|Cohen v. Clark||--- N.W.2d ----, 2020 WL 3524851 (Iowa June 30, 2020)||Karen Cohen possessed a severe allergy to pet dander which was medically documented. Cohen was even more severely allergic when exposed to cat dander which required her to carry an EpiPen with her. Initially her allergy to cats was the same as her allergy to dogs, however, with repeated exposure, her allergy to cats became worse. Cohen feared that her allergy to dogs would similarly progress if she were repeatedly exposed to dogs. As a result, Cohen entered into a lease agreement with 2800-1 LLC to rent an apartment relying on the fact that the apartment complex had a no pet policy. Two months into her lease, David Clark entered into a lease agreement with 2800-1 LLC to rent an apartment down the hall from Cohen. Shortly after moving in, Clark presented 2800-1 LLC with a letter from his psychiatrist explaining that due to Clark’s chronic mental illness a dog would benefit his mental health. Clark request a reasonable accommodation to have an emotional support animal (“ESA”) on the apartment premises. Jeffrey Clark, the leasing and property manager, notified the other tenants in the building of the request to accommodate the ESA and asked if any tenants had allergies to dogs. Cohen responded to Jeffrey detailing the allergies that she had to dogs and cats. Jeffrey subsequently contacted the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (“ICRC”) and requested a review or a formal agency determination. A staff member of the ICRC informed Jeffrey that he had to reasonably accommodate both Cohen’s allergies and Clark’s ESA request. There was no formal finding that this would constitute a reasonable accommodation. 2800-1 LLC allowed Clark to have a dog as his ESA while at the same time trying to mitigate Cohen’s allergies by having Cohen and Clark use separate stairwells and purchasing an air purifier for Cohen’s apartment. Despite the attempts to accommodate both tenants, Cohen still suffered allergic reactions and she had to limit the amount of time she spent in her apartment building. On September 27, 2017, Cohen brought a small claims action against 2800-1 LLC seeking one month’s rent as damages and alleging that 2800-1 LLC breached the express covenant of her lease that provided for no pets. Cohen also alleged that both Clark and 2800-1 LLC breached her implied warranty of quiet enjoyment. The small claims court dismissed Cohen’s claims. Cohen filed a notice of appeal three days later to the district court. The District Court concluded that 2800-1 LLC made sufficient efforts that would have justified denying Clark’s request for accommodation or asking him to move to another apartment building, however, because Iowa law was not sufficiently clear, they also dismissed the claims against 2800-1 LLC and Clark. Cohen filed an application for discretionary review to which 2800-1 LLC consented. The Supreme Court of Iowa granted the parties’ request for discretionary review. The Supreme Court noted that there is no law in Iowa or any other jurisdiction that clearly establishes how landlords should handle reasonable accommodation questions with ESAs. The Court ultimately found that Clark’s ESA was not a reasonable accommodation and that the 2800-1 LLC breached its promise to Cohen that the apartment would have no pets other than reasonable accommodations. 2800-1 LLC had other apartments available in other buildings that allowed pets. Cohen also had priority in time since she signed her lease first. The Court ultimately reversed and remanded the district court’s dismissal of Cohen’s case.|
|Cohen v. Kretzschmar||30 A.D.3d 555 ((N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2006)||
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the owners established that their dog did not have a propensity to jump up on people, and that they were not negligent in the manner in which they handled the dog at the time of the alleged accident. The judgment granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was affirmed.
|Cole v. Hubanks||681 N.W.2d 147 (Wis. 2003)||
Police officer was injured by homeowner's dog and sued for damages. The Supreme Court held that public policy does not dictate extending the firefighter's rule to the police officer, and therefore, that the officer could sue for injuries received as a result of the bite. Reversed and remanded.
