Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Hernandez-Gotay v. United States 985 F.3d 71 (1st Cir. Jan. 14, 2021) Plaintiffs filed suit to enjoin the enforcement and challenge the constitutionality of Section 12616 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Section 12616”), which bans the “sponsor[ship]” and “exhibit[ion]” of cockfighting matches in Puerto Rico. The district court upheld Section 12616 as a valid exercise of Congress's Commerce Clause power. On appeal here, the court first determined whether the plaintiffs had sufficient standing to challenge the law. It concluded that plaintiff Ángel Manuel Ortiz-Díaz, the owner of two cockfighting venues and a breeder and owner of more than 200 gamecocks, has standing to challenge Section 12616. Ortiz faces a credible threat of prosecution under Section 12616 because he regularly sponsors and exhibits cockfighting matches. Finding standing, the court considered plaintiffs' claim that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting Section 12616. The court found that cockfighting is an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce and Congress passing Section 12616 was a legitimate exercise of Commerce Clause power. Finally, plaintiffs contend that Section 12616 infringes on their First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. In rejecting this argument, the court held that plaintiffs failed to identify the necessary "expressive element" in cockfighting activities that would render it subject to First Amendment protections and, even if they made such a showing, Section 12616 is a permissible restraint on such speech. Finally, nothing in Section 12616 infringes on the associational right to assemble since it does not prevent individuals from gathering to express their views on cockfighting. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
U.S. v. Mitchell 985 F.2d 1275 (4th Cir. 1993)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pickford v. Masion 98 P.3d 1232 (Wa. 2004)

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

Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of East Providence 98 F.Supp.3d 408 (D.R.I. 2015) Due to public concern about puppy mills, City passed an ordinance banning pet stores located within its limits from selling dogs and cats unless those animals were owned by a city animal shelter or animal control agency, humane society, or non-profit rescue organization and the pet store maintained those animals for the purpose of public adoption. In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff, a pet store, raised numerous challenges to the ordinance under the Constitutions of the United States and of Rhode Island, claiming that it violated the dormant Commerce Clause, the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, and Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights, and that it was preempted by state statute. Plaintiff and Defendant both sought summary judgment to all challenges. Plaintiff's motion was DENIED and Defendant's motion was GRANTED to all counts in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint except Count Three, the Takings claim, which was REMANDED to the Rhode Island Superior Court. (2016: Affirmed in part and appeal dismissed in part at 807 F.3d 415, 417 (1st Cir. 2015)).
Hawthorn Corp. v. U.S. 98 F.Supp.3d 1226 (M.D. Fla., 2015) Plaintiff's complaint was based on government employees’ duty to exercise reasonable care in the execution of their official duties. Government moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court found the action was barred by three exceptions to the Federal Torts Claims Act: the misrepresentation exception, the discretionary exception, and the interference with contracts exception. Government motion was granted.
Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Weber 979 F.Supp.2d 1118 (D.Mont.,2013)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee v. State 973 N.E.2d 1207 (Ind.App. 2012)

