Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
People v. Johnson 305 N.W.2d 560 (Mich. 1981)

Defendant claimed the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals, arguing that there was not proof that the horses were under his charge or custody.  While the court agreed and reversed his conviction because he could not be convicted under the statute merely as the owner of the horses, absent proof of his care or custody of the horses, it further explained that the "owner or otherwise" statutory language was designed to punish cruelty to animals without regard to ownership.

People v. Iehl 299 N.W.2d 46 (Mich. 1980)

Defendant appealed his conviction for killing another person's dog.  On appeal, defendant contended that the term "beast" provided by the anti-cruelty statue did not encompass dogs.  The court disagreed, finding the statute at issue covered dogs despite its failure to explicitly list "dogs" as did a similar statute. 

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.

People v. Henderson 765 N.W.2d 619 (Mich.App.,2009)

The court of appeals held the owner of 69 emaciated and neglected horses liable under its animal cruelty statute, even though the owner did not have day-to-day responsibility for tending to the horses.

People v. Haynes 760 N.W.2d 283 (Mich.App.,2008)

In this Michigan case, the defendant pleaded no contest to committing an “abominable and detestable crime against nature” with a sheep under MCL 750.158. In addition to sentencing consistent with being habitual offender, the trial court found that defendant's actions evidenced sexual perversion, so the court ordered defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (“SORA”). The Court of Appeals reversed the order, holding that while sheep was the “victim” of the crime, registration was only required if the victim was a human being less than 18 years old. SORA defines “listed offense” as including a violation of section 158 if a victim is an individual less than 18 years of age. Relying on the plain and ordinary meaning of "victim," the court concluded that an animal was not intended to be considered a victim  under the statute.

People v. Harris --- P.3d ---- 2016 WL 6518566 (Colo.App.,2016) Harris was convicted for twenty-two counts of cruelty to animals after dozens of malnourished animals were found on her property by employees of the Humane Society. On appeal, Harris raised two main issues: (1) that the animal protection agent who was an employee of the Humane Society was not authorized to obtain a search warrant to investigate her property and (2) that the mistreatment of the twenty-two animals constituted one continuous course of conduct and that the lower court violated her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause by entering a judgment on twenty-two counts of animal cruelty. The Court of Appeals reviewed the issue of whether the animal protection agent had the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property and determined that the agent did not have the proper authority. The Court looked to the state statute that specifically stated that only “state employees” were able to investigate livestock cases. In this case, the animal protection agent was employed by the Humane Society and was not a state employee; therefore, he did not have the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property. However, the Court found that there was no constitutional violation with regard to the search warrant because it was still obtained based on probable cause. For this reason, the Court denied Harris’ request to suppress evidence that was submitted as a result of the search warrant. Finally, the Court reviewed Harris’ argument regarding her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Court found that under the statute dealing with animal cruelty, the phrases “any animal” and “an animal” suggests that a person commits a separate offense for each animal that is mistreated. Essentially, the Court held that the language of the statute “demonstrates that the legislature perceived animal cruelty not as an offense against property but as an offense against the individual animal.” As a result, Harris’ rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause were not violated and the Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
People v. Gordon 85 N.Y.S.3d 725, (N.Y.Crim.Ct. Oct. 4, 2018) This New York case reflects Defendant's motion to dismiss the "accusatory instrument" in the interests of justice (essentially asking the complaint to be dismissed) for violating Agricultural and Markets Law (AML) § 353, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals or Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals. Defendant's primary argument is that she is not the owner of the dog nor is she responsible for care of the dog. The dog belongs to her "abusive and estranged" husband. The husband left the dog in the care of their daughter, who lives on the second floor above defendant. When the husband left for Florida, he placed the dog in the backyard attached to his and defendant's ground floor apartment. The dog did not have proper food, water, or shelter, and slowly began to starve resulting in emaciation. While defendant asserts she has been a victim of domestic violence who has no criminal record, the People counter that defendant was aware of the dog's presence at her residence and allowed the dog to needlessly suffer. This court noted that defendant's motion is time-barred and must be denied. Further, despite the time bar, defendant did not meet her burden to dismiss in the interests of justice. The court noted that, even viewing animals as property, failure to provide sustenance of the dog caused it to suffer needlessly. In fact, the court quoted from in Matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery (in which denied a writ of habeas corpus for two chimpanzees) where the court said "there is not doubt that [a chimpanzee] is not merely a thing." This buttressed the court's decision with regard to the dog here because "he Court finds that their protection from abuse and neglect are very important considerations in the present case." Defendant's motion to dismiss in the interest of justice was denied.
People v. Garcia 29 A.D.3d 255 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2006)

