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Breed Specific Legislation: The Gap in Emergency Preparedness Provisions for Household Pets


This article examines the gap in the legislation and explore how this dilemma has come to pass. First it explores what breed-specific legislation actually is, and how it has developed in modern society. Next, this article addresses the scope of current emergency preparedness statutes. Finally, this article attempts to address the issues that are bound to arise in the future.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
Brans v. Extrom


When the plaintiff accidentally stepped on the dog, the dog bit him.  On the statutory claim, the jury found that the biting was with provocation even though from an unintentional act.  On the common law claim, the jury found that the incident did not result from the abnormally dangerous propensities of the dog. The court affirmed, finding the trial court correctly instructed the jury that an unintentional act could constitute provocation under the dog-bite statute.

Branks v. Kern (On Appeal)


On grant of appeal from

Branks v. Kern

, 348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. 1986).  Cat owner brought negligence action against veterinarian and veterinary clinic after her hand was bitten while she held her own cat during a catheterization procedure. In reversing the Court of Appeals decision (348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. App. 1986)), the Supreme Court held that defendants in the instant case have met their burden of showing that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the evidence showed that the danger was obvious to plaintiff and defendants only owed plaintiff a duty to exercise ordinary care.

Branks v. Kern


In this negligence action, a cat owner brought suit against veterinarian and veterinary clinic after she was bitten by her own cat while the cat was receiving treatment by the veterinarian. At issue, is whether the veterinarian owed a duty to the cat owner to exercise reasonable care in preventing the cat from harming the owner while the cat was being treated.  In review of the lower court’s grant of motion for summary judgment, the Court of Appeals held that substantial issues of material fact existed to preclude the grant of summary judgment. However, this was overturned on appeal at the Supreme Court. (

See

,

Branks v. Kern (On Appeal) 

 359 S.E.2d 780 (N.C.,1987)).

Brandon v. Village of Maywood


Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.


Bramblett v. Habersham Cty. Defendants appeal from an order granting a petition for recoupment of costs filed by Habersham County pursuant to OCGA § 4-11-9.8, and a separate order directing the defendants to pay $69,282.85 into the court registry in connection with the boarding, treatment, and care of 29 dogs that the Brambletts refused to surrender after the County seized over 400 animals from their property. In April 2017, over 400 animals were removed from the Bramblett's property and they were charged with over 340 counts of cruelty to animals under Georgia law. There were 29 animals that were not surrendered and were running loose on the property. The current petition for recoupment of costs here refers to the care for those 29 animals, which were later impounded. The Brambletts appealed that order, arguing that the trial court erred in granting the County's petition without providing notice under OCGA § 4-11-9.4. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the procedure in OCGA § 4-11-9.8 applied because the notice provisions of OCGA §§ 4-11-9.4 and 4-11-9.5 only apply when the animal has been impounded “under” or “pursuant to this article” of the Georgia Animal Protection Act. Here, the animals were seized under as part of an investigation of violations of OCGA § 16-12-4 so the notice provisions did not apply. As to defendants contention that the court erred by not considering the "actual predicted costs" of caring for 29 dogs and instead relying on a "formulaic calculation," the court also found no error. The judgment was affirmed.
Brackett v. State


In this Georgia case, appellants were convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals upon evidence that they were spectators at a cockfight. The Court of Appeals agreed with the appellants that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction, and the judgment was reversed. The court found that the statute prohibiting cruelty to animals was meant to include fowls as animals and thus proscribed cruelty to a gamecock. However, the evidence that defendants were among the spectators at a cockfight was insufficient to sustain their convictions.

Boyer v. Seal In this case, plaintiff filed suit against her daughter under Civil Code article 2321 after her daughter’s cat accidentally tripped plaintiff causing injury to her wrist and back that required medication and hospitalization. Under Civil Code article 2321, plaintiff must show that the domestic animal created an “unreasonable risk of harm” and that any damage that occurred was a direct result of that harm. Additionally, the plaintiff does not need to show that the animal was acting aggressively or was inherently dangerous to collect damages under the code. The court held that plaintiff did not meet this burden of showing an “unreasonable risk of harm” because the cat “getting underfoot and accidentally tripping the plaintiff was not an unreasonable risk.”
Bowden v. Monroe County Commission The Plaintiff, as administratrix of the estate of her late husband, filed a complaint after he was attacked and killed by American Pit Bull Terriers while taking a walk near his home. The Plaintiff filed against the Defendants, Monroe County, the County Dog Warden Ms. Green, and other defendants, alleging, negligence in performing their statutory duties by allowing vicious dogs to remain at large, and wrongful death. The Plaintiff also sought punitive damages. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and asserted a defense based upon the public duty doctrine. The Circuit Court, Monroe County, granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. The Plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reversed the Circuit Court and remanded. The Supreme Court held that genuine issues of material fact existed for determining whether a special relationship existed between the county and the victim such as whether: (1) the dog warden assumed an affirmative duty to act on the victim's behalf, (2) the dog warden was aware that inaction could lead to harm, (3) the dog warden had direct contact with the victim's wife regarding vicious nature of dogs; and (4) the victim's wife justifiably relied on assurances from dog warden.

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