Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
People v. Tinsdale 10 Abbott's Prac. Rept. (New) 374 (N.Y. 1868)

This case represents one of the first prosecutions by Mr. Bergh of the ASPCA under the new New York anti-cruelty law. That this case dealt with the issue of overloading a horse car is appropriate as it was one of the most visible examples of animal abuse of the time. This case establishes the legal proposition that the conductor and driver of a horse car will be liable for violations of the law regardless of company policy or orders.Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty

Yuzon v. Collins 10 Cal.Rptr.3d 18 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this California case, a dog bite victim sued a landlord, alleging premises liability in landlord's failure to guard or warn against tenants' dangerous dog.  On appeal from an order of summary judgment in favor of the landlords, the Court of Appeal held that the landlord owed no duty of care, as he had no actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities and an expert witness's declaration that the landlord should have known of the dog's vicious propensities was insufficient to warrant reconsideration of summary judgment ruling.  The landlord's knowledge that tenants may have a dog because it is allowed through a provision in the lease is insufficient to impute liability where the landlord has no knowledge of any previous attacks or incidents.

Hohenstein v. Dodds 10 N.W.2d 236 (Minn. 1943) This is an action against a licensed veterinarian to recover damages for his alleged negligence in the diagnosis and treatment of plaintiff's pigs.  Plaintiff alleged defendant-veterinarian negligently vaccinated his purebred pigs for cholera.  The court held that a n expert witness's opinion based on conflicting evidence which he is called upon to weigh is inadmissible.  Further, a n expert witness may not include the opinion of another expert witness as basis for his own opinion.  
Banasczek v. Kowalski 10 Pa. D. & C.3d 94 (1979)

Edward Banasczek (plaintiff) instituted an action in trespass against William Kowalski (defendant) for money damages resulting from the alleged shooting of two of plaintiff's dogs. The court held the following: “[T]he claim for emotional distress arising out of the malicious destruction of a pet should not be confused with a claim for the sentimental value of a pet, the latter claim being unrecognized in most jurisdictions.   Secondly we do not think, as defendant argues, that the owner of the maliciously destroyed pet must have witnessed the death of his or her pet in order to make a claim for emotional distress.” Pennsylvania has summarily rejected a claim for loss of companionship for the death of a dog.  

Free v. Jordan 10 S.W.2d 19 (Ark. 1928)

In a replevin action to recover possession of a lost dog from its finder, the court reversed and remanded the case so a jury could determine whether the statute of limitations was tolled due to the defendant's alleged fraudulent concealment of his possession of the dog.

Westfall v. State 10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)

Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.

Schindler v. Mejias 100 A.D.3d 1315 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012)

This appeal is an appeal of the denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment in a defamation action. Plaintiff, an attorney, brought an action against Hector L. Mejias Jr., an employee of defendant Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, claiming that Mejias falsely accused him of misrepresenting himself as the Ulster County District Attorney during a sworn deposition. The statement occurred during an incident at the SPCA where Plaintiff-Schindler was trying to pick up a dog owned by his client. The particular issue on appeal is whether the supreme court erred in determining that Mejias's supporting deposition constitutes libel per se. The court found that the alleged act was sufficiently egregious because such a claim would suggest professional misconduct on an attorney's part and invites both disciplinary action and damage to an attorney's professional reputation. Further, defendants failed to meet their burden of showing an absence of malice. The order was affirmed.

Nantucket Residents Against Turbines v. U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Mgmt. 100 F.4th 1 (1st Cir. 2024) In this case, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) approved the construction of Vineyard Wind, a wind power project off the coast of Massachusetts after consulting with the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”). A group of Nantucket residents, organized as "Nantucket Residents Against Turbines" (“Residents”), allege that the federal agencies violated the Endangered Species Act by concluding that the project's construction likely would not jeopardize the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment for BOEM and NMFS. On appeal of summary judgment, the Residents further allege that BOEM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by relying on NMFS's flawed analysis. The court rejected the Residents' argument, finding that NMFS's biological opinion properly analyzed the current status and environmental baseline of the right whale. Further, the biological opinion properly analyzed the effects of the project (e.g., noise) on the right whale, along with mitigation measures, and did not ignore the project's additive effects on the right whale's long-term recovery prospects. Finally, BOEM's reliance on the biological opinion did not violate NEPA. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
Faraci v. Urban 101 A.D.3d 1753 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.