In this New York case, the court, as a matter of first impression, considered the scope of the aggravated cruelty law (§ 353-a(1)) in its application to a pet goldfish.  Defendant argued that a goldfish should not be included within the definition of companion animal under the statute because there is "no reciprocity in affection" similar to other companion animals like cats or dogs.  In finding that the statute did not limit the definition as such, the court held that defendant's intentional stomping to death of a child's pet goldfish fell within the ambit of the statute.  Accordingly, the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County that convicted defendant of attempted assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, assault in the third degree (three counts), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and aggravated cruelty to animals in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a(1) was affirmed.

People v. Garcia 777 N.Y.S.2d 846 (N.Y. 2004)

Defendant was convicted for violating the anti-cruelty statute toward animals.  On appeal, the Court held that the statute was not unconstitutionally vague when applied to defendant's crimes.  Motion denied.

People v. Flores 2007 WL 1683610 (Cal. App. 4 Dist.)

Defendants were tried for allegedly invading an eighty-year-old woman's home and stealing, at gun point, and holding ransom eight seven-week-old puppies and two adult female Yorkshire terriers which she bred for the American Kennel Club for about $3,000 each.  The jury held the defendants responsible for 18 counts of various crimes, including robbery, grand theft dog, elder abuse, conspiracy and cruelty to animals, inter alia.  The appellate court reversed the counts of grand theft dog which were improperly based on the same conduct as the robbery conviction, reduced the sentence on the counts for abuse of an elder, and otherwise found no additional errors. 

People v. Flores 216 Cal. App. 4th 251, 156 Cal. Rptr. 3d 648 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.), review denied (Aug. 21, 2013)

Defendant Flores appeals his conviction under Penal Code section 399 for allowing a " mischievous animal" owned by him to cause serious injury to another person. In this case, defendant's pit bull dog, "Blue,"attacked defendant's almost 90-year old neighbor on his own property causing deep injuries to his leg. Blue had been previously involved in three other incidents where he either tried to attack other dogs or acted aggressively toward other humans. As a result of these incidents, Sonoma County officials issued defendant a issued a potentially dangerous animal warning. On appeal, defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence that he acted without ordinary care in keeping his dog and that the victim-neighbor did not suffer a serious injury as defined by statute. The court found both of these arguments without merit. While defendant suggested that he acted with "ordinary care" by keeping the dog tethered and chained outside on the day of the incident, the court found the evidence showed Blue had broken free in the past and had "massive strength." Further, even though the potentially dangerous dog designation by the county did not mandate that Blue be kept inside or in a secure enclosure, the ordinance language provides this requirement. Leaving a dog with a history of unprovoked attacks chained next to a public sidewalk in a residential neighborhood supported the jury's conclusion that defendant did not act as reasonably careful person would in the same situation. As to the serious bodily injury claim, the court noted that although the law does not define the term, there was substantial medical evidence to support the jury's determination. Affirmed.

People v. Curtis 944 N.E.2d 806 (Ill.App. 2 Dist., 2011)

Defendant owned five cats and housed 82 feral cats in her home. One of her pet cats developed a respiratory infection and had to be euthanized as a result of unsanitary conditions. Defendant was convicted of violating the duties of an animal owner, and she appealed. The Appellate Court held that the statute requiring animal owners to provide humane care and treatment contained sufficiently definite standards for unbiased application, and that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider defendant's conduct toward her pet cat to be inhumane.

People v. Curcio 874 N.Y.S.2d 723 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct.,2008)

In this New York case, Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), a class A misdemeanor. The charge resulted from allegedly refusing to provide medical care for his dog, Sophie, for a prominent mass protruding from her rear end. This Court held that the statute constitutional as applied, the complaint facially sufficient, and that the interests of justice do not warrant dismissal. Defendant argued that the Information charges Defendant with failure to provide medical care for a dog, and that A.M.L. § 353 should not be read to cover this situation. However, the Court found that the complaint raises an “omission or neglect” permitting unjustifiable pain or suffering, which is facially sufficient.