|Cole v. Ladbroke Racing Michigan, Inc.||614 N.W.2d 169 (Mich. 2000)||
Plaintiff, a licensed horse exercise rider sued the operator of a horse racing facility after he had been injured when he was thrown off a horse that he had been exercising, when the horse became spooked by a kite on the Defendant’s premises. The court determined that the Equine Activity Liability Act (EALA) did not offer protection of immunity to the Defendant because the exercising was found to be an activity in preparation for a horse race and the EALA does not apply to “horse race meetings.” However, the Plaintiff had previously signed a release, which covered “all risks of any injury that the undersigned may sustain while on the premises,” therefore, the Defendant was released from liability of negligence.
|Collier v. Zambito||1 N.Y.3d 444 (N.Y. 2004)||
Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home. After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.
|Colorado Dog Fanciers v. City and County of Denver||820 P.2d 644 (Colo. 1991)||The plaintiffs, dog owners and related canine and humane associations (dog owners), filed a complaint in the Denver District Court against the defendant, City and County of Denver (city), seeking both a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the "Pit Bulls Prohibited" ordinance, Denver, Colo., Rev.Mun.Code § 8-55 (1989), and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement. The dog owners in this case claim the ordinance is unconstitutional, violating their rights to procedural and substantive due process and equal protection, is unconstitutionally vague, and constitutes a taking of private property.|
|Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar||639 F.Supp.2d 87 (D.D.C.,2009)||
In this action, the plaintiffs (associations organized to protect wild horses and one equine veterinarian) challenged the decision of the BLM to remove all the wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in Colorado. Plaintiffs argued that the BLM's decision violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Defendants countered that BLM's decision was a reasonable exercise of BLM's discretion and was thus entitled to Chevron deference. This Court held that BLM's decision to remove the West Douglas Herd exceeded the scope of authority that Congress delegated to it in the Wild Horse Act.
|Colorado Wild Horse v. Jewell||130 F. Supp. 3d 205 (D.D.C. 2015)||Finding the number of horses too high to maintain ecological balance and sustain multipurpose land use in Colorado's White River Resource Area, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) invoked its authority under the Wild Free–Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“Wild Horses Act”), to declare those horses to be “excess animals” and scheduled to remove them from the land. Plaintiffs—organizations challenged BLM's “excess” determinations and its decision to remove these horses. They asked the district court to enjoin BLM's planned gather. Because the Wild Horses Act authorized BLM's excess determination and BLM appeared to have used reasonable methods to estimate the total wild-horse population, the Court found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on their Wild Horses Act claims. And because the record reflected that BLM considered the cumulative effects of the proposed gather and permissibly relied on the Environmental Assessment written for a previous East Douglas HMA gather, the Court found that Plaintiffs were also unlikely to prevail on their National Environmental Policy Act claims. The Court further found that Plaintiffs were unlikely to suffer irreparable harm as a result of the gather and that the balance of equities and the public interest weighed in favor of BLM. Accordingly, the Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.|
|Colucci v. Colucci||234 A.3d 1226 (Me. 2020)||This Maine case is an appeal of a divorce proceeding where one party argues the court erred in awarding the parties' dogs to another. In 2017, Suan Colucci filed a complaint for divorce against her husband, Stephen Colucci. In 2019, the court entered a judgment granting the divorce and awarded both dogs “set aside to [Susan] as her exclusive property.” On appeal by Stephen, this court found that undisputed evidence established that "Louise" the dog was acquired five years before marriage, and thus, was nonmarital property. Because no evidence was presented to which of the parties actually acquired Louise in 2010, the judgment was vacated and remanded for further proceedings to determine ownership of Louise.|
|COLUMBUS R. CO. v. WOOLFOLK||58 S.E. 152 (Ga.1907)||
In this Georgia case, Woolfolk brought a suit to recover the value of a dog that he alleged was willfully and wantonly killed by the running of a street car on defendant's line of road. The defendant demurred specially to the paragraph that alleged the value of the dog to be $200. Defendant argued that the measure of damages could not be based on the value of the dog because dogs have no market value. The court disagreed, first noting that, by the common law a dog is property, for an injury to which an action will lie and the modern trend is to value dogs in the same way other domestic animals are valued. Further, the court found a "better rule" for ascertaining the measure of damages: “The value of a dog may be proved, as that of any other property, by evidence that he was of a particular breed, and had certain qualities, and by witnesses who knew the market value of such animal, if any market value be shown. Judgment affirmed.
