Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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A jury found defendant-appellant Rodney Brossart guilty of terrorizing, preventing arrest, and failing to comply with the law for estray animals. In 2011, two of Brossart's adult children observed three cow-calf pairs loose on or near Brossart's property and they determined the cattle did not belong to Brossart. The cattle were secured in a fenced "missile site" Brossart leased. One of Brossart's children told him about the cattle after the cattle were secured. The following day, neighbor Chris Anderson discovered three cow-calf pairs had escaped from his fenced property. Anderson tracked the cattle to Brossart's property and spoke to Brossart about the cattle. According to Anderson, Brossart informed him that he would have to buy the cattle back. Anderson returned to his farm and contacted the Nelson County Sheriff's Department. Eric Braathen, a deputy for the Nelson County Sheriff's Department, contacted Fred Frederikson, a licensed peace officer and a brand inspector for the North Dakota Stockmen's Association. While driving to Brossart's farm, Braathen and Frederikson saw Brossart pumping water from a field. Braathen introduced Frederikson to Brossart and Frederikson asked about the cattle and whether he could go look at them. According to Braathen, Brossart informed the officers "if you step foot on my property, you are going to not be walking away." The situation quickly escalated, Braathen attempted to arrest Brossart, Brossart resisted, and Braathen used a taser on Brossart multiple times before he was handcuffed. Brossart was charged with failing to comply with the estray chapter and preventing arrest. He appealed his conviction. After review, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court did not give the jury any instructions explaining what constituted a threat and that communications that are not a "true threat" are protected speech. The district court therefore did not correctly and adequately inform the jury of the applicable law and erred by failing to include a jury instruction defining what constituted a "threat." Brossart's terrorizing conviction was reversed and the case remanded for a new trial on that charge. The Supreme Court affirmed in all other respects. View "North Dakota v. Brossart" on Justia Law