People v. Cumper 268 N.W.2d 696 (Mich. 1978)

Defendant was convicted under MCL 750.49 for being a spectator at a dog fight.  He argued on appeal that the statute was impermissibly vague and unconstitutionally overbroad, for punishing an individual for mere presence at a dog fight.  The court disagreed, finding that the statute was neither vague nor overbroad because it did not punish the mere witnessing of a dog fight, but attendance as a spectator to a legally prohibited dog fight.  For more, see Detailed Discussion

People v. Cumper 83 Mich. App. 490 (Mich. 1978)

Defendants were convicted of being spectators at a fight or baiting between dogs and appealed, charging that the "spectator" portion of the statute was impermissibly vague and unconstitutionally overbroad. The court found that the statute was constitutional because it punished attendance as a spectator at an event legitimately prohibited by law and defendants had fair notice of the conduct proscribed. The defendants also claimed that there was insufficient evidence however, the court found ample evidence upon which the jury rendered their decision.

People v. Collier 160 N.E.3d 137 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
People v. Chung 185 Cal. App. 4th 247 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.), 110 Cal. Rptr. 3d 253 (2010), as modified on denial of reh'g (July 1, 2010)

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

People v. Chenault 227 Cal. App. 4th 1503, review filed (Aug. 25, 2014) Darrell Chenault was convicted on 13 counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age and sentenced to 75 years to life in prison. On appeal he contended that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing a support dog to be present during the testimony of two child witnesses without individualized showings of necessity, and that the presence of the dog was inherently prejudicial and violated his federal constitutional rights to a fair trial and to confront the witnesses against him. The appellate court concluded that a trial court has authority under Evidence Code section 765 to allow the presence of a therapy or support dog during a witness’s testimony.” The court did “not believe that the presence of a support dog is inherently more prejudicial than the presence of a support person,” citing the New York case of Tohom. Chinault argued that “individualized showings of necessity” should have been required for F. and C. before the support dog could be present in the courtroom. The appellate court concluded however that “a case-specific finding that an individual witness needs the presence of a support dog is not required by the federal Constitution,” for which Tohom was again cited. Based on the court's review of the record, the appellate court concluded that the trial court made implicit findings that the presence of Asta, the support dog, would assist or enable F. and C. to testify completely and truthfully without undue harassment or embarrassment. The court also took measures to reduce any possible prejudice to Chenault by setting forth logistics for the entry, positioning, and departure of the support dog, along with F. and C., during jury recesses so the dog was as unobtrusive and least disruptive as reasonably possible. The judgment was affirmed.
People v. Brunette 124 Cal.Rptr.3d 521 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Animal Services Authority (“Authority”) that cared for the dogs. The appellate court held that the imposition of an interest charge on the restitution award was not authorized by the statutes. It also held that the Authority was an indirect victim, and was not entitled to direct victim restitution. The Court held that the trial court had discretion to decline to apply comparative fault principles to apportion defendant's liability for restitution and also acted within its discretion in declining to apply an offset for adoption fees the Authority might have collected against the restitution award.

People v. Brinkley --- N.Y.S.3d ----, 2019 WL 3226728 (N.Y. App. Div. July 18, 2019) Defendant was convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals. The Defendant appealed the judgment. Defendant and his nephew had purchased a puppy and continually used negative reinforcement, such as paddling or popping the dog on the rear end with an open hand, for unwanted behavior. On one occasion, when the dog was approximately 15 months old, the Defendant’s nephew found that the dog had defecated in the apartment. The nephew attempted to paddle the dog and the dog bit the nephew’s thumb as a result. When the Defendant had returned home, the nephew explained to him what had happened. The Defendant proceeded to remove the dog from his crate, put the dog’s face by the nephew’s injured thumb, and told him he was a bad dog. The dog then bit off a portion of the Defendant’s thumb. The Defendant attempted to herd the dog onto the back porch, but the dog became aggressive and continued to bite him. As a result, the Defendant repeatedly kicked the dog and used a metal hammer to beat the dog into submission. The dog later died due to his injuries. The Defendant argued that he had a justifiable purpose for causing the dog serious physical injury. The Defendant testified that he was in shock from the injury to his thumb and that he was trying to protect himself and his nephew. However, other evidence contradicted the Defendant's testimony. The dog was in a crate when the Defendant got home, and the Defendant could have left him there rather than take the dog out to discipline him. The Defendant was at least partially at fault for creating the situation that led him to react in such a violent manner. The Court reviewed several of the Defendant’s contentions and found them all to be without merit. The judgment was ultimately affirmed.
People v. Bootman 72 N.E. 505 (N.Y. 1904)

This is one of the first cases to construe the issue of interstate commerce with regard to state game laws and the Lacey Act.  Defendant purchased game birds that were killed outside of New York and brought them into the state when it was lawful to possess them.  The court stated it was required by the rule of stare decisis to hold that the Legislature did not intend to make criminal the possession during the closed season of game killed and brought here during the open season.  The court notes that the passage of the New York legislation occurred three months before the passage of the Lacey, thus having no effect.  The court does go on to note the Legislature has now made it clear that it is well within state police power to regulate wildlife.