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

Cisneros v. Petland, Inc. 972 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2020) Plaintiff Cisneros purchased a Shih Tzu puppy named "Giant" from Petland Kennesaw, a Kennesaw, Georgia franchise of Petland, Inc. She received a certificate of "veterinary inspection" and a limited health guarantee at the time of purchase. Several days later, problems arose with the puppy and she brought the dog back to the Petland affiliated veterinarian who prescribed antibiotics without making a diagnosis. Shortly thereafter, an emergency pet visit revealed the dog suffered from parvovirus. Cisneros called Petland who told her to take the dog back to the Petland vet if she wanted a refund. She did so and the dog died several days later. Because the State of Georgia requires reporting of parvovirus, Cisneros received a report after the dog died, but she learned the dog's organs had been removed (an uncommon post mortem practice). As a result, plaintiff alleged that actions were the intended result of a nationwide conspiracy involving Petland and its affiliates to sell unhealthy puppies from "puppy mills" where health conditions are rubber stamped by a network of "preferred veterinarians" and buyers are deceived by sales documents that distract from the fraud. Plaintiff broadly asserted three claims: (1) a violation of the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); (2) a conspiracy to violate the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); and (3) with respect to a Georgia subclass of persons who purchased a cat or dog from a Petland franchise in Georgia from July 2013 to the present, a violation of Georgia's state RICO statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4. The district court dismissed Cisneros's federal causes of action for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her remaining state-law claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). After applying the six-fold test for a private plaintiff suing under the civil provisions of RICO, this Court found chiefly that Cisneros has alleged no facts that plausibly support the inference that the defendants were collectively trying to make money in pet sales by fraud, which is a common purpose sufficient to find a RICO enterprise. Cisneros was required to allege not just that Petland Kennesaw had a fraudulent purpose, but that it was a common purpose, formed in collaboration with Petland, PAWSitive, and the preferred veterinarians. In the end, Cisneros has alleged only that Petland operates a franchise business like any other franchisor. Even assuming that Cisneros has adequately pled fraud on the part of Petland Kennesaw, she has not alleged that its predicate acts constituted a pattern of racketeering activity. The action was affirmed in part, and vacated and remanded in part.
Com. v. Kneller 971 A.2d 495 (Pa.Super.,2009) Defendant appealed a conviction for criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after Defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit Defendant’s child.   The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the conviction, finding the relevant animal cruelty statute to be ambiguous, thus requiring the reversal under the rule of lenity.   Concurring and dissenting opinions were filed, in which both agreed that the statute is unambiguous as to whether a dog owner may destroy his or her dog by use of a firearm when that dog has attacked another person, but disagreed as to whether sufficient evidence was offered to show that the dog in fact attacked another person. (See Supreme Court order - Com. v. Kneller, 978 A.2d 716, 2009 WL 5154265 (Pa.,2009)).
Barrios v. Safeway Ins. Co. 97 So.3d 1019 (La.App. 4 Cir.,2012)

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

People v. Robards 97 N.E.3d 600 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 12, 2018) This case is an appeal from an animal cruelty conviction against defendant Ms. Regina Robards. She seeks appeal on the grounds that the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Robards was charged with aggravated animal cruelty when her two dogs, Walker and Sparky, were discovered in her previous home emaciated, dehydrated, and dead. She had moved out of the home and into Ms. Joachim’s home in July 2014, telling Joachim that she was arranging for the dogs to be taken care of. However, when Joachim went over to the prior home in November 2014, she discovered Walker’s emaciated body on the living room floor. She called the police, who discovered Sparky’s body in a garbage bag in the bedroom. Robards’ conviction required that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally committed an act that caused serious injury or death to her two dogs, and failing to seek adequate medical care for them. On appeal, Robards concedes that the dogs both died from dehydration and starvation, and that she was the only person responsible for the dogs’ care. However, she argues that for her conviction to stand, the prosecutor must prove that she intended to cause serious injury or death to the dogs. The court disagrees, stating that for conviction only the act need be intentional, and that the act caused the death or serious injury of an animal. Notably, the court observed that "defendant is very fortunate to have only received a sentence of 12 months' probation for these heinous crimes," and criticized the circuit court for its "unjustly and inexplicably lenient" sentence simply because defendant only caused harm to an animal and not a human being.
Defenders of Wildlife v. Dalton 97 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (2000)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Houseman v. Dare 966 A.2d 24 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2009)

