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August News


  Louisiana enacts law that grants immunity to Good Samaritans who forcibly enter vehicle to save minors (children) or animals in distress. Under Louisiana new law (SB 156/Act 360) there shall be no liability on the part of a person for property damage or trespass to a motor vehicle, if the damage was caused while the person was rescuing an animal in distress. The immunity applies only if the person complies with several aspects of the law such as making a good-faith attempt to locate the owner prior to entering the vehicle, contacting law enforcement or other first responders, confirming the vehicle is locked and the animal is in imminent danger, placing a notice on the vehicle, and staying with the animal until responders arrive. Several other states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, IN, KS, MA, OH, OR, TN, VT, and WI) enacted laws giving civil immunity to any individuals who break-in to vehicles to remove pets (or vulnerable persons like children) in imminent danger, provided they meet other conditions under these laws. View a map of all state laws. For more detailed information on these laws, please visit our comparative table on the topic.

  Ohio joins 10 or so other states that have laws allowing restaurants to maintain “dog friendly” patios. Governor John Kasich signed HB 263 into law after the bill passed the House and Senate without issue. The bill amends section 3717.05 and enacts section 3717.14 of the Revised Code, giving a "retail food establishment or food service operation" the ability to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas provided some requirements are met. Among other things, the law requires that food service establishments adopt policies requiring patrons to control their dogs, imposes proper vaccination for visiting dogs, and mandates that no dogs enter the restaurant through the indoor dining areas. Want to learn more about laws on dogs in outdoor dining areas? Check out our FAQ!

   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



Defendant's show he had charge or custody of goats sufficient to sustain 19-count animal cruelty conviction. State v. Hearl, --- A.3d ----, 182 Conn. App. 237 (2018). Defendant Hearl was convicted of 19 counts of animal cruelty stemming from the care of his goat herd he used for his goat cheese manufacturing business in Connecticut in 2014. Defendant and his business partner moved a herd to Cornall, CT in May of 2014, where they rented an open air barn space (mainly used for dairy cows), but did not negotiate any boarding or care of the goats. As the condition of the goats deteriorated (to the point of death for some of the goats), another farmer who shared the barn space informed the state Dept. of Agriculture and this spurred the investigation which culminated in the seizure of defendant's remaining living goats in January 2015. On appeal of his conviction, defendant raises four main arguments: (1) the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to sustain his conviction, (2) the trial court did not provide the jury with a proper instruction on the required mental state; (3) § 53–247 (a) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to his conduct; and (4) his conviction and sentencing on nineteen separate counts of animal cruelty violates the constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy. As to defendant's first insufficiency of the evidence claim, the court found that there was ample evidence before the jury to support the finding that the defendant confined, or had charge or custody of, the goats. Not only did the defendant play an active role in the management of the goats according to testimony, but in conversations with officers, defendant “took the lead on telling me what was being done with the management of the goats” and that he “predominated the conversation” about the mortality rates in the herd. After the court dealt with each argument, the judgment was affirmed.

Wildlife Services' predator control plan needed full EIS where evidence showed use of unreliable data, a disregard for criticisms by other federal agencies, and the likelihood of uncertain environmental impacts. W. Watersheds Project v. USDA APHIS Wildlife Servs., --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2018 WL 3097016 (D. Idaho June 22, 2018). This action considers motions for summary judgment by both parties. At issue here is a plan by a branch of the USDA called Wildlife Services (WS), which is responsible for killing or removing predators and other animals that prey on wild game animals, threaten agricultural interests, or pose a danger to humans. As part of an expanded to plan to engage in predator control (PDM), WS prepared and circulated a draft Environmental Assessment (EA). After the comment period ended, instead of taking the criticisms and suggestions from the EA and then undertaking a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), WS instead rejected most responses and labeled them as unconvincing or invalid. This led plaintiff to file suit against WS, arguing that the agency acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by not preparing the EIS after comments to the EA. Not only was this court troubled by the lack of reliable data used by WS, but the WS’ “unconvincing responses” to agencies that had substantial experience managing wildlife and land-use concerns demonstrated to the court that the PDM is controversial and the environmental impacts were uncertain. This in and of itself necessitated an EIS under NEPA. The court held that the lack of reliable data, the unconvincing responses from WS, combine to trigger three intensity factors that combine to require WS to prepare an EIS. The plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was granted and the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied (the motion by plaintiff to supplement the administrative record was deemed moot).

Euthanasia order overturned for dangerous dog where injury was not shown to be a "protracted disfigurement." Fitzgerald v. Varney, --- N.Y.S.3d ----, 2018 WL 3488356 (2018). Defendants-Respondents appeal a judgment by the Town of Stony Creek Justice Court declaring their dog to be a "dangerous dog" and ordering euthanasia. On December 30, 2017, defendants’ dog bit their 12-year-old grandson on the upper lip. The child received emergency care and was eventually given injections and stitches to close the wound. At the close of the dangerous dog hearing initiated by the town dog control officer, the trial judge found by clear and convincing evidence that the dog was dangerous and caused "serious physical injury." This resulted in the court ordering that the dog be "killed" within 30 days absent any appeal. Here, the defendants do not challenge the dangerous dog determination, but instead challenge the euthanasia order based on a finding of "serious physical injury." Under Agriculture and Markets Law § 108(29), "serious physical injury" means "serious or protracted disfigurement." Here, this court found the evidence at trial did not show the size of the wound or the number of sutures, nor was there evidence scar was distressing to the victim or any person observing him. As such, there was insufficient evidence to show the injury was of a "protracted" nature. Therefore, the court modified the judgment by reversing the finding of aggravated circumstances and the order for humane euthanasia of the dog.

Case Archives


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: