by
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

by
Big Cats of Serenity Springs was a Colorado-based non-profit that provided housing, food, and veterinary care for exotic animals. The facility was regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Three APHIS inspectors accompanied by sheriff’s deputies broke into the Big Cats facility without its permission to perform an unannounced inspection of two tiger cubs. But at the time the inspectors entered the facility, the cubs were at a veterinarian’s office receiving treatment, just as Big Cats had promised the APHIS inspectors the previous day. Big Cats and its directors sued the APHIS inspectors for the unauthorized entry pursuant to "Bivens v. Six Unknown Narcotics Agents," (403 U.S. 388 (1971)) and 42 U.S.C. 1983, asserting the entry was an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment. The district court denied the APHIS inspectors’ motion to dismiss the complaint and they filed an interlocutory appeal challenging the court’s failure to grant qualified immunity. The Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. Big Cats’ complaint stated a claim for relief under "Bivens." No APHIS inspector would reasonably have believed unauthorized forcible entry of the Big Cats facility was permissible, and therefore Big Cats and its directors could have a claim for violation of their Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search. But the Court reversed on Big Cats’ civil rights claim because the federal inspectors were not liable under section 1983 in the circumstances here. View "Big Cats of Serenity Springs v. Vilsack" on Justia Law

by
Neita formerly owned and operated a dog-grooming business and rescue shelter. In 2012, he went to Chicago’s Department of Animal Care and Control to surrender a dog that had killed another dog and a dog that had become ill after whelping puppies. Travis, an Animal Control employee, called the police. Officers arrested and searched Neita, then searched his vehicle, and his business premises. Neita was charged with animal cruelty and 13 counts of violating an animal owner’s duties under Illinois law. He was found not guilty on all counts. After his acquittal, Neita suedTravis, the officers, and the city. The judge dismissed the federal claims, holding that Neita not adequately pled any constitutional violation and relinquished supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims. The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding the complaint’s allegations sufficient to state 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims for false arrest and illegal searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Neita alleged that he surrendered two dogs, neither of which showed signs of abuse or neglect, and was arrested without any evidence that he had mistreated either dog. If these allegations are true, no reasonable person would have cause to believe that Neita had abused or neglected an animal. View "Neita v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, walking her brown labrador retriever, “Dog,” encountered a gray and white pit bull running loose, which lunged at Dog’s neck. The dogs began to fight. Neighbors unsuccessfully tried to separate them. Plaintiff dropped Dog’s leash so that Dog could defend himself. Officer Davis, driving to a burglary call, received a report that a pit bull was attacking another dog at a corner along his route. Davis pulled over and trained his spotlight on the dogs. Plaintiff, who was crying, identified herself and described Dog. Davis has a form of colorblindness that makes it difficult for him to distinguish certain colors, but had not informed his employer of his condition. Davis shot at what he thought was the aggressor. The dogs separated. Dog limped toward plaintiff, who cried that Davis had shot her dog. Davis then aimed at the pit bull and fired several times. The pit bull left the scene. Dog died as a result of the gunshot wound. From the time Davis had arrived until the time he fired his seventh shot, about two minutes elapsed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a verdict in favor of Davis in a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging unconstitutional seizure of Dog. The court upheld a conclusion that Davis had not committed discovery violations and the court’s rejection of plaintiffs’ proffered Fourth Amendment reasonableness analysis jury instruction. View "Saathoff v. Davis" on Justia Law

by
Defendant Amanda Newcomb was convicted of second-degree animal neglect after she failed to adequately feed her dog, Juno, resulting in his malnourishment. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress blood test results showing that Juno had no medical condition that would have caused him to be malnourished, which in turn indicated that Juno was malnourished because he was starving. Defendant argued that the state had violated both Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, and the Fourth Amendment to the federal Constitution by failing to obtain a warrant before testing the dog’s blood. The trial court denied the motion and allowed the state to introduce the test results during trial. Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeals, which agreed with defendant that she had a protected privacy interest in her dog’s blood that required the state to obtain a search warrant, unless the circumstances fit within an exception to the warrant requirement, and reversed. The Supreme Court concluded defendant had no privacy interest in the dog's blood under the State or federal constitutions, and reversed. View "Oregon v. Newcomb" on Justia Law