People v. Baniqued 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 835 (Cal.App.3 Dist.,2000).

Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, California, ordering their conviction for cockfighting in violations of animal cruelty statutes.  The court held that roosters and other birds fall within the statutory definition of "every dumb creature" and thus qualify as an "animal" for purposes of the animal cruelty statutes.

Toney v. Glickman 101 F.3d 1236 (8th Cir., 1996) Plaintiffs were in the business of selling animals to research facilities. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that they had committed hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq. The ALH then imposed what was, to that point, the harshest sanction, $200,000, in the history of the Act. The Judicial Officer affirmed the ALJ's findings and denied the Plaintiffs' request to reopen the hearing for consideration of new evidence. While the 8th Circuit affirmed most of these findings, it held that the evidence did not support all of them. Accordingly, the court remanded the matter to the Department for redetermination of the sanction. The court also affirmed the Judicial Officer's refusal to reopen the hearing and denied the Plaintiffs' Request for Leave to Adduce Additional Evidence. The Plaintiffs were free, however, to seek leave to offer this additional evidence on remand to the extent it was relevant to the sanction.
Alternatives Research & Development Foundation v. Glickman 101 F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C.,2000)

In this case, the plaintiffs, a non-profit organization, a private firm and an individual, alleged that the defendants, the USDA and APHIS violated the mandate of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by promulgating regulations that exclude birds, mice and rats from the definition of “animal” under the Act. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that all three plaintiffs lack standing to bring suit. Defendants also moved to dismiss on the grounds that the exclusion of the three species is within the agency's Congressionally delegated discretion, not subject to judicial review. The court denied defendant's motion, holding that based on Lujan , defendants challenge to standing failed. Further, the AWA does not grant the USDA "unreviewable discretion" to determine what animals are covered under the AWA.

Town of Bethlehem v. Acker 102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014) Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.
Kovar v. City of Cleveland 102 N.E.2d 472 (Ohio App. 1951)

This case involved a petition by LaVeda Kovar, et al against the City of Cleveland to obtain an order to restrain the City from disposing of dogs impounded by the City Dog Warden by giving or selling them to hospitals or laboratories for experimental and research purposes.  The Court of Appeals held that the City of Cleveland, both by its constitutional right of home rule and by powers conferred on municipal corporations by statute, had the police power right to provide that no dog should be permitted to run at large unless muzzled, and any dog found at large and unmuzzled would be impounded.  Further, by carrying out the mandate of the city ordinance by disposing of these impounded dogs was simply the performance of a ministerial or administrative duty properly delegated to Director of Public Safety.

United States Association of Reptile Keepers, Inc. v. Jewell 103 F. Supp. 3d 133 (D.D.C. 2015) On a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin implementation of the 2015 Rule (80 Fed.Reg. 12702 ), the US District Court for the District of Columbia addressed whether the U.S. Department of Interior acted within its authority when it issued Lacey Act regulations prohibiting the interstate transportation of certain large constricting snakes. The United States Association of Reptile Keepers argued that since the Lacey Act “[did] not encompass transportation of listed species between two states within the continental United States,” the Department of Interior exceeded its authority. Relying on the history of zebra mussels and bighead carp, the Department argued that it did not. The Court, however, found the Department had failed to establish that that history was sufficient to confer an authority on the Department that Congress did not confer when it enacted the controlling statutory text. The Court ruled the preliminary injunction would issue and ordered the parties to appear for a status conference on May 18, 2015 to address the scope of the injunction.
United States v. Bramble 103 F.3d 1475 (9th Cir. 1996)

During a search related to a controlled substances violation, undercover agents seized eagle feathers from defendant.  The court held that Congress exercised valid Commerce Clause power in enacting the BGEPA, as the incentive of interstate commerce in eagle parts would threaten eagles to extinction, thus depleting the future commercial potential of activities such as eagle-based tourism and educational research.  For discussion on the Eagle Act and the Commerce Clause, see Detailed Discussion .

