Thursday, May 23, 2013

People v. Rogers case brief

People v. Rogers case brief
703 N.Y.S.2d 891

CASE SYNOPSIS: Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the State's claim that he violated the N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law §353 when he docked his puppy's tail himself using a rubber band to accomplish the result.

FACTS: Defendant argued N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law §353 was unconstitutionally vague because a person of common intelligence could not ascertain what conduct was proscribed by the statute. Defendant stated he thought it was all right to dock his puppy's tail himself. Unfortunately, the puppy had to be euthanized due to the condition of its tail. Defendant's motion to dismiss the State's lawsuit was granted. The court held docking a dog's tail did not require professional supervision, and appellant was only required to avoid "unjustifiable physical pain" and "suffering," pursuant to N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law §350(2), when engaging in such conduct. The statutory words "unjustifiably" and "unjustifiable" as applied to the conduct of defendant were in violation of the Due Process Clause due to vagueness because a reasonable person in defendant's circumstances would not have notice his conduct placed him at risk of violating the law.

CONCLUSION: Defendant's motion to dismiss was granted; docking a dog's tail without the assistance of a veterinarian was not proscribed by statute. Applicable statute was constitutionally vague as applied to defendant and the act of docking a dog's tail was not conduct calculated to cause harm but, rather, essentially innocent conduct.

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