Petdefense staff has been asked to review or engage in several cases recently, involving either dogs, cats, horses, chickens; seizure of animals; related defense of defendant already convicted of first degree homicide where animal(s) was involved; past abuse of animal actor (dog or cat or horse, etc) and interference with contract in entertainment law.
Many horses seem to be seized in Northern counties such as Shasta, with Haven Humane being involved. Haven also seems to be involved in seizing dog so they can apparently kill them, and according to the local Redding law, a dog can be killed much more easily than in many other counties. Haven Humane may have some good points but is pretty much AR. Also dogs which are not being mistreated are seized, and old dogs are killed.
We were also made aware that Haven has seized dogs based on an infraction charge, but refused to grant a kennel license even though it was applied for. Not having the kennel license results in a citation–hmm? That’s an interesting theory. Not surprisingly you can figure out that the person targeted is a “breeder?”
As for the post homicide defense case, it was interesting because the facts involved defendants going to the room of the defendant’s son to check on the welfare of 2 chi dogs that the son had threatened to twist their necks off. Unfortunately the defendants had been drinking and even texting was involved to some extent–and the defendant brought a knife with him for protection, in case the son [who had medical-mental issues] who was about 300lbs, tried to charge at the defendant. Again, in the tragic facts, after the son opened the door, the defendant claimed that the son lunged at him, so he used the knife on him and didn’t get to see if the tiny dogs were okay. The owner’s daughter did not fully witness the event but was close by. It turned out the dogs had not been harmed.
Again, unfortunately, the Plaintiff [son’s mother] went after the owner of the house for wrongful death, claiming that the owner had a duty of care and that an agency relationship between the owner and her daughter existed, even though the mother had alzheimer’s and the other daughter who lived in another state was in charge of the mother’s affairs. The owner insured’s attorney apparently believed that the “law” would be followed by the jury, yet the jury found the owner’s daughter to be 40% negligent and the defendant [who had already been convicted of first degree homicide and was the one with the knife] was only “60%” liable in this wrongful death case!! The jury had awarded $100,000 on one day to Plaintiff, then the next day suddenly changed it to $1,000,000.
That huge change brought the total award to $2,000,000 in punitives as to defendant father, $1,000,000 for the mother, and 40% liability as to the owner’s daughter. Had no agency relationship been found, the result could have been very different we believe. It appeared to us that the jury simply wanted to punish the owner’s daughter because she was not charged criminally in the case. The case in on appeal and the verdict of the case was publicized in Verdict Search, a national publication which catalogs verdicts and settlements, usually involving either high verdicts, or those cases that help attorneys value claims and settlements. Also amazingly, the Plaintiff was willing to accept $90,000 prior to trial and it was turned down.
As for the entertainment law case, as we all know animal actors can be very prominent. The Clydesdale horses, the cats and dogs in commercials and in advertising mascot positions are all known nationally. Petdefense will be engaged in a case involving the most recognized type of animal in the United States [because of brand recognition] so that should be very interesting when it does come out. In addition, one of the commercials done with the animal actors has been rated in the past, in the top 10 commercials in the United States. Stay tuned!
We normally review any animal related cases we can find. Below are just a few. Humanewatch.org normally publicizes lawsuits that are filed against HSUS. Older cases and precedent case law is cataloged but with some slight twist (since the professor is an animal rights person in our opinion ) …. see statement below as seen on the site, http://www.animallaw.info………
“We believe this site is the largest legal website devoted to animal issues in the world. Unsurprisingly, the website’s most sought after materials relate to the many issues that dogs provide our society.” Hmm….. notice it says issues, not anything necessarily complimentary. Issues are a key term in legal cases, so yes, dogs provide disputed issues, often because AR people take charge and ignore the law??? You will not find that statement on the website of course.
We noticed on cases where they do not become published, they are often left out. While we as attorneys are only supposed to use published cases for precedent, unpublished cases are often mentioned for other reasons. So the cases below for example, will usually not show up on the site, therefore readers looking for cases just to see what has happened, never will find such cases.
Only sites like this one (petdefense on wordpress) will you likely find cases that are not published but which can be helpful. Other dog related sites or animal related sites will have links as well, but for 5 straight years, we have diligently attempted to gather all cases involving seizure and alleged criminal charges where possible, especially if the client did NOT have a public defender. If client has a public defender their chances of prevailing are slim as defenders usually have clients take pleas.
