Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty 92 F. Supp. 3d 1221 (S.D. Fla. 2015) This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall, during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment.The District Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.
Thurston v. Carter 92 A. 295 (Maine, 1914) This action of trespass is brought for the recovery of damages for the killing of the fox hound of plaintiff by defendant.  Defendant claimed that he shot and killed the plaintiff's dog while it was chasing and worrying a cat belonging to and upon the land of the defendant. After the introduction of all the evidence, the court ordered a verdict for defendant. To this direction, plaintiff filed his bill of exceptions in which it is stipulated that if a cat is a domestic animal, the ruling below is to stand, otherwise judgment is to be entered for plaintiff in the sum of $50.
Dillon v. Greenbriar Digging Service 919 So.2d 172 (Miss. 2005)

In this Mississippi case, a horse owner brought negligence action against digging service when one of his horses was found dead near a trench dug by the service; the service refused to compensate owner for the value of his horse. The lower court found in favor of the digging service. On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court, finding that the digging service used reasonable care in digging and filling of horse owner's trench.

People v. Hock 919 N.Y.S.2d 835 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct., 2011)

Defendant was denied his motion to set aside convictions under New York animal cruelty statute.  The Criminal Court, City of New York, held that the 90 day period for prosecuting a Class A misdemeanor had not been exceeded. It also held that the jury was properly instructed on the criminal statute that made it a misdemeanor to not provide an animal with a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air, food, shelter, or water. It would be contrary to the purpose of the law and not promote justice to require that all four necessities be withheld for a conviction.

Pitts v. State 918 S.W.2d 4 (Tex. App. 1995).

Right of appeal is only available for orders that the animal be sold at public auction. The statutory language does not extend this right to seizure orders.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Dep't of Agric. & Animal & Plant Health Inspection Serv. 918 F.3d 151 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 15, 2019) The plaintiffs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sought documents from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), the entity within the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) that administers the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”). The USDA took a large amount of documents off of its website relating to AWA compliance. The USDA claimed that the removal was for the purpose of removing certain personal information and although they did not say that the removal was temporary, the agency described the removal as provisional which suggests that it is temporary in nature. The plaintiffs filed suit asking for declaratory and injunctive relief and invoking a provision known as FOIA’s reading room provision (5 U.S.C. section 552(a)(2)). The provision requires that agencies make available for public inspection in an electronic format five categories of documents. The plaintiffs allege that the agency removed (1) research facility annual reports; (2) inspection reports; (3) lists of entities licensed under the AWA; and (4) regulatory correspondence and enforcement records that had not yet received final adjudication. Category 4 and the portion of category 2 consisting of animal inventories were dismissed and not discussed in this case. Categories 1-3 appeared to be reposted by the agency which is why the district court dismissed them as moot. The appeal centers on the reposted records and the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims by the district court. Ultimately the Court held that for the reposted records featuring new redactions, the complaint was most plausibly read as requesting that USDA repost all information that those records contained before their takedown. The Court stated that the district court should proceed to the merits on remand. As to “voluntary cessation,” the Court affirmed the mootness dismissal as to the research reports but remanded for further explanation as to the inspection reports and the entity lists. If the agency unambiguously commits to continued posting of those documents, plaintiffs' claims should be dismissed as moot, without discovery, even if USDA continues to regard its postings as voluntary.
Downing v. Gully, P.C. 915 S.W.2d 181 (Tex. App. 1996)

Appellant dog owners challenged the decision of the County Court at Law No. 2 of Tarrant County (Texas), which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic in appellants' negligence, misrepresentation, and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims. The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic because appellee's veterinarians provided affidavits that were sufficiently factually specific, describing experience, qualifications, and a detailed account of the treatment, so that appellee negated the element of the breach of the standard of care, and because Deceptive Trade Practice Act claims did not apply to state licensed veterinarians.

Roberts v. 219 South Atlantic Boulevard, Inc. 914 So.2d 1108 (Fla. 2005)

Defendant brought his dog to work with him as the nightclub's maintenance man. As plaintiff walked by defendant's truck, he was bitten by defendant's dog.  The plaintiff than sued the nightclub for damages due to the bite.  The court granted summary judgment to the defendants stating that the facts of the case did not meet the four prong test that was needed to hold an employer liable for injuries to a third party.

