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Titlesort descending Summary
Detailed Discussion of California Great Ape Laws In California, all gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, and gibbons are classified as “wildlife” that must be restricted by the state for their own health and welfare. According to the legislature, it is necessary to regulate the import, possession, use, and treatment of Great Apes because “many animals die in captivity or transit…some keepers of wild animals lack sufficient knowledge or facilities for the proper care of wild animals … [and] some wild animals are a threat to public health and safety.”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.
Dixon v. City of Woodland
Drake v. Dean

Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway.  She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability.  The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence.  Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.

Dreyer v. Cyriacks
Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.


The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.


On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.


In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.
Drinkhouse v. Van Ness

Plaintiffs sued defendants to recover value of a horse that was wrongfully taken from them. The Court held that evidence was admissible to establish the value of the horse at the time of the wrongful taking to fix the damages amount. The peculiar value of the horse as a sire was established by evidence as to the horse’s racing history and to its progeny’s character and racing ability. Owners were entitled to recover damages for the reasonable value of the horse’s use during the period they were wrongfully deprived of it.

ERIC SANDLE, plaintiff v. JEFRI DAVIS, and DOES 1-20 inclusive, defendant This complaint arose from the intentional shooting of plaintiff's dog by defendant. Plaintiff was on his property pruning a tree when defendant shot plaintiff's dog, who was in the street at the time approximately three feet away from defendant. As a result of the shooting, plaintiff's dog is paralyzed in the back half of his body and suffers from bladder and bowel difficulties. Three causes of action were raised in the complaint: (1) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) conversion; and (3) violation of California Civil Code of Procedure Section 3340 (relating to damage to animals).
Eriksson v. Nunnink In this case a deceased horse rider's parents (Erikssons) have brought wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress actions against the rider's coach after she fell from her horse in competition and died. Due to a release form signed by the parents, the coach (Nunnink) could only be held liable if he was found grossly negligent. The parents attempted to show that the coach was grossly negligent in allowing the rider to compete after injuries sustained by the horse. This court concluded that the Erikssons failed to establish that Nunnink was grossly negligent. The court affirmed the judgment.
Farm Sanctuary, Inc. v. Department of Food & Agriculture

Environmental group brought suit challenging regulation allowing ritual slaughter exception to statute requiring that animals be treated humanely. The Superior Courtupheld regulation and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeal, Masterson, J., held that: (1) group had standing to sue, and (2) regulation was valid.

Friedman v. Souther California Permanente Medical Group

Amicus Curae brief arguing for veganism to be viewed as a religion in wrongful termination case.

Frye v. County of Butte

After several administrative, trial court, and appeals hearings, the California court of appeals upheld a county’s decision to seize the plaintiffs’ horses for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.1(f).  Notably, the appeals court failed to extend the law of the case, which generally provides that a prior appellate court ruling on the law governs further proceedings in the case, to prior trial court rulings. The appeals court also held that the trial court’s "Statement of Decision" resolved all issues set before it, despite certain remedies remaining unresolved and the court’s oversight of the plaintiffs' constitutionality complaint, and was therefore an appealable judgment. The appeals court also found the trial court lacked jurisdiction to extend the appeals deadline with its document titled "Judgment."