Illinois

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Titlesort descending Summary
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. 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.
People v. Robards This case is an appeal from an animal cruelty conviction against defendant Ms. Regina Robards. She seeks appeal on the grounds that the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Robards was charged with aggravated animal cruelty when her two dogs, Walker and Sparky, were discovered in her previous home emaciated, dehydrated, and dead. She had moved out of the home and into Ms. Joachim’s home in July 2014, telling Joachim that she was arranging for the dogs to be taken care of. However, when Joachim went over to the prior home in November 2014, she discovered Walker’s emaciated body on the living room floor. She called the police, who discovered Sparky’s body in a garbage bag in the bedroom. Robards’ conviction required that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally committed an act that caused serious injury or death to her two dogs, and failing to seek adequate medical care for them. On appeal, Robards concedes that the dogs both died from dehydration and starvation, and that she was the only person responsible for the dogs’ care. However, she argues that for her conviction to stand, the prosecutor must prove that she intended to cause serious injury or death to the dogs. The court disagrees, stating that for conviction only the act need be intentional, and that the act caused the death or serious injury of an animal. Notably, the court observed that "defendant is very fortunate to have only received a sentence of 12 months' probation for these heinous crimes," and criticized the circuit court for its "unjustly and inexplicably lenient" sentence simply because defendant only caused harm to an animal and not a human being.
Peoria County v. Capitelli


This Illinois case concerns the appeal of a conviction for allowing a cat to run at large in violation of an ordinance enacted by the plaintiff, Peoria County.  The defendant contends on appeal that the county as a non-home-rule unit of government lacked the authority to enact the ordinance.  The court disagreed, finding the counties were given the express power to establish animal pounds and to dispose of stray animals pursuant to the provisions of the Impounding and Disposition of Stray Animals Act which concerns pet dogs and cats, and the Illinois Animal Control Act, which deals with stray animal control, rabies protection, liability for animal bites and related topics.  More interesting is the dissent's position, which finds that the statute makes no mention of the power to regulate cats.  Moreover, there can be no logical implication of authority to regulate cats running-at-large from the delegation of authority to regulate dogs running-at-large. 

Smith v. Lane


In this Illinois case, the passenger of horse-drawn carriage brought action in negligence and strict liability against driver of carriage and owner of horse and carriage for injuries passenger received when carriage went off road and overturned. The lower court dismissed all of passenger's counts.  On appeal, the Appellate Court held that, as matter of first impression, the passenger was not subject to provisions of EALA, and the alleged facts sufficient to state cause of action under state Animal Control Act.

Spray v. Ammerman


This was an action brought by appellant, before a justice of the peace, against appellee, to recover damages for killing a dog owned by appellant. The court here reversed the judgment, and remanded the case to determine recovery of damages based on the qualities, traits, consequential losses, and the market price of the animal at issue. 

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