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Allen v. Pennsylvania Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals 488 F.Supp.2d 450 (M.D.Pa., 2007) 2007 WL 1454514 (M.D.Pa.)

This is a § 1983 civil rights action brought by Robert Lee Allen against certain state actors arising from their search of his property, seizure of his farm animals, and prosecution of him for purported violations of Pennsylvania's cruelty-to-animals statute. The animals Allen typically acquires for his rehabilitation farm are underweight, in poor physical condition, and suffer from long-standing medical issues. After receiving a telephone complaint regarding the condition of the horses and other livestock on Allen's farm, humane officers visited Allen's property to investigate allegations. Subsequently, a warrant to seize eight horses, four goats, and two pigs was executed on a day when the officers knew Allen would be away from his farm with "twenty five assorted and unnecessary individuals."  The court held that the farmer's allegations that state and county humane societies had a custom, policy or practice of failing to train and supervise their employees stated § 1983 claims against humane societies. Further, the defendants were acting under color of state law when they searched and seized farmer's property.

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Altman v. City of High Point 330 F.3d 194 C.A.4 (N.C. 2003)

This case arises out of several shooting incidents in the City of High Point, North Carolina.  In each incident, a High Point animal control officer shot and killed one or more dogs that were running at large in the city. Plaintiffs, the owners of the animals, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers' actions violated their Fourth Amendment rights.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the dogs at issue in this case do qualify as property protected by the Fourth Amendment and that the officers seized that property. However, because in each instance the seizure involved was reasonable, it concluded that the officers did not violate the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights.

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Amons v. District of Columbia 231 F. Supp 2d. 109 (D.D.C. 2002) 2002 WL 31455095 (D.D.C.)

Plaintiff filed a Section 1983 action against D.C. police officers alleging, inter alia , intentional infliction of emotional distress for the unprovoked shooting of his dog inside his home.  The court found that the officers lacked probable cause for the warrantless entry into his home to make the arrest, the arresting officer made "an egregiously unlawful arrest," and the officers were unreasonable in shooting plaintiff's dog without provocation.

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Anderson v. City of Camden 2011 WL 4703104 (2011)

Defendant Animal Control officers took Plaintiffs' two dogs pursuant to a pick-up order issued by a Magistrate of Kershaw County. The two dogs had a history of attacking other dogs and of running loose. Plaintiffs filed Fourth Amendment and South Carolina Tort Claims Act claims against Defendants. Court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment because they did not violate a clearly established constitutional law, and were, therefore, entitled to qualified immunity from Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim.

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Anderson v. Creighton 483 US 635 (1987)

Suit was brought against FBI agent seeking damages resulting from warrantless search of residents' home.

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Andrews v. City of West Branch Iowa 454 F.3d 914 (8th Cir., 2006)

Appellants filed a suit against defendant, City of West Branch, Iowa and former police chief Dan Knight, seeking damages and relief under Section 1983. The dog was killed by Knight in the owners' fenced backyard in view of one of the plaintiffs. The district court's grant of summary judgment for the officer was reversed and the case was remanded for a jury trial.

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Barber v. Pennsylvania Dept. Agriculture Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1816760 (W.D.Pa.)

The plaintiffs in this Pennsylvania case are owners and operators of a non-profit animal rescue and kennel that houses housing about 500 dogs doing business in and throughout Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The current dispute stems from a series of inspections of the kennels that occurred throughout the 2007 calendar year. Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and that the PSPCA and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (the inspection branch of the Dept. of Agriculture) failed to take reasonable steps to protect them from the conspiratorial activity in violation of 42 U.S .C. § 1986. Plaintiffs also state that the PSPCA and the Bureau violated various of their constitutional rights in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiffs also seek to hold the Defendants liable for malicious prosecution under 42 U.S .C. § 1983. Finally, other counts allege that Defendant Delenick sexually harassed Plaintiff Rachel Lappe-Biler in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; that plaintiff Pauline Gladys Bryner-Lappe was assaulted and battered in contravention of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth Amendment; and that the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims.

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Bassani v. Sutton Slip Copy, 2010 WL 1734857 (E.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit in 2008 claiming money damages under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1988,and  alleging violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In 2004, plaintiffs two dogs were seized by Yakima County Animal Control after responding to a citizen's report that he had been menaced by dogs as he ran past plaintiff's house. Before the court here are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. In granting the motions, the court held that the doctrine of res judicata did warrant a grant of summary judgment as defendants' failure to release plaintiff's dog. Further, the animal control officer was entitled to qualified immunity because he reasonably relied on the deputy prosecuting attorney's advice. Finally, there was no evidence of a pattern of behavior on the part of Yakima County sufficient to be a "moving force" behind a constitutional violation.

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Becker v. Elfreich --- F.3d ----2016 WL 2754023 (7th Cir.,2016) Appellant, Officer Zachary Elfreich, went to the home of Appellee Jamie Becker in order to execute an arrest warrant. When Becker did not surrender right away, Officer Elfreich allowed his police dog to find and attack Becker. Upon seeing Becker, Officer Elfreich pulled him down three steps of the home staircase, and placed his knee on Becker’s back while allowing the dog to continue to bite him. Becker sued the city of Evansville and Officer Elfreich under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officer used excessive force in arresting him in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment and the officer appealed. The Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that: first, under the totality of the circumstances, the force used by the officer post-surrender of Becker was not reasonable. Second, a police dog's use of the “bite and hold” technique is not per se deadly force. Third, Becker, was a nonresisting (or at most passively resisting) suspect when Officer Elfreich saw him near the bottom of the staircase and the officer should not have used significant force on him. Based on these factors, the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and a reasonable jury could find such force was excessive. The lower court decision to deny Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment was affirmed. Case
Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Rhodes 842 F.3d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 2016) 2016 WL 7187301

Plaintiff, Big Cats of Serenity Springs is a Colorado-based non-profit that provides housing, food, and veterinary care for exotic animals. The facility is regulated by the Defendant, United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Three APHIS inspectors accompanied by sheriff's deputies broke into the Big Cats facility to perform an unannounced inspection of two tiger cubs. But at the time the inspectors entered the facility, the cubs were at a veterinarian's office receiving treatment. Big Cats sued the APHIS inspectors for the unauthorized entry and asserted that the entry was an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment and sought declaratory judgment and compensatory and punitive damages. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado,  granted APHIS's motion to dismiss in part and denied in part. APHIS appealed. The Court of Appeals, held that: (1) Big Cats could assert a Bivens claim; (2) Big Cats adequately alleged that the inspectors violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and (3) Big Cats had clearly-established the constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches or seizures, thus weighing against the inspectors' claim of qualified immunity; but (4) the inspectors did not act under the color of state law, as required for § 1983 liability. The Court of Appeals reasoned that Big Cats' complaint stated a claim for relief under Bivens because No APHIS inspector would reasonably have believed unauthorized forcible entry of the Big Cats facility was permissible. Also, the Court reasoned that when the agents cut the locks to conduct a non-emergency inspection without a warrant, the federal officials did not act under color of state law, and the district court erred in denying the government's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim. Therefore, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's order denying the government's motion to dismiss the Bivens claim and reversed the trial court's order denying the government's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim.

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