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

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States 965 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2020) Several Indian tribes, environmental organizations, and animal-welfare groups filed suits claiming that Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violated Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by issuing final rule “delisting” or removing grizzly bear population in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from threatened species list. The distinct population segment of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population has been so successful under the ESA that the FWS has been trying to delist it for almost 15 years, according to the court. This specific case was triggered by a 2017 D.C. Circuit case (Humane Society v. Zinke) that requires the FWS to address the impact that removing a DPS from protection under the ESA would have on the remaining listed species. At the time that ruling was issued, the FWS had already published a 2017 Rule that sought to delist the grizzly bear Yellowstone DPS. This then resulted in cross motions for summary judgment in district court. The district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs and vacated the 2017 rule, remanding it to the FWS. This remand resulted in a second delisting rule by FWS that was again vacated and remanded by the district court, demanding consideration of several discrete issues by FWS. The FWS now appeals that remand for consideration that require the study of the effect of the delisting on the remaining, still listed, grizzly population in the coterminous 48 states, as well as further consideration of the threat of delisting to long term genetic diversity of the Yellowstone grizzly. In addition, states in the region of the DPS (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) as well as some private hunting and farming organizations have intervened on the government's behalf. On appeal, the Court of Appeals first found that it had authority to review the district court order and that the intervenors had standing to pursue an appeal. As to the order by the district court that the FWS needs to conduct a "comprehensive review" of the impact of delisting on the remnant grizzly population, the appellate court vacated that portion of the order using the phrase "comprehensive review." Instead, it remanded to the lower court to order a "further examination" on the delisting's effects. The court also agreed with the district court that FWS' 2017 Rule was arbitrary and capricious where it had no concrete, enforceable mechanism to ensure the long-term genetic viability of the Yellowstone DPS. Finally, the Court of Appeals agreed with the district court order to mandate a commitment to recalibration (changes in methodology to measure the Yellowstone grizzly bear population) in the rule since that is required by the ESA. The Court affirmed the district court’s remand order, with the exception of the order requiring the FWS to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the remnant grizzly population.
Boss v. State 964 N.E.2d 931 (Ind.App.,2012) Defendant appealed her convictions of misdemeanor failure to restrain a dog and misdemeanor harboring a non-immunized dog after her dogs attacked a neighbor and a witness to the incident causing serious injury to both parties. Evidence supported her convictions for failure to restrain dogs because her fence had gaps through which the dogs could escape, and another dog was wearing only a loose collar. Evidence supported her convictions for harboring dogs that had not been immunized against rabies because she did not show proof that dogs had been immunized, which supported inferences that she was aware of the high probability that the dogs had not been immunized, and therefore, she knowingly harbored non-immunized dogs. 
State v. Mallis 964 N.E.2d 1096 (Ohio App. 7 Dist.,2011)

