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, the Drakes. The incident stems from an unprovoked dog bite at defendants' home. The Drakes live on a large, rural property in Indiana with no neighbors. The Drakes own five dogs including "Max," a large Great Dane. Max would roam the property unrestrained. Daniels is a FedEx driver. In September of 2020, Daniels entered the property to deliver a package. Upon approaching the residence, Daniels honked his horn a couple times to get the attention of Lisa Drake. Daniels, who was still inside the vehicle, asked Lisa if Max was "okay," to which Lisa indicated a "thumbs up." However, after walking toward Lisa with the package, Max barked once and then bit Daniels in the abdomen. Daniels sustained puncture wounds, a one-centimeter laceration, swelling and a hematoma from the bite. Approximately two months later, Daniels filed the instant complaint seeking damages related to the dog bite. The Drakes filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that they did not have actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities prior to the bite. In response, Daniels contended that Great Danes have a "natural propensity" to be territorial, which is exacerbated by isolation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. On appeal here, the court explained that Indiana law states that knowledge of a dog's dangerous or vicious tendencies may not be inferred from a first-time, unprovoked bite, but that knowledge may be inferred where evidence shows that the particular breed to which the owner's dog belongs is known to exhibit such tendencies." While the court observed that the Drakes presented evidence of a lack of actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities, the expert who testified on Great Dane behavior presented evidence that Great Danes might behave with "territorial aggressive tendencies" in a given situation. The Drakes argued on appeal (for the first time) that this evidence by a canine behavioral expert was "immaterial" and cannot be used to show what lay people would know about Great Danes. The court was unpersuaded by the Drakes' novel argument, and this created a genuine issue of material fact. Thus, this court reversed the order granting summary judgment for the Drakes and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Parker v. Parker 195 P.3d 428 (Or.App.,2008)

Plaintiff and his 12 year-old quarter horse were visiting defendant at defendant's property when defendant's dog rushed at the horse causing it to run into a steel fence. The horse suffered severe head trauma, which necessitated its later euthanization. Plaintiff filed suit for damages asserting liability under common law negligence and O.R.S. 609.140(1) - the statute that allows an owner to recover double damages where livestock is injured due to being injured, chased, or killed by another person's dog. The appellate court agreed with plaintiff that O.R.S. 609.140(1) creates an statutory cause of action independent from negligence. Further, the court found that plaintiff fell within the class of persons the statute aims to protect because the legislature did not intend to limit the statute's application to property owned by the livestock's owner.

Sherman v. Kissinger 195 P.3d 539 (Wash.,2008)

A dog owner sued a veterinarian and a veterinary hospital after her dog died. The Court of Appeals held that the medical malpractice act did not apply to veterinarians, and thus, did not bar claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass to chattels, and breach of bailment contract; the three-part analysis in McCurdy controlled the measure of damages and the burden of proof for damages; genuine issues of material fact about the market value of the dog, whether it could be replaced, and whether owner was entitled to present evidence of the dog’s intrinsic value, precluded summary judgment limiting owner's damages; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking expert’s testimony about the loss of the human-animal bond because owner was not entitled to emotional distress damages; and defendants were not entitled to attorney fees under the small claims statute.

Kervin v. State 195 So. 3d 1181 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016) Donald Ray Kervin was found guilty of felony animal cruelty stemming from a 2012 incident at his residence. Animal control officers arrived to find defendant's dog "Chubbie" in a small, hot laundry room a the back of his house that emitted a "rotten-flesh odor." Chubbie was visibly wet, lying in his own feces and urine, with several open wounds infested with maggots. After questioning Kervin about the dog's injuries, defendant finally admitted to hitting Chubbie with a shovel for discipline. The dog was ultimately euthanized due to the severity of his condition. In this instant appeal, Kervin contends that the lower court erred in using the 2014 revised jury instruction to instruct the jury on the charged offense rather than the 2012 version of the instruction. Kevin argued that the 2014 version expanded the 2012 version to include the “failure to act” in felony animal cruelty cases. Also, Kervin argued that the 2012 version should have been used because it was in place at the time the offense occurred. Ultimately, the court found that the lower court did not err by using the 2014 jury instruction. The court held that the 2014 jury instructions merely “clarified” the 2012 jury instruction and that the “failure to act” was already present in the 2012 jury instruction. As a result, the court upheld Kervin’s guilty verdict.
Graham v. Notti 196 P.3d 1070 (Wash.,2008)

The court held that the adoption of a dog from an animal shelter was invalid unless the dog was found in "the city" pursuant to the shelter's contract with the local government.