|Columbus v. Kim||886 N.E.2d 217 (Ohio, 2008)||
An Ohio dog owner was convicted in the Municipal Court, Franklin County, of harboring an unreasonably loud or disturbing animal as prohibited by city ordinance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the owner contended that the term “unreasonable” in the ordinance “does not provide enough explanation to allow the average person to know what behavior is permissible.” The Supreme Court held that the ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague on its face, and was not unconstitutionally vague as applied.
|Com v. Daly||56 N.E.3d 841 (Mass. App. 2016)||The Defendant Patrick Daly was convicted in the District Court of Norfolk County, Massachusetts of animal cruelty involving a “snippy," eight-pound Chihuahua. The incident occurred when Daly flung the dog out of an open sliding door and onto the deck of his home after the dog bit Daly’s daughter, which led to the dog's death. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments. He first challenged the animal cruelty statute as vague and overbroad because it failed to define the terms "kill," "unnecessary cruelty," or "cruelly beat." The court disregarded his claim, finding the terms of the statute were "sufficiently defined" such that a person would know that he or she "may not throw a dog on its leash onto a deck with force enough to cause the animal to fall off the deck, twelve feet to its death . . ." Defendant also claimed that a photo of his daughter's hand showing the injury from the dog bite was improperly excluded. However, the court found the defendant was not prejudiced by the judge's failure to admit the photo. Under a claim that his conduct was warranted, defendant argues that the jury was improperly instructed on this point. It should not have been instructed on defense of another because that relates only to defending against human beings and, instead, the jury should have been instructed on a defense of attack by an animal. The court found while there is no precedent in Massachusetts for such a claim, the rationale is the same as the given instruction, and defendant cannot complain that the jury was improperly instructed where he invited the instruction with his claims that his actions were necessary to protect his daughter. His other claims were also disregarded by the court and his judgment was affirmed.|
|Com. v. Barnes||427 Pa.Super. 326, 629 A.2d 123 (Pa.Super.,1993)||
In this case, the defendants argued that the police powers granted to a private entity, the Erie Humane Society, was an improper delegation of government authority. On appeal, the defendants’ asserted several arguments including a claim that Pennsylvania’s delegation of government authority is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution The appeals court rejected each of defendants’ four arguments. Specifically, the court rejected defendants' assertion that the Erie Humane Society operates as "vigilantes," finding that the Society's actions are regulated by the Rules of Criminal Procedure with requirements of probable cause and the constraints of case law.
|Com. v. Beam||923 A.2d 414 (Pa.Super., 2007)||
In this Pennsylvania case, defendant appeals from convictions for licensing violations under the state's Dog Law and for violation of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a copier repair person was attacked by defendant's three German Shepherds. Because the Department of Health dog warden could not gain access to either question defendant about the dogs' vaccinations or quarantine the dogs, the victim had to receive a series of rabies shots. Based on the testimony of the dog warden that he finally saw vaccination certificates, and the fact the Commonwealth did not present any contrary evidence, the fines imposed under the Rabies Act were reversed. However, the court sustained the convictions for licensing violations under the Dog Law since defendant failed to show proof of licenses for 2005 (when the attack occurred).
|Com. v. Erickson||905 N.E.2d 127 (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)||
In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty involving one dog and five cats after a bench trial. On appeal, defendant challenged the warrantless entry into her apartment and argued that the judge erred when he failed to grant her motion to suppress the evidence gathered in the search. The Court of Appeals found no error where the search was justified under the "emergency exception" to the warrant requirement. The court found that the officer was justified to enter where the smell emanating from the apartment led him to believe that someone might be dead inside. The court was not persuaded by defendant's argument that, once the officer saw the dog feces covering the apartment that was the source of the smell, it was then objectively unreasonable for him to conclude the smell was caused by a dead body. "The argument ignores the reality that there were in fact dead bodies in the apartment, not merely dog feces, to say nothing of the additional odor caused by the blood, cat urine, and cat feces that were also found."