Nutt v. Florio 914 N.E.2d 963 (Mass. Ct. App., 2009)

This Massachusetts case involves an appeal of a summary judgment in favor of the landlord-defendant concerning an unprovoked dog attack. The dog, described as a pit bull terrier, was kept by a tenant of Florio's. The court found that, while the defendants cannot be held strictly liable by virtue the dog's breed, "knowledge of that breed and its propensities may properly be a factor to be considered in determining whether the defendants were negligent under common-law principles." Reviewing the record de novo, the court held that this question and the defendant's knowledge of the dog's propensities, created a genuine issue of material fact. The order of summary judgment for defendant was reversed and the case was remanded.

Zelenka v. Pratte 912 N.W.2d 723 (Neb. 2018) Pratte and Zelenka were in a relationship up until their separation in 2015. Zelenka moved out of the residence that they had shared, however, he was unable to retrieve several items of personal property one of which was a French bulldog named Pavlov. Zelenka filed a complaint against Pratte alleging conversion. Zelenka contended that Pavlov was given to him as a birthday gift from Pratte. The district court ordered Pratte to return Pavlov to Zelenka and the rest of the personal property to remain with Pratte. Pratte appealed and Zelenka cross-appealed. The Supreme Court of Nebraska found that although the parties styled their complaint as one for conversion, the parties tried the action as one for replevin and treated the case in all respects as if replevin had been raised in the pleadings, therefore, the Court treated the action as one in which replevin had been raised in the pleadings. The Court ultimately found the following: Zelenka met his burden of proving that Pavlov was a gift from Pratte; Pratte failed to meet his burden of proving that the Niche leather couch, Niche lamps, and French bulldog lamp were gifts from Zelenka; and that those three items should be returned to Zelenka. As for the other items of personal property, the Court found that there was no basis to set aside the district court’s finding that Zelenka failed to meet his burden of proving ownership. The Court affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded in part.
Celinski v. State 911 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. App. 1995).

Criminal conviction of defendant who tortured cats by poisoning them and burning them in microwave oven. Conviction was sustained by circumstantial evidence of cruelty and torture.

Price v. State 911 N.E.2d 716 (Ind.App.,2009)

In this Indiana case, appellant-defendant appealed his conviction for misdemeanor Cruelty to an Animal for beating his 8 month-old dog with a belt. Price contended that the statute is unconstitutionally vague because the statute's exemption of “reasonable” training and discipline can be interpreted to have different meanings. The court held that a person of ordinary intelligence would also know that these actions are not “reasonable” acts of discipline or training. Affirmed.

State ex rel. Missouri Dept. of Conservation v. Judges of Circuit Court of Reynolds County 91 S.W.3d 602 (Mo. 2002)

Sixteen residents who violated portions of the wildlife code challenged the hearings that they received before a panel from the Department of Conservation, which were not conducted in an evidentiary fashion or recorded.  The Court found that, pursuant to the rulemaking authority granted under the State constitution to the Department of Conservation, the regulations provide for noncontested hearings unless the permitee is entitled by law to a contested hearing (a "contested case" is a proceeding before an agency in which legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties are required by law to be determined after hearing).  The Court found that no such law applies to this case, citing a case that determined hunting is not a fundamental right.

Edmondson v. Oklahoma 91 P.3d 605 (Okla. 2004)

Petitioners sought relief from a temporary injunction for the Respondents, which prevented petitioners from enforcing the statute banning cockfighting.  The Supreme Court assumed original jurisdiction and held that the statute did not violate the Oklahoma State Constitution, and was not unconstitutionally overbroad.  Relief granted for petitioners.

Erie County Society ex rel. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Hoskins 91 A.D.3d 1354 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2012)

In this action, plaintiff animal society appeals from an order to return 40 horses to defendant after they were seized pursuant to a warrant. The issue of whether the Court has the authority to order return of animals to the original owner was raised for the first time on appeal. Despite the  procedural impropriety, the Court found plaintiff's contention without merit. The Court held that the return of the horses is based on principles of due process, not statutory authority.

