Missouri

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Titlesort descending Summary
Boosman v. Moudy

In this Missouri case, an action was brought on behalf of a child who was bitten by a dog (a large dog of the malemute breed). After the lower court entered judgment against the dog owner, the owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's evidence demonstrated that the dog had become ill-natured and had acquired the persistent menacing habit of growling, bristling and snapping at people. Such behavior was repeatedly brought to the attention of the owner's wife prior to time dog bit child. This evidence, together with owner's evidence that his daughter had encouraged the dog to play tug-of-war with her clothing, supported the verdict in favor of the plaintiff that the injury to child resulted from the propensity of the dog to do bodily harm, either in anger or from playfulness.
Detailed Discussion of Missouri Great Ape Laws The following discussion begins with a general overview of the various Missouri 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.
Gromer v. Matchett


In this Missouri case, the defendant-farmer appeals an award of $12,250 to plaintiff-motorist, whose vehicle was struck by another vehicle after a horse coming from defendant's farm collided with the first vehicle. Defendant asserts that the Stock Law (Section 270.010) was inappropriately applied to him where he did not own the livestock (the horse) in question. Since plaintiff relied on the language of the Stock Law, which unambiguously refers only to "owners," in submitting her verdict directing instruction that allowed her to recover damages without proof of Defendant's negligence, the case must be reversed and remanded.

This cause was Ordered Transferred to Mo.S.Ct. November 16, 2010.

Hill v. Missouri Department of Conservation This case concerns the regulatory authority of the Missouri Conservation Commission ("Commission"), which has authority over the control, management, restoration, conservation, and regulation of the bird, fish, game, forestry and all wildlife resources of the state. The respondents in this case operate different selective breeding and private hunting facilities that rely on captive bred deer and elk (“cervids”). Respondent Hill co-owns the Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch which is a large hunting preserve and white-tailed deer breeding operation. Respondent Broadway owns a hunting preserve which offers three-day guided hunts of a variety of animals, including elk. Broadway also has a deer breeding operation. Respondent Grace owns a breeding facility for white-tailed deer, sika, and red deer. The respondents cannot operate their hunting preserves and captive breeding facilities without permits from the Missouri Department of Conservation, which all respondents have. Cervids can be infected with a fatal neurodegenerative disease known as chronic wasting disease (CWD). The first detection of the disease in Missouri was at Heartland Wildlife Ranches, which was eventually purchased by Respondent Broadway and renamed Winter Quarters Wildlife Ranch. Due to this, the Missouri Conservation Commission set up surveillance within 25 miles of the facility. From 2010 to 2013 the Commission found 10 free-ranging deer infected with CWD out of the 14,000 tested in the surveillance zone. Over the next three years the Commission detected CWD in 14 free-ranging deer, several of which were found near closed or currently operating captive cervid facilities. Attempting to eradicate CWD, the Commission proposed a series of regulatory amendments that were to take effect in January of 2015. The amendments were aimed at the captive cervid industry. The regulations relevant to this case banned the importation of cervids, imposed more rigorous fencing requirements, and imposed more rigorous recordkeeping and veterinary inspection requirements. Respondents brought an action suing the Appellants (the Missouri Conservation Commission) to prevent these regulations from going into effect. At trial, the circuit court declared that the regulations were invalid and enjoined the Commission from enforcing them. On appeal, the Commission raised three arguments. First, the Commission contends that the circuit court erred because Respondents’ cervids are “game” and “wildlife resources of the state” and, therefore, can be regulated by the Commission under the Missouri Constitution. Second, the Commission contends that the circuit court erred because the Commission’s authority to promulgate the regulations does not implicate or infringe on the Respondents’ rights to farm. Third, the Commission contends that the circuit court erred by enjoining the Commission’s enforcement of the new regulations against all people in Missouri, rather than only against the Respondents. The Respondents contend that captive cervids are not wildlife or game even though they are wild by nature because they are too domesticated and, therefore, akin to livestock. The Court rejects this contention and looks at the plain meaning of the terms “game” and “wildlife” and concludes that both terms plainly include all species that are wild by nature. The terms are not ambiguous. The Court points out that it would be unreasonable to hold that the Commission has constitutional authority to regulate individual cervids that are born free and still free-roaming but take away that authority when an individual cervid is considered domesticated. “The Court will not give a law a construction which would render it unreasonable when it is susceptible to a reasonable one.” Furthermore, historically, the term “game” was broad enough to embrace all kinds of deer whether tame or wild. Captive cervids are therefore considered “game” and “wildlife” and the Commission has authority under the Missouri Constitution to regulate Respondents’ captive cervids. Respondent’ second contention is that they own the captive cervids and, therefore, the cervids are not resources of the state. The Court rejects this contention. The Commission has always regulated deer and elk owned by private parties. The Court holds that the phrase “resources of the state” unambiguously refers to resources within the entire geographical boundaries of the state. Therefore, Respondents’ cervids are considered resources of the state. The Court agrees with the Commission’s second contention that the regulations did not infringe on Respondents’ right to farm. Respondents failed to show that they are engaged in farming and ranching practices and, therefore, cannot invoke the guarantee of the Missouri Constitution. The Court did not reach the Commission’s third contention. Ultimately the Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment in favor of Respondents and entered judgment in favor of Appellants on both counts.
Humane Society of United States v. State