People v. Berry 1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)

In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, §   192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, §   399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, §   597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, §   3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.

People v. Bergen 883 P.2d 532 (Col. Ct. App. Div. III 1994)

Defendant, a journalist, attempted to film a dogfight for an investigative story on dogfighting following the passage of a Denver ordinance forbidding the ownership of bull terriers (pitbulls).    Defendant videotaped two separate fights and dogs "training" by running on treadmills.  After the story aired, public outcry lead to a police investigation as to the source of the dogfighting footage, which lead to the arrest of the defendant and her cameramen for dogfighting and perjury.

People v. Beauvil 2008 WL 2685893; 872 N.Y.S.2d 692 (Table), (N.Y.Just.Ct.,2008)

This New York case came before this Court after the District Attorney refused to prosecute the case. The complaintant alleged that on April 16, 2008, he was walking down a public sidewalk when a loose dog, later identified as belonging to the defendants, ran up to and bit the complainant on the hand. Police were contacted and a complaint was made to the Village of Westbury Attorney who then advised the complainant to file a formal complaint with the Nassau County District Attorney's office. The District Attorney's office declined to prosecute and instead suggested that the Village handle the matter. This Court held that it has no jurisdiction to hear the misdemeanor charge stemming from the violation of Agriculture & Markets Law § 121 (but then did list the other avenues available for the complaintant). This Court, sua sponte, also held that the Agriculture & Markets Law § 121, as applied to Nassau County Village Justice Courts, is unconstitutional. This was due to the fact that Village Courts have no jurisdiction (or ability, as pointed out by the court) to hear misdemeanors.

People v. Beam 244 Mich.App. 103 (2000)

Defendant was charged with owning a dog, trained or used for fighting, that caused the death of a person and  filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that M.C.L. § 750.49(10); MSA 28.244(10) was unconstitutionally vague.  The court granted defendant's motion, finding the terms "without provocation" and "owner" to be vague, and dismissed the case. The prosecutor appealed, and the Court of Appeals held that statute was not unconstitutionally vague. Reversed.

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.

People v. Arroyo 777 N.Y.S.2d 836 (N.Y. 2004)

This case presents the court with a novel question: Does a pet owner commit an act of cruelty, for which he or she could be prosecuted criminally, by not providing an ill pet (in this case, terminally ill) with medical care?  Defendant charged with violation of New York's anticruelty statute and moved for dismissal.  In engaging in statutory interpretation, the Court held that:  (1) provision prohibiting the deprivation of "necessary sustenance" was vague when applied to defendant, and (2) that the provision prohibiting "unjustifiably" causing pain to an animal was also vague when applied to defendant.  Motion granted.

People v. Arcidicono 75 Misc. 2d 294 ((N.Y.Dist.Ct. 1973)

The court held the bailee of a horse liable for failing to provide necessary sustenance to the horse, even though the owner of the horses had refused to pay for the necessary feed.  

People v. Alvarado 2005 WL 120218 (Cal. 2005)

A man stabbed and killed his two dogs while drunk.  His girlfriend called the police after being informed of the situation by her brother.  The trial court convicted the man of violating an anti-cruelty statute (Sec. 597 of the Penal Code).  The Court of Appeals affirmed defendant's conviction, finding that Sec. 597 is a general intent crime and did not require a showing of specific intent to kill or harm the dog.

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.
People v Beam 624 N.W.2d 764 (Mich. 2000)

Defendant argues on appeal that his conviction under MCL 750.49, which punishes the owner of a dog trained or used for fighting that causes the death of a person, must be reversed because the statute is unconstitutionally vague; specifically, that the terms "trained or used for fighting," "without provocation," and "owner" are vague.  The court disagreed and held that the statute is sufficiently clear and gives the defendant fair notice of the offense.

