The Nevada Supreme Court — no stranger to such matters — will decide whether Onion, the Mastiff mix who killed his owner’s grandson on his first birthday, should live or die.
The court will hear arguments — 30 minutes worth, it has specified — on July 3 before deciding whether the city of Henderson should be allowed to kill the dog.
Another option has been offered by the Lexus Project, a New York-based organization that provides legal representation to dogs.
The Lexus Project intervened in the case and wants to gain custody of Onion, then send him to live at a secure sanctuary in Colorado.
The 120-pound mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix killed Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan by biting him on the head the day of his first birthday party. Later that day, the owner turned Onion over to Henderson animal control officers, who planned to kill the dog in accordance with the city’s vicious-dog ordinance.
The city turned down the Lexus Project’s offer to take responsibility for the dog, and has fought its request to be awarded custody. Onion’s former owner now wants Lexus to have the dog, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The court battle has been going on for a year now.
Last year, Clark County District Court Joanna Kishner ruled the city of Henderson could proceed with the dog’s execution.
The state Supreme Court issued a stay — it’s second in the case — until arguments could be heard.
Those will take place July 3 at 11:30 a.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 120 pounds, animal control, animals, colorado, death, defense, dog, dogs, euthanasia, execution, henderson, jeremiah, legal, lexus project, life, mastiff, mix, nevada, onion, pets, rhodesian, ridgeback, safety, sanctuary, supreme court, the lexus project
She’d left the dog inside her Toledo home when she went to work that day. She’d secured the gate of the fence around her yard. And Duke, even if he did manage to somehow get out of her house, had never left the yard before.
Curry returned home from work to find Duke was gone.
A note was left on her door by the Lucas County dog warden. When she called the phone number on it, she was informed that she was being charged with failure to confine her dog.
Toledo Police had been to her home earlier that day, back in August, after a man said he had been bitten by Duke while strolling down the sidewalk. The man said Duke pushed open the gate, attacked him then returned to the yard.
Duke was seized by the Lucas County dog warden, labeled a potentially dangerous dog, and quarantined for ten days.
She faced a misdemeanor charge that could carry a penalty of 30 days in jail.
She worried about losing her job, and her home, and having to pay hefty insurance fees as the owner of a “dangerous dog.”
And — even though she had left the door to her home unlocked — she still had no idea how her dog got out of it, or the yard.
She heard from neighbors who had seen the man walking through the neighborhood. One said she never saw Duke leave the yard — but did see the man enter it.
It was looking more and more like Duke, as opposed to miraculously escaping both house and yard, had actually just been defending his home, as Curry suspected from the start.
This week, at a pre-trial hearing, the ”failure to confine” charge against Curry ws dropped.
She still faces a charge of “failure to vaccinate.” While she claims she has the paperwork, she was unable to present it within the two days the dog warden gave her. That charge was upheld in court.
And Duke still faces a determination on whether he’s a “dangerous dog,” which could lead to restrictions that include being muzzled, having signs posted to that effect in his yard, and having to kept in a pen with a roof, according to DogHeirs.com.
The Lexus Project is handling the case against Duke and representing him in court. You can learn more about Duke, and help support his cause by visiting these links:
You can read Curry’s explanation of what’s transpired so far in the comments below.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american bulldog, animals, bite, bulldog, burglary, carissa curry, dangerous, defending, defense, dog, dog bites, dogs, duke, home, home protection, legal, ohio, pets, protecting, seized, toledo
The outdated legal view of dogs as easily-replaceable “property” — worth no more than you paid for them — is slowly beginning to catch up with the times.
The latest indication of a change in judicial thinking came last week when California’s Second District Court of Appeals ruled that pets are fundamentally different than other forms of property.
“Given . . . the reality that animals are living creatures, the usual standard of recovery for damaged personal property — market value — is inadequate when applied to injured pets,” Justice Kathryn Doi Todd wrote in her opinion.
She added, “Animals are special, sentient beings, (and) unlike other forms of property, animals feel pain, suffer and die.”
The Court of Appeals ruling came in the consolidated cases of two pet owners — one whose dog was shot by a neighbor, and one whose dog was injured by veterinary negligence. Lower courts had ruled they were entitled to no more than the market value of their pets.
The appeals court decision reversed both cases. The new ruling permits owners of wrongfully injured pets to recover the “reasonable and necessary costs” of treating and caring for an injured animal, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which had filed amicus briefs in the case.
