Alaska

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Titlesort descending Summary
Detailed Discussion of Alaska Great Ape Laws In Alaska, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons are considered “game” animals which are regulated by the state’s Department of Fish and Game (DFG). In general, it is illegal to import and possess apes without a DFG permit.The following article begins with a general overview of the various state statutes and regulations affecting Great Apes. It then analyzes the applicability of those laws to the possession and use of apes for specific purposes, including their possession as pets, for scientific research, for commercial purposes, and in sanctuaries.
Fitch v. Eiseman
The trial court approved a divorcing couple’s agreement for dogs to be with their children (and so travel to the husband's and wife’s houses as part of a shared custody agreement of their children).  The wife did not abide by the agreement, so the Supreme Court remanded back to the trial court to determine sole ownership of the dog.
Haggblom v. City of Dillingham This is an owner's appeal of the city order which ordered her dog be euthanized or banished from city limits because the dog bit a person without provocation. The order had been affirmed by the superior court and is now in front of the state Supreme Court. Haggblom argues that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it does not provide meaningful process, and is too vague because it does not explicitly offer the alternative of banishment from city limits. This court found that due process was satisfied and that the ordinance is constitutionally clear, and thus affirms the order.
Juelfs v. Gough

In this case, the husband and wife had agreed to shared ownership of their dog, which the lower court incorporated into its order.Based on danger the dog faced by other dogs in the wife’s home and increased contention between the parties, the lower court next gave the husband custody with an order for the wife’s visitation, and finally awarded sole custody to the husband.


The state’s Supreme Court affirmed the modified order.

Luper v. City of Wasilla


Plaintiff appealed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Wasilla, Alaska's enforcement action over zoning ordinances. The facts stem from the City's denial of plaintiff's application for a use permit in 2005 to run an eighteen-dog kennel. Plaintiff argued on appeal that Wasilla's former three-dog limit infringed on her property rights in both her land and her dog. This court agreed with the lower court that the provision here bore a "fair and substantial relationship" the government purposes of controlling dog noise, reducing dog odor and pollution, and preventing loose dogs. Further, the court found that it was not reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the city clerk's statement that she only needed a kennel license to operate a hobby kennel.

Mahan v. State Mahan had over 130 animals on her property. Alaska Equine Rescue went to check on the condition of the animals at the request of her family members. The animals were in poor health and were removed by Alaska State Troopers and the Rescue. The animals were then placed in foster homes. The defendant's attorney requested a writ of assistance to require law enforcement to assist and force the foster families to answer a questionnaire. The appellate court held that the families were under no legal obligation to answer the questionnaire unless the court were to issue a deposition order and the families were to be properly subpoenaed. The district court's denial of the writ was upheld. Mahan's attorney also asked for a change of venue due to the publicity the case garnered. The court held the defendant was not entitled to a change of venue when 15 jurors had been excused and there was no reason to doubt the impartiality of the jurors who were left after the selection process. There was no indication that the jurors were unable to judge the case fairly. Mahan's attorney also filed a motion to suppress a majority of the evidence, claiming that the Rescue and law enforcement unlawfully entered the property. The judge stated he would rule on the motion if it was appropriate to do so. The judge never ruled on the motion. To preserve an issue for appeal, the appellant must obtain an adverse ruling, thus it constituted a waiver of the claim. Mahan was also prohibited from owning more than one animal. She offered no reason why this condition of probation was an abuse of the judge's discretion, therefore it was a waiver of this claim. Lastly, although the Rescue received donations from the public to help care for the animals, that did not entitle Mahan to an offset. Restitution is meant to make the victims whole again and also to make the defendant pay for the expense caused by their criminal conduct.
Mitchell v. Heinrichs


Defendant shot plaintiff's dogs after perceiving they were a threat to her livestock and her when they trespassed upon her property.  In denying defendant's claim for punitive damages, the court observed that in this case, defendant's conduct, while drastic, did not rise to the level of outrageousness.  With regard to the trial court's award of only the market value of the dog to plaintiff , the court noted that it agreed with those courts that recognize that the actual value of the pet to the owner, rather than the fair market value, is sometimes the proper measure of the pet's value.  However, the court declined to award Mitchell damages for her dog's sentimental value as a component of actual value to her as the dog's owner.

Overview of Alaska Great Ape Laws In Alaska, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons are considered “game” animals which are regulated by the state’s Department of Fish and Game (DFG). In general, it is illegal to import and possess apes without a DFG permit.The following article begins with a general overview of the various state statutes and regulations affecting Great Apes. It then analyzes the applicability of those laws to the possession and use of apes for specific purposes, including their possession as pets, for scientific research, for commercial purposes, and in sanctuaries.
Richardson v. Fairbanks North Star Borough


This case concerns the proper measure of damages for the death of a pet dog caused by a municipality's negligence after the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter violated a Borough ordinance and mistakenly killed the Richardsons' pet dog, Wizzard.  The court indicated it is willing to recognize a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress for the intentional or reckless killing of a pet animal in an appropriate case.  However, the court held that in this case, the Richardsons made an offer of proof regarding their emotional distress and the evidence in the record indicates that the trial judge properly made a threshold determination that the severity of the Richardsons' emotional distress did not warrant a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

Sickel v. State Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals under AS 11.61.140(a) after one of her horses was found starving, without shelter, and frozen to the ground (it later had to be euthanized). On appeal, defendant claims that she did not act with the requisite "criminal negligence" under the statute unless she had a duty of care to prevent the specified harm. The court noted that while the statute does not specify the exact nature of this duty to care for particular animals, common law fills the gap. In looking to similar laws and cases from other states, the court found that AS 11.61.140(a)(2) applies only to people who have assumed responsibility for the care of an animal, either as an owner or otherwise. The jury instructions taken as a whole and the prosecutor's argument and rebuttal demonstrated that Sickel assumed the duty of care with regard to the horses and was the person tending the horses in the last three days before the now-deceased horse collapsed. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.

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