People v Arcidicono 360 N.Y.S.2d 156 (1974)

The defendant was properly convicted of cruelty when a horse in his custody and care had to be destroyed due to malnutrition. The defendant was in charge of feeding the gelding, and was aware of his loss of weight. He knew the diet was inadequate but failed to provide more food. The defendant was guilty of violating Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to provide proper sustenance to the horse. 

PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, INC., Plaintiff, v. WILDLIFE IN NEED AND WILDLIFE IN DEED, INC. 476 F. Supp. 3d 765 (S.D. Ind. 2020) Wildlife in Need and Wildlife in Deed, Inc. ("WIN") is a zoo located in Charlestown, Indiana owned by Timothy Stark and Melissa Lane that houses exotic and endangered animals, including Big Cats like lions, tigers, and hybrids. WIN exhibits Big Cats to the public through hands-on encounters called “Tiger Baby Playtime” so Stark routinely declaws Big Cat cubs in his possession so he can handle them easier, not for any medical reason. Stark admitted to declawing "about a dozen cubs" in 2016 alone. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. ("PETA") filed this lawsuit against Stark and Lane and their WIN zoo alleging that the defendants harassed and wounded Big Cats in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, this case asks whether certain animal exhibitors have "taken" various species of Big Cats by declawing them and prematurely separating them from their mothers to use in hands-on, public interactions. By granting PETA's motion for Partial Summary Judgment, this court concludes that such conduct constitutes a "taking" and thus violates the ESA. The court noted that PETA's motion for preliminary injunction was granted in 2017, restraining defendant from declawing any Big Cats absent a medical necessity supported by a veterinarian's opinion. Then, on February 12, 2018, the court preliminarily enjoined the WIN Defendants from declawing their Big Cats, prematurely separating Big Cat Cubs from their mothers, and using Cubs in Tiger Baby Playtime. The court previously concluded that declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA at the preliminary injunction stage, and now found "there is no good reason to disturb that conclusion." Thus, the court again concludes the WIN Defendants' declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA: it “harasses” Big Cats by creating a likelihood of significantly disrupting normal behavioral patterns; it “harms” Big Cats by actually injuring them; and it “wounds” Big Cats by inflicting a physical injury. In addition to granting the permanent injunction, the court also directed PETA to file a motion to appoint a special master and identify a reputable wildlife sanctuary for the animals housed at WIN.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture 7 F. Supp. 3d 1 (D.D.C. 2013) reconsideration denied sub nom. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Dep't of Agric., 60 F. Supp. 3d 14 (D.D.C. 2014)

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) brought a suit against the USDA for failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) against bird abusers and for not promulgating regulations specific to the mistreatment of avians. While the district court found PETA had standing, it granted the USDA’s motion to dismiss because the AWA's enforcement provision strongly suggested that its implementation was committed to agency discretion by law and because section 2143 of the AWA did not require the USDA to issue avian-specific animal-welfare standards. For a reconsideration of this case, see People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 60 F.Supp.3d 14 (D.D.C. 2014).

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture 194 F. Supp. 3d 404 (E.D.N.C. 2016), aff'd sub nom. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Dep't of Agric., 861 F.3d 502 (4th Cir. 2017) In this case, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, In.c (PETA) filed a complaint against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). PETA argued that the USDA had violated the APA because the USDA has a “policy, pattern, and practice or rubber stamping” exhibitor license renewals to noncompliant animal exhibitors. Under the APA, any agency action that is found to be “arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion” must be held unlawful by the courts. The court in this case reviewed the facts of the case in accordance with the Chevron decision. According to the court in Chevron, a court must give deference to an agency if: (1) "the statutory language is silent or ambiguous with respect to the question posed," or (2) "the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.” The statutory language that the court considered in this case was the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that regulate the transportation, handling, and treatment of animals. Ultimately, the court determined that the AWA was silent with regard to exhibitor renewals and therefore moved to the second step of the Chevron decision. The court found that the AWA does not prohibit the USDA’s administrative renewal process for animal exhibitor licenses. The court held that the USDA did not act arbitrarily or abuse its description when it chose to renew certain exhibitor licenses. As a result, the court rejected PETA’s claim against the USDA.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. N. Carolina Farm Bureau Fed'n, Inc. 60 F.4th 815 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 144 S. Ct. 325, 217 L. Ed. 2d 170 (2023), and cert. denied sub nom. Stein v. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc., 144 S. Ct. 326, 217 L. Ed. 2d 170 (2023) Several animal welfare organizations including PETA sought to conduct undercover animal cruelty investigations in North Carolina, but were unable to do so because North Carolina's Property Protection Act prohibited employees from entering nonpublic areas of employer's premises to record or remove information and using that information to breach their duty of loyalty. PETA and other plaintiffs argue that the act violates their protected First Amendment rights and functions as a discriminatory speech restriction. North Carolina argues that the restrictions on speech are incidental, and the act protects against trespass and disloyalty. The United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina dismissed the complaint and the organizations appealed. The Court of Appeals then reversed and remanded. On remand here, the District Court held that the information gathered by the animal welfare organizations was protected speech and, thus, subject to strict scrutiny. .
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.

