Arizona

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Titlesort ascending Summary
State v. Spreitz


The court held that admission of photographs of the victim was harmless because based on the overwhelming evidence against defendant, the jury would have found him guilty without the photographs.

State ex rel. William Montgomery v. Brain The special action considers whether a person who uses a dangerous instrument in committing an animal cruelty offense may be sentenced as a dangerous offender. The facts in the underlying case are as follows. A witness in an apartment complex heard a dog crying and observed Shundog Hu using a rod to hit a dog that was inside a pet enclosure. Hu was charged with both intentionally or knowingly subjecting an animal to cruel mistreatment, a felony, and under the "dangerous offense" laws because the animal cruelty "involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a pole and/or rod, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, in violation of A.R.S. §§ 13-105 and 13-704." Hu moved to dismiss the dangerous offense allegation stating that, as a matter of law, "a dangerous offense cannot be committed against an animal." Hu contended that the legislature's inclusion of the phrase "on another person" in the statutory definition for "dangerous offense" evinces this intent. The State, on the other hand, argued that sentencing enhancement is based on the use of the dangerous instrument rather than the target of the instrument. The superior court granted Hu's motion and the State petitioned for this special action. This court accepted jurisdiction because " the State has no adequate remedy on appeal and the petition presents a legal issue of statewide importance." This court first examined the statutory definition for a "dangerous" felony offense: "an offense involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person.” The State's contention is that the "or" in the definition is disjunctive and, thus, the phrase "on another person" only applies to the second independent clause. Hu counters that such an interpretation would cover harm to anything and lead to absurd results. This court first noted that the statutory definitions are silent as to whether they only apply to humans. Applying principles of secondary interpretation and sensible construction, the court held that legislature's purpose in drafting the dangerous offense definition and the related statutes was to enhance crimes to “dangerous offenses” to protect human life. The State cannot charge a crime as a dangerous offense unless the target is against another person. In reaching this conclusion, the court contemplated extreme examples involving felony damage to vegetation as well as comparison to a recent decision in Texas where a deadly weapon finding was limited to human victims only.
Safford Animal Hospital v. Blain


Appellant animal hospital sought review of the judgment entered against it for the injuries suffered by an individual after a cow escaped from the hospital and struck the man who owned the house to which the cow had run as the man tried to help the veterinarian secure the animal.  The court held that appellant's liability is predicated upon its position as an owner or occupier of land whose duty with regard to the keeping of domestic animals is circumscribed under a bailment theory. Further the court held that the evidence supported the trial court's finding that appellant negligent under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. 

Roman v. Carroll


The question on this appeal is whether a plaintiff can recover damages for emotional distress she suffered from watching defendants' St. Bernard dismember plaintiff's poodle while she was walking the dog near her home.  Relying on a case that allowed damages for emotional distress suffered from witnessing injury to a third person, plaintiff contended that her relationship with her poodle was a close one within the confines of that case.  However, the court summarily denied her claim, holding that a dog is personal property and damages are not recoverable for negligent infliction of emotional distress from witnessing injury to property.

Overview of Arizona Great Ape Laws This is a short overview of Arizona Great Ape law.
Krcmar v. Kirkland


Veterinarian abused dog, resulting in death. Veterinarian then tried to cover up his actions by improper disposal of body. This is a malpractice suit for damages. This is also a good example of "conspiracy of silence."

Kaufman v. Langhofer


This Arizona based appeal arises out of a veterinary malpractice action filed by plaintiff/appellant David Kaufman against defendants/appellees, William Langhofer, DVM, and Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic over the death of Salty, Kaufman's scarlet macaw. The main issue on appeal is whether a pet owner is entitled to recover emotional distress and loss of companionship damages over the death of his or her pet. Plaintiff argues that the court here should “expand” Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress damages and damages for loss of companionship in a veterinarian malpractice action. While the court acknowledged the emotional distress Kaufman suffered over Salty's death, it noted that Dr. Langhofer's negligence did not directly harm Kaufman. Thus, the court felt that it would not be appropriate to expand Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress or loss of companionship damages because that would offer broader compensation for the loss of a pet than for the loss of a human.

Goldberger v. State Farm Fire and Casaulty Company Joel and Kim Goldberger owned residential rental property in Flagstaff that was insured by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company under a rental dwelling policy. The Goldbergers filed a claim asserting that their tenant allowed feral cats to access the property and cause approximately $75,000 in “accidental damage.” State farm subsequently denied the claim asserting that feral cats are domestic animals and therefore the damage was not covered under the policy. The Goldbergers filed suit alleging breach of contract and insurance bad faith. State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. State Farm claimed that the policy stated that accidental losses caused by “birds, vermin, rodents, insects, or domestic animals” were not covered by the policy. The superior court granted State Farm’s motion and this appeal followed. The Goldbergers argued that the superior court erred in dismissing their complaint due to the fact that the term “domestic animals” is reasonably susceptible to differing interpretations and must be construed against State Farm. State Farm argued that the exclusion in the policy was only susceptible to one reasonable interpretation. The Court stated that there were two interpretations to the term “domestic animal.” The first definition is a species-based definition that says that domestic animals are animals belonging to a broader class of animals that have been domesticated at some point in history. The second definition is an individualized definition that says that domestic animals are animals that are kept by a person for any of various purposes, including as pets. The Court ultimately decided that the individualized definition makes more sense in terms of the insurance policy itself as well as case law. In making this determination, the court noted the "nonsensical" outcome that would arise for exotic or nontraditional pets were a species-based definition adopted. Domestic animals encompass animals that are subject to the care, custody, and control of a person. On the facts alleged in the complaint alone, the Court could not say that the tenant was keeping the feral cats in such a manner that the exclusion would preclude coverage. The court therefore resolved all reasonable inferences in the Goldberger’s favor and presumed that the cats were feral. Because the feral cats that caused the damage are not domestic animals under all reasonable interpretations of the facts alleged in the complaint, the court erred in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss. The Court reversed the superior court’s order dismissing the Goldberger’s complaint and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.
Detailed Discussion of Arizona Great Ape Laws In Arizona, most species of apes including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and bonobos are classified as “restricted live wildlife” because they are “inherently dangerous animals capable of transmitting disease and causing serious injury or death to human beings.”[1] It is illegal to keep “restricted” apes for use as pets and assistance animals.The following discussion 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. The discussion concludes with a compilation of local ordinances which govern the possession and use of apes within geographic subdivisions of the state.
Brookover v. Roberts Enterprises, Inc.


Plaintiffs-appellants Brookovers appeal the trial court's decision granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Roberts Enterprises, Inc.. The Brookovers claimed that Roberts was negligent in allowing its cow to enter the highway where it collided with the Brookovers' automobile. They contend that they presented evidence that defendants were aware of the risk of significant numbers of collisions between cattle and automobiles when cows were allowed to graze in the vicinity of a paved highway. Here, however, the court stated that the record indicates that the accident involving the Brookovers was the first reported cattle-automobile accident to occur on the Salome Highway through the Clem Allotment since Roberts began to lease the premises. Further, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling on the inapplicability of res ipsa loquitur based on the Brookovers' inability to establish that the accident is of a type that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.

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