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

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

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

LaPlace v. Briere 962 A.2d 1139 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2009)
In this New Jersey case, a horse owner brought an action against the person who exercised his horse while the horse was being boarded at the defendant's stable. While the stable employee was "lunging" the horse, the horse reared up, collapsed on his side with blood pouring from his nostrils, and then died. On appeal of summary judgment for the defendant, the court held that the person who exercised horse could not be liable under the tort of conversion as she did not exercise such control and dominion over the horse that she seriously interfered with plaintiff's ownership rights in the horse. While the court found that a bailment relationship existed, the plaintiff failed to come forward with any additional evidence that established the horse was negligently exercised or that the exercise itself was a proximate cause of its death. The grant of summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed.
Guenther v. Walnut Grove Hillside Condominium Regime No. 3, Inc. 961 N.W.2d 825 (Neb., 2021) Plaintiff Christine Guenther appeals her dismissal of her complaint for declaratory judgment against her condominium complex. Guenther contended that Walnut Grove refused to make a reasonable accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Nebraska Fair Housing Act (collectively FHA), by denying her request to secure her daughter's emotional support dogs through construction of a fence in a common area. In 2018, Guenther made a request to Walnut Grove to construct a fence through part of the common area behind her condominium so that her dogs can safely spend time outside. Guenther stated that she made this request because she witnessed (via sounds) her first emotional support animal killed by either another dog or a car shortly after she moved in. However, Walnut Grove denied Guenther's request, contending that it lacked the authority to divide or partition the "common elements" of the property. As a result, Guenther filed a complaint in the district court for Douglas County seeking a declaration that Walnut Grove refused a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. A trial was held and the lower court dismissed Guenther's complaint, holding that Guenther's daughter did not suffer from a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of her major life activities and that therefore, Guenther failed to show that N.G. is a handicapped person. Additionally, the court held that Guenther failed to prove that her requested accommodation is necessary to afford the daughter an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. On appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court, the court found the case boiled down to whether Guenther "carried her burden of proving her request to build a fence in Walnut Grove's common area (1) is reasonable and (2) necessary (3) to afford a handicapped person the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling." As to the factors, the court found that while it is undisputed that the daughter suffered from mental health disorders that were benefited by the interaction with the family dogs, there was insufficient proof that a fence was necessary. In fact, testimony revealed that the daughter freely enjoyed the use of the animals while at Walnut Grove. The fence was not a necessary part of Guenther's ability to use and enjoy the dwelling. Further, Guenther failed to prove that the alternatives proposed by Walnut Grove would not have been effective. Because Guenther failed to meet her burden to prove that construction of the fence is necessary, her claim for refusal of a reasonable accommodation under the FHA failed the judgment was affirmed.
Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt 961 F.3d 1197 (D.C. Cir. 2020) Appellants consisting of conversation organizations and a safari guide challenged a series of actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) governing imports of sport-hunted animal trophies from Africa. The Appellants challenged certain findings that the Service made allowing animal trophies to be imported. The Court had reviewed a similar set of findings in another case and concluded that they were legislative rules illegally issued without notice and comment. FWS subsequently withdrew all its findings that were issued without notice and comment including the ones that were challenged by the Appellants in a subsequent memorandum. The Appellants still desired to contest the withdrawn findings. The Appellants alleged that it was illegal for the FWS to abandon its prior findings without engaging in APA informal rulemaking and that it was illegal for the FWS to announce its intent to the make the necessary findings through informal adjudications in the future. The Appellant’s claims fell into three categories: (1) challenges to the 2017 Zimbabwe findings that sport-hunting of elephants would enhance the survival of the species; (2) challenges to the memorandum by the FWS withdrawing their prior findings; and (3) challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intends to making findings on a case-by-case basis when considering individual permit applications. The Court found that since the FWS had withdrew the 2017 findings, they no longer caused the appellants any injury which made any challenges to them moot. The Appellants attempted to argue that the flaws in the 2017 Zimbabwe elephant finding were capable of repetition yet would evade review. The Court rejected this argument. As for the second challenges regarding the memorandum’s withdrawal of its prior findings, the Court found that the withdrawal caused no injury to the Appellants. The Court rejected the challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intended to make findings on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately the Court affirmed the district court’s judgment.
Francis v. City of Indianapolis 958 N.E.2d 816 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011, table, unpublished) A dog rescue organization was cited with a violation of the city code for having a dog at large. One rescue dog escaped and lunged at a neighbor. Francis argued that the trial court erred in applying strict liability, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, and challenged the constitutionality of the municipal ordinance. The trial court also found that a violation of the ordinance also imposed restrictions on Francis; she could no longer operate the animal rescue shelter and could only own or keep two dogs. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
Rabon v. City of Seattle 957 P.2d 621 (Wash. 1998)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeid v. Pearce 953 S.W.2d 368 (Tex.App.-El Paso, 1997)

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

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau , et. al. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, et. al. 952 F.3d 1216 (10th Cir. 2020) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") designated 764,207 acres in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The area was divided into six individual units. Units 5 and 6 were the ones at issue. Plaintiffs filed suit contending that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The district court ruled in favor of the Service and this appeal followed. There was no concrete evidence that jaguars were present in Units 5 and 6 at any time before 1995. The Service’s reliance on sightings in 1995, 1996, and 2006 to support a conclusion of occupation in 1972 was not based on expert opinion. It was purely speculative. The Court agreed with the Plaintiffs that the Service’s designation of Units 5 and 6 as occupied critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The Court further found that in order for an unoccupied area to be designated as a critical habitat, the Service must first find that the designation of the occupied areas is inadequate to ensure conservation of the species. The Service addressed all units together, finding that to the extent they were occupied, they were essential for the conservation of the species. The Court ultimately found that the Service did not follow its own regulations or give a rational explanation for failing to do so and as a result, its designation of Units 5 an 6 as critical habitat was arbitrary and capricious. The decision of the district court was reversed and remanded.
Commonwealth v. Epifania 951 N.E.2d 723 (Mass.App.Ct.,2011)

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

Weigel v. Maryland 950 F.Supp.2d 811 (D.Md 2013)
Following the Tracey v. Solesky opinion, a nonprofit, nonstock cooperative housing corporation issued a rule that banned pit bulls on its premises.  Members and leaseholders who owned dogs believed to be pit bulls sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the corporation and the state of Maryland in an amended complaint. Although the district court found the plaintiffs had adequately demonstrated standing and ripeness in their claims, the court also found that some of the leaseholders and members' charges were barred by 11th Amendment immunity and by absolute judicial immunity. Additionally, the district court found that the leaseholders and members' amended complaint failed to plead plausible void-for-vagueness, substantive due process and takings claims. The district court, therefore, granted the state's motion to dismiss and held all other motions pending before the court to be denied as moot.
Wilhelm v. Flores 95 S.W.3d 96 (Tex. 2006)

