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Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church (Unpublished)


In this unpublished Connecticut opinion, the defendant-church owned property and leased a portion of the premises to one of its employees, Pedro Salinas.  The plaintiff was attacked by a dog, owned by Salinas, while lawfully on the defendant's premises.  The plaintiff appealed a summary judgment ruling in favor of defendant.  On appeal, the court found that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant-church was a "harborer" of the dog under Connecticut law.  Because Salinas and the church had no formal lease agreement, dispute existed as to the exact parameters of Salinas' exclusive control of the premises where his dog roamed.  There also existed a material fact regarding the church's knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities because it had twice previously attacked a person. (Note the jury trial decision in favor of plaintiff was later overturned in

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church

, --- A.2d ----, 94 Conn.App. 617, 2006 WL 797892 (Conn.App.)).

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church


The plaintiff, Virginia Auster, brought this action pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357FN1 to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the dog of an employee of the defendant, Norwalk United Methodist Church.  Ms. Auster was a visitor who was on the premises to attend a meeting in the parish house when she was bitten by dog of church employee, who lived in an apartment in the parish house. 

After a jury trial, the verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.  (See summary judgment appeal, 2004 WL 423189).  The Appellate Court held that church was not a “keeper” of the church employee's dog for purposes of statute which imposed strict liability on the keeper of any dog that did damage to the body or property of any person.  The court reversed the judgment and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of common-law negligence

Auster v. Norwalk


Plaintiff, while on church premises, was bitten by a church employee's dog.  Plaintiff seeks damages from church under the state dog bite statute, which imposes strict liability for damages on the dog's keeper.  The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church, reasoning that a non-owner must be responsible for maintaining and controlling the dog at the time the damage is done in order to be held liable under the statute.

Augillard v. Madura


This appeal arises from a suit for conversion filed by Shalanda Augillard alleging that Tiffany Madura and Richard Toro wrongfully exercised dominion and control over Augillard's black cocker spaniel, Jazz, who was recovered from New Orleans in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina. The central issue at trial and the only disputed issue on appeal is whether Augillard's dog, Jazz, and the dog that Madura adopted from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Hope, are in fact the same dog. Augillard asserts on appeal that the trial court erred in disregarding conclusive evidence, including forensic DNA analysis, establishing that Hope and Jazz are the same dog.

Auburn Woods I Homeowners Ass'n v. Fair Employment and Housing Com'n


In this California case, the Elebiaris sought permission from their condominium association to keep a small dog as a companion (both

suffered from severe depression and found that taking care of a dog alleviated their symptoms and enabled them to function more productively).  T

he association refused their request, leading the Elebiaris to file a claim with the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (the FEHC), which found in favor of the Elebiaris.  After the Superior Court granted the condominium's petition, the FEHC and residents appealed.

  The appellate court held that the trial court erred in overturning the FEHC decision where the FEHC's finding that a companion dog constituted a reasonable accommodation for plaintiff's disability was supported by substantial evidence.

Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Harris

Prior to California's Force Fed Birds law—which bans the sale of products that are the result of force feeding birds to enlarge their livers beyond normal size—coming into effect, two non-California entities produced foie gras that was sold at a California restaurant. When the law came into effect, all three entities sought to enjoin the state of California from enforcing the law; they argued the law was unconstitutionally vague and violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The district court, however, denied their motion for preliminary injunction. On appeal, the 9th Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny the preliminary injunction.
Associated Dog Clubs of New YorkState, Inc. v. Vilsack With the increase of sales over the Internet, the Department of Agriculture, through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), issued a new rule that redefined “retail pet store” to include online pet stores. Several breeders argued that the agency exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the new rule. The Secretary for the Department of Agriculture moved for summary judgment. Since APHIS acted within its authority in promulgating the rule and otherwise complied with the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, the Court granted summary judgment for the agency.
Assistance Animals
Assembly Bill No. 485 An act to amend Section 31753 of the Food and Agricultural Code, and to amend Section 122357 of, and to add Section 122354.5 to, the Health and Safety Code, relating to public health.
[Approved by Governor October 13, 2017. Filed with Secretary of State October 13, 2017.]
Ash v. State



Police raided defendant's home and found an area converted into an arena for dog fighting. Defendant was found guilty  of promoting or engaging in dog fighting or possessing a dog for that purpose. On appeal, the court found that the based on the evidence a jury could have reasonably concluded that defendant was aware that on property owned by her and her husband an arena had been built for the purpose of clandestine dog fighting and that she was aware it was so being used.

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