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.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 797 F.3d 1087 (D.C. Cir., 2015) Ten years after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) took steps to apply Animal Welfare Act (AWA) protections to birds, the task remained incomplete. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued the USDA, arguing that its inaction amounted to agency action “unlawfully withheld,” in violation of section 706(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The District Court granted the USDA's motion to dismiss, concluding that the USDA's enforcement decisions were committed by law to its discretion. On appeal, the court found PETA had standing, but had failed to plausibly allege that the USDA's decade-long inaction constituted agency action “unlawfully withheld” in violation of the APA. The United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, therefore affirmed the District Court's judgment of dismissal. For the District Court's opinion, see People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 60 F.Supp.3d 14 (D.D.C. 2014).
People for Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 57 F.Supp.3d 1337 (D. Utah 2014) Plaintiff People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (“PETPO”) filed the instant lawsuit against United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Daniel M. Ashe, in his official capacity as Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Noreen Walsh, in her official capacity as Regional Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain Prairie Region, the United States Department of the Interior, and Sally Jewell, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Interior (collectively “Defendants”), challenging the constitutional authority of the federal government to regulate take of the Utah prairie dog on non-federal land under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Friends of Animals (“FoA”) intervened as a Defendant. The case before the District Court rests on the parties' opposing motions for summary judgment. The District Court found that although the Commerce Clause authorized Congress to do many things, it did not authorize Congress to regulate takes of a purely intrastate species that had no substantial effect on interstate commerce. Congress similarly lacked authority through the Necessary and Proper Clause because the regulation of takes of Utah prairie dogs was not essential or necessary to the ESA's economic scheme. Therefore PETPO's Motion for Summary Judgment was GRANTED, with prejudice; Defendants' Cross–Motion for Summary Judgment was DENIED, with prejudice. Held 50 C.F.R. § 17.40(g) Unconstitutional
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Wildlife in Need & Wildlife in Deed, Inc. Slip Copy, 2018 WL 828461 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 12, 2018) In this case, the Plaintiff (PETA) filed a complaint for injunctive relief against the Defendants (WIN) alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) relating to the declawing of the Defendants' captive Big Cats (lions, tigers, and hybrids). WIN operates as a AWA-USDA licensed wildlife exhibitor and charges the public a fee to directly interact with the Big Cat Cubs. Notably, the court indicates that WIN has been cited for more than 50 times for failing to meet minimum standards under the AWA. Defendants "routinely" declaw the Big Cats, not out of medical necessity, but because it "makes them easier to handle." Testimony showed that two Big Cat Cubs died as the result of complications from declawing and Defendants do not provide post-surgical pain medication or antibiotics. In October of 2017, the court issued a temporary restraining order preventing Defendants from declawing, and, the following December, Plaintiffs filed the present Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The court held a hearing in January 2018 in which the court heard evidence and arguments. In reviewing the factors supporting issuance of a preliminary injunction, the court found there was a likelihood of success in proving the declawing and baby cat "play" time constituted takings under the ESA. In addition, there were no adequate remedies available at law and the court held irreparable harm would result from the declaws. Thus, the court GRANTED Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture 60 F.Supp.3d 14 (D.D.C. 2014) On December 16, 2013, this Court issued an Opinion that dismissed a lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleging that the United States Department of Agriculture had unlawfully failed to implement the Animal Welfare Act with respect to birds. The Court found that the actions PETA sought to compel USDA to take—promulgating bird-specific regulations and enforcing the AWA against bird abusers—were committed to the agency's discretion by law. On January 13, 2014, PETA moved for reconsideration of the second part of that decision. PETA also asked, in the alternative, for leave to amend its Complaint. The government opposed both requests. Because the Court stands by its initial conclusions, and because leave to amend was not allowed at this juncture, it denied PETA's Motion. This case was appealed, see People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 797 F.3d 1087 (D.C. Cir., 2015). For a prior District Court case, see People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 7 F. Supp. 3d 1 (D.D.C. 2013)