The first case involved a German Shepherd named Gunner, who was shot by a neighbor and whose leg had to be amputated, costing his family more than $20,000. The second case involved a Golden Retriever named Katie, whose intestine was nicked during a surgical procedure. The vet also left a piece of gauze in her body. The errors led to the dog having to receive emergency surgery that cost Katie’s family more than $37,000.
In both cases, the trial court limited the plaintiffs’ recovery to a fraction of what they spent to nurse them back to health — namely, their dogs’ market value.
“This decision is a significant step forward for companion animals and their guardians,” said Matthew Liebman, ALDF senior attorney. “The legal system is finally starting to catch up with how the majority of people feel about the animals with whom they share their lives.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, animal, animal legal defense fund, appeals, court, courts, dog, dogs, german shepherd, golden retriever, gunner, injuries, judicial, kathryn doi todd, katie, law, lawsuits, legal, market value, pets, property, ruling, value, view, wrongful
A Manhattan man says he is going broke trying to regain custody of his puggle. He says he has spent $60,000 so far. Now he wants your help.
Craig Dershowitz says he considers Knuckles his son, and that’s why he’s hoping to raise another $20,000 over the Internet to continue his legal fight.
“I’ve pretty much gone through my life savings,” the 34-year-old gallery employee said. “It’s worth it.”
According to the New York Post, Dershowitz claims in papers filed earlier this year in Manhattan Supreme Court that his ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega “took unilateral control of Knuckles and kidnapped him” after they broke up.
Brega responds that Dershowitz gave her the dog as a gift, and that Knuckles is enjoying life in California.
“Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court papers.
Dershowitz responds that Knuckles “hates water … He’ll be happy wherever he is — especially if he’s with his dad and the friends he grew up with.”
Dershowitz said he left Knuckles with Brega while looking for a new place after their breakup. She was supposed to return him when he found one, he says.
Brega, a wardrobe stylist, was initially ordered to return the dog, but she then retained her own lawyer to represent her in a case that involves courts in New York and California.
Dershowitz said he believes she’s trying to run up his legal bills. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to keep it going,” he said.
So he started a webpage to raise money for the fight, with his artist friends contributing “perks” for large contributors, like portraits of Knux, “Free Knux” t-shirts and, for $250, a chance to play fetch with Knuckles, once he’s back in New York.
The Post reports his campaign is off to a slow start — with only $85 being donated in the first week.
(Photo of Knuckles by Craig Dershowitz)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, battle, beagle, behavior, boyfriend, california, courts, craig dershowitz, custody, dogs, ex, fight, fund raising, fundraising, funds, girlfriend, internet, knuckles, lawyers, legal, mix, money, new york, pets, pug, puggle, relationships, sarah brega
Elena Zakharova says her dog Umka deserves to be compensated like a human for her pain and suffering.
And the lawsuit she’s filed in a New York court seeks just that.
Zakharova says an upper East Side pet store sold her a Brussels Griffon with bad knees and hips, which she believes are a result of a congenital disorder.
She’s seeking, in addition to payment for Umka’s suffering, compensation for her vet bills, expected to soon amount to $8,000, according to the New York Daily News.
She and her lawyer contend that even though state law defines pets as ”property,” they are more than that, and they should be compensated accordingly.
“Pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property,” said Zakharova’s lawyer, Susan Chana Lask. “Umka feels love and pain like any human being whose pain and suffering would be recognized in a court.”
Umka is not covered by New York State’s “Puppy Lemon Law,” which allows buyers to return a sick animal in 14 days. Umka’s problems didn’t surface for six months — not until she was nearly eight months old.
Umka was two-months old when Zakharova purchased her for $1,650.
Despite extensive surgery, vets have told Zakharova the dog will never walk or run properly.
“Umka suffers a disorder causing her pain, her legs hurt, she cries when she is in pain, she drags herself with her front paws, she cannot run like other puppies,” the lawsuit says.
The store Umka came from, Raising Rover in Carnegie Hill was among those a Humane Society investigation last year revealed was buying animals from puppy mills.
It is now under new management. “I know nothing about the sale. The prior owner has all the records. We are very careful about where we get our puppies,” said owner Ben Logan.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeding, brussels griffon, compensation, congenital, disorders, dogs, elena zakharova, genetic, health, hips, joints, knees, law, lawsuit, legal, lemon law, pain, pet stores, pets, puppy mills, raising rover, suffering, susan chana lask, umka
Back in April, New York’s Division of Cemeteries issued an edict to pet cemeteries, prohibiting the burying of pet owner’s ashes alongside the remains of their beloved pets.