Thurber v. Apmann 91 A.D.3d 1257 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012)

In 2007, the plaintiff and defendant were walking their respective dogs when one of defendant's two dogs, a retired K-9 dog, attacked the plaintiff's dog. Plaintiff sued defendant for damages she received as a result. While each dog did received "handler protection" training (where a K-9 dog is trained to react to an aggressive attack on defendant while on duty), that situation had never arisen because the dogs acted in passive roles as explosive detection dogs. Plaintiff countered that the severity of the attack coupled with the dogs' breed and formal police training should have put defendant on notice of the dogs' vicious propensities. In affirming the summary judgment, this court found that the formal police training was not evidence of viciousness and there was no support to plaintiff's assertion that defendant kept the dogs as "guard dogs."

People v. Romano 908 N.Y.S.2d 520 (N.Y.Sup.App.Term,2010)

Defendant appealed a conviction of animal cruelty under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to groom the dog for a prolonged period of time and failing to seek medical care for it. Defendant argued that the term “unjustifiably injures” in the statute was unconstitutionally vague, but the Court held the term was not because a person could readily comprehend that he or she must refrain from causing unjustifiable injury to a domestic pet by failing to groom it for several months and seeking medical care when clear, objective signs are present that the animal needs such care.

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.
Hawaiian Crow (‘Alala) v. Lujan 906 F.Supp. 549 (D.Hawai‘i,1991)

Defendants (USFWS and rancher owners) filed a motion to dismiss the 'Alala bird and strike its name from the plaintiffs' complaint as well a motion for Rule 11 sanctions. The District Court held that, as a matter of first impression, the endangered 'Alala bird was not a 'person' within the meaning of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) citizen suit provision. However, the Court declined to impose Rule 11 sanctions on the ground that plaintiffs' counsel acted improperly in filing a complaint that named the ‘Alala  as a party, finding that there is no evidence plaintiffs named the ‘Alala for an improper purpose. Defendant's motion for a more definite statement was granted to provide greater specificity to pinpoint those areas within the essential habitat locations that may be affected.

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."

Velzen v. Grand Valley State University 902 F.Supp.2d 1038(W.D. Mich. 2012) On March 30, 2012, Plaintiff and the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan (“FHCWM”) brought suit against Defendants, a university, alleging unlawful discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), Federal Rehabilitation Act, and Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (“PWDCRA”), for denying Plaintiff’s request to keep an emotional support animal in on-campus housing. All claims brought against the individual defendants were brought against them in their official capacities as university administrators. Plaintiffs sought both injunctive and compensatory relief. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and 12(b)(6), failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The District Court decided the following would be dismissed: (1) all claims under the PWDCRA against all defendants; (2) all claims for compensatory damages under the FHA brought against all defendants; (3) all claims for injunctive relief under the FHA brought against the institutional defendants; (4) all claims for relief under the Rehabilitation Act by the FHCWM; and (5) all claims for relief under the Rehabilitation Act by Plaintiff that depended on disparate treatment. The following claims remained: (1) Plaintiff and the FHCWM's claims under the FHA seeking injunctive relief from the individual defendants; and (2) Plaintiff's claims against all defendants for compensatory damages and injunctive relief under the Rehabilitation Act pursuant to the failure to accommodate theory.
In re Tavalario 901 A.2d 963 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2006)

This appeal presents a challenge by Anthony Tavalario to the manner in which the State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) determines whether keeping horses on property constitutes a "commercial" agricultural operation that exempts the property from local zoning and other land use restrictions as the result of the preemptive force of the Right to Farm Act, N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 to -10.4. The SADC found that Tavalario's use of the land did not qualify for protection under the Act, because he could not demonstrate that, as of July 3, 1998, his operation produced "agricultural or horticultural products worth $2,500 or more annually" as required by the definitional section of the Act. Tavalario contends on appeal that the SADC erred because it failed to consider as income in 1998 uncollected stud fees, the imputed value of a horse sold as a broodmare in 2002 for $8,000 and another horse sold in 2003 for $5,400, and race winnings of an undisclosed amount allegedly awarded at an unspecified time after 1998. The court found no grounds for reversal of the SADC's interpretation of the production requirements of the definition of "commercial farm" found in N.J.S.A. 4:1C-3 or its application to Tavalario's case.

