Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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While Md. Code. Ann. Crim. Law 10-615 does not provide for seizure of an animal that is already in state custody in connection with a criminal proceeding, an officer of a humane society may notify the animal’s owner or custodian of an intent to take possession of the animal upon the animal’s release from state custody in the criminal case, and the seizure of an animal under the statute need not occur contemporaneously with the alleged mistreatment of the animal. In this case, the humane society exercised its authority under section 10-615 to take possession of Petitioner’s animals based on allegations of animal cruelty. Petitioner unsuccessfully petitioned the district court for their return. Ultimately, the vast majority of the animal cruelty charges against Petitioner were disposed of by dismissal or acquittal, but the humane society retained possession of the animals. The Court of Appeals remanded the case in light of the change of circumstances since the district court’s initial decision, holding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to return of the animals based on the humane society’s alleged failure to comply with section 10-615; but (2) the denial of Petitioner’s petition for return of the animals did not eliminate Petitioner’s ownership interest in the animals. View "Rohrer v. Humane Society of Washington County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Animal / Dog Law

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A pit bull named Clifford escaped from its pen and attacked Dominic Solesky, a minor, who initially sustained life threatening injuries as a result of his mauling. Dominic's parents, as next friends of Dominic, sued Defendant landlord. The trial court granted judgment for Defendant, concluding that the evidence was insufficient to permit the issue of common law negligence to be presented to the jury. The court of special appeals reversed, finding that the evidence had been sufficient to create a valid jury issue as to the extent of Defendant's knowledge of Clifford's dangerousness with respect to the then common law standards in dog attack negligence cases. The Court of Appeals affirmed after modifying the Maryland common law of liability as it relates to attacks by pit bull dogs against humans, holding that when an owner, landlord, or other person who has the right to control the pit bull's presence on the subject premises knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or pit bull mix, that person is strictly liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner's or lessor's premises. Remanded for a retrial. View "Tracey v. Solesky" on Justia Law

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Petitioners Donna and Hilton Silver owned three horses found by police in terrible health. One horse had to be euthanized, and the other two were sent to a rescue farm for rehabilitation. The state charged the Silvers with three counts of animal cruelty. At a de novo trial in circuit court, the state pursued only the charge relating to the horse that died. At trial, the circuit court heard evidence regarding the condition of the other two horses and convicted the Silvers each of one count of animal cruelty. As a condition of probation, the court ordered the Silvers to pay restitution to the rescue farm. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the circuit court was not permitted to order restitution for the other horses with regard to whom the defendants were not convicted of a crime and vacated that order. The Court affirmed the rest of the circuit court's judgments, holding (1) the lower court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the Silvers' motion to strike and instead granted them a short continuance and opportunity to examine belatedly delivered discovery documents; and (2) the lower court did not err in admitting photographs of the surviving horses. View "Silver v. State" on Justia Law