|Com. v. Hackenberger||836 A.2d 2 (Pa.2003)||
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to 6 months to 2 years jail following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of cruelty to animals resulting from his shooting of a loose dog more than five times. On appeal, appellant contends that the use of a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement provision does not apply to a conviction for cruelty to animals since the purpose is to punish only those offenses where the defendant has used a deadly weapon against persons. The Commonwealth countered that the purpose behind the provision is immaterial because the plain language applies to any offense where the defendant has used a deadly weapon to commit the crime, save for those listed crimes where possession is an element of the offense. This Court agreed with the Commonwealth and held that the trial court was not prohibited from applying the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals.
|Com. v. Hake||Com. v. Hake, 738 A.2d 46 (1998)||
Dog owner appealed conviction of harboring a dangerous dog that attacked a child in violation of the Dangerous Dog Statute. The Commonwealth Court held that the statute imposes strict liability for the dog’s first bite if a dog inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation.
|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)).|
|Com. v. Kneller||987 A.2d 716 (Pa., 2009)||
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up this appeal involving the defendant's criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after the defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit the defendant’s child. The Supreme Court vacated the order of the Superior Court and remanded the case to the Superior Court (--- A.2d ----, 2009 WL 215322) in accordance with the dissenting opinion of the Superior Court's order. The Court further observed that the facts revealed no immediate need to kill the dog and that there was "unquestionably malicious beating of the dog" prior to it being shot.
|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.
|Com. v. Raban||31 A.3d 699 (Pa.Super., 2011)||
Defendant was convicted of violating the dog law for failing to properly confine his dog after it escaped from his property and attacked another dog. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that 1) scienter was not a necessary element of the violation because the statutory mandate to confine a dog was stated absolutely, and 2) a dog attack is not a de minimis infraction that would preclude a conviction.
|Com. v. Seyler||929 A.2d 262 (Pa.Cmwlth., 2007)||
This Pennsylvania case construes the term "owner" for purposes of the state's Dog and Rabies Laws. Gretta R. Seyler appeals from an order of the trial court, which found her guilty of two counts each of violating Dog Law and guilty of two counts of violating Section 8 of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a pit bull jumped out of a window of her home and attacked a neighbor. First, the court found that there was no question that Seyler was caring for the dogs at the time the incident occurred or was permitting them to remain “on or about” the premises occupied by her. Although Seyler argues that the record clearly indicates that the two dogs were owned by her adult sons, the court found that the argument is without much force, as no paperwork showing the sons' ownership of the dogs was introduced at the hearing. Further, the court observed that the plain and unambiguous intent of Sections 8 of the Rabies Act and 305 of the Dog Law is that dogs be vaccinated and confined at all times. Thus, if the person having the property interest in a dog does not perform that function, then the statutes clearly require one harboring or caring for the dog, here Seyler, to perform it.