Berardelli v. Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine 900 F.3d 104 (3d Cir., 2018) This case presents an issue of first impression in the Court of Appeals: whether regulations on service animals, which technically apply only to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require that individuals with disabilities be allowed to be accompanied by their service animals under the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The facts involve an elementary student with dyslexia and epilepsy who sought to be accompanied by her service dog to school. The dog was trained to respond to her epileptic seizures and was recommended by her pediatric neurologist. The student was attending a new school after having attended a different school with her service animal who recently died. After receiving a new service animal (after being placed on a waiting list), the principal of the new school refused access for the service animal, asserting for the first time that the dog was "too much of a distraction." As a consequence of the denial, the student missed school when her seizures were too severe. After more than a year of disrupted attendance, the student's mother sought to have the seizure alert dog accompany the child to fifth grade, and the principal said he would "look into" it. Frustrated with the equivocation, the mother attempted to bring the service animal with the child and the principal prevented entrance, now saying another child had an allergy to dogs. Eventually, the dog was allowed to accompany the child with a "therapeutic shirt designed to decrease allergens," but the shirt interfered with the service animal's performance of disability-related tasks. In the end, the mother withdrew the child from this particular school. The child's parent subsequently sued the school, arguing that the school had failed to accommodate the child under Section 504 of the RA. The school moved for summary judgment on all claims. Important to the claim of discrimination under the RA, the District Court instructed the jury that on a claim for failure to accommodate, the plaintiff needed to prove that that the requested accommodations were reasonable and necessary to avoid discrimination based on disability. The jury was confused at the instructions and the child's attorney urged the court to instruct the jury on ADA service animal regulations. The Court refused saying it had “g[iven] them the law that relates to this case” and would not “go look for some new law to tell them about or some different law or something that’s not been already submitted or given to them.” The jury subsequently returned a verdict for the school. On appeal here, appellants argue that, because the subjective standards for liability under the RA and ADA are the same, the service animal regulations of the ADA should apply to the RA. The Court of Appeals first examined the history and relationship of the ADA and its precursor, the RA. Based on the overarching goal of both laws - to ensure equal opportunity and inclusion - the requirements of reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications are inextricably intertwined. Regardless of the differing entities the statutes cover, they both impose the same liability standard based on this concept of "reasonableness." The Court also found this echoed in case law dealing with a failure to accommodate under both laws. As to the service animal regulations under the ADA, the Court held that, logically, the service animal regulations are relevant to the RA even though they technically interpret the ADA. This is supported by agency guidance in other contexts from HUD, the Dept. of Justice, and the Dept. of Labor. The Court found the school's counter arguments unpersuasive especially considering the legal principle that an anti-discrimination statute like the RA must be interpreted broadly to carry out its broad remedial purpose. In essence, the Court now holds that a covered actor must accommodate the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability under the RA just as it must do under the ADA. While the "reasonableness" of that accommodation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the request to be accompanied by a service animal is per se reasonable. Applying that holding to these facts, the Court found that the District Court did not correctly instruct the jury on the relevant law. The error was not harmless, and, despite the school's claim, there was not a high probability that the jury would have ruled in its favor if properly instructed. The judgment was vacated on the RA claim, reversed on the dismissal of the state discrimination claim, and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Hanrahan v. Hometown America, LLC 90 So.3d 915 (Fla.App. 4 Dist.)

While walking his dog one evening, the plaintiff's husband was attacked by fire ants. In an attempt to remove the ants off his person, the plaintiff's husband collapsed in the shower. Two days later, he died. As a representative for her husband's estate and in her own capacity, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against her landlord. After the trial court granted the landlord's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff appealed. Affirming the lower court's decision, the appeals court reasoned that since the landlord did not harbor, possess, or introduce the fire ants onto the premises, the landlord owed no duty to the plaintiff.

United States of America v. Victor Bernal and Eduardo Berges 90 F.3d 465 (11th Cir. 1996)

Victor Bernal and Eduardo Berges were convicted of various crimes in connection with an attempt to export two endangered primates--an orangutan and a gorilla--from the United States to Mexico in violation of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  While the main issue before the court was a downward departure in sentencing guidelines, the court found the purpose of the Lacey Act is protect those species whose continued existence is presently threatened by gradually drying up international market for endangered species, thus reducing the poaching of those species in their native countries.