White v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company 106 A.3d 1159 (N.H., 2014) This is an appeal brought by Susan and Peter White to a declaratory judgment that her son, Charles Matthews, was not covered under Susan's homeowner's insurance policy with the respondent.The incident that led to this case involved Matthews' dog causing injury to Susan while at the home covered by the policy. The policy covered the insurer and residents of their home who are relatives, so Susan attempted to collect from Vermont Mutual for the damage done by the dog. However, her claim was denied because Matthews was deemed to not be a resident of the home. This court affirms.
Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook 106 F. Supp. 3d 908 (N.D. Ill. 2015) Cook County passed an ordinance that required a “pet shop operator” to only sell animals obtained from a breeder that (among other requirements) held a USDA class “A” license and owned or possessed no more than 5 female dogs, cats, or rabbits capable of reproduction in any 12-month period. Plaintiffs, a professional pet organization and three Cook County pet shops and their owners, sued Cook County government officials, alleging that the ordinance violated the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Defendants moved to dismiss the action. After concluding that plaintiffs had standing to pursue all of their claims, with the exception of the Foreign Commerce Claim, the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss all claims, but gave Plaintiffs a chance to cure their complaint's defects by amendment.
Japan Whaling Association v. American Cetacean Society 106 S. Ct. 2860 (1986)

Congress had granted the Secretary the authority to determine whether a foreign nation's whaling in excess of quotas diminished the effectiveness of the IWC, and the Court found no reason to impose a mandatory obligation upon the Secretary to certify that every quota violation necessarily failed that standard.

Maine v. Taylor 106 S.Ct. 2440 (1986)

Appellee bait dealer (appellee) arranged to have live baitfish imported into Maine, despite a Maine statute prohibiting such importation. He was indicted under a federal statute making it a federal crime to transport fish in interstate commerce in violation of state law. He moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the Maine statute unconstitutionally burdened interstate commerce.  The Court held that the ban did not violate the commerce clause in that it served legitimate local purpose, i.e., protecting native fisheries from parasitic infection and adulteration by non-native species, that could not adequately be served by available nondiscriminatory alternatives.

Frank v. Animal Haven, Inc. 107 A.D.3d 574 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2013.)

Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.

Liddle v. Clark 107 N.E.3d 478 (Ind. Ct. App.), transfer denied, 113 N.E.3d 627 (Ind. 2018) In November of 2005 DNR issued an emergency rule that authorized park managers to permit individuals to trap racoons during Indiana’s official trapping season which it reissued on an annual basis from 2007 to 2013. Harry Bloom, a security officer at Versailles State Park (VSP) began installing his own lethal traps with the authorization from the park’s manager. The park manager did not keep track of where the traps were placed nor did Bloom post any signs to warn people of the traps due to fear of theft. As a result, Melodie Liddle’s dog, Copper, died in a concealed animal trap in the park. Liddle filed suit against several state officials and asked the court to declare the state-issued emergency rules governing trapping in state parks invalid. The trial court awarded damages to Liddle for the loss of her dog. Liddle appealed the trial court’s ruling on summary judgment limiting the calculation of damages and denying her request for declaratory judgment. On appeal, Liddle claimed that the trial court erred in ruling in favor of DNR for declaratory judgment on the emergency trapping rules and in excluding sentimental value from Liddle’s calculation of damages. The Court concluded that Liddle’s claim for declaratory relief was moot because the 2012 and 2013 versions of the emergency rule were expired and no longer in effect. The Court also concluded that recovery of a pet is limited to fair market-value since animals are considered personal property under Indiana law. The Court ultimately affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
Marino v. University of Florida 107 So.3d 1231 (Fla.App. 1 Dist.,2013)

The petitioner in this Florida case sought records for 33 non-human primates whose captivity was documented by a USDA report. The University of Florida redacted certain portions of the records to obscure the physical housing location of the primates. The University contends that the information was confidential and exempt under Florida law as part of its "Security Plan." On appeal, this court first noted that under the Florida Public Records Act, all public documents are subject to public disclosure unless specifically legislatively exempted without considering public policy questions. The court reversed and remanded the case with instructions to release the records without redaction.

