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March News


  California legislator introduces bill to ban classroom dissection of animals. Assembly Member Kalra introduced AB 1586 on February 22nd. The bill seeks to amend Chapter 2.3 of the Education Code's "Pupils’ Rights to Refrain From the Harmful or Destructive Use of Animals." The bill adds subsection (a) to Sec. 32255.1: "(a) A pupil shall not perform dissection in a California public or private school." It also modernizes the definition for "alternative education project" by adding three-dimensional models and interactive simulation software to the list of alternative education modules to teach animal anatomy. Only 11 states have laws that allows students to opt-out of dissection of or harm to animals in the classroom. See our brand-new Map of Laws!

   New Jersey's "Homes for Animal Heroes Act" unanimously passes the Senate. In a rare bipartisan move, S2826 received 34 "yes" votes and 0 "no" votes, with 6 abstentions. The bill, introduced last summer, requires institutions of higher education to offer cats and dogs no longer used for educational, research, or scientific purposes for adoption. Instead of simply euthanizing the animals after the animal is no longer needed for research, covered institutions would be required to offer the animals to individuals for adoption or enter into an agreement with an animal rescue organization. Because beagles are the most common breed of dog used in research, these types of laws are often termed "beagle freedom laws." Currently, nine states have passed such laws including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island. NJ's S2826 now awaits approval of the New Jersey Assembly.

  Texas legislators introduce bills banning possession of animals by convicted abusers. Texas legislators introduce bills banning possession of animals by abusers. Senators José Rodriguez (D – El Paso) and Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D – Brownsville) introduced the Possession Ban bill, SB 804/HB 2012 in late February. The bills would amend existing anti-cruelty laws to prohibit a defendant from possessing or exercising control over any animals or residing in a household where animals are present. Animal advocates such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) contend that such bans are critical to disrupt the cycle of animal abuse and prevent further animal victims. As of 2019, almost 30 states have such possession bans, with bans stretching anywhere from 5 to 15 years under the laws. See our Map of Possession Bans for more.


News archives


Summary judgment appropriate where plaintiff used bare hands to break up dog fight, thereby assuming risk of injury. Saulsbury v. Wilson, --- S.E.2d ----, 2019 WL 493695 (Ga. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2019). Plaintiff Saulsbury was walking her English Bulldog past Defendant Wilson's house when Wilson's pitbull dog escaped its crate in the open garage. A fight ensued between the dogs. Wilson then attempted to break up the fight and was allegedly bitten by Saulsbury's dog, suffering a broken arm in the process and necessitating  a course of rabies shots. Both parties filed suit. The Court of Appeals here reverses the trial court's denial of summary judgment requested by the Saulsburys. The court found that Wilson assumed the risk when she intervened in a dog fight with her bare hands. Assumption of risk serves as a complete defense to negligence. That finding was bolstered by the fact that Wilson had knowledge that her dog had previously bitten other persons and had admitted to breaking up previous dog fights with a stick. The court was not persuaded by the fact that Saulsbury may have been in violation of various DeKalb County ordinances related to an owner's responsibility to control his or her animal. A plain reading of those ordinances does not impose a duty on the part of an owner to "dangerously insert herself into a dog fight." The court found the lower court erred in denying the Saulsbury's motion for summary judgment and reversed and remanded the case. 

Rooster limitation county ordinance is not unconstitutional. Perez v. County of Monterey, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ---- 2019 WL 621483  (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2019). Plaintiffs sued to challenge the validity of the County of Monterey rooster-keeping ordinance, seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. The ordinance limits residents to no more than four roosters on a single property without a rooster keeping permit and also describes care and keeping requirements. The trial court found that the ordinance did not violate the constitution and entered judgment for the City. With respect to the Fifth Amendment taking challenge, the court found that the regulatory takings argument failed because there is no evidence that the ordinance affected plaintiffs or that they even applied for or were eligible for a permit. As to the interstate commerce challenge, plaintiffs provided no evidence that the ordinance would cause excess roosters to be divested from owners and sold in commerce to support this claim. As to Equal Protection, the plaintiffs correctly assert that the ordinance treats people differently based on age (i.e., students engaged in 4-H or FFA activities are exempted from the four-rooster limitation). However, the court found that the county stated a legitimate objective of public health and safety and this differential treatment of a non-suspect class advances that interest. The judgment was affirmed.

State has legitimate interest in banning bestiality, regardless that adults engaged in activity were consenting. Warren v. Commonwealth, 822 S.E.2d 395 (Va. Ct. App., 2019). Defendant Warren videotaped on his cell phone sexual encounters he had with K.H. and her dog. In March of 2017, a deputy spoke to Warren about an unrelated matter, and then Warren asked the deputy if "bestiality type stuff" was "legal or illegal," described the cellphone videos, and offered to show them to Reynolds. Subsequently, law enforcement obtained a search warrant and removed the videos from Warren's cellphone. Warren was indicted and moved to dismiss the indictment arguing that Code § 18.2-361(A) is facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to him. He further argued that the conduct depicted in the videos could not be subject to criminal sanction because it amounted to nothing more than consensual conduct involving adults. The trial court denied Warren's motion to dismiss. On appeal, this court reasoned that although § 18.2-361(A) cannot criminalize sodomy between consenting adults, it can continue to regulate other forms of sodomy, like bestiality. The only right the statute could possibly infringe on would be the right to engage in bestiality. The Commonwealth has a legitimate interest in banning sex with animals. The Court rejected Warren's challenge to the constitutionality of the statute and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

Case Archives


Never Enough: Animal Hoarding Law, Courtney G. Lee, 47 U. Balt. L. Rev. 23 (2017).

Animal Consortium,  David S. Favre and Thomas Dickinson, 84 Tenn. L. Rev. 893 (2017).

The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty: Problems and Possibilities in Animal Testing Regulation, Courtney G. Lee, 95 Neb. L. Rev. 194-247 (2016).

From Inside the Cage to Outside the Box: Natural Resources as a Platform for Nonhuman Animal Personhood in the U.S. and Australia, Randall S. Abate & Jonathan Crowe, 5 Global J. Animal L. 54 (2017).

Zuchtvieh-Export Gmbh v. Stadt Kempten: The Tension Between Uniform, Cross-Border Regulation and Territorial Sovereignty, David Mahoney, 40 B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 363 (2017).