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August News

 Outrage over killing of Cecil the Lion may have ripple effect on ESA listing decision by USFWS. Many are familiar with the story last week where Cecil, a Southwest African lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) who primarily lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, was lured out of the park and killed by an American trophy hunter. Few may know the lion (Panthera leo) has been on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature - the largest and oldest global conservation organization) Red List due to a 42% reduction in numbers over the last 21 years. In 2014, the USFWS conducted a review of lions and found that listing of the African Lion as threatened was warranted. Further action now lies in USFWS' hands.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs bill allowing bobcat hunt, removing the decades-long ban on bobcat hunting in the state. Gov. Rauner signed H.B. 352, a bill that removes the prohibition against bobcat hunting that was in place since 1972. There will now be a bobcat season for hunting by gun, dog, or bow and arrow. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a recent poll showed that approximately 75% of Illinois residents opposed the hunt.

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina upholds application of "citizen standing" anti-cruelty law to private zoos. In April of 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and a local law firm giving pro bono assistance helped citizens file suit against King Kong Zoo in Murphey, North Carolina. The complaint alleged that the zoo poorly treated the animals there and confined them in exhibits that were too small for the species. Section 19A of North Carolina's cruelty laws allows citizens to seek civil injunctions against those engaging in cruel treatment of animals. Normally, state cruelty laws only allow the state to issue criminal charges. The lower court had initially dismissed the case, finding that federal law (the Animal Welfare Act) preempted the state law. The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding instead that the state law complements the federal law. Read the full case.

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.


New archives


Friends of Animals v. Jewell,  --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 4483956 (D.D.C., 2015). Friends of Animals (FOA) filed a citizen petition under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to get the Department of Interior to determine whether the spider tortoise and flat-tail tortoise were endangered species. After waiting two years for an answer, FOA filed suit, arguing the Department’s silence had caused the group various injuries. The district court, however, found the supposed harms did not rise to the level of “concrete and particularized” injuries in fact, and granted the Department's motion to dismiss FOA's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

Woudenberg v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, --- F.3d ----2015 WL 4503212 (6th Cir., 2015). According to Department of Agriculture regulations promulgated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (with certain exceptions not applicable here), persons who are in the business of buying and selling dogs and cats (i.e. class B dealers) may not obtain dogs or cats from an individual donor “who did not breed and raise them on his or her premises.” Another provision requires a dealer in such a case to “obtain [ ] a certification that the animals were born and raised on that person's premises.” The question in this case was whether there was a violation when the dealer obtained the required certification, but the certification was false. The regulatory language was clear that a dealer violated the law by obtaining a dog or cat from an individual donor who did not breed or raise it on the donor's premises and it was still a violation even when the dealer in good faith obtained certifications that the animals had been so bred and raised. The certification requirement was an enforcement mechanism for the prohibition, not an exception. The Department of Agriculture therefore properly entered a cease-and-desist order against the petitioner.

Amos v. State, --- S.W.3d ----2015 WL 4043302 (Tex. App., 2015). A jury found appellant guilty of the offense of cruelty to a nonlivestock animal after he beat a Shih Tzu to death with a broom. Appellant asserted five issues on appeal, all of which were overruled. As to the last issue concerning the denial of his motion to suppress the dog’s necropsy, the court found that because the appellant had no intention of reclaiming the dog's body or her ashes, he thereby relinquished his interest in them. Consequently, he could no longer retain a reasonable expectation of privacy and lacked standing to contest the reasonableness of any search. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.

Chadd v. U.S., --- F.3d ----2015 WL 4509174 (9th Cir., 2015). The issue in this case was whether the United States may be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the actions of the National Park Service (NPS) relating to a mountain goat that attacked and killed a Park visitor. Appellant claimed officials breached their duty of reasonable care by failing to destroy the goat in the years leading up to her husband’s death. On appeal, the court sought to determine whether an exception to the FTCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity applied. The court found the NPS’s management policies manual did not direct or mandate the NPS to take action to kill the mountain goat, and thus the NPS's management of the goat fell within the discretionary function exception. Further, the NPS’s decision to use non-lethal methods to manage a mountain was susceptible to policy analysis, which fell within the discretionary exception as well.

Eshleman v. Key,  --- S.E.2d ----2015 WL 3936075 (Ga., 2015). A county police officer failed to securely fasten her police dog’s portable kennel; the dog escaped as a result and attacked an 11 year old boy. On issuing a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court of Georgia reviewed the denial of the officer's summary judgment. The Court stated the officer was responsible for the care and maintenance of the dog at all times, even when she was not working. For that reason, the allegation that she failed to secure the dog outside her home concerned her performance of an official function and was presumptively entitled to official immunity. However, since the county had not given the officer specific directions about the extent to which the dog should be restrained and since a generalized duty of care stated in a state statute and county ordinance was not enough to amount to a ministerial duty, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision.

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).