The order from the state office came after an Associated Press story about the growing number of Americans who have decided to share a final resting place with their pets, and who, because pet remains aren’t often welcome in human cemeteries, have opted to spend eternity in a doggie graveyard.
Apparently, this was news to the cemetery division — even though it has been going on, most everywhere, for a long time. A good 700 humans — in cremated form — had been interred at New York’s 115-year-old Hartsdale Pet Cemetery before the state told it to stop.
That order came in February, and in April it was extended statewide.
Last week, the state Division of Cemeteries issued new regulations, once again permitting animal lovers, in cremated form, to rest in peace with their pets in pet cemeteries.
The new regulations, CBS News reported, do impose some conditions: Pet cemeteries may not advertise that they accept human ashes; nor may they charge a fee for doing so.
A spokesman for the department that oversees the cemetery division said the prohibition was put in place because cremated remains in pet cemeteries don’t have the same protections as those in human cemeteries — namely the assurance that the cemetery will be maintained.
Like anyone’s ashes — dog or human — are going to care about that.
The ruling had kept the ashes of at least one human from being buried. Taylor York, a law professor at Keuka College said the state order meant the ashes of her uncle, Thomas Ryan, who died in April, couldn’t be buried alongside his deceased dogs.
York sent the cemeteries division a legal memo detailing why the state was wrong in banning burials of cremated human remains in pet cemeteries.
As the cemetery division saw it, law mandates that any cemetery providing burial space for humans be operated as a not-for-profit corporation. By promoting the human-interment service and charging a fee to open a grave and add ashes, Hartsdale was violating laws governing not-for-profit corporations.
But Hartsdale isn’t a non-profit corporation.
“The law is clear,” York said. “There’s no authority for this board to just arbitrarily impose nonprofit corporation law on a privately incorporated for-profit business.”
All the boring legal stuff aside, there really was, and is, no good reason to get bent out of shape about ashes, of whatever species. We throw them in the ocean, we cast them in the wind, we can even use them to make trees grow.
And there’s no good reason for a state government to bury us, or our simple last wishes, in red tape.
“My uncle wants to be buried beside … what he considered to be his children and I’m not letting anyone stand in the way,” York said before the new ruling was issued. “His love for those dogs was just as real and just as strong as any parent’s for any child.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ashes, ban, beside, burial, buried with dog, buried with pet, cemetery, cremains, cremated, cremation, division of cemeteries, dogs, edict, grave, hartsdale, interment, legal, maintenance, new york, next to, order, pet cemetery, pets, protections, regulations, repeal, rest in peace, resting place, taylor york, thomas ryan, with
But you don’t see one representing the dog.
Katie Barnett, for one, doesn’t think that’s right.
A third-year law student at Kansas University, she’s establishing an animal cruelty prosecution clinic at the school — one she says is the first of its kind.
Barnett, 30, will work with animal control, animal cruelty investigators at the Humane Society, police and prosecutors to ensure that justice is served in cases of animal abuse.
“This is the chance for me to give the animals a voice and a place in the justice system,” Barnett told the Lawrence Journal-World.
Barnett started researching how to put together the clinic two years ago, after some high-profile animal cruelty cases in Lawrence. She did ride-alongs with the police and animal cruelty investigators and followed cases through the court system.
This spring, Barnett will develop a protocol for how future students can assist in the prosecution of such cases.
“I’m doing a trial run to see how everything works,” she said. “I’m getting out all the kinks and really tailoring the position so everyone knows what to do. There’s never been a person to collect everything.”
The program will begin taking in students in the fall 2011.
Barnett was one of three law students awarded The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships last year for their outstanding work in the growing field of animal law.
A graduate of Missouri State University, she has two pit bull mix dogs, including a three-legged rescue named Leonidas. Both are both Delta Society therapy dogs who visit schools, hospitals, and participate in community outreach programs.
Barnett and her husband, Anthony, also run Game Dog Guardian, a local organization that rehabilitates pit bulls and helps find them adoptive homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, attorney, clinic, court, delta society, dogs, game dog guardian, humane society, investigations, investigators, justice, kansas, kansas university, katie barnett, law, law school, law student, lawrence, lawyer, legal, mixes, pets, pit bulls, prosecution, students, therapy dogs
At the Yale University Law Library, you can check out ”Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law.” You can check out “The Supreme Court A to Z: A Ready Reference Encyclopedia.”
