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WV - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws


The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

Wrinkle v. Norman


Wrinkle filed a negligence action against his neighbors (the Normans) after he sustained injuries on thier property. The injuries stemmed from an incident where Wrinkle was trying to herd cattle he thought belonged to the Normans back into a pen on the Normans' property. The lower court granted the Normans' motion for summary judgment. On appeal, this court found that the question comes down to Wrinkle's status (invitee, licensee, or trespasser) to determine the duty owed by the Normans. This Court found that the district court properly determined that Wrinkle was a trespasser. Finally, the court addressed the K.S.A. 47-123 claim as to whether the Normans are liable for their cattle running at large. The court found that Wrinkle could not meet the burden under the statute.

Wright v. Schum


In this Nevada case, an eleven-year-old boy who was a passerby was bitten by a dog. The jury found the owner liable, but trial court judge dismissed the landlord as a defendant. The Supreme Court found the landlord in this case could be liable under general tort obligations because he voluntarily undertook a duty to secure the neighborhood from harm by the dog after he made the tenant promise not to allow the dog outside unless chained. Thus, material questions of fact remained that precluded summary judgment as to whether the landlord breached his duty of care to the public where he allowed the tenant to remain with the dog and then failed to repair the gate that allowed the dog to escape and injure the plaintiff when it was left unchained.

Wright v. Fish and Game Commission (unpublished)


The California Court of Appeal upheld the state's Fish and Game Commission’s ferret ban against an equal protection challenge from a ferret owner. The owner argued that the ban discriminated between ferret owners and owners of other companion animals. However, the court found a rational relation between the ban and concerns about wildlife and human health (from attacks and from rabies).

WRIGHT v. CLARK


Defendant shot plaintiff’s hunting dog, and plaintiff sued for trespass. The dog was shot while in pursuit of a fox. Defendant shot at the fox, but accidentally hit the dog. The court held that, because the shooting was a voluntary act, he was liable for exemplary damages for “intentionally or wantonly” shooting the dog.

Woudenberg v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture According to Department of Agriculture regulations promulgated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (with certain exceptions not applicable here), persons who were in the business of buying and selling dogs and cats (i.e. class B dealers) may not obtain dogs or cats from an individual donor “who did not breed and raise them on his or her premises.” Another provision required a dealer in such a case to “obtain [ ] a certification that the animals were born and raised on that person's premises.” The question in this case was whether there was a violation when the dealer obtained the required certification, but the certification was false. The regulatory language was clear that a dealer violated the law by obtaining a dog or cat from an individual donor who did not breed or raise it on the donor's premises and it was still a violation even when the dealer in good faith obtained certifications that the animals had been so bred and raised. The certification requirement was an enforcement mechanism for the prohibition, not an exception. The Department of Agriculture therefore properly entered a cease-and-desist order against the petitioner.
Woodside Village v. Hertzmark The question in this case is whether federal and state laws outlawing discrimination in housing prohibit the eviction of a mentally disabled defendant from his federally subsidized apartment because of his failure to comply with the plaintiff's pet policy. The plaintiff here had disabilities including schizophrenia and severe learning disabilities. The plaintiff-landlord allowed tenants to keep pets, but required pet care, which included walking the dogs in a designated area and requiring that tenants use a "pooper scooper" to clean up behind their pets. The tenant-defendant here does not dispute that he failed to comply, but claims the plaintiff-landlord, as a recipient of federal funds, failed to reasonably accommodate his disability. The court found that plaintiff-landlord did in fact accommodate the defendant-tenant's disability by either waiving the provisions of its pet policy or permitting the defendant to build a fenced in area for the dog in the rear of the defendant's apartment. The eviction here was not based on the fact that defendant-tenant possesses a dog, but on his "demonstrated inability to comply with the plaintiff's pet policy." This, said the court, put other residents' health, safety and comfort at risk.
Woods v. KittyKind, Inc.


The court granted the plaintiff's motion for an animal shelter to disclose the identity of her lost cat's adopter because the plaintiff alleged that the shelter did not comply with the law and its transfer of ownership was therefore invalid.

Womack v. Von Rardon


In this Washington case, a cat owner sued a minor and his parents after the minor set her cat on fire.  While this Court found that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment with respect to Ms. Womack's private nuisance, tort outrage, and statutory waste claims, it held that the lower court incorrectly calculated the measure of damages.  Noting that the Division 2 Appellate Court left open the question of emotional distress damages where a pet has been

maliciously

injured in

Pickford v. Masion

, 124 Wash.App. 257, 262-63, 98 P.3d 1232 (2004), this Court held that the general allegations include sufficient facts to find both malicious conduct toward Ms. Womack's pet and her resulting emotional distress.  Thus, "[f]or the first time in Washington, we hold malicious injury to a pet can support a claim for, and be considered a factor in measuring a person's emotional distress damages."  

Wolf v. Taylor This action comes as part of the dissolution of the parties' domestic partnership. The parties had entered into a settlement agreement, which included a provision granting full ownership of Mike, the couple's dog, to Taylor, so long as he agreed to grant Wolf visitation with Mike. Approximately one month later, Wolf had second thoughts and moved to rescind the entire agreement based on the invalidity of the dog visitation provision. Wolf asserts the provision is invalid because it attempts to grant visitation with an item of personal property, and is impossible to perform. This court only answered the question whether invalidity of the dog visitation provision would invalidate the entire agreement, which they answer in the negative because of the severability provision included in the agreement.

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