Nonhuman Rts. Project, Inc. v. Breheny 197 N.E.3d 921, reargument denied, 39 N.Y.3d 967, 200 N.E.3d 121 (2022) This New York case centers on a petition of habeas corpus for an elephant named "Happy" who is housed at the Bronx Zoo. Petitioner Nonhuman Rights Project is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission of seeking to establish that “at least some nonhuman animals” are “legal persons” entitled to fundamental rights, including “bodily integrity and bodily liberty.” In 2018, petitioner commenced this habeas proceeding in Supreme Court against respondents James J. Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that operates the Zoo. Petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus “on behalf of Happy,” an Asian elephant that petitioner claimed was unlawfully confined at the Zoo in violation of her right to bodily liberty. Happy has resided at the Bronx Zoo for the last 45 years and has been held in captivity since she was approximately one year old. Petitioners request that she be transferred to an “appropriate sanctuary" where she could potentially be integrated with other elephants. To support its request, petitioner proffered affidavits from several experts specializing in elephant study and care attesting to the general characteristics of elephants. The Zoo respondents opposed petitioner's application and requested dismissal of the petition for lack of standing and failure to state a cause of action. Specifically, respondents argued that there was no legal basis for habeas relief and that Happy's living conditions comply with all relevant laws and accepted standards of care. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the ground “that animals are not ‘persons’ entitled to rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus” and that habeas relief is not available for an animal. On petitioner's appeal, the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed, reasoning that “the writ of habeas corpus is limited to human beings.” While the court acknowledged that the law recognizes that animals are not mere "things," and existing animal protection laws underscore this conclusion, the scope of habeas corpus does not include animals. The court lastly noted that " this case has garnered extraordinary interest from amici curiae and the public . . . Though beyond the purview of the courts, we appreciate that the desire and ability of our community to engage in a continuing dialogue regarding the protection and welfare of nonhuman animals is an essential characteristic of our humanity. Such dialogue, however, should be directed to the legislature." As such, the order of the Appellate Division was affirmed
Wolf v. Taylor 197 P.3d 585 (Or. App., 2008) This action comes as part of the dissolution of the parties' domestic partnership. The parties had entered into a settlement agreement, which included a provision granting full ownership of Mike, the couple's dog, to Taylor, so long as he agreed to grant Wolf visitation with Mike. Approximately one month later, Wolf had second thoughts and moved to rescind the entire agreement based on the invalidity of the dog visitation provision. Wolf asserts the provision is invalid because it attempts to grant visitation with an item of personal property, and is impossible to perform. This court only answered the question whether invalidity of the dog visitation provision would invalidate the entire agreement, which they answer in the negative because of the severability provision included in the agreement.
Levine v. Knowles 197 So.2d 329 (Fla.App. 1967)

This negligence action for both compensatory and punitive damages results from the premature cremation of 'Tiki,' a Toy Chihuahua dog, who died while undergoing apparently routine treatment for a skin condition. Plaintiff instructed the veterinarian to keep Tiki's body so that he could have an autopsy performed, but the dog's body was cremated before it could be claimed so that, according to plaintiff, defendant could avoid malpractice claims. 

In this case, the court only determined that under the facts peculiar to this case, an action for damages was sufficiently alleged by the complaint and the defendant has failed to conclusively demonstrate the non-existence of all material issues of fact so as to be entitled to a summary final judgment.

Richard v. Hoban 1970CarswellNB126

The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.

Whelen v. Barlow 1975 CarswellAlta 242

Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.

Maloney v. State 1975 OK CR 22 (Ok. App. 1975)

The State charged defendant with maliciously placing a dog in a pit with another dog and encouraging the dogs to fight, injure, maim, or kill one another. The trial court convicted defendant of cruelty to animals pursuant to Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1685 (1971) and fined defendant. Defendant appealed. On appeal, the court held that Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1682 (1971) was constitutional as applied to the case but reversed and remanded the case because the court determined that the defendant had been improperly convicted under the anti-cruelty statute rather than the dogfighting statute.

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