Court: Cops can enter home if dog in distress

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Thread: Court: Cops can enter home if dog in distress

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array WhoWeBePart1's Avatar
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    Court: Cops can enter home if dog in distress

    Court: Cops can enter home if dog in distress

    A report of a dog crying in distress can constitute an emergency that justifies police entering a home without a warrant, a state appeals court ruled Thursday in upholding a Los Angeles County man's conviction for animal cruelty.

    In appealing Keith Chung's conviction and 16-month prison sentence, his lawyer argued that officers may disregard the normal requirement that they obtain a search warrant only if a human life is at stake.

    But the Second District Court of Appeal said that although pets are considered personal property, protecting them is a legitimate government concern.

    Police can conduct a search without a judge's approval "when an officer reasonably believes immediate warrantless entry into a residence is required to aid a live animal in distress," Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein said in the 3-0 ruling.

    The court said a woman in Marina del Rey called police early one morning in July 2007 and said she and her husband had been awakened by the sound of a dog howling in apparent pain for about 15 minutes in Chung's condominium upstairs. She said she heard similar noises several times a week.

    Police went to see Chung, who told them he didn't own any dogs. When an officer heard what sounded like a dog whimpering from inside, he handcuffed Chung and entered the condominium. There he found an injured dog lying on a towel in the patio and the body of another dog in the freezer, the court said.

    After unsuccessfully challenging the search, Chung pleaded no contest to animal cruelty. In his appeal, his lawyer argued that police should have sought a warrant before entering because there were innocent explanations for the sounds reported by the neighbor, who was embroiled in another dispute with Chung over water damage to her unit.

    Chung's lawyer, William Heyman, said he would appeal the ruling.

    The ruling in People vs. Chung, B212210, can be read at links.sfgate.com/ZJUC.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Um...I don't think so. What's your perception of "distress"? Does that waive a search warrant? Deep down inside I know this ain't happening. If it is, then reality has just walked down another step on the downward staircase. I think I'm gonna be sick...got to go now. Too many people with cell phones into my business when I'm not on business. To think of it that lately I've been up on the good outlook of humanity. This sort of ends my week on a downside.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Gotta love them California judges!
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    Member Array Bandolero's Avatar
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    Which also means that if the cops see any other evidence of a crime (e.g. drugs, firearms that are banned, etc.), you can then get loaded up with those more substantial charges.

    I have no sympathy for people who abuse animals. It's too bad they didn't find a kilo of coke in his apartment...

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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    Um...I don't think so. What's your perception of "distress"? Does that waive a search warrant? Deep down inside I know this ain't happening. If it is, then reality has just walked down another step on the downward staircase. I think I'm gonna be sick...got to go now. Too many people with cell phones into my business when I'm not on business. To think of it that lately I've been up on the good outlook of humanity. This sort of ends my week on a downside.
    Agreed. Who defines "distress"? Is it a howl? A whimper? Or perhaps just incessant barking at someone at the door? I have a bad feeling that a bad apple or two are going to use this to their advantage to gain entry on what would otherwise be a non-entry issue.

    I agree with others that those guilty of animal cruelty are not even worthy of the title of Human, however, this most certainly isn't the way to go about it.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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    Can goldfish make a distressing noise?
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    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Can goldfish make a distressing noise?
    Yes, but it's at a frequency that people can't hear. So you're safe with a Goldfish, ret.



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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Something tells me Fido was gonne be Bar B Q on Sunday,why else would he have a dog in the freezer
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Chung..... hummm.

    They do eat dogs in Asia. So, is it animal cruelty, or preparations for dinner ?

    I don't think here, he can sell that argument though.

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    Senior Member Array Gun Bunny's Avatar
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    But the Second District Court of Appeal said that although pets are considered personal property, protecting them is a legitimate government concern.
    I'm sorry, but I just can't find that anywhere in the Constitution, I looked!
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    re: Gun Bunny

    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Bunny View Post
    I'm sorry, but I just can't find that anywhere in the Constitution, I looked!
    You know, this argument crops up all the time. "I don't see that in the Constitution." Duh, we have a bazillion state, federal, and local laws none of which are specifically stated in that document nor need to be there.

    Noise ordinances. Lots of local governments have them. You know, the ones where your dogs can't make noise at 2 AM.

    If an officer comes to your house at 2 AM because your neighbor hears
    your dog barking, you answer the door and lie to him that you have no dogs, he hears the dang dog, you are acting weird besides lying, he is going to put you in cuffs till he finds out why you are being a jerk and lying about the obvious.

    Some states and municipalities have animal cruelty laws. They have the right to uphold them. Neither noise ordinances nor animal cruelty ordinances are in our constitution or in state constitutions, but they are enforceable.

    Whether or not a warrant was necessary is debatable, and has been settled (for this case) where it is supposed to be settled; in a court room by a judge.

    Apparently, between the lie and the totality of the situation the officer came upon, the judge felt a warrant wasn't necessary. This stuff happens all the time. Remember when they went into OJ's house
    because there was a spatter of blood on his car door? That too was argued out ad nauseum but the evidence gathered was admitted.

    Yes, I would prefer that the courts were tighter on what they allowed with regard to entry without a warrant, but the "it isn't in the constitution" argument is a very weak one in this instance.

    Again, we are free from unreasonable searches, not any and all search.

  13. #12
    Member Array rightdog's Avatar
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    Animal cruelty is against the law. The officer responded to a complaint and found a possible crime. He investigated and apprehended a suspect.
    I just saw a post in which many members posted pics of their dogs, and told how much they love them. I did not post my dogs pics but if a neighbor reported my dogs in distress while I was gone and a cop investigated and found it to be true, and entered my yard or house and got my dog, I would not sue him and scream "unlawful entry". Someone come out and tell me you would. The officer suspected a crime.

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    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    If an animal is howling in pain/distress, it needs to be checked out. End of story.


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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Well, if an officer hears one of my four dogs in any kind of distress, by all means enter an see whats up. If my pooches (two pits, a retriver-mix, and a shepard-mix) are in a bad way, then something bad is definatly afoot and someone in my home probley needs help. As often as I deployand am not home, I'd want the help.

    Most certinally my spoiled-rotten dogs can't be thought of as 'abused':)
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    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    Cops did the right thing!
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