Kohl v. New Sewickley Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd. 108 A.3d 961 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015)

Applicants sought a zoning variance to operate a nonprofit dog-rescue shelter. The zoning board denied the application, concluding that the dog-rescue operation run by applicants was a non-permissible “kennel” under the township's zoning ordinance. Applicants appealed to a trial court. The trial court determined that because applicants did not receive “economic gain” or a profit for their efforts, their dog-rescue operation was not a “kennel” and, therefore, was not a prohibited land use under the zoning ordinance. The trial court therefore reversed the zoning board's order. Intervenors, the applicants’ neighbors, appealed from the trial court's decision. Upon review, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania concluded that the term “kennel,” as used in the zoning ordinance, was ambiguous, and had to be construed in favor of applicants to find that applicants' operation of a large dog rescue facility on their property did not constitute the operation of a kennel. The appeals court therefore affirmed the trial court's decision.

Vanderbrook v. Emerald Springs Ranch 109 A.D.3d 1113 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2013).

While on a guided trail ride, plaintiff's horse brushed up against a tree that the plaintiff was unable to push away from. As a result, plaintiff's leg and hip sustained injuries and the plaintiff sued the ranch and the ranch's owners. Defendants’ appealed the Wayne County Supreme Court denial for the defendants' motion for summary. On appeal, the court found the Supreme Court properly denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. First, the court found the defendants failed to meet their initial burden of establishing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issues of the horse's vicious propensity and defendants' knowledge of that propensity.

People v. Youngblood 109 Cal.Rptr.2d 776 (2001) Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat.  The court found that the conviction could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering.  Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.
U.S. v. Hugs 109 F.3d 1375 (9th Cir. 1997)

Defendants shot and sold bald eagles to undercover officers posing as big game hunters in Montana.  On appeal, the court denied their claims against the permit system, finding that they lacked standing to challenge the permit system where they failed to apply for permits.  With regard to a facial challenge to the statute, the court held that the BGEPA passed the RFRA test, where the government asserted a compelling interest that was effectuated in the least restrictive means.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

State v. McDonald 110 P.3d 149 (Ut. 2005)

A woman was convicted of fifty-eight counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found fifty-eight diseased cats in her trailer.  The trial court sentenced the woman to ninety days of jail time for each count, but revised the sentence to include two days of jail time,  two years of formal probation, and twelve and a half years of informal probation.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, but found that fourteen and a half years probation exceeded the court's statutory authority. 

BREEDLOVE v. HARDY 110 S.E. 358 (Va. 1922)

This Virginia case concerned the shooting of plaintiff's companion animal where defendant alleged that the dog was worrying his livestock. The court reversed judgment for defendant, finding that defendant’s act of killing dog while not engaged in the act of “worrying the livestock,” was not authorized within the statute.

Batra v. Clark 110 S.W.3d 126 (Tex.App.-Houston [1 Dist.],2003)

In this Texas case, the appellant-landlord appealed a verdict that found him negligent for injuries suffered by a child visiting a tenant's residence. The lower court found the tenant and landlord each 50% liable for the girl's injuries. The Court of Appeals, in an issue of first impression, if a landlord has actual knowledge of an animal's dangerous propensities and presence on the leased property, and has the ability to control the premises, he or she owes a duty of ordinary care to third parties who are injured by this animal. In the present facts, the court found that Bantra had no duty of care because there was no evidence showing that Batra either saw the dog and knew that it was a potentially vicious animal or identified the dog's bark as the bark of a potentially vicious animal. The judgment was reversed.

People v. Lohnes 112 A.D.3d 1148, 976 N.Y.S.2d 719 (N.Y. App. Div., 2013)

After breaking into a barn and stabbing a horse to death, the defendant plead guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals; burglary in the third degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. On appeal, the court found a horse could be considered a companion animal within New York's aggravated cruelty statute if the horse was not a farm animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes and the horse was normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or the person who cared for it. The appeals court also vacated and remitted the sentence imposed on the aggravated cruelty charge because the defendant was entitled to know that the prison term was not the only consequence of entering a plea.