|Com. v. Trefry||51 N.E.3d 502 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 475 Mass. 1104, 60 N.E.3d 1173 (2016)||The Defendant Trefry, left her two sheepdogs, Zach and Kenji, alone on the property of her condemned home. An animal control officer noticed that Kenji was limping badly and took him to a veterinarian. Both dogs were removed from the property three days later. The Defendant was convicted of two counts of violating statute G.L. c. 140, § 174E(f ), which protects dogs from cruel conditions and inhumane chaining or tethering. The Defendant appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Barnstable held that: (1) neither outside confinement nor confinement in general is an element of subjecting dogs to cruel conditions as prohibited by statute; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support finding that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions. The Appeals Court reasoned that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions in violation of the statute because by the time they were removed, the dogs were “incredibly tick-infested” and “matted,” and Kenji had contracted Lyme disease and sustained a soft shoulder injury to his leg. An animal control officer also testified that the defendant's home was cluttered on the inside and overgrown on the outside. The yard also contained items that posed a danger to the animals. There was also sufficient evidence to infer that, while the dogs could move in and out of the condemned house, the dogs were confined to the house and fenced-in yard. The area to which the dogs were confined presented with every factor listed in § 174E(f)(1) as constituting “filthy and dirty” conditions. Also, "Zach's and Kenji's emotional health was further compromised by being left alone virtually all day every day" according to the court. Therefore the Defendant’s conviction was affirmed.|
|Com. v. Zalesky||906 N.E.2d 349, (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)||
In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, in violation of G.L. c. 272, § 77. On appeal, the defendant contended that the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt; specifically, that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions exceeded what was necessary and appropriate to train the dog. A witness in this case saw defendant beat his dog with a plastic "whiffle" bat on the head about 10 times. The defendant told the officer who arrived on the scene that he had used the bat on previous occasions, and did so to “put the fear of God in [the] dog.” At trial, a veterinarian testified that the dog suffered no trauma from the bat, but probably experienced pain if struck repeatedly in that manner. The court found that defendant's behavior fell under the ambit of the statutes because his actions were cruel, regardless of whether defendant viewed them as such. Judgment affirmed.
|Committee for Humane Legislation v. Richardson||414 F. Supp. 297 (1976)||
At issue in this case are the statutory limitations on the authority of the Secretary of Commerce to adopt regulations, pursuant to the MMPA, that provide for the issuance of permits for the "taking" of dolphins incidental to commercial fishing activities.
|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.|
|Commonwealth v. Austin||846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)||
Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog. The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.
|Commonwealth v. Baumgartner||--- A.3d ----, 2019 WL 1010357 (Mar. 4, 2019)||Appellant Charles Baumgartner was charged and convicted of animal fighting for amusement or gain as a result of an incident that occurred on March 9, 2017. Baumgartner brought his white pit pull named "Menace" to fight a pit bull that belonged to Adam Aviles. Police learned of the dog fight after being informed a video of the fight had been uploaded to social media. Baumgartner was ultimately charged with animal fighting and assaulting Mr. Aviles, but was convicted by jury only of animal fighting. On appeal, Baumgartner contends that his conviction should be set aside because the Commonwealth failed to present any evidence of amusement or gain as required by statute. As a matter of first impression, this Court considered the term "amusement or gain" as an element of the animal fighting, which is undefined in the anti-cruelty laws. The court found that no cases or other jurisdiction defines the term with respect to animal fighting, and thus, under principles of statutory interpretation, relies on the common usage and dictionary definitions. The court found that there was sufficient evidence admitted a trial for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Baumgartner allowed his dog to engage in animal fighting for amusement or gain, i.e., for “pleasurable diversion” or “advantage acquired or increased.” The Court concluded that Baumgartner facilitated the dog fight as a means of retribution against Aviles for a prior dog fighting incident. Therefore, his motive was personal gain. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Baumgartner’s conviction. Judge Pellegrini dissented stating that she does not believe that retribution is the type of amusement or gain within the meaning of the statute. She interprets the statute as outlawing animal fighting as a sport rather than all animal fights.|
|Commonwealth v. Bishop||67 Mass.App.Ct. 1116 (2006)||
David Bishop was convicted of animal cruelty and failing to provide a sanitary environment for his five dogs. He was ordered to pay over $60,000 in order to provide for the medical expenses that his dogs needed after they were taken away from him. While defendant argued that the amount of restitution was excessive, the court found that each of the five dogs had medical bills in excess of $10,000. Defendant was sentenced to three months in a house of corrections, and ten years probation.
