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Tag: appeals

No food stamps for dog, appeals court rules

A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Tuesday against a Bucks County man who had sought food stamps to help feed his dog.

James Douris, 55, a disabled and unemployed veteran who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown, said he relies on his dog to pull his wheelchair and fetch items for him. Because of the dog’s work on his behalf, it should be considered a dependent member of his household, he argued.

The appeals court didn’t buy it, upholding a decision by the state welfare agency denying him additional support, the Associated Press reported.

Dog custody case headed back to court in N.J.

Doreen Houseman is headed back to court to gain custody of Dexter, the pug that a New Jersey court awarded to her ex-husband, deeming the dog merely another piece of property.

Today, a second trial beings on the custody of the nearly six-year-old dog, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In March, a three-judge appeals panel ordered the new trial, saying Superior Court Judge John Tomasello should not have treated Dexter as just another piece of furniture during the first trial, in Gloucester County, in 2007.

Gina Calogero, Houseman’s attorney, said the appeals paned issued a “landmark decision” on pet custody. 

Tomasello originally ruled Dexter was simply property and should go to the person possessing it. “Dogs are chairs; they’re furniture; they’re automobiles, they’re pensions. They’re not kids,” he said. “Canine affection” is irrelevant, he said.

Houseman’s ex, Eric Dare, a Williamstown police officer, was awarded the dog, and would compensate Houseman $1,500 – the pedigree dog’s purchase price – the judge said.

Houseman says she is happy she won another chance to prove she should be reunited with her dog.

“I hope he remembers me. I keep hearing that a dog never forgets your scent and your voice,” she said, with a nervous laugh.”

Dog shot by police becomes a federal case

A federal court will hear the case of a woman who claims her constitional rights were violated when police in Milwaukee shot her 7-year-old mutt four times in 2004.

The case of Bubba, a Labrador/springer spaniel mix, appears to be the first such case of its type to go to a federal civil rights trial in Milwaukee, where it is set to begin before a jury this week.

Bubba’s owner, Virginia Viilo, sued the city and two police officers in in 2005, claiming her constitutional rights were violated when an officer fired shots into her already-injured dog.

Over the past decade or so, Milwaukee police have shot more than 400 dogs in the line of duty, according to court records, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. About 25 of those, including the shooting of Bubba, were fatal.

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