Displaying 21 - 30 of 91
Titlesort descending Summary
Commonwealth v. Gardner

In this Pennsylvania case, a new resident moved next door to a woman who had been operating a kennel for years.  He then complained to the borough council which then amended an ordinance such that the keeping of more than six dogs over six months of age was made a nuisance per se, illegal and a violation of the ordinance.  The court held that it did not believe that the borough council or the court had the power or the authority to determine that more than a certain number is a nuisance per se, and less than that number is a nuisance only upon proof of the same being a nuisance. "In other words, it is our opinion that the borough council, in the exercise of its police power may not unreasonably and arbitrarily prohibit things which were not nuisances at common law, and their declaration in an ordinance that a thing is a public nuisance does not make it so, if it is not a nuisance in fact . . ."

Commonwealth v. Gonzalez
Appellant was convicted of cruelty to animals for cockfighting. On appeal, appellant claimed that the delegation of police power to animal welfare agents was unconstitutional. The court found that appellant was without standing to complain because he failed to show an injury. Appellant also argued that the animal fighting statute was preempted by a federal statute,

7 U.S.C.S. §



The court disagreed. Finally, appellant asserted that §


5511 was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court determined that appellant lacked standing to challenge the statute's


Commonwealth v. Gosselin

A woman was convicted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for owning a domesticated squirrel.  The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction  They reasoned since the squirrel was domesticated in South Carolina, and South Carolina does not have any prohibition against the taking and domestication of squirrels, the trial court could not rely on the Pennsylvania statute prohibiting such.

Commonwealth v. Kneller

Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.

Commonwealth v. Lee

Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization.  Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed.  The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.


In this Pennsylvania case, defendant was prosecuted for killing a cat that belonged to his neighbor. The section under which he was prosecuted prohibited the killing of a 'domestic animal of another person.' However, a cat was not one of the animals defined as a ‘domestic animal’ by the Act. Using rules of statutory interpretation, the court found that the omission of 'cat' from the listed species of the penal code provision was intentional by the legislature, and thus the defendant's sentence was discharged.

Commonwealth v. Reynolds

A woman's four serval cats, two fennic foxes, three ringtailed lemurs, three kinkajous, and one wallaby were all seized pursuant to a search warrant.  The trial court granted the woman's motion for return of her property in part and denied in part, specifically allowing for the return of the kinkajous and lemurs.  The Court of Appeals remanded to determine whether the woman's possession of the animals was in violation of the federal AWA or state Game Code.   

Commonwealth v. Stefanowicz Appellant Stefanowicz appeals from the judgment entered in the Tioga County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. Appellant and his wife co-owned a deer farm ("Awesome Whitetails") where they are legally licensed to operate and sell trophy bucks which are kept in a fenced-in enclosure on their property. Appellant's neighbor, Ms. Smith, owned two German Shepherd dogs, which Appellant testified frequently entered his property and had previously harassed the animals he raises there. Appellant and his wife submitted a complaint to the state dog warden who then warned Smith of the statewide requirements on confining dogs. The warden also advised Appellant of the legal right to kill a dog that is “in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing” Appellant's animals. In fall of 2020, Smith's dogs entered Appellant's property and were chasing the deer from outside the fence. This deer began to panic, causing one to get stuck in the fence where one of the dogs then stared biting it. Appellant tried to yell at the dogs to no avail, so he then shot and killed the dogs. Appellant testified that one deer had a bloody gash, two more had bloody faces, and one deer died of a broken neck. Ultimately, Smith was sent a citation for failing to confine the dogs and Appellant was charged with two counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and convicted of one of those counts. On appeal, Appellant raises several issues. The first two issues challenge the sufficiency of the evidence for the Aggravated Cruelty conviction. The court found sufficient evidence for the conviction as Appellant acted in an intentional manner to kill the dogs. Next, Appellant asserts that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence because of his legal defense. In Pennsylvania, it is legal to kill certain dogs in the act of pursuing or wounding "domestic animals" (which includes farm-raised deer). The trial judge here gave an instruction on the defense, but added that "under the laws of this Commonwealth, harassing an animal through a fence without any contact does not constitute pursuing, wounding, or killing an animal." Here, the jury heard that instruction and found the defense inapplicable for one dog. There was testimony from Appellant that he saw one of the two dogs biting a deer caught in the fence, not both dogs. Since the jury was free to evaluate the testimony and infer guilt, the reviewing court will not disturb the lower court's determination. After disposing of the remaining issues related to jury selection and ineffective assistance of counsel, the court affirmed Appellant's sentence.
Daughen v. Fox

Plaintiffs brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of companionship after defendant animal hospital performed unnecessary surgery based on a mix-up of x-rays.  The court denied the first claim, finding the defendant's conduct did not meet the "extreme and outrageous" conduct test.  With regard to plaintiff's claim for loss of a unique chattel and for loss of the dog's companionship and comfort, the court observed that, under Pennsylvania law, a dog is personal property, and, under no circumstances under the law of Pennsylvania, may there be recovery for loss of companionship due to the death of an animal.  

Desanctis v. Pritchard
The trial court dismissed a couple's complaint asking the court to enforce a settlement agreement which provided for shared custody of the couple's dog.  The appellate court upheld that decision, holding that the settlement agreement was void to the extent that it attempted to award visitation or shared custody with personal property.