|Commonwealth v. Brown||Commonwealth v. Brown, 66 Pa. Super. 519 (1917).||
The defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals for the use of acid on some horses' feet. The defendant appealed the descision because the lower court had found the Commonwealth's circumstantial evidence to be enough to submit the question of quilt to the jury. The Superior Court found that some of the evidence was improperly admitted by the lower court. Thus, the Superior Court reversed the judgement.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||817 A.2d 451 (Pa. 2003)||
The issue before the Court in this consolidated appeal was whether the trial court properly determined that 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511(h.1)(6), which criminalizes an individual's attendance at an animal fight "as a spectator," is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Specifically, appellees contended that the statute criminalized "mere presence" at a dog fight. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding the evidence showed appellees were active spectators at the fight (as seen in the videotape evidence). The court concluded that the statute is constitutionally sound, thereby reversing the lower court's decision that the statute imposed strict liability on mere presence.
|Commonwealth v. Craven||572 Pa. 431 (Pa. S.C. 2003)||
Defendants who were charged with cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy for their attendance at a dogfight as spectators challenged the constitutionality of the dogfighting statute. The trial court found that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that since the statute only creates criminal liability for a person's conscious decision to attend a dogfight, it is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.
|Commonwealth v. Creighton||639 A.2d 1296 (Pa.Cmwlth.,1994)||
In this Pennsylvania case, a cat owner challenged a local ordinance that limited the number of cats she could own at her residence (she owned 25 cats that were rescued "mousers" from factories; the ordinance limited ownership to 5). The court noted that the preamble to the ordinance stated that pursuant to the Borough Code and "in the interest of preserving the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents ... [the Borough] desires to limit the number of dogs and cats kept by any one person and/or residence," but did not state what legitimate public health, safety and welfare goals the Borough sought to advance by enacting this ordinance. Thus, from the information before the court, it could not say whether the Borough ordinance here was a reasonable means to effectuate a legitimate governmental goal.
|Commonwealth v. Duncan||7 N.E.3d 469, cert. denied sub nom. Duncan v. Massachusetts, 135 S. Ct. 224, 190 L. Ed. 2d 170 (2014)||This case deals specifically with the issue of whether or not the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment extends to police action undertaken to render emergency assistance to animals. In this particular case, police officers were called to defendant’s property after a neighbor reported that two of defendant’s dogs were deceased and a third dog looked emaciated after being left outside in inclement weather. After showing up to the defendant’s home, police contacted animal control who immediately took custody of all three dogs, despite defendant not being present. The court held that the emergency aid exception did apply to the emergency assistance of animals because it is consistent with public policy that is “in favor of minimizing animal suffering in a wide variety of contexts.” Ultimately, the court determined that the emergency aid exception could be applied to emergency assistance of animals if an officer has an “objectively reasonable basis to believe that there may be an animal inside [the home] who is injured or in imminent danger of physical harm.” The matter was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.|
|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.
|Commonwealth v. Gardner||74 Pa. D. & C. 539 (Pa. 1950)||
In this Pennsylvania case, a new resident moved next door to a woman who had been operating a kennel for years. He then complained to the borough council which then amended an ordinance such that the keeping of more than six dogs over six months of age was made a nuisance per se, illegal and a violation of the ordinance. The court held that it did not believe that the borough council or the court had the power or the authority to determine that more than a certain number is a nuisance per se, and less than that number is a nuisance only upon proof of the same being a nuisance. "In other words, it is our opinion that the borough council, in the exercise of its police power may not unreasonably and arbitrarily prohibit things which were not nuisances at common law, and their declaration in an ordinance that a thing is a public nuisance does not make it so, if it is not a nuisance in fact . . ."
|Commonwealth v. Gonzalez||403 Pa. Super. 157 (Pa. 1991)||Appellant was convicted of cruelty to animals for cockfighting. On appeal, appellant claimed that the delegation of police power to animal welfare agents was unconstitutional. The court found that appellant was without standing to complain because he failed to show an injury. Appellant also argued that the animal fighting statute was preempted by a federal statute, 7 U.S.C.S. § 2156. The court disagreed. Finally, appellant asserted that § 5511 was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court determined that appellant lacked standing to challenge the statute's overbreadth.|
|Commonwealth v. Gosselin||861 A.2d 996 (Pa. 2004)||
A woman was convicted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for owning a domesticated squirrel. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction They reasoned since the squirrel was domesticated in South Carolina, and South Carolina does not have any prohibition against the taking and domestication of squirrels, the trial court could not rely on the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting such.
