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Name: People v. Chung
Case #: B212210
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/03/2010
Summary

A warrantless search of a home, over the occupant’s refusal to consent to a search, may be justified on the basis of exigent circumstances if the officer is looking for dogs that could be in danger. The Fourth Amendment exception for exigent circumstances involves an emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property. The search was justified based on complaints from a neighbor that she heard the cry of a dog in pain and the officer heard faint whimpering sounds of a dog in distress despite the occupant’s assertion that he did not own a dog. The protection of animals is an important government concern and statutes prohibiting animal cruelty are part of the fabric of American life.