State v. Devon D. 90 A.3d 383 (Conn.App, 2014) The defendant, Devon D., appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of eleven offenses, in three separate files with three different docket numbers, pursuant to three separate informations, involving three different victims. Devon asserted that the prosecution as to the charges concerning C1 should have been separated from the charges as to C2 and C3, and that the evidence from C1’s case should not have been cross-admissible as to C2 and C3, an argument the Connecticut Appellate Court accepted as justifying reversal. Devon also argued on appeal that “the court improperly permitted the state to have a dog sit near C1 while she testified to provide comfort and support to her.” The appellate court concluded that the trial court had abused its discretion in permitting the use of the dog to comfort and emotionally support C1 while she testified without requiring the state to prove that this special procedure was necessary for this witness. At trial, defense counsel specifically told the trial court he was not making a confrontation clause claim as to the presence of the dog, and the appellate court therefore considered such a claim waived. Despite the absence of statutory authority for permitting a facility dog, the appellate court did conclude that the trial court had “inherent general discretionary authority” to permit such a dog, but also determined that this discretion was abused under the facts of the case. The judgments are reversed and the cases are remanded for new trials.
American Bald Eagle v. Bhatti 9 F.3d 163 (Mass.,1993)
A group of animal preservationists filed suit to enjoin deer hunting on a Massachusetts reservation because it contended that the activity posed such a risk to bald eagles so as to constitute a prohibited “taking” under the ESA. The essence of the plaintiff's argument was that some of the deer shot by hunters would not be recovered and then eagles would consume these deer thereby ingesting the harmful lead slugs from the ammunition. The district court denied the preliminary injunction, ruling that appellants failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. On appeal of the denial for injunction, this Court held that plaintiff failed to meet the showing of actual harm under the ESA. There was no showing in the record of harm to any bald eagles during the deer hunt of 1991 and the record fully supported the trial judge's conclusion.
Leith v. Frost 899 N.E.2d 635 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.,2008) In this Illinois case, plaintiffs, Mark and Mindy Leith, sued defendant, Andrew E. Frost, for tortious damage to their personal property, a dachshund named Molly. The trial court found in plaintiffs' favor with an award of $200, Molly's fair market value, rather than the $4,784 in veterinary expenses. While the court recognized fair market value is the traditional ceiling for damage to personal property, Illinois courts have held that certain items of personal property (heirlooms, photographs, pets, etc.) have no market value. Thus, the basis for assessing compensatory damages in such a case is to determine the actual value to the plaintiff beyond nominal damages. Adopting the rationale of the Kansas Court of Appeals in Burgess v. Shampooch Pet Industries, Inc., t his Court found that Mollly's worth to plaintiffs was established by the $4,784 plaintiffs paid for the dog's veterinary care.
U.S. v. Williams 898 F.2d 727 (9th Cir. 1990)

Kenneth Ray Williams appealed his conviction for the illegal hunting of moose in violation of the Lacey Act. Williams claimed that his conviction should be overturned because the government failed to establish the validity of use of the wildlife law against a tribe member. The United States argued that there is no need for the government to establish the validity of the law's use against a tribe member.  The court affirmed the conviction and held that the government must establish the validity of the use of wildlife laws against tribe members but that similar laws enacted by the tribe can establish this validity.

Daul v. Meckus 897 F. Supp 606 (D.C. 1995)

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has brought this Bivens action seeking to hold government agents liable in their individual capacities for alleged constitutional violations under the AWA. Plaintiff lost his Class A license of a dealer under the AWA, due to failure to submit the required license fee and annual report.  The court held that, even construing plaintiff's allegations in the light most favorable to him, Mr. Daul appears merely to allege without proof that each of these defendants exceeded the scope of his authority.  Thus, plaintiff's conclusory allegations failed to show that any defendant violated any clearly established constitutional or statutory right.  The named defendants from the USDA were also granted both absolute and qualified immunity in the decision.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Bobby Berosini, Ltd. 895 P.2d 1269 (Nev.,1995)

In this Nevada case, respondent Berosini claimed that two animal rights organizations, PETA and Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), and three individuals defamed him and invaded his privacy. The trial court entered judgment on jury verdicts on the libel and invasion of privacy claims in the aggregate amount of $4.2 million. On appeal, this Court concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict and reversed the judgment. The court found that the videotapes of Berosini beating his animal performers before the show was not libelous because they were not false or defamatory. The videotape was not “false” because it was an accurate portrayal of the manner in which Berosini disciplined his animals backstage before performances and it was not not defamatory because Berosini took the position that the shaking, punching, and beating that appear on the tape were necessary, appropriate and “justified” for the training, discipline, and control of show animals. With regard to his invasion of privacy claims, the videotaping did not invade the scope of Berosini's expectation of privacy because his asserted expectation was "freedom from distracting intrusion and interference with his animals and his pre-act disciplinary procedures." Thus, the filming did not intrude upon Berosini's expected seclusion.