|Commonwealth v. J.A.||478 Mass. 385, 85 N.E.3d 684 (2017)||In this Massachusetts case, testimony alleged that a juvenile brutally attacked her friend's dog causing serious internal injuries. The Commonwealth elected to proceed against the juvenile under the state's youthful offender statute. The grand jury returned two youthful offender indictments for cruelty to animals and bestiality. The juvenile contends that the youthful offender indictments are not supported because "serious bodily harm" described in the law only relates to human beings and not animals. The juvenile court judge granted the juvenile's motion to dismiss and the Commonwealth appealed. On appeal, this court first examined the phrase "serious bodily harm" by looking at its plain meaning and other related statutes. In doing so, the court held that Legislature did not intend "serious bodily harm" language of the youthful offender law to apply to animal victims. When looking at the legislative history, the court found that the inclusion of the language reflected a growing concern about juveniles committing violent crimes (specifically, murder) and did not touch upon animals. The court noted while the crime here raises "grave concerns about the juvenile's mental health," the juvenile's conduct toward an animal did not meet the statutory requirements. The order granting the motion to dismiss was affirmed.|
|Commonwealth v. Kneller||999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)||
Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.
|Commonwealth v. Lee||2007 WL 4555253 (Pa. Super. 2007)||
Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization. Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed. The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.
|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.
|Commonwealth v. Reynolds||76 A.2d 1088 (Pa., 2005)||
A woman's four serval cats, two fennic foxes, three ringtailed lemurs, three kinkajous, and one wallaby were all seized pursuant to a search warrant. The trial court granted the woman's motion for return of her property in part and denied in part, specifically allowing for the return of the kinkajous and lemurs. The Court of Appeals remanded to determine whether the woman's possession of the animals was in violation of the federal AWA or state Game Code.
|Commonwealth v. Szewczyk||53 N.E.3d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2016)||In this Massachusetts case, defendant was charged with animal cruelty after he shot a dog that had wandered onto his property with a pellet gun. The pellet was lodged in the dog’s leg and caused significant pain and discomfort to the dog. Following conviction, defendant appealed the District Court’s ruling arguing that the judge erred in denying three of his eleven requests for rulings of law.Specifically, defendant's principal argument was that he had a lawful purpose in shooting (to scare the dog off his property), his intent was justified (to insure his wife's safety on the property), and the pain inflicted by defendant shooting the dog does not fit the statutory meaning of "cruel." At the close of evidence, defendant submitted a written request for ruling under Mass. R.Crim. P.26 setting out these issues. The court held that the District Court judge correctly denied the three requests because they were clearly outside the scope of rule 26 because they called upon the judge as a fact finder to weigh the evidence presented at trial. Next, the court reviewed the facts of the case to determine whether or not a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the court held that a rational trier of fact would have been able to find that defendant did commit animal cruelty by shooting the dog. The court focused on the fact that the defendant could have used other means to ensure that the dog did not enter the property again without causing pain and suffering to the dog by shooting the dog in the leg. The judgment was affirmed.|
|Commonwealth v. Thorton||Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873)||
The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog. The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.
|Commonwealth v. Turner||Commonwealth v. Turner, 14 N.E. 130 (Mass. 1887).||
Defendant released a fox from his possession and a number of other people then released various dogs, which pursued and killed the fox. Defendant was charged and brought to trial. Defendant moved to dismiss the charge on the basis that there was no such crime, which the trial court denied. Defendant also moved to dismiss for lack of evidence, which the trial court also denied. Defendant was convicted and he appealed. The court found that there was a statutory basis for the charge and that the word "animal" in Mass. Pub. Stat. ch. 207, § 53 encompassed wild animals in the custody of a man. The court denied the exceptions brought by defendant and affirmed the order of the trial court, which convicted defendant of willfully permitting a fox to be subjected to unnecessary suffering.