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Miami Seaquarium 879 F.3d 1142 (11th Cir. 2018) PETA, an animal rights organization, brought this action in July 2015 to enjoin the Miami Seaquarium. The injunction would force the marine park to relinquish possession of a killer whale, Lolita, by releasing her to a sea pen. The grounds for this injunction is an alleged violation of section 9(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act by the marine park when they confined the killer whale in such conditions that the confinement amounted to a taking of the endangered species of animal. PETA specifically alleged that the marine park took Lolita by harming and harassing her, citing thirteen different injuries that were directly caused by her confinement quarters. When Lolita’s species was recognized as an endangered species by the Act, it specifically excluded captive members of the species. Just two months prior to filing suit, PETA had successfully lobbied to have that exclusion removed from the listing, enabling the suit itself. The district court held for summary judgment in favor of the marine park, saying that to have taken an animal would require a grave threat or potential for a grave threat to the animal’s survival, and PETA did not provide evidence of conduct that met that standard. In this appeal, the court affirms the district court’s summary judgment, but disagrees with their standard for a taking of an animal. After lengthy analysis of the statutory language, this court lowers the standard to posing a threat of serious harm to the animal, rather than death of the animal. However, this court also holds that PETA did not prove that the Seaquarium’s confinement of Lolita met this standard either. Affirmed.
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.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Bd. of Supervisors of Louisiana State Univ. 376 So. 3d 178, writ granted sub nom. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Bd. of Supervisors of Louisiana State Univ. (La. App. 1 Cir. 9/19/23) Plaintiff-appellee, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), began this case by issuing eight public records requests to defendant-appellant Louisiana State University (LSU). PETA made these records seeking veterinary care and disposition records for birds used in LSU’s laboratories. For the first seven of these requests, LSU did not produce the records, so PETA filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief pursuant to the Public Records Law. LSU denied PETA’s allegations and did not produce the records, so PETA made an eighth records request, which LSU responded to with an assertion that the requested records were exempt from disclosure. After a hearing, the trial court issued an oral ruling in favor of PETA and granted some of the records that PETA requested. LSU appealed. On appeal, the court considered whether the records sought by PETA were covered under the Public Records Law. The court first found that LSU qualifies as a research facility under the Animal Welfare Act, and needs to comply with federal law and maintain and produce records relating to research animals, so long as the records being sought would not be unduly burdensome to produce. The court held that the portions of the judgment ordering LSU to produce veterinary daily observation reports, veterinary daily health check records, and other veterinary records were affirmed. However, some of the information sought, including private communications between LSU employees, trapping records, and some videographic records, were considered unduly burdensome to compel LSU to produce. The court also amended a portion of one of the requests to make it more specific and narrow the documentation that LSU would need to produce. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, amended in part, and reversed in part.
People ex rel. Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery 2014 WL 6802767 (N.Y. App. Div. Dec. 4, 2014) This case is an appeal from a Supreme Court judgment denying petitioner's application for an order to show cause to commence a CPLR article 70 proceeding. At issue is the legal status of a chimpanzee named Tommy who is being kept on respondents' property. Petitioners filed a habeas corpus proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 70 on the ground that Tommy was being unlawfully detained by respondents. They offered support via affidavits of experts that chimpanzee have the requisite characteristics sufficient for a court to consider them "persons" to obtain personal autonomy and freedom from unlawful detention. The Court of Appeals here is presented with the novel question on whether a chimpanzee is a legal person entitled to the rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus. In rejecting this designation, the Court relied on the fact that chimpanzees cannot bear any legal responsibilities or social duties. As such, the Court found it "inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights . . . that have been afforded to human beings."
Peloquin v. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury 367 So.2d 1246 (La.,1979)