Dreyer v. Cyriacks 112 Cal.App. 279 (1931) Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.   The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.   On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.   In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.
U.S. v. Okelberry 112 F. Supp. 2d 1246 (D. Utah 2000)

Defense counsel not deemed ineffective for failing to advise defendant that a conviction under the BGEPA could result in loss of grazing rights.

In Defense of Animals v. Oregon Health Sciences University 112 P.3d 336 (Or. 2005)

A nonprofit corporation petitioned the trial court for injunctive and declaratory relief regarding fees charged by a state university primate research center for document inspection.  The circuit court dismissed the action with prejudice, reasoning it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the fee issue and, assuming jurisdiction existed, the fees were in compliance with law.  The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding the circuit court had jurisdiction to review the basis, reasonableness and amount of fees charged by the university.

Newton County Wildlife Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Service 113 F.3d 110 (8th Cir. 1997) Newton County Wildlife Association sued the United States Forest Service seeking judicial review of four timber sales in the Ozark National Forest. The Wildlife Association filed sequential motions to preliminarily enjoin the sales as violative of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The district court1 separately denied each motion, and the Wildlife Association separately appealed those orders. The Court held that because the Forest Service may limit WSRA plans to lands lying within designated river segments, failure to timely prepare the Plans cannot be a basis for enjoining timber sales on lands lying outside any designated area. With respect to the MBTA, the Court held that "it would stretch this 1918 statute far beyond the bounds of reason to construe it as an absolute criminal prohibition on conduct, such as timber harvesting, that indirectly results in the death of migratory birds." Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's denial of injunctive relief.
Supreme Beef Processors, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 113 F.Supp.2d 1048 (N.D.Tex.,2000)

North Federal District Court of Texas ruled that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) only empowered the Food Safety and Inspection Services to prevent the United States Department of Agriculture from allowing companies to sell adulterated meat to the public. To find meat adulterated under FMIA requires that the processor's plants conditions are insanitary, thus the FSIS should focus on the manufacturing process and not the final product to determine that a plant is insanitary.

United States of America v. Hale 113 Fed.Appx. 108

A couple owned and operated a caviar business.  They were convicted of violating the Lacey Act by purchasing and selling paddlefish eggs during the closed season, falsifying records and operating a fish dealership without a license.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction.  This Judgment was Vacated by Hale v. U.S ., 125 S.Ct. 2914 (2005).

Ammon v. Welty 113 S.W.3d 185 (Ky.App.,2002)

In this Kentucky case, the plaintiffs brought an action against the county dog warden for shooting their dog. Before the statutorily imposed 7-day waiting limit had expired, the warden euthanized the dog by shooting him in the head. The Court of Appeals held that while a family dog can be beloved by a family, loss of the pet does not support an action for loss of consortium. Further, the dog warden was not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress because his actions did not rise to the outrageous level where the dog was not shot in the presence of the family and there was no evidence that Brewer intended to inflict emotional harm.

People v. Sanchez 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)

Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

Mellin v. Northern Security Insurance Company, Inc. 115 A.3d 799 (N.H., 2015) This is an appeal brought by Mr. Mellin because his insurer, Northern, would not cover damages to Mellin's condominium caused by the odor of cat urine emanating from another tenant's condominium. This court reverses the lower court by deciding that the policy included pollution exclusion, but was ambiguous in whether that encompassed cat urine odor, so Mellin's claim is not precluded. The case was remanded for further proceedings. Two of the five judges dissent, concluding that the word 'pollutant' was defined and excluded cat urine odor.
Friends of Animals v. Jewell 115 F. Supp. 3d 107 (D.D.C. 2015) Friends of Animals (FOA) filed a citizen petition under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to get the Department of Interior to determine whether the spider tortoise and flat-tail tortoise were endangered species. After waiting two years for an answer, FOA filed suit, arguing the Department’s silence had caused the group various injuries. The district court, however, found the supposed harms did not rise to the level of “concrete and particularized” injuries in fact, and granted the Department's motion to dismiss FOA's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
U.S. v. Lopez (Abridged for Purposes of Eagle Topic Area) 115 S.Ct. 1624 (1995)

Laws governing intrastate activities will be upheld if they substantially affect interstate commerce.  Under the Eagle Act, the power to regulate eagles has been summarily upheld as a valid exercise of commerce power, as it protects the eagle as a species by preventing the creation of a legal commercial market for the animal.  For further discussion of the Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.

