Animal Law Legal Center home page

October News

 

   Delaware changes language in anti-cruelty law making it clear law applies to feral cats. HB 235 was signed by Governor Carney on October 1st. Previously, Section 1325 of the anti-cruelty laws stated that a person is guilty of cruelty to animals when he or she "[c]ruelly or unnecessarily kills or injures any animal whether belonging to the actor or another." HB 235 struck out "whether belonging to the actor or another" and added "owned or unowned" to the next subsection. These changes eliminate ambiguity as to coverage based on the ownership status of an animal. Further, the law amended laws in Chapter 30F related to animal shelter operation. A definition for "Free-roaming Cat Program" was added and language changed throughout the chapter to reflect the new focus. Most significantly, the amendments removed definitions for "feral cat caretaker" and "keeper" that may have created liability concerns for community cat caretakers. A new definition was added for “Free-roaming cat caretaker” which makes it clear that they "are not owners." Free-roaming cat caretakers may also participate Spay/Neuter Fund programs.

   California adds new section to the Family Code elevating pet animals beyond inanimate property status in divorce proceedings. Assembly Bill 2274 adds a new section to the Code entitled, "Division of community property: pet animals." Under new section 2605, a court, upon request from a party in separation or marriage dissolution proceeding, "may assign sole or joint ownership of a pet animal taking into consideration the care of the pet animal." Previously, judges relied on community property rules that divided property acquired during marriage equally based on asset value. The law (which goes into effect January 1, 2019) also allows a judge to enter an order, prior to the final determination of ownership of a pet animal, to require a party to care for the pet animal. California's new law follows previously enacted laws in Alaska and Illinois requiring judges to consider the "well-being" of companion animals in issuing divorce orders. Go to our Pets in Divorce Topic Intro for more.

   Introducing our collection of South American legal materials. As our web-based library keeps growing, we are excited to showcase a compilation of laws and cases from several South American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, and Peru. The summaries for the materials are in English with links to the original laws or cases in Spanish. The topic introduction for Columbia includes a detailed legal analysis of bullfighting, which explores the recent push to outlaw the activity (in English). Each of the topic introductions includes a brief summary of the country's legal structure. We also have a robust collection from Brazil that includes a full collection of the Brazilian Law Journal, Revista Brasileira de Direito Animal (in Portuguese).

News archives

Cases

ESA citizen suit standing sufficient to defeat summary judgment met where plaintiff viewed maltreated zoo elephants on a “near daily” basis. Rowley v. City of New Bedford, --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2018 WL 4600647 (D. Mass. Sept. 25, 2018). Plaintiffs allege that two Asian Elephants, Ruth and Emily, were mistreated by the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford by chaining their legs, housing them in inadequate facilities, failing to provide proper socialization, and failing to provide adequate veterinary care, which gives rise to a "taking" under Section 9 of the ESA. Rowley claims that she is a member of the zoological society there and visits the elephants on a "near daily basis," resulting in “an aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual relationship with Ruth and Emily over the years.” The United States District Court asked both parties to brief on the issue of standing for the instant action. The court first noted that the ESA expressly authorizes citizen suits for injunctive relief. With regard to the injury in fact analysis, the court found that plaintiff established the proper “animal nexus” and rejected New Bedford’s "nonexistent requirement into the injury in fact analysis" that Rowley must have observed or will observe Asian elephants in their native habitats. As a result, the court found Rowley properly established injury in fact. The other prongs of causation and redressability were also met at this stage. The District Court ultimately held that Rowley demonstrated sufficient standing to pursue her claims and New Bedford's motion to dismiss was denied.

Court of Appeals holds trial court did not err when it entered 13 separate convictions for unlawful possession of an animal for each individual animal. State v. Crow, --- P.3d ----, 294 Or. App. 88 (2018). This Oregon case discusses whether 11 miniature horses, multiple cats, and a dog are separate victims for purposes of merger into one conviction. Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for 13 counts of unlawful possession of an animal by a person previously convicted of second-degree animal neglect. The facts are not at issue: defendant was previously convicted of multiple counts of second-degree animal neglect involving dogs and miniature horses and was subsequently found to be in possession of those animals. On appeal, defendant's primary argument is that "the public is the single collective victim" for purposes of the violation, so the trial court erred in entering 13 separate convictions for unlawful possession of an animal. In support, defendant analogizes it to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, where the public is deemed the collective victim for purposes of merger. The court found that the text of statute shows an intent to protect individual animals of the same genus as previous crimes rather than protection of the public, generally. The court concluded that the principal purpose of ORS 167.332(1) was to protect individual animals from further abuse and neglect, and to deter animal abuse and neglect where those individuals convicted show "an identifiable threat to a particular genus of animal." Affirmed.

Pet dogs not “stock” for purposes of awarding attorney fees under Texas Civil Practice Law. Palfreyman v. Gaconnet, --- S.W.3d ----, 2018 WL 4624208 (Tex. App. Sept. 27, 2018). This Texas appeals presents the unique question of whether companion animals, specifically "pet dogs," can be considered "stock" for awarding attorney fees under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 38.001(6) in lawsuits concerning their injury or death. The trial court awarded negligence damages after where Palfreyman's two dogs died at appellees' dog boarding business, but did not award attorney fees. On appeal, the Court of Appeals examined the word "stock" as used in the cited law. While there is no definition in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code and the word "stock" is rarely used in Texas statutes, the term "livestock" is defined in several instances. In particular, the Penal Code distinguishes "livestock" from "nonlivestock animals" that include domesticated dogs. Thus, the court concluded the term “stock” in section 38.001(6) does not include pet dogs and appellant was not entitled to attorney fees under Section 38.001(6).5. The trial court's judgment was affirmed. 

Case Archives

Articles

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

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

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

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

Trophy Hunting Contracts: Unenforceable for Reasons of Public Policy, Myanna Dellinger, 41 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 395 (2016).

Animals as More Than 'Mere Things,' but Still Property: A Call for Continuing Evolution of the Animal Welfare Paradigm, Richard L. Cupp, Jr., University of Cincinnati Law Review, Forthcoming; Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19 (available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2788309).