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Titlesort ascending Summary
Thompson v. Hancock County

In this case, the Supreme court of Iowa held that hog confinement buildings were agricultural buildings and thus exempt from county zoning ordinances.

State v. West

In this Iowa case, the defendant, West, shot his neighbor's dogs after the dogs were seen running the perimeter of his deer-pen, agitating 15 of his deer in the process. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two counts of animal abuse charges and fifth degree criminal mischief.  On appeal, West argued that the section 351.27 (a provision that allows a person to kill a dog caught in the act of worrying livestock) provides an absolute defense to the charges of animal abuse and that he had the right under the facts and this statute to summarily kill Piatak's dogs because they were worrying and chasing his deer. He also contended that the statute has no additional “reasonableness” requirement, and the trial court was incorrect to graft the “reasonably acting” standard from the animal abuse law. The appellate court agreed, finding that section 351.27 provides

an absolute defense

to a charge of animal abuse under section 717B.2.

State v. Meerdink

After defendant/appellant took a baseball to the head of and consequently killed a 7-month-old puppy, the Iowa District Court of Scott County found defendant/appellant guilty of animal torture under Iowa Code section 717B.3A (1). Defendant/appellant appealed the district court's decision, arguing that the evidence shown was insufficient to support a finding he acted “with a depraved or sadistic intent,” as stated by Iowa statute. The appeals court agreed and reversed and remanded the case back to district court for dismissal. Judge Vaitheswaran authored a dissenting opinion.

State ex rel. Miller v. DeCoster

State of Iowa sued the owner of a hog confinement operation for violations of manure disposal and animal control regulations.

Shumate v. Drake University Plaintiff Shumate was barred from bringing a dog that she was training, into the classroom and to another school event. Shumate worked as a service dog trainer, while she was a student at Drake University Law School, the Defendant in this case. In 2011, Shumate filed a lawsuit alleging that Drake University discriminated against her as a service dog trainer in violation of Iowa Code chapter 216C. She alleged that chapter 216C, implicitly provided service dog trainers with a private right to sue. The Supreme Court of Iowa held that the statute does not provide service dog trainers with a private right to sue, nor did it include them under the coverage of chapter 216. The Court reasoned that although Shumate trained dogs to assist the disabled, she was not covered because she is not a person with a disability. The Court stated that closely related statutes expressly created private enforcement actions to aid the disabled while chapter 216C does not. Because an implied right of action would circumvent the procedures of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Iowa legislature purposely omitted a private right to sue from chapter 216C. The court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Shumate's petition with prejudice.
Ruden v. Hansen

This appeal stems from an action against a defendant veterinarian for the alleged negligent vaccination of plaintiff’s pregnant hogs (gilts).  The court articulated the standard of care: "As a veterinarian defendant was duty bound to bring to his service the learning, skill and care which characterizes the profession generally. In other words, the care and diligence required was that as a careful and trustworthy veterinarian would be expected to exercise. . . We are convinced the correct standard of the veterinarian's care should be held to that exercised generally under similar circumstances."

Overview of Iowa Great Ape Laws This is a short overview of Iowa Great Ape law.
Nichols v. Sukaro Kennels

During a stay at defendant kennel, the kennel owner's dog tore off plaintiff's dog's left front leg and shoulder blade.  Plaintiff's petition sought damages to compensate for the injuries and suffering the dog incurred and the loss of aesthetic intrinsic value of the dog.  In upholding the district court's denial of damages for emotional injury and mental suffering, the Court of Appeals rejected plaintiff's argument for damages based on the intrinsic value of a pet for the negligent injury to the dog.

Mills v. Guthrie County Rural Elec. Co-op. Ass'n

Rural electric cooperative association caused fire that destroyed hog farrowing facility. Customers sued to recover damages. The Supreme Court held that: (1) punitive damages were not recoverable; (2) customers did not have claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; but (3) evidence of lost profits from future pig litters as a measure of business interruption damages should not have been excluded.

Larsen v. McDonald In this case twelve neighbors brought a private nuisance claim against another neighbor for keeping numerous dogs in a residential area. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald rescued unwanted dogs by keeping them on their property; Ms. McDonald provided food and shelter and attempted to place the animals in new adoptive homes. At the time of trial there were 40 dogs on the property. The neighbors had called the police and complained of frequent barking and the smell of urine. The McDonalds argue that they had priority of location over the defendants. When they moved to the neighborhood in 1952 it had been sparsely settled. However, over the years the neighborhood had become residential, and while many of the neighbors also had dogs, none of them exceeded three dogs. Ultimately the court held that for the McDonalds to be operating a shelter or kennel style facility was inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood, and after reviewing the testimony, the evidence in this case was sufficient to show a normal person would find the situation was a nuisance. The court upheld the lower court’s injunction to limit the number of dogs that the McDonalds could keep.