by
Cynthia Huntsman operated a farm on which she kept multiple species of wild animals that are regulated by the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animals and Restricted Snakes Act. Huntsman had no permit to possess “dangerous wild animals” under the Act. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) ordered the transfer of multiple dangerous wild animals found in Huntsman’s facility to a temporary holding facility established by the ODA. A Stark County Common Pleas Court judge granted Huntsman a temporary restraining order against the ODA and ordered the ODA to return the seized animals to Huntsman. The director of the ODA sought a writ of prohibition to prevent the judge from continuing to exercise jurisdiction over the case. The Supreme Court granted a peremptory writ of prohibition to prevent the judge from proceeding in the underlying case and ordered him to vacate his previous orders in the case, holding that the judge patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to order the return of the dangerous wild animals seized from Huntsman and her farm. View "State ex rel. Dir., Ohio Dep’t of Agriculture v. Forchione" on Justia Law

by
In 2014 the Tax Court held that Roberts had deducted expenses from his horse‐racing enterprise on his federal income tax returns for 2005 and 2006 erroneously because the enterprise was a hobby rather than a business, 26 U.S.C. 183(a), (b)(2)..The court assessed tax deficiencies of $89,710 for 2005 and $116,475 for 2006, but ruled that his business had ceased to be a hobby, and had become a bona fide business, in 2007. The IRS has not challenged Roberts’ deductions since then and Roberts continues to operate his horse‐racing business. The Seventh Circuit reversed the Tax Court’s judgment upholding the deficiencies assessed for 2005 and 2006. A business is not transformed into a hobby “merely because the owner finds it pleasurable; suffering has never been made a prerequisite to deductibility.” The court noted instances demonstrating Roberts’ intent to make a profit. View "Roberts v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

by
In 2014 the Tax Court held that Roberts had deducted expenses from his horse‐racing enterprise on his federal income tax returns for 2005 and 2006 erroneously because the enterprise was a hobby rather than a business, 26 U.S.C. 183(a), (b)(2)..The court assessed tax deficiencies of $89,710 for 2005 and $116,475 for 2006, but ruled that his business had ceased to be a hobby, and had become a bona fide business, in 2007. The IRS has not challenged Roberts’ deductions since then and Roberts continues to operate his horse‐racing business. The Seventh Circuit reversed the Tax Court’s judgment upholding the deficiencies assessed for 2005 and 2006. A business is not transformed into a hobby “merely because the owner finds it pleasurable; suffering has never been made a prerequisite to deductibility.” The court noted instances demonstrating Roberts’ intent to make a profit. View "Roberts v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

by
Alfonso and Lydia Lira owned a German Shepherd named Monte Carlo. After Monte escaped from Lydia’s property, the City of Houston’s animal control department, known as BARC, picked up Monte and gave him to a Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue (GHGSDR) volunteer to foster the dog. When Lydia discovered that BARC had transferred Monte to GHGSDR, the Liras requested Monte’s return, but GHGSDR refused to return Monte. The Liras sued GHGSDR, asserting, among other claims, a claim for conversion. The trial court entered a permanent injunction directing GHGSDR to return Monte to the Liras. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that the Liras had lost their right to recover possession of Monte. At issue on appeal was whether the City ordinances divested the Liras of their ownership. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the relevant ordinances did not expressly or impliedly divest the Liras of their ownership rights to Monte; and (2) the trial court did not err in concluding that Monte belonged to the Liras and enjoining GHGSDR to return him to his owners. View "Lira v. Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Wilma Stuller and her late husband bred Tennessee Walking Horses. They incorporated the operation and claimed its substantial losses as deductions on their tax returns. The IRS determined that the horse-breeding was not an activity engaged in for profit, assessed taxes and penalties, and penalized them for failing to timely file their 2003 return. After paying, the Stullers and LSA, sued the government for a refund. The district court excluded the Stullers’ proposed expert. It determined that his expertise did not extend to the financial or business aspects of horse-breeding and he lacked a reliable methodology to opine on the Stullers’ intent. The court found that the corporation was not run as a for-profit business under 26 U.S.C. 183, and determined that the Stullers lacked reasonable cause for failing to timely file their 2003 tax return. The court also denied a request to amend the judgment and effectively refund taxes paid by the Stullers on rental income received from the corporation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court followed Daubert in excluding the expert and applied each factor of the regulations to the facts. Only the expectation of asset appreciation weighed in the Stullers’ favor; almost every other consideration pointed to horse-breeding as a hobby or personal pleasure. View "Estate of Stuller v. United States" on Justia Law