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Priebe v. Nelson

A kennel worker who was bitten by a dog while the dog was in the care of the kennel sued the owner of the dog under a theory of strict liability under a statute and under the common law. The court found that the dog owner was not liable to the kennel worker because under the "veterinarian's rule," the kennel owner had assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog.

Prays v. Perryman

In an action by a commercial pet groomer against a dog owner for injuries suffered by a dog bite, the trial court found as a matter of law that plaintiff had assumed the risk of a dog bite, and on that basis granted summary judgment in defendant's favor. At the time plaintiff was bitten, she had not yet begun to groom the dog and, in fact, had expressed to defendant her concern whether it was safe for her to do so since the dog was excited and growling. The Court of Appeal reversed. Assuming the veterinarian's rule extended to pet groomers, making the defense of assumption of risk available, it held that plaintiff had not as a matter of law assumed the risk of being bitten since, at the time of the bite, the dog was still under the exclusive control of defendant, who had uncaged it and was holding it on a leash.

Portillo v. Aiassa

In this California case, the plaintiff delivered beer to Race Street Liquors.


As he was leaving the store, he was attacked by a German shepherd


owned by the tenant.


The jury found appellant-landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities prior to renewing the




However, the jury found that he would have learned of the dog's dangerous propensities if he had exercised reasonable care in the inspection of his property and that he was negligent in failing to eliminate this dangerous condition. 

Plotnik v. Meihaus

A long history of bad neighborly relations resulted in the plaintiffs' dog sustaining injuries from being hit with a baseball; the injuries required surgery and post-operative care. While the plaintiffs brought many causes of actions against their neighbors, a father and his two sons, this case is significant in the realm of animal law because it held that a pet owner may recover for emotional distress under the trespass to personal property cause of action. The court, however, would not allow the plaintiffs to recover for their dog's injuries under the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because they would have recovered duplicative damages for the same transactional event.

Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine v. Tyson Foods, Inc.

In this California case, PCRM, a nonprofit health-advocacy organization, filed suit for injunctive relief against Tyson alleging that the company made false and deceptive representations about chicken products that it sold to consumers in California. The complaint alleges that Tyson engaged in two advertising campaigns, which disseminated false and deceptive statements about its products in violation of Business and Professions Code section 17500. Tyson filed a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) statute. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the amendment to the anti-SLAPP statute, which was enacted while the appeal was pending did not apply to actions against sellers of goods as to the representations about or promotions of those goods. Further,

by holding that Tyson was not entitled to invoke the anti-SLAPP remedy, the court stated that it did not compromise or prejudice Tyson’s right to raise First Amendment issues in defense of PCRM's suit


Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept.

These are detailed briefs on why an administrative hearing is required before a "dangerous" dog is euthanized.

Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept.

In this case, the owners of dog petitioned for writ of mandamus requesting vacation of destruction order and declaration that ordinances under which the dog was seized were unconstitutional.  The Court of Appeal held that due process required that owners have hearing prior to seizure of or destruction of dog (a property interest) and that a "courtesy hearing" did not satisfy due process requirements.  Further, the court concluded that the ordinances here were unconstitutional for failing to provide for notice and a hearing either before or after the seizure of an uncontrollable biting or vicious dog. 

Phillips v. Department Appellant Reply Brief
People v. Youngblood
Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat.  The court found that the conviction

could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering.  Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.
People v. Williams In this case, defendants were convicted of felony dog fighting and felony animal cruelty. On appeal, defendants sought to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the search warrant that led to their convictions. Police officers responding to a report of a thin, loose, horse near the defendants' home entered the property in order to make reasonable attempts to secure the loose horse and determine if there was a suitable corral on the property. The officers knew there had been prior calls to the property in response to reported concerns about the conditions of horses and pit bulls on the property. Further, one officer heard puppies barking inside the home when she knocked on the door trying to contact defendants, and another officer heard a dog whining from inside the garage. There were strong odors of excessive fecal matter reasonably associated with unhealthful housing conditions. Under those circumstances, it was reasonable for the officers to be concerned there was a dog in distress inside the garage and possibly in need of immediate aid, and the court found there was nothing unreasonable about one officer standing on the front driveway and simply looking through the broken window in the garage door to determine whether the dog he heard making a whining bark was in genuine distress. Nor was it unreasonable for the officers to then proceed to the back yard after having looked in the garage. As a result, the court ruled that the information the officers had justified the issuance of the search warrant, and thus the order denying the motion to suppress evidence and to quash and traverse the warrant was affirmed. The defendants' judgments of conviction were also affirmed.