Justia South Dakota Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court directing the Sully County sheriff to euthanize two dogs owned by Appellants as "vicious animals" under S.D. Codified Laws 7-12-29, holding that the circuit court did not err.Appellants dogs attacked another dog, which died a few days later from internal injuries and complications fraud an infection caused by the attack. The City of Onida filed a petition for declaratory judgment requesting that Appellants' dogs be determined vicious animals under a city ordinance and, alternatively, sought a determination of dangerousness under section 7-12-29 and requested an order allowing the Sheriff to dispose of the dogs. The circuit court concluded that the City could not require the dogs to be euthanized under the ordnance but found that the dogs were dangerous under the statute and authorized the Sheriff to dispose of the dogs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that any error on the part of the circuit court in failing to require consultation with the Department of Health as part of its formal determination of dangerousness was harmless. View "City Of Onida v. Brandt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Animal / Dog Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue, Inc. (SEPR), Susan Tribble-Zacher and Harry Podhradsky on Darlette Ridley's personal injury complaint, holding that SEPR, Zacher and Podhradksy did not breach their duty of reasonable care toward Ridley.Ridley was attacked and injured by a pit bull type dog while walking in a state campground. The dog belonged to SEPR and was in the care of Zacher and Podhradsky at their campsite. Ridley sued SEPR, Zacher and Podhradsky for her injuries. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the defendants, concluding that there was no evidence showing a lack of reasonable care on the defendants' part. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no indication that it was foreseeable that the dog would have attacked Ridley, and therefore, there was insufficient evidence for a jury to find that the defendants breached their standard duty of care toward Ridley. View "Ridley v. Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Animal / Dog Law
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Plaintiff ranchers sued the State because of ongoing damage to their property from incursions of prairie dogs from public lands. Relying on multiple statutes requiring the State to manage and control prairie dog populations, Plaintiffs requested injunctive relief, abatement, and damages. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs and ordered a trial on damages. When the case was reassigned, the State moved the new judge to reexamine the first judge's ruling. On reconsideration, the court vacated the first summary judgment and granted summary judgment for the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the second circuit court judge did not err in granting summary judgment for the State where the acts mandated by the statutes cited by Plaintiffs were discretionary and the State was protected from suit by sovereign immunity. View "Adrian v. Vonk" on Justia Law

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Rose Pray fell and was injured when a rottweiler broke loose from its owner and dashed across the street toward her. Pray brought an action for damages against the dog owner and the City. As against the City, Pray asserted that it knew the dog was dangerous and failed to enforce its vicious animal ordinance. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the City, ruling that, under Tipton v. Town of Tabor, the city owed Pray no special duty and, therefore, owed no duty to control the conduct of third persons. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court erred in ruling that Pray needed to prove each of the four Tipton elements to establish that a special duty existed, but (2) as a matter of law, Pray did not meet the legal requirements to show such a duty. View "Pray v. City of Flandreau " on Justia Law