On May 13, 2011, Animal Welfare Organizations sought a declaratory judgment against the State of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Agriculture stating that Senate Bill (SB) 795 violated the Missouri Constitution by amending a bill to change its original purpose.  The trial court found the Animal Welfare Organization's cause of action was moot and granted the State and the State Department's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, in an en blanc opinion, the Missouri Supreme Court found the repeal and reenactment of § 273.327 in SB 161 rendered moot any decision as to whether SB795 was properly enacted. The lower court's decision was therefore affirmed.
Luethans v. Washington University Plaintiff, a licensed veterinarian, appeals from the circuit court's order dismissing his case in a wrongful discharge case. Plaintiff contends that as an at-will employee he stated a cause of action for wrongful discharge under Missouri's public policy exception to the employment at-will doctrine. Specifically, he pleaded that he was retaliated against and discharged because he performed a regulatory protected activity, i.e., reporting violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2143. The court agreed and reversed and remanded.
Malane Wilson v. City of St. Louis; Dian K. Sharma, Health Commissioner, City of St. Louis Department of Health and Hospitals; R This action concerns the release of a dog who was impounded and classified as “dangerous” without a chance for his owner to argue against the action. Plaintiff Malane Wilson filed a petition for a preliminary and permanent injunction, a petition for declaratory judgment, and a petition for replevin against the City of St. Louis and the Animal Regulation Center, among others. The subject of the petitions concerned her American Pit Bull Terrier named Max who was seized by agents of the Animal Regulation Center as an apparent “dangerous dog.” Plaintiff contends that Max’s alleged actions in killing the neighbor’s dog did not qualify under the St. Louis City Ordinance as a “dangerous dog.” Further, plaintiff was not given any legal or administrative hearing once her dog was seized, contrary to due process requirements. She also sought in her declaratory petition to have the ordinance declared illegal, void, and unconstitutional for its failure to adequately define “dangerous dog” and “potentially dangerous dog.”

The Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis found that the plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction was not granted. Thus, the City was enjoined from killing or otherwise harming Max. They were also ordered to release Max, remove his “dangerous” designation, and have him instead classified as “potentially dangerous.” The plaintiff was required to comply with enclosure and other safety requirements for Max.
Miles ex rel. Miles v. Rich


In this Missouri case, the plaintiff filed an action against defendant dog owner for damages after defendant's dog bit the plaintiff's child. Defendant dog owner then filed a third-party petition against the Humane Society of Missouri from which defendant had adopted the dog, seeking contribution under a theory of common law negligence. Defendant appeals the lower court's dismissal, specifically contending that the Humane Society breached 1) its duty to prevent the adoption of the dog by doing tests it knew would have identified the dog's dangerous propensity to bite ; and 2) its duty to fully inform defendant of the risks of keeping a dog who has bitten in the past. The appellate court found that the Humane Society did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog when it bit Ms. Miles; thus, it had no duty under common law negligence principles to prevent the harm.

Missouri Farmers Ass'n v. Kempker


Missouri Farmers Association sued a dairy farmer on account and notes. The farmer counterclaimed, alleging that Association had supplied defective feed. The Supreme Court held that farmer's recovery for diminution in cows' value did not preclude recovery for loss of milk and calf production. However, the  farmer failed to sufficiently link the feed to his damages, so his evidence of lost profits was speculative, which prevented recovery.

Missouri Veterinary Medical Bd. v. Gray


An unlicensed Missouri equine dentist (Brooke Rene Gray) appeals an order from the circuit court enjoining and prohibiting her from doing business as "B & B Equine Dentistry," where she performed equine tooth floating and other acts. In 2007, the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board informed Ms. Gray that she was violating Missouri law by practicing veterinary medicine without a license. After she did not cease her activities, the Board referred the matter to the Attorney General, who then filed a petition on behalf of the Board to enjoin Ms. Gray's activities. On appeal, Ms. Gray contends that the court order violates the Missouri Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to enjoy the "gains of their own industry." The court disagreed, finding that the State has a strong interest in regulating practices that involve public safety as is the case with veterinary medicine.

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