Illinois

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Titlesort descending Summary
Mississippi Bluff Motel Inc. v. Rock Island County


The State of Illinois seeks to intervene as a protector of wildlife in a zoning action where the property at issue was adjacent to a bald eagle refuge.  The court denied the state's request, finding that it did not have a stake in the litigation as it held no property interest nor was it representing a special class of people.  Instead, the court found the state's interest speculative and the immediacy of harm was nonexistent, as it would create "bad law" to allow the State to intervene whenever there was a potential ecological or environmental consequence in a civil lawsuit.  For further discussion on the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, see

Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act

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Moore v. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc.


Plaintiffs, Ami Moore and Doggie Do Right-911, Inc., aver that defendants PETA, Diane Opresnik, John Keene, and Mary DePaolo defamed them and placed them in a false light by stating that the plaintiff dog trainer placed a shock device on a dog's genitals and allegedly shocked it. Prior to this action, the claim against PETA was settled and dismissed. The defamation claims against Opresnik, Keene, and DePaolo, persisted. In dismissing the remaining claims, the court found that there was no positive factual statement of criminal animal cruelty to support a defamation

per se

claim. Further, another claim fell outside the statute of limitations period and was also inadequately supported by specific allegations.

Nelson v. Lewis


Toddler accidentally stepped on the tail of the owner's dog, and the dog responded by scratching her eye, causing permanent damage to the tear duct.  The toddler sought damages under Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 8, para. 366 (1973), arguing that her unintentional act did not constitute provocation.  The court held that provocation under the statute referred to both intentional or unintentional acts.  Because the dog was provoked by the unintentional act, he did not react viciously.

Nikolic v. Seidenberg


When the pet owner adopted a dog, she signed a contract agreeing to have her dog spayed at the vet's facility and to return the dog to the vet if it was sick. For days after the surgery the dog was ill so the other vet performed exploratory surgery and repaired a cut in the dog's intestine. The pet owner filed an action to recover the medical expenses and the lower court granted the vet's motion to dismiss.  The reviewing court held that the language in the contract was not sufficiently clear and explicit to exculpate the vet from negligence because the vet was not a party to the contract and thus not a direct beneficiary of the contract.

Overview of Illinois Great Ape Laws This is a short overview of Illinois Great Ape law.
Pagel v. Yates


Horse owner sued breeder for negligence and conversion after breeder returned the wrong mare. On issue of damages, Appellate Court held that evidence was insufficient to support the jury award because 1) evidence of value of mare’s offspring four years after conversion was irrelevant and prejudicial; 2) trial court's instruction to jury allowed recovery for the horse's unborn offspring as well as fair market value of horse in foal, which permitted a double recovery; and 3) owner could not recover his expenses after he learned of switch and made no effort to resolve the problem because he had duty to avoid further loss.

People v. Collier Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
People v. Curtis


Defendant owned five cats and housed 82 feral cats in her home. One of her pet cats developed a respiratory infection and had to be euthanized as a result of unsanitary conditions. Defendant was convicted of violating the duties of an animal owner, and she appealed. The Appellate Court held that the statute requiring animal owners to provide humane care and treatment contained sufficiently definite standards for unbiased application, and that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider defendant's conduct toward her pet cat to be inhumane.

People v. Land


In 2009, Jenell Land was found guilty by jury of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal, a Class 4 felony under Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act. Specifically, Land placed a towing chain around the neck of her pit bull, which caused a large, gaping hole to form in the dog’s neck (the dog was later euthanized). The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the defendant’s conviction and, in so doing, rejected each of Land’s four substantive arguments on appeal. Among the arguments raised, the appellate court found that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury that the State had to prove a specific intent by Land to injure her dog did not rise to the level of "plain error."

People v. Larson In December 2005, defendant Alan J. Larson was found guilty of possession of a firearm without a firearm owner's identification card and committing aggravated cruelty to an animal when he shot and killed the Larsons’ family dog Sinai in October 2004. Evidence included conflicting testimony among family members as to the disposition of the dog and whether he had a history of biting people, and a veterinarian who concluded that a gunshot to the brain was a conditionally acceptable method of euthanasia. Defendant appealed his conviction on the grounds that the aggravated-cruelty-to-an-animal statute was unconstitutionally vague because it fails to address how an owner could legally euthanize their own animal. The appellate court rejected this argument and affirmed defendant’s conviction.

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