Missouri

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Titlesort descending Summary
State ex rel. Humane Society of Missouri v. Beetem


The "Missourians for Protection of Dogs" ("MPD") advocated a statewide ballot measure to enact a new statutory provision to be known as the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." The certified ballot title included a summary statement reading: "Shall Missouri law be amended to: . . . create a misdemeanor crime of ‘puppy mill cruelty’ for any violations?" One taxpaying Missouri citizen, Karen Strange, subsequently filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief against the Secretary of State, challenging the summary statement as being "insufficient and unfair." In this action, the Humane Society of Missouri sought protection from an order of the circuit court requiring it to disclose and turn over Document 10 -  a series of focus group findings and related documentation developed by the Humane Society of Missouri and its partners to formulate political strategy. Writing on behalf of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Judge Victor C. Howard, with all concurring, granted the HSMO’s writ of prohibition. HSMO’s preliminary writ of prohibition was made absolute, rendering Document 10 non-discoverable.

State ex rel. Missouri Dept. of Conservation v. Judges of Circuit Court of Reynolds County


Sixteen residents who violated portions of the wildlife code challenged the hearings that they received before a panel from the Department of Conservation, which were not conducted in an evidentiary fashion or recorded.  The Court found that, pursuant to the rulemaking authority granted under the State constitution to the Department of Conservation, the regulations provide for noncontested hearings unless the permitee is entitled by law to a contested hearing (a "contested case" is a proceeding before an agency in which legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties are required by law to be determined after hearing).  The Court found that no such law applies to this case, citing a case that determined hunting is not a fundamental right.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell


A trial court granted a local humane society permission to humanely dispose of horses placed in their custody by the Sheriff.  A man filed petition for a writ of mandamus against the the trial judge and humane society to challenge the judge's order.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court holding the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the Humane Society of Missouri.

Opinion transferred to

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell

, 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005).

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell


After a judge granted two humane societies permission to dispose of nearly 120 severely emaciated and malnourished horses, the horses' owner, instead of posting a bond or security, filed for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The appeals court issued a stop order and transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Here, the horses’ owner argued two points, but the Missouri Supreme Court found that (1) the spoliation of evidence doctrine does not apply at this juncture and that (2) the statute was not unconstitutionally vague, nor does the owner allege that the statute discriminates based upon classification or that the statute discriminates in its application so as to violate the equal protection clause. The stop order was therefore dissolved and the petition for the writ of mandamus was denied.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell


Police seized 120 neglected horses pursuant to a search warrant and a Circuit Court Judge allowed humane societies to dispose of the horses.  The owner of the horses sought a writ of mandamus against the Circuit Court Judge.  The Missouri Supreme Court held the Circuit Court Judge had jurisdiction to permit the seized horses to be disposed of and the impoundment statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

State v. Cochran


Prompted by a phone call to make a return visit to the defendant's house, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Animal Control were asked, by the defendant, to wait at the door. After waiting by the door for some time, the officers discovered the defendant in the backyard, where she housed at least eleven dogs, trying to remove dog excrement from a pen and trying to remove ice from dog bowls. After further investigation, the defendant was charged with one count of animal abuse and with one count of violating a city ordinance for failure to vaccinate. At the trial, the defendant was convicted on both accounts. On appeal, however, the defendant was found guilty of animal abuse, but was cleared from the ordinance violation.

State v. Fackrell


In this Missouri case, defendant appealed her conviction for animal abuse. The facts underlying defendant's conviction involve her care of her dog from July 2004 to December 2004. When defendant's estranged husband stopped by her house to drop off their children for visitation in December, he noticed that the dog was very sick and offered to take the dog to the vet after defendant stated she could not afford a vet bill. Because it was the worst case the vet had seen in twenty-seven years of practice, he contacted law enforcement. On appeal, defendant claimed that there was insufficient evidence presented that she “knowingly” failed to provide adequate care for Annie. The court disagreed. Under MO ST 578.012.1(3), a person is guilty of animal abuse when he or she fails to provide adequate care including "health care as necessary to maintain good health." Evidence showed that defendant was aware of the fact the dog was sick over the course of several months and even thought the dog had cancer.

State v. Hammond Defendant Hammond appeals his conviction for misdemeanor animal abuse in violation of § 578.012. The facts underlying the conviction stem from defendant’s conduct with a horse. In 2016, police were dispatched to a horse that was "down" on a road. The officer observed multiple injuries on the horse's hooves, fetlocks, and lower legs. Its hooves were severely abraded, which was confirmed by subsequent veterinary examination. Another officer observed markings on the road indicative of a "blood trail" from defendant's residence to the location of the horse. According to this officer, defendant told him that he had been "doing farrier stuff to his horses and this particular horse had broke away from them five times and broke a couple of lead lines, burned some people’s hands, and that he was going to teach the horse a lesson." Ultimately, the officers were able to get the horse to stand and loaded into a trailer. It later died at the animal clinic to where it was taken. Defendant was charged with felony animal abuse and a jury trial was held. The jury convicted defendant of the lesser-included misdemeanor animal abuse. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred by refusing to allow his counsel to read Missouri's right-to-farm amendment when it instructed the jury on the amendment. The court noted that, similar to a prior case evoking the right-to-farm amendment, the amendment itself was not intended to nullify or curtail longstanding laws. The prohibition against animal cruelty existed in some form in the Missouri code for 145 years. Further, the court disagreed with defendant's contention that his prosecution criminalized a legitimate farming practice. The jury convicted defendant based on a finding that, when he pulled the horse behind his truck, his conscious object was to cause injury or suffering to the horse. While defendant contends that his was employing a legitimate, established farming technique to "train" the horse, the jury rejected his claim. Defendant's claim on appeal that the animal abuse law could then be used to prosecute farmers for other legitimate farming activities (i.e., branding, castration, use of whips, etc.) was also rejected. The court found that the conscious object of such activities is not to inflect pain or suffering, but to achieve another goal. The pain is "incidental to the farmer's legitimate objectives." The jury found this not to be the case with defendant. Thus, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to allow Hammond to read the right-to-farm amendment to the jury, and when it refused to instruct the jury on the amendment’s terms. Affirmed.
State v. Roche


The defendants were convicted and sentenced upon an information under section 1609, Revised Statutes of 1879, charging them with unlawfully, wilfully and cruelly overdriving a horse, and thereupon prosecute this appeal. The court held that the evidence that a horse was overdriven does not warrant a conviction under Revised Statutes, 1879, section 1609, in the absence of proof, that the overdriving was wilful and not accidental. Thus, the court reversed the lower court.

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