Texas

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Long v. The State of Texas


Appellant, who was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, raised 35 points of error in a direct appeal in which he challenged the trial court's voir dire rulings and its evidentiary rulings. The court held that the admission into evidence of photographs was within the discretion of the lower court, which properly determined that the photographs served a proper purpose in enlightening the jury.

Lopez v. State


The court convicted the defendant of cruelty to animals where the defendant left his dog in the car on a hot, sunny, dry day with the windows only cracked an inch and a half. Such action was deemed "transporting or confining animal in a cruel manner."

Mack v. State of Texas (unpublished)


The Texas Appeals Court affirmed the trial court's decision that failure to adequately provide for cattle such that they suffered from malnourishment constituted animal cruelty offense under Texas law. The court found that the evidence was legally sufficient to establish that malnourished cow was one of the many domesticated living creatures on defendant's ranch, and was therefore an “animal” under the state law.

Maldonado v. Franklin Trenton and Karina Franklin moved into a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas in September of 2017. Margarita Maldonado lived in the home immediately behind the Franklins’ house and could see into the Franklins’ backyard. Maldonado began complaining about the Franklins’ treatment of their dog. The Franklins left the dog outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter what the weather was like. Maldonado also complained that the dog repeatedly whined and howled which kept her up at night causing her emotional distress. Maldonado went online expressing concern about the health and welfare of her neighbor’s dog, without naming any names. Mr. Franklin at some point saw the post and entered the conversation which lead to Mr. Franklin and Maldonado exchanging direct messages about the dog. Maldonado even placed a dog bed in the backyard for the dog as a gift. In December of 2017, the Franklins filed suit against Maldonado for invasion of privacy by intrusion and seclusion alleging that Maldonado was engaged in a campaign of systemic harassment over the alleged mistreatment of their dog. While the suit was pending, Maldonado contacted Animal Control Services several times to report that the dog was outside with the heat index over 100 degrees. Each time an animal control officer responded to the call they found no actionable neglect or abuse. In June of 2018, Maldonado picketed for five days by walking along the neighborhood sidewalks, including in front of the Franklins’ house, carrying signs such as “Bring the dog in,” and “If you’re hot, they’re hot.” The Franklins then amended their petition adding claims for slander, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. The trial court granted a temporary injunction against Maldonado, which was ultimately vacated on appeal. Maldonado filed a Anti-SLAPP motion and amended motion to dismiss the Franklins’ claims as targeting her First Amendment rights. The trial court did not rule on the motions within thirty days, so the motions were denied by operation of law. Maldonado appealed. The Court began its analysis by determining whether Maldonado’s motions were timely. Under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA) a motion to dismiss must be filed within sixty days of the legal action. The sixty-day deadline reset each time new factual allegations were alleged. Due to the fact that the Franklins had amended their petition three times and some of the amended petitions did not allege any new factual allegations, the only timely motions that Maldonado filed were for the Franklins’ claims for slander and libel. The Court then concluded that Maldonado’s verbal complaints to the Animal Control Service and online posts on community forums about the Franklins’ alleged mistreatment of their dog were communications made in connection with an issue related to a matter of public concern and were made in the exercise of free speech. Therefore, the TCPA applied to the Franklins’ slander and libel claims. The Court ultimately concluded that although Maldonado established that the TCPA applied to the slander and libel claims, the Franklins met their burden to establish a prima facie case on the slander and libel claims. Therefore, the Court ultimately concluded that Maldonado’s motion to dismiss the slander and libel claims were properly denied. The Court affirmed the trial court’s order and remanded the case to the trial court.
Martinez v. State


A jury may infer a culpable mental state ("intentionally and knowingly") from the circumstances surrounding the offense of cruelty to animals.

McCall v. State


Open fields doctrine; warrantless seizure. It was not unreasonable for humane society members to enter defendant's land and seize dogs where the dogs were kept in an open field clearly in view of neighbors and others, and where it was apparent that the dogs were emaciated and not properly cared for.

McDonald v. State


The act of finding a sick puppy and intentionally abandoning it in a remote area, without food or water or anyone else around to accept responsibility for the animal, was unreasonable and sufficient to support a conviction for animal cruelty.

McGinnis v. State


In an animal cruelty prosecution, the trial court should first instruct the jury on the definition of torture of an animal. Then, the court can permit the jury to determine whether the acts and circumstances of the case showed the torture of an animal.

Medlen v. Strickland


[Reversed by Texas Supreme Court: 397 S.W.3d 184 (Tex. 2013)]. The Medlens sued Strickland for Avery's “sentimental or intrinsic value” because the dog had little or no market value and was irreplaceable. The trial court found that Texas law barred such damages, and dismissed the suit with prejudice. On appeal, the court stated that several opinions have supported damages based on sentimental or intrinsic value for personal property where the property has little or no market value. Because dogs are personal property that hold a special value to their owners, the court found that it was consistent to extend sentimental damages for the loss of a pet. The action was remanded for further proceedings.

Mejia v. State


Rooster fighting case. Testimony from the defendant's witness, a sociologist that argued cockfighting is not generally thought of as an illegal activity, was irrelevant in cruelty to animals conviction. Statute is not unconstitutionally vague.

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