Stauber v. Shalala 895 F.Supp. 1178 (W.D.Wis.,1995)

Court found that milk consumers failed to prove that milk gained from rBST-treated cows contains higher levels of antibiotics, tastes different, or differs in any noticeable way from "ordinary" milk. That consumers might demand mandatory labeling was not enough to require labeling; rather, the FDA was required to ensure that products are not misbranded and consumer demand could not require the FDA to forgo this duty.

Ward v. Hartley 895 A.2d 1111 (Md.App., 2006)

In this Maryland case, a dog bite victim filed a negligence and strict liability action against the dog owners and their landlords.  In plaintiff's appeal of the trial court's granting of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the appellate court held that the landlords had no control over the premises where the "dangerous or defective condition" existed and thus had no duty to inspect.  The court found that first, no statute, principle of common law, or provision in the lease imposed upon the landlord the duty to inspect the leased premises to see if a vicious animal was being kept.  Second, there was no evidence presented that, at the time the lease was signed by the landlord, he knew, or would have had any way of knowing, that a vicious animal was to be kept on the premises.

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church 894 A.2d 329 (Conn.App., 2006)

The plaintiff, Virginia Auster, brought this action pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357FN1 to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the dog of an employee of the defendant, Norwalk United Methodist Church.  Ms. Auster was a visitor who was on the premises to attend a meeting in the parish house when she was bitten by dog of church employee, who lived in an apartment in the parish house.  After a jury trial, the verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.  (See summary judgment appeal, 2004 WL 423189).  The Appellate Court held that church was not a “keeper” of the church employee's dog for purposes of statute which imposed strict liability on the keeper of any dog that did damage to the body or property of any person.  The court reversed the judgment and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of common-law negligence

Alaimo v. Racetrack at Evangeline Downs, Inc. 893 So.2d 190 (3rd Cir., 2005)

A racehorse breeder  and owner brought suit against a racetrack for the loss of future winnings after a racehorse collided with a negligently maintained gate on the racetrack.  The trial court awarded plaintiff $38,000 without specifying what the award was for.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding the award was not unreasonable based on the horse's racing history.

United States v. Charette 893 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir., 2018) Defendant Charette was convicted by bench trial of taking a grizzly bear behind his home in Montana in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act. On appeal, defendant challenges his conviction on three grounds: (1) there was insufficient evidence to infer that he did not have a permit to take the grizzly bear; (2) his request for a jury trial was improperly denied; and (3) the lower court incorrectly analyzed his self-defense claim under an objective standard as opposed to the correct subjective standard. On appeal here, the court observed that the plain language of the ESA and legislative history makes it clear that permits and exceptions under the ESA are affirmative defenses, and not elements of the crime. In this case, Charette had the burden of proving the existence of a valid permit, which he did not do at trial. The court also quickly dispensed with the Sixth Amendment jury trial issue, finding that the taking of a grizzly bear is a petty offense. As to defendant's last argument on his self-defense claim, this court did find that the trial court erred in applying an objectively reasonable standard. This error was not harmless because it affected defendant's decision to testify as to his subjective belief in the need for self-defense. As a result, this court reversed the district court's decision, vacated defendant's conviction, and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Terral v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. 892 So.2d 732 (La.,2005)

A motorcyclist hit a dog wandering on the road and sued the defendant under strict liability theory. The court found that the defendant was strictly liable because he owned the dog in fact. Although the dog was originally a stray, the court upheld a finding of ownership because the defendant regularly fed the dog and harbored it on his property.  

Murrell v. Hooter 892 So.2d 680 (5th Cir., 2004)

A champion jumping horse was struck and killed by a van after escaping through an open gate.  The horse owner sued the property owners for negligence and the trial court granted defendants' summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals reversed the decision holding the defendants were not entitled to immunity under the Equine Immunity Statute.

