Vermont

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Titlesort descending Summary
Detailed Discussion of Vermont Great Ape Laws The following article discusses Vermont Great Ape law. Like other states, Vermont does not define great apes as “endangered” under its own endangered species law. Instead, it covers great apes by reference to federal law. Great apes are also covered under the state’s anti-cruelty law. However, the law contains several exempt categories, including scientific research and veterinary medical or surgical procedures.
Goodby v. Vetpharm, Inc.


This Vermont case answered whether noneconomic damages are available when a companion animal dies due to negligent acts of veterinarians and a pharmaceutical company, and also whether a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is allowed for the death of a pet. The Vermont Supreme Court answered both questions in the negative. Plaintiffs' cats died after taking hypertension pills produced by defendant pharmaceutical company Vetpharm, which contained a toxic level of the medication (20 times the labeled dose). After the cats were brought into defendant-veterinarians' office, plaintiff contends that defendant veterinarians negligently or wantonly failed to diagnose the toxicity in the cats, and improperly treated the cats as a result. While the plaintiffs and amici urged the court to adopt a special exception to recover noneconomic damages for the loss of their personal property (to wit, the cats), the court found that to be a role more suited to the state legislature. With regard to the NIED claim, the court held that plaintiffs were never in the "zone of danger" necessary to establish a claim.

Hament v. Baker The custody of an eleven year old German wirehaired pointer was the central issue in this Vermont divorce case. While both parties testified to their strong emotional ties to the dog and to the care that each spouse provided, the Superior Court awarded custody to the husband. The wife appealed the Superior Court’s decision arguing that the court erred in refusing a joint arrangement, that the court’s finding was not supported by the evidence, and that this finding provided an arbitrary basis for award. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Vermont held that the family court division could consider factors not set out in 15 V.S.A. § 751(b); specifically, the welfare of the animal and the emotional connection between the animal and each spouse. The court found that both parties were afforded an opportunity to put on evidence regarding both factors without restriction in the Superior Court. The Supreme Court of Vermont also held that the Superior Court was correct in its statement that the family division could not enforce a visitation or shared custody order for companion animals. Unlike child custody matters, the court said, there is no legislative authority for the court to play a continuing role in the supervision of the parties with respect to the care and sharing of a companion animal. The Superior Court’s decision of awarding custody to the husband was therefore affirmed.
In re Estate of Howard Brand, Late of Essex Junction, Vermont


This Vermont case considers the effectiveness of a clause in a testator’s will that directs his executor to destroy any animals that he owns at the time of his death. The testator, Howard Brand, was believed to have owned four horses and one mule at the time of his death. An unincorporated association entitled, “The Coalition to Save Brand’s Horses” was formed in response to this unusual post-mortem request, and sought to intervene in the lawsuit. In a clear case of first impression in Vermont, the Chittenden County Court held that the clause as set forth in Brand’s last codicil mandating the destruction of his animals is void as contrary to public policy.

Lamare v. North Country Animal League


Owners of a licensed dog that escaped while not wearing its tags filed an action against a local animal shelter that ultimately released the dog to others for adoption.  The court held that the town's actions fully complied with its animal control ordinance and that its ordinance provided ample notice to plaintiffs consistent with state law and due process requirements.

Morgan v. Kroupa
Finder found Owner’s lost dog.

 

Finder posted signs in order to locate Owner.

 

More than a year later, the owner contacted Finder to take back the dog.

 

However, Finder was permitted to keep the dog, since she had cared for the dog and made good efforts to locate the true owner.
Scheele v. Dustin


A dog that wandered onto defendant’s property was shot and killed by defendant. The dog’s owners sued under an intentional tort theory and a claim for loss of companionship. The Supreme Court upheld the award of economic damages for the intentional destruction of property. It also held that the owners could not recover noneconomic damages for emotional distress under Vermont common law.

Vermont Law 1854-1855: Cruelty to Animals


Vermont's anti-cruelty law from 1854

Vermont Laws: Act 34: 1846


Act 34 from 1846 concerns the amendment of the statute entitled "Offences against private property."  Specifically, the act concerns the statutes that covers cruelty to animals and larceny of animals.

Vosburgh v. Kimball


This case involves an action by a dog owner against farmer for wrongfully impounding dogs and against town constable for wrongfully killing the dogs.  The Vermont Supreme Court held that farmer had acted in a reasonable and prudent manner by contacting the constable, where he never intended to "impound" the dogs when he secured them overnight in his barn after finding them in pursuit of his injured cows.  However, the issue of whether the dogs were wearing a collar as required by state law precluded the granting of a directed verdict for the constable.  (Under state law, a constable was authorized to kill dogs not registered or wearing a prescribed collar.)  The court held that it was necessary for the jury to make this determination.

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