The finders of a stray cat were able to maintain a conversion suit against their neighbors who trapped the cat and brought it to a shelter where it was euthanized.

Peklun v. Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association, Inc. Not Reported in F.Supp.3d, 2015 WL 8029840 (S.D. Fla., 2015) On cross-motions, Defendant Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association, Inc.'s (“TDM") and Plaintiffs, (Personal Representatives of the Estate of Sergey Peklun) seek Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs assert that denial of Sergey Peklun's request for a reasonable accommodation for his dog Julia "resulted in Peklun's increasingly despondent attitude, ultimately culminating in his decision to end his life." As such, plaintiffs’ claim Defendants are liable under theories of intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Florida and Federal Fair Housing Acts. This conflict over Julia first emerged in 2011 and lasted until Peklun's death in 2015. In 2011, Peklun first acquired Julia the dog, who he claimed was being trained as a cardiac service dog. While the training as a service dog was never substantiated, the Board did approve the dog as an emotional support animal for Peklun in 2011. The composition of the Board changed in coming years and the issue arose after another tenant, Frank Speciale, demanded the dog's removal due to stated allergies. TDM warned Peklun if he did not remove Julia within the period provided, it would initiate arbitration against him in accord. Julia was never removed and, on July 16, 2013, TDM commenced arbitration against Peklun with the Florida Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. Speciale also moved for an injunction barring Peklun from keeping Julia on the premises, which was granted on March 11, 2014. During this time, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Office of Equal Opportunity organized an extensive investigation into TDM's purported discrimination and found "reasonable grounds to believe that [TDM] discriminated against [Peklun] on the basis of his disability.” Following this, on August 11, 2014, TDM approved Peklun's request for a reasonable accommodation as an emotional support animal. Despite this, Speciale continued to seek Julia's eviction, filing a motion in state court, seeking contempt and sanctions. Plaintiffs contended that this behavior reflected "a campaign of harassment." As to TDM instant motion for summary judgment, it claims the decision was reasonable because Peklun failed to provide TDM with the requested information necessary to verify his disability and that Julia was not a trained service animal. Also, TDM asserts Peklun was not a “qualified individual” under the FHA. The District Court found that while Peklun's various cardiac and organ problems did not constitute a "handicap" under the FHA, the submissions of Peklun's treating physicians are sufficient to establish that Peklun's sleep apnea interfered with a major life activity. As a result, there was sufficient evidence that Peklun was handicapped within the meaning of the FHA. Further, the absence of any certification or training did not permit TDM to immediately deny the request for Peklun's assistance animal. In fact, the court observed that Peklun was previously granted an accommodation for Julia on the basis that she was an “emotional support animal” in 2011; that knowledge of the 2011 accommodation was imputed to TDM's current board. The court did note that Section 3604(9) states there is no obligation to honor a request that would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other tenants. However, the court noted that determining this threat is a question of fact, not a question of law. The issue of Speciale's allergies "is contentious and the Court declines to grant judgment based on a hotly debated factual dispute." As a result, the cross motions for summary judgment by each party were denied.
Pedroni, Matías Andrés c/ Capello Marina Alejandra s/ Medidas Precautorias – Familia Poder Judicial de la Nación, Juzgado Civil 7, Fallo 23536/2021 This case involves a divorced couple that shared two dogs, Burke and Roma. The divorced couple had an arrangement where they shared custody of the dogs. After a domestic violence accusation filed by Marina Alejandra Capello (the respondent) that resulted in a restraining order, Matías Andrés Pedroni (the petitioner) was no longer allowed to see the dogs. The petitioner filed an injunction asking the judge to grant visitation rights (provisional communication regime in Argentina) so he could see the dogs. The petitioner argued that the capricious decision not to let him see the dogs caused him pain, anguish, and concern because Roma and Burke were his family. The judge concluded that from a non-anthropocentric speciest view, Burke and Roma were non-human members of the family created by the parties and that the love for the dogs did not end with the divorce. On the contrary, it had transcended the relationship of the couple. Therefore, neither party could be forced to forget about their relationship with their dogs, severing the solid emotional bond based on years of living together.
Pedersen v. Benson 255 F.2d 524 (C.A.D.C. 1958)

In the matter of Pedersen v. Benson , an importer had a permit to import five giraffes from Kenya, three of which were sold and released to public zoos after the requisite quarantine period.  The other two were bought by ‘Africa USA,’ but not released.  One of them had a heart attack and died.  Plaintiff’s filed suit to have the other one they purchased released.  The permits, issued by APHIS, were issued under the further understanding that all the giraffes would be consigned to an approved zoological park (Africa USA is a privately-owned zoo).  The Court found no basis to uphold the government’s claim that a government officer may impose an ad hoc system of licensure upon any citizen, or upon any one group, i.e. private zoos, as opposed to another.  Here, the importation was specifically permitted for all five animals, and any one animal was just as much a potential carrier of hoof and mouth disease as this particular giraffe.  Therefore, this matter was dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim. 

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