A state appeals court has upheld a California jury’s verdict requiring a man who struck a neighbor’s miniature Pinscher with a baseball bat to pay the dog’s owners $50,000 for emotional distress.
In what’s being described as the first ruling of its kind in California, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said someone who deliberately injures or kills another person’s pet must — even though dogs are considered property — compensate the owner for emotional distress.
The ruling quoted an 1889 California Supreme Court ruling in which the justices observed that “there are no other domestic animals to which the owner or his family can become more keenly attached” than dogs.
The ruling upheld $52,800 in damages — $2,800 of it for medical bills — against John Meihaus, who struck his neighbors’ 12-inch-tall, 15-pound miniature pinscher, Romeo, with a baseball bat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meihaus’ next-door neighbor in Laguna Niguel, David Plotnik accidentally let Romeo enter Meihaus’ backyard, and later heard a squeal and saw Romeo stumble. He said Meihaus, who was holding a baseball bat, told him Romeo had been barking and growling at him, but denied striking the dog.
A jury ordered Meihaus to pay for a $2,600 operation to repair Romeo’s right rear leg and a $209 stroller the dog needed to get around while he recovered. It also awarded $50,000 to Plotnik and his wife, Joyce, for emotional distress.
Meihaus appealed the original verdict, but the appeals court upheld it. His lawyer said he may appeal the latest ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Donna Bader, the Plotniks’ lawyer, said the court recognized that people value their pets and suffer when they are harmed. “Every time your dog is in pain, I think it causes the homeowner pain,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, appeals, award, baseball bat, california, court, cruelty, dog, dogs, emotional distress, feud, jury, laguna niguel, min pin, miniature, miniature pinscher, neighbors, pets, pinscher, romeo, upheld, verdict
Three judges of the Superior Court upheld a conviction for animal cruelty of a dog groomer who had offered “gothic” kittens for sale on eBay.
An investigation into the pierced kittens began in 2008 when a citizen saw the animals being offered for $100 each on eBay, inquired about them and reported it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County, according to the Times Leader in Wilkes Barre.
A citizen tipped off PETA, as well, which conducted an investigation of its own and passed on information to the SPCA.
Accompanied by state police, SPCA officials visited Pawside Parlor, located at the home of Holly Crawford in Sweet Valley, Pa. They removed three kittens and a cat. While at the home, police also found a dog with pierced ears.
A jury found Crawford guilty of animal cruelty, and last year she was sentenced to six months of home detention and electronic monitoring, followed by probation.
In her appeal, Crawford argued that Pennsylvania’s cruelty statutes were too vague, and pointed out that many accepted veterinary procedures like declawing cats and cutting a dog’s vocal cords could fall under the same category she was being prosecuted under.
The law forbids “acts that maim, mutilate, torture or disfigure the animal.”
This week, the Superior Court panel upheld the lower court’s findings, the New York Times reported.
In a 19-page opinion, Judge Kate Ford Elliott wrote that “metal protruded from the kittens’ small bodies, pierced through their ears and necks, and at least one of these kittens also had an elastic band tied around its tail, an attempt at docking …”
Crawford, who was described in the opinion as being “enthusiastic about piercing,” had admitted to piercing the kittens without anesthetic.
“Appellant’s claims center on her premise that a person of normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kitten’s ears or banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring an animal.” Judge Elliott wrote. “We disagree.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, cats, decision, disfiguring, ebay, goth cats, gothic, gothic kittens, holly crawford, kittens, luzerne county, maiming, mutilating, opinion, pennsylvania, peta, piercing, sale, spca, superior court, upheld, wilkes-barre
An autistic student’s right to bring his service dog to school was upheld by an Illinois appeals court last week.
The appeals court upheld a Monroe County court ruling that permitted Carter Kalbfleisch to bring his autism service dog, Corbin, to school. The Columbia School District had appealed the lower court decision.
Instead of following the lower court’s ruling, the district decided it could not meet Carter’s educational needs and sent him to the Illinois Center for Autism, agreeing to pay for his education there, but refusing to pay the cost of trasnporting Carter and the dog to school, according to the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.
”We’re happy that it went our way,” said Chris Kalbfleisch, Carter’s father. “Hopefully the school will change their direction with this. … Hopefully we can move forward and get our son back in school.”
“We hope they come to the realization that the law is the law and they have to follow it,” said Kalbfleisch’s attorney, Clay St. Clair. “Just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the law. We hope they do what they are supposed to do.”
School and district officials argued the dog would be disruptive, and possibly cause allergic reactions in other students.
The school district has the option of accepting the appellate court’s decision, or appealing the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appeal, autism, autistic, carter kalbfleisch, columbia school district, courts, disabilities, education, illinois, law, laws, monroe county, rights, schools, service dogs, special education, student, upheld
Of course that’s not true, but then neither is this: Pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable dogs that have the potential to attack without warning.
That’s what the Ontario Court of Appeal said Friday in a decision upholding the province’s ban on pit bulls, enacted in 2005. It prohibits the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls and requires they be muzzled when in public.
The Appeal Court ruled Friday that the ban on the breed does not violate any constitutional rights.
“The total ban on pit bulls is not ‘arbitrary’ or ‘grossly disproportionate’ in light of the evidence that pit bulls have a tendency to be unpredictable and that even apparently docile pit bulls may attack without warning or provocation,” the judges said in their decision Friday.
Then they all put on their tuques, went to an ice hockey game and drank Molsons. Not really. The point is, you’d think a high court in a country so sensitive to negative stereotyping would give a little more thought and study to an issue rather just relying on stereotypes — namely the bogus one that all pit bulls are prone to unprovoked violence.
Yes, there are violent pit bulls (generally the fault of their owner) — just as there are nasty poodles and slow-witted Canadians, but blanket indictments based on perception aren’t progress. They’re the opposite — a step backwards. They get us nowhere.
Lawyer Clayton Ruby, who challenged the law, called it a “sad day” in Ontario. “Kind, loving, gentle dogs are being killed across this province for no reason,” he said in a statement, according to the Canadian Press.
“The provincial government should focus their efforts and resources on identifying truly dangerous dogs rather than apprehending and killing dogs that pose no threat at all,” he said.
Ruby said he is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Jean-anne Moors of Banned Aid, a coalition fighting the ban, said the group was “very disappointed” with the ruling.
“I have three so-called pit bull-type dogs who are all legal under the law,” she said. “Everybody’s looking at me as if I’m some kind of criminal when I walk down the streets with my dogs. They have no history of aggression.”
Moors said the law sets a troubling precedent because it’s not just a pit bull issue.
“If a government … can make such an arbitrary decision that a dog is a bad and dangerous dog and seize it under certain circumstances and destroy it … that’s a matter of concern to anybody who has a dog – period.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attack, banned aid, breed specific legislation, breeds, canada, canadians, challenge, court of appeal, courts, dangerous, discrimination, dog, dogs, law, muzzles, ontario, pit bull, pit bull ban, pit bulls, stereotypes, stereotyping, upheld