Animal Law Legal Center home page

April 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.

 U.S. District Court Judge rules that sonar and underwater explosions off the Southern California Coast pose greater threat to marine mammals than federal government asserted. U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway found that the National Marine Fisheries Service was incorrect in stating that the Navy's training would have "negligible impacts" on marine mammals like whales, dolphins, and sea lions. NMFS violated multiple provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it agreed with the Navy's plan. Plaintiffs and advocates in the case contend that such activities result in harmful impacts on marine creatures that include temporary and permanent hearing loss, disruption in behavior, and habitat abandonment.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Utah's police academy implements training program to teach cadets better methods to handle dog encounters. The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council approved a plan in March that begins a pilot program to run through June. This course will train future officers on how interpret dog behavior, deal with aggressive dogs, and employ methods of non-lethal force in police-dog situations. Supporters of such programs indicate they are necessary to deal with the rise in the shooting of dogs by police officers, including one recent incident where a dog was shot in the owner's backyard during a search for a missing child according to The POST webpage provides a link to the training materials at Notably, Colorado became the first state in 2013 to enact a comprehensive law known as the Dog Protection Act to reduce the number of dogs shot by police.

Virginia enacts law aimed at stopping roadside pet sales sourced from puppy mills. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed SB 1001 on March 27th, adding a new section § 3.2-6508.1 to the state code. The bill makes it "unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter, lease, or display for a commercial purpose any dog or cat on or in any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or recreation area; flea market or other outdoor market; or commercial parking lot, regardless of whether such act is authorized by the landowner." The section does not apply to the display of cats or dogs for adoption by public or private animal shelters, county fairs or 4-H exhibitions, the sale or trade of dogs for farming activities, or a prearranged sale between a dog breeder and a specific individual purchaser that is not a re-occurring event.

 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers finalizes plant to kill thousands of seabirds. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers finalized a plan on March 20 to kill around 26,000 double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island in the Columbia River. The plan involves a lethal take of both adult birds (11,000) and unborn chicks (around 15,000) to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Read the plan at To learn more about legal issues facing double-crested cormorants, read our Detailed Discussion.


New archives


Ctr. for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife v. Kelly,  --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2015 WL 1293338 (D. Idaho 2015). Plaintiffs challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”)'s November 28, 2012 Final Rule designating 30,010 acres in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). While the district court stated that the Final Rule's analysis seemed reasonably based on the best available science, it refused to make a conclusive determination on the arbitrary and capricious issue because procedural requirements necessitated a further public review and comment period. The Court therefore remanded this matter to the FWS to cure the procedural error by affording the necessary public comment period and to consider anew the critical habitat designation in light of those comments.

Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty.,  --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 1131684 (S.D. Fla. 2015). This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. The District Court denied the defendants' summary judgment motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. LT Napa Partners LLC, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ---, 2015 WL 1004423 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015). Plaintiff and respondent Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an action against defendants and appellants LT Napa Partners LLC and Kenneth Frank for unfair competition, alleging defendants sold foie gras in their Napa restaurant in violation of California law. Defendants moved to strike plaintiff's claim pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute, arguing it was exercising its free speech rights by protesting the law. Defendants appealed the trial court's denial of the motion. The appeals court affirmed the lower court's decision because the ALDF demonstrated probability of prevailing on the claim that it had standing under Unfair Competition Law (UCL); showed basis for liability against chef; and showed probability of prevailing on its claim that owner and chef unlawfully sold foie gras.

Lawrence v. N. Country Animal Control Ctr., Inc., --- N.Y.S.3d ---, 2015 WL 919734 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015). Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The appellate court found that issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court did, however, find that  plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Wyno v. Lowndes Cnty.,  --- S.E.2d ----, 2015 WL 1318263 (Ga. Ct. App. 2015). Victim was attacked and killed by her neighbor's dog.  Victim's husband, acting individually and as administrator of his wife's estate, brought action against dog owners and several government defendants, whom he alleged failed to respond to earlier complaints about the dog. The appeals court held the trial court did not err in dismissing the action against the county and its employees in their official capacities. The former version of OCGA § 4–8–30, effective at the time of the attack, provided immunity to local governments and their employees from liability for all injuries inflicted by dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the action against the employees in their individual capacities based on official immunity, however. Judgment was therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded to the trial court to enter a ruling specifically and directly passing on the husband’s constitutional challenge.

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).