|Commonwealth v. Waller||58 N.E.3d 1070 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 476 Mass. 1102, 63 N.E.3d 387 (2016)||Tasha Waller was convicted of animal cruelty for starving her dog to death. As a result of this conviction, Waller was placed on probation which prohibited her from owning animals and allowed for random searches of her property. Waller appealed this decision for the following reasons: (1) the animal cruelty statute under which she was convicted was unconstitutionally vague; (2) the expert witness testimony was improper and insufficient to support her conviction; (3) she may not as a condition of her probation be prohibited from owning animals, and the condition of probation allowing suspicions searches should be modified. The court reviewed Waller’s arguments and determined the statute was not unconstitutionally vague because it is common for animal cruelty statutes to only refer to “animals” in general and not specifically mention dogs. The court noted that dogs are commonly understood to fall within the category of animals and therefore the statute was not vague. Also, the court held that the expert witness testimony from the veterinarian was not improper because the veterinarian was capable of examining the dog and making a determination as to how the dog had died. Lastly, the court held that it was not improper to prohibit Waller from owning animals, but did agree that the searches of her property should only be warranted if authorities have reasonable suspicion to search the property. Ultimately, the court upheld Waller’s conviction and probation but modified the terms in which authorities are able to search her property.|
|Commonwealth v. Whitson||--- N.E.3d ----, 97 Mass.App.Ct. 798, 2020 WL 3635941 (2020)||This case involves an appeal of an animal cruelty conviction after defendant repeatedly stabbed a dog named Smokey, a three-year old pit bull. The incident in question occurred on a street outside of defendant's barber shop. Smokey was on-leash walking with his owner when an unleashed smaller dog ran at Smokey and began biting his ankles. Smokey responded playfully, not aggressively. The defendant responded to calls of assistance from the smaller dog's owner and helped separate the dogs. After this, the defendant returned briefly to his barbershop and came back with a knife that he used to repeatedly stab Smokey with while he restrained the dog with his other arm. The police eventually responded and defendant was taken to the hospital for a laceration on his hand where he yelled, "I'm glad I killed the [expletive] dog." Smokey survived the attack and defendant was charged and convicted. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments challenging the verdict. In particular, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that he stabbed Smokey repeatedly to release the dog from biting his hand. The appellate court found that no defense witnesses testified that Smokey bit defendant and the no medical records corroborated defendant's version of events. Defendant also argued that the judged erred in denying his motion in limine regarding Smokey prior and subsequent "bad acts," which, defendant claimed, were relevant to the issue of Smokey as the initial aggressor. This court found that the proffered evidence of bad acts was inadmissible hearsay and the acts subsequent to Smokey's stabbing occurred too remotely to have any probative value. Finally, the court found no substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the judge failed to give a sua sponte necessity defense. The judgment was affirmed.|
|Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles||123 Cal.Rptr.3d 774 (Cal.App.2 Dist., 2011)||
Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.
|Connecticut v. Devon D.||321 Conn. 656, 138 A.3d 849 (2016)||Devon D. was convicted of four counts sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a child upon allegations made by three of Devon D.’s biological children, C1, C2, and C3. He appealed his conviction on the grounds that the trial court had abused its discretion by having the three cases to be tried jointly and by permitting C1 to testify with a dog at her feet. The appellate court had accepted these arguments and reversed and remanded for a new trial, but the Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed the appellate court. The Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that “the trial court properly exercised its discretion in permitting the cases to be tried together because the evidence in all three cases was cross admissible,” and reversed on that issue. As to the appellate court’s determination that the trial court had abused its discretion in permitting a dog to sit near C1 during her testimony to provide comfort and support,” the Supreme Court also reversed, reinstating the verdict and judgment of the trial court.|