Keith v. Commonwealth ex rel. Pennsylvania, Department of Agriculture 116 A.3d 756 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015) This case focuses on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's preliminary objection that Petitioners' had taxpayer standing to request injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that regulations promulgated by the Department were in conflict with the mandates set forth in the Pennsylvania Dog Law Act. Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Department argued that Petitioners had not pled sufficient facts to show that those directly and immediately affected by the regulations were beneficially affected. The court found Petitioners were at least as well inclined and situated as any other entities to challenge regulations that might be in conflict with those provisions. The court therefore overruled the Department's preliminary objections to Petitioners' standing.
Puppies 'N Love, v. City of Phoenix 116 F. Supp. 3d 971 (D. Ariz. 2015) Defendant City of Phoenix passed an ordinance that prohibited pet stores from selling dogs or cats obtained from persons or companies that bred animals; pet stores could only sell animals obtained from animal shelters or rescue organizations. Puppies 'N Love operated a pet store in Phoenix that sold purebred dogs obtained from out-of-state breeders. Puppies 'N Love and its owners sued the City, claiming primarily that the Ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by closing the Phoenix market to out-of-state breeders and giving an economic advantage to local breeders. All parties, including Intervenor Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”), filed motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted the Intervenor’s and the city’s motions, but denied Puppies ‘N Love’s motion, thereby upholding the ordinance.
Mitchell v. State 118 So.3d 295 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2013)

The defendant in this case was convicted of animal cruelty for injuries his dog sustained after his dog bit him. Upon appeal, the court found that the prosecutor had erred by framing the argument in a manner that improperly shifted the burden of proof from whether the defendant had intentionally and maliciously inflicted injuries on the dog to whether the State's witnesses were lying. Since the court found this shift in burden was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded the defendant's conviction.

People v. Minney 119 N.W. 918 (Mich. 1909)

Defendant was convicted of mutilating the horse of another.  He argued on appeal that the trial court's jury instructions, which read that malice toward the owner of the horse was not necessary, were incorrect.  The court agreed and found that although the general malice of the law of crime is sufficient to support the offense, the trial court must instruct that malice is an essential element of the offense.

Smith v. Kopynec 119 So.3d 835 (La.App. 1 Cir.,2013)

The plaintiff appeals the lower court's dismissal of her claims against defendant-landowners and their insurers. The plaintiff was injured (for the second time) by the defendant-landowners' son's pitbull while walking past their home. While it was undisputed that the landowners did not own the dog, the issue was whether they had a duty to prevent the attack via "custodial liability." Here, the defendant-landowners asserted that they thought the son had gotten rid of the dog after it was confiscated and quarantined by animal control after it first attacked the plaintiff. Thus, this court found that defendant-landowners did not know of the dog's presence on their property and affirmed the trial court's order of summary judgment.

Lesher v. Reed 12 F.3d 148 (8th Cir. 1994)

Seizure of pet dog violated Fourth Amendment where police acted unreasonably in going to canine police officer's house to seize the dog after the dog bit a child.

Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. 120 P.3d 126 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2005)

This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to  put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

Milke v. Ratcliff Animal Hospital, Inc. 120 So.3d 343 (La.App. 2 Cir., 2013) This is an action for veterinary malpractice brought against a veterinarian and veterinary clinic, as well as an action for improper delay and bad faith dealing against the insurer of the veterinary clinic. Plaintiff brought this case after their 6-month old puppy died in the post-operative period following neutering surgery. Defendant veterinarian and clinic could not provide an exact cause of death, and the malpractice insurer that plaintiff was referred to denied plaintiff's malpractice claim. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, and plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court found that the veterinarian and clinic did not commit malpractice and the insurer did not act in bad faith, and affirmed the judgment of the lower court.

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