In this Texas case, a deceased worker's estate and his four adult children brought a negligence action against the beekeeper and others, after the worker died from anaphylactic shock caused by bee stings.  On petition for review, the Supreme Court held that beekeeper did not owe worker, a commercial buyer's employee, any duty to warn him of dangers associated with bee stings or to protect worker from being stung.

Chambers v. Justice Court Precinct One 95 S.W.3d 874 (Tex.App.-Dallas, 2006)

In this Texas case, a justice court divested an animal owner of over 100 animals and ordered that the animals be given to a nonprofit organization. The owner sought review of the forfeiture in district court. The district court subsequently dismissed appellant's suit for lack of jurisdiction. Under the Texas Code, an owner may only appeal if the justice court orders the animal to be sold at a public auction. Thus, the Court of Appeals held that the statute limiting right of appeal in animal forfeiture cases precluded animal owner from appealing the justice court order.

Ruffin v. Wood 95 A.D.3d 1290 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.)

While the plaintiff was tending her garden, the defendant's dog jumped on a chain-linked fence that separated the plaintiff's and defendant's property. Startled, the plaintiff fell and injured herself. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the defendant. Finding the dog had no vicious propensities, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant; the plaintiff then appealed and lost.

Ware v. State 949 So. 2d 169 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006)

In this Alabama case, defendant Walter Tyrone Ware was indicted on six counts of owning, possessing, keeping, and/or training a dog for fighting purposes, and one count of possessing a controlled substance.  Police were dispatched to defendant's residence after receiving an anonymous tip about alleged dogfighting.  Upon arriving, police found a bleeding dog on the ground next to an SUV, a puppy in the SUV, and 22 more pit bull dogs in the backyard.  Most of the dogs were very thin or emaciated, and at least two dogs had fresh cuts or puncture wounds.  On appeal, defendant claimed that there was no evidence that he had attended a dog fight or hosted one.  However, the court observed that Alabama's dogfighting statute does not require such direct evidence; rather, a case was made based on evidence of training equipment, injured dogs, and the dogs' aggressive behavior exhibited at the animal shelter after seizure. 

Roach v. Jackson County 949 P.2d 1227 (Or. 1997)

This is an appeal of a county board and circuit court decision ordering destruction of a dog for chasing livestock.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decision and held that the dog must be killed in a humane manner.

Kindel v. Tennis 949 N.E.2d 1119 (Ill.App. 5 Dist., 2011)

Plaintiff was an employee of a dairy farm owned by defendants. In 2007, he was injured by a bull owned and controlled by defendants while working on the defendants' farm . The Appellate Court disagreed with the lower court, finding that the employee's allegations were sufficient to support a claim against the farm owners under the Animal Control Act. The court found it was a question of fact whether it was plaintiff's job to care for the bull, and whether that animal was in the care and/or custody of plaintiff at the time of the injury.

Davis v. Animal Control–City of Evansville 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind., 2011)

Dog attack victim sued city and its animal control department, seeking damages for injuries he sustained from a dog attack in his neighborhood. The victim claimed that the city failed to enforce its animal control ordinance. The Supreme Court held that city and its animal control department had law enforcement immunity because the Tort Claims Act provided immunity to governmental entities for any loss due to failure to enforce a law.

Mann v. Regan 948 A.2d 1075 (Conn.App.2008)

The plaintiff (Mann) brought this action to recover damages for injuries she sustained to her face when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant (Regan). The incident occurred when the defendant’s dog was being cared for by the plaintiff at her house while the defendant traveled out of state. With regard to defendant's tacit admission challenge, this court found that defendant’s silence in response to her daughter’s statement, “Well, mom, you know he bit you,” was within the trial court’s discretion to admit as a hearsay exception. As to the jury instructions, this court was not persuaded that there is a meaningful distinction between the words “vicious” and “dangerous” as used in the context of an action stemming from a dog bite.

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