Taking a plea in a criminal case will result in the inability to assert malicious prosecution, if there was malicious prosecution, and it will eliminate any civil rights lawsuit. A guilty finding usually will eliminate a civil rights case. Further, in general the filing time for the required tort claim in CA as a mandated precursor to a civil rights is VERY VERY short and if not filed timely, will usually eliminate the right to the filing of the 42 USC 1983 complaint in CA.
This are of law is HIGHLY technical and complex because municipalities and different government agencies,etc. are not necessarily treated the same, and precedent case law is fraught with different hooks and exceptions. If you believe you need a civil rights complaint filed, it is best to contact an attorney WAY beforehand– even if you are in jail. The tolling on these cases should never, never be “assumed” and equitable tolling should never be assumed, no matter what. This is general information and not attorney-client advice and many law forums discuss these issues when clients try and file their cases TOO LATE !!!
HSUS has LOST 3 UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT CASES, there are likely more.
The ones that we refer to are the Robert Stevens case [finding the statute was both underinclusive and overbroad and unconstitutional as written; HSUS tried to get the guy in trouble for selling historical wordwide history of dogfighting on video by applying a “crush film” statute [likely drafted by HSUS] to him] ; statute was unconstitutional in its entirety.
the CA Violent Video Case [CA legislature made law that violent videos could not be sold to those under 18yr]; Supreme Court found it was not based upon documented and accepted theory that watching a “video” was any more dangerous than watching a movie or a cartoon, etc; and that the law, which attempted to raise the “violence” to the level of pornography, thus making it an exception to free speech law, did not fly. In other words, the violence did not amount to an exception. The law was not allowed to ever go into effect and not constitutional.
HSUS also appealed to the Supremes on their loss when trying to claim that their Downer Cow CA law applied to PIGS, claiming that when pigs refused to move while being corraled forward, those pigs should all be immediately removed from the food chain as a “downed” animal unfit to be processed. Experts and business practice indicated not every unmovable pig is a sick pig, just sometimes stubborn. The Supremes found that the Federal law applying to the pigs applied, and that the CA Downer Cow deal was not applicable because it was preempted by Federal law.
If you look at the above 3 cases, there is a pattern involved. Two cases attempt to take “abuse” of animals in some form, whether portrayed, mentioned, or shown, and then claim there is a law against it. In the violent video case, HSUS is trying to be creative and indicating that VIOLENCE, if singled out, can be attached to some form (say videos) and then an exception be created for it, so it can be excluded as unlawful. That was a failure. BUT ARs have a method. They will take the child welfare statues, and comb each section for something they can THEN transfer to ANIMALS. They have taken family code laws and financial laws re trusts, and done the same thing. This has not been lost on us.
Their AR GOAL is to get sufficient laws in place for animals, such as some already in place: pets can inherit via a trust; pets can be named on restraining orders; pets can replace children in custody battles; pets can eventually get damages if someone purposely harms them?
The last one is not a law, but a recent case found that there was a restraining order against a defendant, defendant then allegedly harmed the dog on purpose, so the owner of dog could get damages for emotional distress because the defendant broke the restraining order. In California, that is a very very new concept and in general, owners cannot get damages for emotional distress when animals are harmed (say a negligent vet.) However, for actions involving purposeful harm to animals, emotional distress is still not awarded in general. It is possible if an animal was named in a restraining order (domestic violence) then violation of that order by abusing the animal *might* bring some emotional distress award–maybe, not for sure.
We can only imagine, if a bad law created by HSUS is tested, it may not pass muster, BUT in one of the worse cases, like http://www.icaw.org/2009/10/animals-rights-and-louisville-kentucky-2/ we see that seizure was rampant. AND under current law, as devised prior, if you go on vacation for X days you must notify the AC !!!
Yes— HSUS got elitist breeders and worked with certain clubs to get that entire AC code into place!! A horrific nightmare!! After Louisville debacle, many breeders realized HSUS must be reckoned with because HSUS is a non profit that keeps creating laws, lobbying, and trying to take away the breeding and buying and selling of animals, period.
So when you see BREEDERS working WITH HSUS– you know they are only in it for THEMSELVES— not the animals, and certainly not breeders in general!!!