Jurewicz v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 891 F.Supp.2d 147 (D.D.C, 2012)

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the United States Humane Society requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) disclose a certain Animal Welfare Act form. Arguing that two FOIA exemptions prevented the USDA from releasing certain information on this form (the number of dogs that they buy and sell each year and their annual revenue from dog sales), three Missouri dog breeders and dealers sought to prevent this information’s disclosure. After finding that the public interests in disclosing the information outweighed the privacy concerns for the breeders, the district court granted the USDA's and the U.S. Humane Society's motion for summary judgment.    

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Kansas State Fair Board 891 F.Supp.2d 1212 (D.Kan. 2012)

Upon being informed by the Kansas State Fair Board (KSFB) that it must shield a video depicting graphic images of animals being slaughtered, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sought a preliminary injunction in order to show the video at the Kansas State Fair. PETA argued the shield was unconstitutional. The KSFB sought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds of Eleventh Amendment Immunity, that PETA lacked Article Three Standing, and that the defendant was not a section 1983 person. Both motions were denied by the district court.

Honeycutt v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. 890 So.2d 756 (2nd Cir. 2004)

A driver hit a cow standing in the road and the driver brought suit against the cow's owner and the owner's insurance agency.  The trial court held in favor of the driver and the Court of Appeals affirmed based upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor.

Tilbury v. State 890 S.W.2d 219 (Tex. App. 1994).

Cruelty conviction of defendant who shot and killed two domesticated dogs. Defendant knew dogs were domesticated because they lived nearby, had demeanor of pets, both wore collars, and had been previously seen by defendant.

Hood River County v. Mazzara 89 P.3d1195 (Or. 2004)

In this Oregon case, the defendant appealed a conviction for violating Hood River County Ordinances (HRCO) under which the owner of a dog may not allow it "to become a public nuisance * * * " by "[d]isturb[ing] any person by frequent or prolonged noises[.]" (Her dog was reported to have barked for six straight hours.)  The defendant argued that the ordinances are invalid as applied to her because ORS 30.935 immunizes farm practices from the application of local government ordinances.  The defendant operated a farm with a herd of 60 cashmere and angora goats on land that bordered a national forest and used her dogs to keep predators at bay.  The Court of Appeals noted that once defendant raised the defense of the right to farm practice, the county had the burden of disproving it, which it failed to do.  Further, the trial court erred by disregarding uncontested facts that established defendant's immunity.

State v. Hanson 89 P.3d 544 (Kansas, 2004)

Defendant's dogs were released by owner, resulting in their attack of a neighbor's dog and its subsequent death.  On appeal, the conviction was reversed for failure to show owner had knowledge of vicious propensity.

Gilman v. Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners 89 P.3d 1000 (Nev. 2004)

The Slensky's took their ill beagle to Defendant's Animal Hospital for routine vaccinations and examinations due to the dog's loose stools for four days.  X-rays of the dog were taken, and when the dog was returned to the Slensky's, where it then collapsed.  Defendant instructed them to take the dog to the emergency clinic, where it later died.  The family filed a complaint with the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and Defendant was later convicted of gross negligence and incompetence, an ethics violation, and for using an unlicensed veterinary technician.  His license was suspended and he was placed on probation.  The Court held that Defendant:  (1) could be assessed costs of the proceeding; (2) he could not be assessed attorney's fees; (3) the Board could award expert witness fees above the statutory cap; (4) the Board failed to justify the imposition of costs for an investigator; and (5) statutes did not permit the employment of an unlicensed veterinary technician.

Tennant v. Tabor 89 A.D.3d 1461 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.., 2011)

Motorist collided with a horse and sued horse owners for damages. The Supreme Court held that, even if horse owners violated statute requiring them to provide shelter to horse, this did not constitute common-law negligence, which was required for damages. In addition, horse owners were not liable because there was no evidence that horse exhibited propensity to interfere with traffic prior to incident involving motorist.

Pine v. State 889 S.W.2d 625 (Tex. App. 1994).

Mens rea in cruelty conviction may be inferred from circumstances. With regard to warrantless seizure, the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit seizure when there is a need to act immediately to protect and preserve life (i.e. "emergency doctrine").