Or, you can check out Monty, a terrier mix whose mission, in an experimental program started this month, is to de-stress, during final exam time, the litigators of tomorrow.
You’d think a genius farm like Yale University would have figured out sooner — as some smaller and lesser known colleges have — that dogs can, physically and emotionally, help students through troubled or stressful times.
But, for the school whose mascot is an English bulldog named Handsome Dan, it’s better late than never.
In the pilot program, students can check out Monty – a 21-pound “certified library therapy dog” who provides 30-minute sessions of what ABCNews describes as “unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.”
“The interest in available slots has been high,” said Jan Conroy, a spokeswoman for Yale Law School.
In a March 10 memo, law librarian Blair Kauffman said she hoped the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program would be “a positive addition to current services offered by the library … It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being.” The memo directed students to the website of Therapy Dogs International for more information.
The school has yet to decide if the program will be ongoing. Likely, it being Yale Law School, there are liability concerns — the type that are known to paralyze bureaucracies and often limit the good dogs can do, based on mostly baseless fears.
Monty, for example, though he is said to be hypoallergenic, will hold his visits in a “designated non-public space” in the library to eliminate “potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns.”
Concerns have also been expressed about the sign-up list for Monty being in a visible spot. That, the overly fearful fear, results in students having to expose their need for a mental health session — or at least some time with a dog — in public.
Monty — whose full name is General Montgomery – belongs to librarian Julian Aiken. And the pilot program got started after a Yale legal blog jokingly suggested making Monty available for checkout.
Therapy dogs have been introduced at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Oberlin College in Ohio and UC San Diego to help students get through the pressures of mid-terms and finals.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, exams, experimental, final, general montgomery, julian aiken, law school, law students, lawyers, legal, liability, librarian, library, mental health, mid term, monty, oberlin, pets, pilot, program, relief, stress, students, therapy, therapy dogs, tufts, university, yale
Opening statements were made yesterday in the Missouri trial of Mary Wild, charged with animal abuse in connection with the deaths of seven show dogs who died when left overnight in a hot van last summer.
Wild, a 25-year-old dog handler from Arnold, Missouri, is charged with eight counts of misdemeanor animal abuse — one for each of the dogs she left in the van after returning from a dog show in Iowa last June.
Only one of the dogs, a Siberian husky, survived.
Defense attorney Brad Dede said he would show that “all reasonable and legal precautions” were taken to ensure the safety of the dogs and that his client is not guilty of a crime, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Authorities say the temperature inside the van could have reached 120 degrees.
Animal abuse is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, and the maximum penalty is up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal, courts, cruelty, deaths, died, dogs, heat, legal, mary wild, missouri, news, ohmidog!, opening, overnight, pets, seven, show, show dogs, siberian husky, summer, trial, van
Dining with your dog could soon become legal in Frederick County, Maryland.
Sen. Alexander Mooney is proposing a measure to give the Frederick County Commissioners the authority to allow people to dine with their dogs in outdoor dining areas, the Frederick Gazette reports.
Mooney filed the bill last week, the day after Frederick city officials — who want to see outdoor dining with dogs legalized — decided to wait on drafting a bill of their own, in light of concerns that restaurant rules and regulations fall under county jurisdiction.
Mooney’s proposal would give the county commissioners the authority to allow outdoor dining with dogs. The Maryland General Assembly would have to pass the bill, and the governor would have to sign it. Then it would be up to the county on whether to allow it.
The Downtown Frederick Partnership, which promotes economic development in downtown Frederick, has spearheaded the campaign to permit dining with dogs.
Kara Norman, executive director, said one of the partnership’s most successful events is its August “First Saturday” celebration, which is themed “Dog Days of Summer.” The event brings more than 11,000 visitors to downtown Frederick from several counties and neighboring states.
“I think it’s important to our residents and the people who live here, as well as to our tourists,” she said. “The partnership has found, and many of our merchants have found that this is a group who is loyal, willing to travel, and really appreciates that you take care of them … and their dog.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexander mooney, animals, bill, city, dining, dog, dog days of summer, dog friendly, dogs, downtown frederick partnership, festival, frederick, frederick county, general assembly, health, legal, legalize, legislation, maryland, outside, patios, pets, proposal, restaurants, senator, tourism, travel