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Titlesort ascending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Fabrikant v. French 691 F.3d 193 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 2012) 2012 WL 3518527 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 2012)

After multiple negative reports came in about the living conditions of her animals, an animal rescue organization seized many of the plaintiff-appellant's dogs; she was then charged with five counts of animal cruelty, but was later acquitted at a state trial. Subsequently, the plaintiff-appellant and her state trial attorney filed a federal civil rights suit against the animal organization and others.  After losing at the district level, on the first appeal, and on remand from the first appeal, the plaintiff-appellant appealed the case for a second time. On this appeal, the Second Circuit held that though the animal organization was a state actor, it had qualified immunity, which protected it from the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. Additionally, the court held that investigator’s had probable cause to seize the dogs, which also defeated the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed, but for different reasons.

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Fabrikant v. French 722 F.Supp.2d 249 (N.D.N.Y., 2010) 2010 WL 2774043 (N.D.N.Y.)

Plaintiff Jody Fabrikant, who had recently placed an advertisement for the adoption of puppies, was in possession of fifteen animals, including fourteen dogs and one cat. Reacting to several complaints regarding the animals’ treatment, defendants, the Ulster County SPCA and employees, executed a search warrant resulting in Fabrikant's arrest and seizure of thirteen of her fifteen animals. Plaintiff subsequently asserted that her federal constitutional rights were violated during the course of her criminal prosecution for animal cruelty. With respect to all four federal claims, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment since the existence of probable cause (e.g., video recordings and photographs of the condition of the plaintiff’s home) insulated the defendants from liability for their decisions to seize Plaintiff's animals.

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Edwards v. Shanley 666 F.3d 1289 (C.A.11 (Fla.)) 2012 WL 89193 (C.A.11 (Fla.))

Automobile driver fled scene of a traffic stop and sustained serious injuries when he was attacked by a police dog, which was allowed to continue for 5 - 7 minutes. Plaintiff brought § 1983 action, alleging that the use of the police dog constituted excessive force, and that the other officer failed to intervene and stop the attack, both of which violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Court of Appeals held that the use of the police dog to help track and initially subdue the driver was constitutional, but permitting the dog to continue to attack the driver constituted excessive force.

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Dziekan v. Gaynor 376 F.Supp.2d 267 (D. Ct. 2005)

The plaintiff brought civil rights action against municipality and police officer after officer shot and killed his pet dog.  Specifically, he alleged a violation of his substantive due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and the negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On the defendants' motion for summary judgment the court held that the shooting and killing of pet dog was not unreasonable seizure, and the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.

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Dunham v. Kootenai County 690 F.Supp.2d 1162 (D.Idaho, 2010) 2010 WL 556803 (D.Idaho)

This matter involves the Defendant Kootenai County's motion for summary judgment this federal civil rights case filed by Dunham. The facts underlying the case stem from 2008, when county animal control officers went to Dunham's residence to investigate complaints of possible animal cruelty. During their investigation, Defendants entered Dunham's property to ascertain the condition of the horses residing there in a round-pen. Despite the conditions of the horses which necessitated their removal and relocation to an equine rescue facility, Dunham was ultimately charged and found not guilty of charges of animal cruelty. Dunham claims that Defendants violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they searched her property and seized her horses without a warrant. Defendants counter that the search was constitutional based on the open fields doctrine, and that the seizure was constitutional based on the plain view doctrine. Based on the open fields doctrine, the Court concluded that Dunham did not have an expectation of privacy in the searched area.

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Dubner v.City and County of San Francisco 266 F.3d 959

Photographer brought § 1983 claim and several state law claims against city, police officers, and chief of police alleging unlawful arrest. The Court of Appeals, D.W. Nelson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) photographer established prima facie case of her unlawful arrest by police officers at animal rights demonstration; (2) police lacked probable to cause to arrest photographer for trespassing under California law; (3) police lacked probable cause to arrest photographer under California's unlawful assembly statute; and (4) police chief could be held liable in his individual capacity.

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Dicesare v. Stout 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 9796 992 F.2d 1222 (Table), 1993 WL 137110 (C.A.10 (Okla.))

The plaintiff was convicted under an Oklahoma anti-cruelty statute after officer seized his malnourished and neglected horses.  Later, plaintiff brought suit against the officers under 42 U.S.C 1983 claiming that the officers had violated his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.  The court dismissed the plaintiff's claim after it determined that  a horse corral near a home was not protected by the Fourth Amendment where the area was used for pastureland and the fence enclosing the area did not and was not intended to prevent the public from viewing the area.      

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Daskalea v. Washington Humane Society 710 F.Supp.2d 32 (D.D.C., 2010) 2010 WL 1741118 (D.D.C.)

In this case, the plaintiffs are pet owners in the District of Columbia whose dogs were seized, detained, and damaged by the defendant-humane society without due process of the law. Plaintiffs brought an action against the District of Columbia, alleging that the District of Columbia's Freedom from Cruelty to Animal Protection Act, D.C.Code § 22-1001 et seq. is facially unconstitutional because it fails to provide animal owners with a meaningful right to contest the seizure, detention, and terms of release of their pets, prior to final action. However, the Act was amended in 2008 and the Court here asked the parties to submit supplemental briefing as to whether the amendments rendered the action by Plaintiffs moot. The Court found that Plaintiffs' facial challenge to the constitutionality of the Act has in fact been rendered moot by the 2008 Amendment.

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Daskalea v. Washington Humane Soc. 577 F.Supp.2d 82 (D.D.C., 2008) 2008 WL 4148500 (D.D.C.)

In relevant part, the District of Columbia’s Freedom from Cruelty to Animal Protection Act allows any humane officer to take possession of any animal to protect the animal(s) from neglect or cruelty. Plaintiffs, all of whom had their dogs seized under the Act, brought a Motion for Partial Summary Disposition for a count alleging that the Act is unconstitutional on its face and as customarily enforced. The United States District Court, District of Columbia, denied Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice, finding the parties’ briefs in connection to the motion insufficient to determine whether an issue exists as to the Act‘s constitutionality.

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Crisman v. Hallows 999 P.2d 1249 (Utah App.,2000) 393 Utah Adv. Rep. 9, 2000 UT App 104 (2000)

Plaintiff dog owners appeal the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant Ted Hallows. Hallows. a Division of Wildlife Resources employee, shot the dogs after they got loose from plaintiffs' backyard. While the factual accounts of the shooting differed, Hallows asserted that he shot the dogs within the scope of his employment and was therefore protected under the Governmental Immunity Act. On appeal, the court first found that plaintiffs may maintain an action against Hallows for conduct outside the scope of his employment and this claim was not barred by their admitted failure to comply with the Immunity Act's notice of claim and statute of limitations requirements. Further, as to plaintiffs' claims that Hallows was not acting within his scope of employment when the shooting occurred, there was sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact.

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