Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits arbitrary discrimination in public accommodations with respect to trained service dogs, but not to service-dogs-in-training. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action alleging violation of the Unruh Act, violation of the Disabled Persons Act, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff claimed that Fortune, the owner and operator of a chain of Seafood City markets, illegally denied him service when he tried to enter two different stores with his service dog. The court held that defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the Unruh Act claim because plaintiff did not offer any evidence, let alone substantial evidence, that his dog was a fully trained service animal at the time. The court also held that "persons authorized to train service dogs" under the DPA means any person who is credentialed to do so by virtue of their education or experience, and plaintiff failed to make this showing. Finally, defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the emotional distress claims because there was no evidence that defendants intended to cause plaintiff any emotional distress. View "Miller v. Fortune Commercial Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Kathleen Swigart and defendant Carl Bruno participated in an organized endurance horseback riding event with approximately 47 other riders. Swigart was in the lead and had dismounted at a required checkpoint along the course. There was no dispute that Bruno's horse struck Swigart while she was standing on the ground, injuring her. Swigart sued Bruno, alleging causes of action for negligence, reckless or intentional misconduct, and having an animal with a dangerous propensity. The trial court granted Bruno's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals concluded the doctrine of primary assumption of risk barred Swigart's cause of action for negligence, and that Swigart did not meet her burden of establishing a genuine issue of material fact as to Bruno's alleged recklessness or Bruno's horse's alleged propensity for danger. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment. View "Swigart v. Bruno" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Aristea Hupp (Aristea) appealed after the trial court granted defendants Solera Oak Valley Greens Association and City of Beaumont Animal Control Officer Jack Huntsman’s ex parte application to dismiss Aristea’s first amended complaint (FAC) as a vexatious litigant. Aristea argued: (1) the trial court’s order granting Solera’s ex parte application to dismiss deprived her of her due process rights to notice and an opportunity to be heard; (2) Solera waived its vexatious litigant defense by not raising it in its first responsive pleading; and (3) under the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (Davis-Stirling Act), she was authorized to seek recovery of damages sustained by her son, Paul Hupp (Paul), from violations of Solera’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). In 2014, Paul was declared a vexatious litigant. In 2015, Aristea and Paul filed a complaint against Solera over enforcing a community rule regarding muzzling of Pit Bulls on properties within the Solera community. The Hupps walked their dogs through the community without a muzzle. The Hupps argued the rule was only applied to the Hupps, and that Solera could not single out any one breed. After review, the Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal as to all claims alleged in the FAC which were brought by or for the benefit of Paul, on the ground he has been declared a vexatious litigant. Because Aristea had not been declared a vexatious litigant, the judgment of dismissal was reversed as to all claims in the FAC that were solely personal to Aristea. View "Hupp v. Solera Oak Valley Greens Assn." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a quarter horse trainer, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for a writ of administrative mandamus. Specifically, petitioner challenges a license suspension and fine imposed upon him by the Board after finding that he violated regulations, California Code of Regulations, title 4, section 1844, subdivision (e)(9), by racing horses medicated with a drug, Clenbuterol, that the Board had temporarily suspended from authorized use. The court concluded that the Board's interpretation of the regulation at the time it extended or reenacted the Clenbuterol ban and in the instant litigation is not entitled to deference because the Board has vacillated. The court explained that, after considering the regulation's text and history, a temporary suspension of authorized use of a particular substance under section 1844.1 may not be extended beyond 12 months through reenactment or extension of the temporary suspension. Therefore, the allegations against and findings of regulatory violations by plaintiff had no legal basis, and the penalties imposed upon him were equally invalid. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment. View "De La Torre v. California Horse Racing Board" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and the late Robert Culp filed suit seeking to enjoin the continued operation of the elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. Plaintiff alleged that the Zoo’s conduct violated animal cruelty provisions in the Penal Code, and constituted illegal expenditures of, waste of, or injury to public funds and property. On appeal, both parties challenged the trial court's issuance of limited injunctions prohibiting the use of particular forms of inappropriate discipline, requiring the elephants have specific amounts of exercise time, and requiring the rototilling of the soil in the exhibit. The court agreed with the trial court that the court's decision in the first appeal was law of the case of plaintiff's right to bring a taxpayer action based on violations of certain Penal Code provisions concerning animal abuse. In the alternative, the court concluded that Civil Code section 3369, which prohibits the issuance of an injunction to enforce a penal law, does not apply to taxpayer suits. The court further concluded that the trial court’s injunctions concerning soil maintenance and exercise time were proper, but rejected plaintiff's claims that the trial court erred by otherwise declining to close the elephant exhibit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Leider v. Lewis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Animal / Dog Law

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California Exposition and State Fairs (Cal Expo), regulated by Food and Agriculture Code 3301, is responsible for organizing the State Fair every July and enters into an agreement every year with the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The School sets up and manages the livestock nursery exhibit where pregnant pigs and other animals are put on display for three weeks to give birth and nurse. Cal Expo provides the land, tent, support infrastructure, and financial compensation, while the School provides the animals, equipment, and staff. Transporting pigs during the last two weeks of their pregnancy causes suffering due to stress and physical discomfort, potentially resulting in an aborted pregnancy. At the fair, the School places the pregnant pigs in farrowing crates, so small that the mother pigs cannot turn around or walk, for the three-week duration of the State Fair. Plaintiffs filed a complaint asserting a section 526a taxpayer action, premised on the theory that defendants waste taxpayer money and staff time by obtaining, transporting, and exhibiting pregnant pigs. The court of appeal affirmed dismissal, agreeing that California’s animal cruelty laws (Pen. Code, 597, 597t.)are not enforceable through a taxpayer action. View "Animal Legal Def.Fund v. CA Exposition & St. Fairs" on Justia Law