North Carolina

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Titlesort ascending Summary
Williams v. Reynolds This is an action for veterinary malpractice brought by the owner of a horse against a veterinarian that performed the castration surgery that led to the death of the horse. The trial court refused to allow a veterinarian with experience practicing in the same area and with a similar background to testify about whether he was familiar the accepted standards or to answer questions to elicit his opinion about whether defendant's treatment of the horse was unacceptable for practicing veterinarians in the area. The trial court then granted defendant's motion for a directed verdict, and this appeal followed. The court held that the judge erred in excluding the testimony, and reversed and remanded the case.
State v. Wood


Plaintiff entered an oral agreement for defendant to board and train her horse, Talladega.  The horse died within  two months from starvation, and the Harnett County Animal Control found three other horses under defendant's care that were underfed, and seized them.  The jury trial resulted in a conviction of two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty from which the defendant appeals.  However, this court affirms the jury's conviction, stating that the assignment of error is without merit and would not have affected the jury's conviction. 

State v. Neal


The defendant was convicted under North Carolina's cruelty to animal statute for the killing of his neighbor's chickens.  The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court because the trial court refused to give some of his instructions to the jury.  The Supreme Court that the lower court was correct and affirmed.

State v. Maynard


In this North Carolina case, defendant challenged her conviction for violating that city ordinance that limited the number of dogs greater than five months of age that can be kept on premises within the city limits to three. After conviction, defendant appealed the constitutionality of the ordinance, arguing that it was “arbitrary and without any justification” and “fails to stand upon a rational basis.” This Court disagreed. First noting that legislative enactments have a presumption of constitutionality, the Court held that the town of Nashville enacted the ordinance for the purpose of reducing noise and odor problems. These objectives are clearly legitimate public purposes, and the limitation on the number of dogs is directly related to those objectives.

State v. Mauer


In this North Carolina case, Defendant appealed her conviction for misdemeanor animal cruelty. Defendant primarily argued that the “evidence failed to establish that mere exposure to the living conditions constituted torment as defined by § 14-306(c).” The Court disagreed, finding that the stench of defendant's residence required the fire department to bring breathing apparatus for the animal control officers and urine and feces coated "everything" in the house, including the cats, was sufficient to support a conclusion by a reasonable jury that defendant “tormented” cat C142, causing it unjustifiable pain or suffering. The Court, however, vacated the order of restitution for $ 259.22 and remanded for a hearing on the matter because there was no evidence presented at trial supporting the award.