Smith v. City of New York 889 N.Y.S.2d 187 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2009)

This New York appeal reversed the lower court's judgment finding Officer Smith strictly liable for dog-bite injuries sustained by infant plaintiffs. The court found that, in the limited time the officer spent with the dog, the dog acted friendly, playful, and "rambunctious." He did not see the dog growl or lunge at the plaintiff and her family, who were sitting in the precinct house. The testimony adduced at trial did not establish that Officer Smith knew or should have known of the dog's vicious propensities. Further, the court found the evidence was insufficient to show that Officer Smith owned the dog. Rather, he took temporary custody of the abandoned dog with the intention to transport him to the ASPCA, and the dog was in his possession for, at most, a few hours.

People v. Johnson 889 N.W.2d 513 (2016), appeal denied, 500 Mich. 951, 891 N.W.2d 231 (2017) This case involves challenges to the courtroom procedure of allowing a witness to be accompanied on the witness stand by a support animal. Defendant Johnson appealed his convictions of criminal sexual assault after he was convicted of assaulting his six-year-old niece. During Defendant's trial, a black Labrador retriever was permitted, to accompany the six-year-old victim to the witness stand. On appeal, the Defendant first argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the use of a support animal because MCL 600.2163a(4) only allows a support person. The Court of Appeals of Michigan stated that the trial court had the inherent authority to utilize support animals. Secondly, the Defendant argued that trial counsel should have objected to the notice of a support person on the basis that allowing the witnesses to testify accompanied by the support animal violated his constitutional right to due process. The Court of Appeals stated that there is no indication that the support dog used was visible to the jury, or that he barked, growled, or otherwise interrupted the proceedings. Therefore, the objection was meritless. Next, the Defendant argued that his counsel was ineffective for failing to request various procedural protections if the support animal was used. The Court of Appeals stated that the use of a support dog did not implicate the Confrontation Clause; the presence of the dog did not affect the witnesses' competency to testify or affect the oath given to the witnesses; the witnesses were still subject to cross-examination; and the trier of fact was still afforded the unfettered opportunity to observe the witnesses' demeanor. Finally, the Defendant argued that a limiting instruction should have been provided to the jury when the support animal was utilized and this rendered his counsel ineffective. The Court of Appeals stated, that there are no Michigan jury instructions addressing the use of a support animal. Counsel was then not ineffective in failing to ask for an instruction that does not yet exist in Michigan. The Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant's convictions and sentence and remanded.
Recchia v. City of Los Angeles Dep't of Animal Servs. 889 F.3d 553 (9th Cir. 2018) Petitioner Recchia sued the City of Los Angeles and animal control officers for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment and claims for state law tort violations. The claims arise from the 2011 warrantless seizure of Recchia's 20 birds (18 pigeons, one crow, and one seagull) kept in boxes and cages on the sidewalk where he lived (Recchia was homeless at the time). Animal control officers investigated Recchia after a complaint that a homeless man had birds at his campsite. Officers found cramped and dirty cages with several birds in "dire physical condition," although there is evidence the birds were in that condition before Recchia possessed them. After officers impounded the birds, a city veterinarian decided that all the pigeons needed to be euthanized due to concerns of pathogen transmission. Recchia discovered that the birds had been euthanized at his post-seizure hearing that was four days after impounded of the animals. At that hearing, the magistrate found the seizure was justified under the operative anti-neglect law (California Penal Code § 597.1(a)(1)). This § 1983 and state claim action followed. The district court adopted the magistrate judge's report and granted summary judgment for the defendants. On appeal, this court first examined whether the seizure of the healthy-looking birds was justified. The court held that hold that there was a genuine factual dispute about whether the healthy-looking birds posed any meaningful risk to other birds or humans at the time they were seized (it affirmed the dismissal as to the seizure of the birds that outwardly appeared sick/diseased). With regard to seizure of the birds without a pre-seizure hearing, the court applied the Matthews test to determine whether Recchia's rights were violated. Looking at the statute under which the birds were seized (Section 597.1), the court found that the law does afford adequate due process for Fourteenth Amendment purposes. As to other claims, the court granted Recchia permission to amend his complaint to challenge the city policy of not requiring a blood test before euthanizing the birds. The court also agreed with the lower court that the officers had discretionary immunity to state tort law claims of in seizing the animals. The district court's summary judgment was affirmed on Fourteenth Amendment and state tort claims against the officers, but vacated summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment claims against the animal control officers and constitutional claims against the city.

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