Animal Law Legal Center home page

March News

Welcome to the new and improved Animal Legal & Historical Center website! Over the past few months, we have moved our entire website to a new platform with enhanced features. We hope this helps our readers find materials more efficiently through our new navigation in the purple bar at the top. With this, you can narrow your results by both state and topic or even by species. Feel free to take a tour of our new site and let us know if you encounter any difficulties at To learn more about navigating the site, see the First Time User or Researcher buttons to the right.

Arizona state House votes to create separate section of laws for abuse of livestock animals. HB 2429 prohibits a person from "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing injury or undue suffering, including depriving of necessary sustenance or cruelly beating, injuring or mutilating livestock or poultry." The measure now goes to the Senate. Other states previously enacted livestock cruelty laws including Iowa and Wyoming. Read the Arizona bill at

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Lolita, the sole member of the Southern Resident killer whale DPS held in captivity, may be released under proposed federal rule. Prompted by a petition submitted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation (PETA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) completed a status review and now propose to amend the regulatory language of the Endangered Species Act. Previously, the regulatory language excluded captive members of the Southern Resident killer whale DPS, which was limited to Lolita. Lolita has been held for 35 years with no other member of her species in a tank smaller than minimum federal standards require at the Miami Seaquarium. The proposed rule is now open for public comment until March 28th at  Additionally, NOAA Fisheries also published an FAQ page on the agency's 12-month finding for Lolita.

Another state legislator proposes a controversial "ag gag" bill. Wisconsin's Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby is reportedly planning to introduce a measure similar to one enacted in Missouri that demands anyone with video evidence of animal abuse take it to the police almost immediately. Critics contend such a law would cut short further abuse investigations. Read more by going to the Wisconsin State Journal article. To examine current ag gag and animal research interference laws, see our table of laws.

  Ohio passes law to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. In late December, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 177, allowing courts to include companion animals (cats and dogs) in orders of protection. The court may include within a protection order "a term requiring that the respondent not remove, damage, hide, harm, or dispose of any companion animal owned or possessed by the person to be protected by the order . . ." Ohio now joins 27 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have such laws. Want to see a list of all the states?


New archives


Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. Vilsack, 2015 WL 514389 (D.D.C., 2015). The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit by plaintiffs against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that challenged the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) promulgated under the US Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The court held that plaintiff’s failed to state an injury-in-fact that was traceable to the actions of the defendants for which relief could be granted. Under NPIS, far fewer federal inspectors would be stationed along slaughter lines, and the employees themselves could conduct a preliminary screening of the carcasses before presenting the poultry to a federal inspector for a visual-only inspection. Plaintiffs contended that the revised processing procedures were inconsistent with the PPIA and would ultimately result in the production of unsafe poultry products. They sought a preliminary and permanent injunction by the court to prevent the USDA and the USDA′s Food Safety and Inspection Service from implementing NPIS.

Levine v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 674073 (D.D.C., 2015). This action arose from plaintiff’s experience of bringing her service dog on Amtrak trains. Plaintiff brought claims on her own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of other disabled passengers against Amtrak pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Each claim related to Amtrak′s alleged practice of storing luggage in its train's “mobility aid” seating areas. Amtrak argued, amongst other things, that plaintiff lacked Article III Constitutional Standing because she had not suffered an injury in fact. The district court agreed and granted Amtrak′s motion to dismiss. The case was dismissed in its entirety.

Indiana Dep't of Natural Res. v. Whitetail Bluff, LLC,  --- N.E.3d ----2015 WL 416786 (Ind. Ct. App., 2015). Appellee established a business that allowed for "high fence" hunting, which refers to hunting wild animals on property that is enclosed by a fence, of privately-owned whitetail deer. The pivotal question in this appeals case was whether the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) was correct in asserting that the current statutory scheme prohibited this practice, and therefore allowed the agency to promulgate rules effectuating that prohibition. The Indiana Court of Appeals held that IDNR did not have the power to regulate fish and wildlife that were legally owned or held in captivity under a license. The IDNR therefore went beyond its express powers conferred upon it by the General Assembly when it promulgated rules that prohibited "high fence" hunting. The lower court's grant of summary judgment to the appellee was affirmed.

Krzywicki v. Galletti, --- N.E.3d ----2015 WL 406107 (Oh Ct . App., 2015). Appellant commenced an action against defendant boyfriend, the owner of the dog that bit her, and his business, which she held was strictly liable for the injuries she suffered, where the attack occurred. The claims against defendant boyfriend were dismissed with prejudice. A jury verdict, however, found that although the business was a “harborer” of the dog, appellant was barred from recovery because she was a “keeper of the dog in that she had physical care or charge of dog, temporary or otherwise, at the time of the incident.” On appeal, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the status of an individual as an owner, keeper or harborer was relevant when deciding if an individual was barred from availing him or herself of the protections afforded by liability statutes. The court of appeals also ruled that the trial court properly gave the jury instruction and that the jury’s verdict was not “defective.” Further the court held that the testimony established at trial demonstrated that appellant had a significant relationship with the dog and that there was competent and credible evidence presented at trial to support the business’s position that appellant exercised some degree of management, possession, care custody or control over the dog.

Case Archives


Angela J. Geiman, "It's the Right Thing to Do": Why the Animal Agriculture Industry Should Not Oppose Science-Based Regulations Protecting the Welfare Of Animals Raised for Food,  106 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 128 (2008).

Steven M. Wise,  An Argument for the Basic Legal Rights of Farmed Animals, 106 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 133 (2008).

Bernard Rollin, Animal Ethics and the Law, 106 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 143 (2008).

Kyle H. Landis-Marinello, The Environmental Effects of Cruelty to Agricultural Animals, 106 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 147 (2008).

Zygmunt J.B. Plater, Human-Centered Environmental Values Versus Nature-Centric Environmental Values: Is This the Question? 3 Mich. J. Envtl & Admin. L. 273 (2014).