State v. Gerberding After stabbing and slicing a dog to death, defendant was indicted for felonious cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit felonious cruelty to animals. She was tried and found guilty of both counts before a jury. The trial court sentenced defendant to a term of 5 to 15 months for the felonious cruelty to animal conviction, and 4 to 14 months for the conspiracy conviction with both sentences suspended for a term of 18 months probation. Defendant appealed on the basis that the trial court erred on its instructions to the jury. After careful consideration, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the trial court properly instructed the jury according to the North Carolina pattern jury instructions. Further, the trial court responded appropriately to the question posed by the jury regarding the jury instructions. Accordingly, the appeals court held that the defendant received a fair, error-free trial. Judge Ervin concurs in part and concurs in result in part by separate opinion.
State v. Doherty In this North Carolina case, the defendant appeals from his conviction of felony cruelty to animals and suspended sentence of imprisonment. The conviction stems from Defendant's kicking of his neighbor's dog. According to testimony of the dog's owner, Defendant would activate sprinklers in his yard anytime someone with a dog walked by his home. In November of 2019, the dog's owner was walking her fourteen-year-old dachshund-beagle mix, Davis, in front of Defendant's house when she stepped out of the roadway onto Defendant's lawn to avoid a passing car. The occupants of the car then stopped to talk with the dog's owner briefly, whereupon Defendant emerged from his home and proceeded to kick Davis in the stomach. The dog's owner called the police and the dog was transported to an emergency veterinarian because he was "lifeless" and "limp." Defendant was ultimately charged, indicted, and convicted of felonious cruelty to animals. On appeal, Defendant argues (1) that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charge of felonious cruelty to animals because a single kick was insufficient to show that Defendant "cruelly beat" the dog; and (2) that the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. This court first addressed whether a single kick to a dog was sufficient to meet the definition of "cruelly beat." Looking first at the standard dictionary definition of "beat," the court found that the words, “cruelly beat” can apply to any act that causes the unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death to an animal, even if it is just one single act. In fact, the court stated, "[t]o hold otherwise would allow a person to kick a dog so hard they suffer life-threatening injuries—such as the case here—but not be subject to felonious cruelty to animals because it was 'just' one kick." Thus, the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss. As to the lesser included offense instruction, this court found that there was no evidence of error, let alone plain error, since the jury would have likely found Defendant guilty of felonious animal cruelty based on the evidence presented. No reversible error occurred and Defendant's conviction was affirmed.
State v. Crew Defendant Daniel Crew appealed his convictions for dogfighting, felony cruelty to animals, misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Crew also challenges the trial court's restitution orders totaling $70,000, which the trial court immediately converted to civil judgments. The arrest and conviction of defendant stemmed from an investigation at defendant's residence, where 30 pit bulls were recovered with injuries "similar to injuries a dog would sustain through dogfighting." In addition, publications and notes on preparing for a fight were found, as well as dogfighting training equipment such as a "jenny," staging area for fights, and weight scales for weighing dogs. The State charged Crew with fifteen counts of engaging in dogfighting, one count of allowing property to be used for dogfighting, five counts of felony cruelty to animals, twenty-five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and sixteen counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Ultimately, Crew was convicted by the jury of eleven counts of dogfighting, three counts of felony cruelty to animals, fourteen counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and two counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. The trial court imposed six consecutive active sentences of 10 to 21 months each along with several suspended sentences. The trial court also ordered Crew to pay Orange County Animal Services $10,000 in seven separate restitution orders that were then entered as civil judgments, totaling $70,000 in restitution (testimony at trial indicated that the cost to house the dogs alone was a "a littler over $80,000"). Defendant appealed his criminal judgment and petitioned for a writ of certiorari for the award of restitution entered as civil judgments. On appeal, this court rejected defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence of dogfighting. The police found training equipment, medication commonly used in dogfighting operations, and a dogfighting "pit" or training area as well as the notes preparing dogs to fight. A reasonable juror could have concluded that Crew intended to engage in dogfighting. However, as to the restitution order converted to civil judgments, the court found that the trial court lacked the statutory authority to immediately convert those restitution orders into civil judgments. The court found no error concerning the criminal convictions, but vacated the conversion of the restitution to civil judgments against defendant.
State v. Charles Defendant Cheito Charles appealed from judgments entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of second-degree arson and felonious cruelty to animals. The incident stemmed from a house fire in the summer of 2020 where the defendant set fire to his sister's boyfriend's house while the boyfriend's puppy was still inside. At trial, the defendant contended that there was no evidence that he knew the existence of the puppy. However, the trial court instructed the jury that, in order to convict Defendant of felonious cruelty to animals, the jury need only conclude that Defendant maliciously and “intentionally start[ed] a house fire which proximately result[ed] in the injury or death to the animal.” There was no need to prove that Defendant was aware of the puppy in the home. Ultimately, Defendant was convicted of second-degree arson and felonious cruelty to animals. On appeal here, Defendant argues that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on the doctrine of transferred intent regarding the animal cruelty charge. This court rebuffed this argument, finding that there was no error with instruction since the jury only needed to conclude that Defendant maliciously set the fire that proximately caused the puppy's death. This same reasoning also supported the sufficiency of the evidence claim. The court dispensed with Defendant's final argument as to the sufficiency of the indictment. As a result, the appellate court found no error with Defendant's trial.
State v. Arnold



Defendant appealed from a conviction of participating as a spectator at an exhibition featuring dog fighting alleging that the statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad and an invalid exercise of police power. The appellate court found the statute to be constitutional. Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charge for insufficient evidence, however the appellate court found that there is

substantial evidence to support the conviction. 



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