Full Title Name:  2005-2006 Case Law Review

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Adam Cefai Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Publish Year:  2006 Primary Citation:  2 Journal of Animal Law 179 (2006)

This document provides a tabular listing of the important animal law cases of 2005 and 2006.




Summary of Facts

Summary of Holding

Benson v. State

710 N.W.2d 131 (S.D. 2006).

Landowners brought an action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the State of South Dakota and other state defendants, challenging the constitutionality of a statute that addresses the shooting of small game from a public right-of-way.

The conduct authorized by statute was temporary in nature, and thus was not a per se taking;

The enactment of statute did not legally cause the alleged damage to landowners property, and therefore was not a regulatory taking; and


The possible decrease in the value of the landowners’ hunting business did not constitute a regulatory taking.

City of Toledo v. Tellings

2006 WL 513946
Ohio App. 6 Dist. 2006 ).

Defendant, who owned three pit bulls, challenged the constitutionality of a city ordinance limiting ownership to only one pit bull per household, and of a statute requiring the owner of a "vicious dog" to provide liability insurance.

The statute requiring the owner of a "vicious dog" to provide liability insurance was unconstitutional in that it denied procedural due process;

Ordinance limiting ownership to one pit bull per household was unconstitutional as applied;

Statute providing that the ownership of a pit bull is prima facie evidence of the ownership of a vicious dog was unconstitutional because pit bulls are not inherently dangerous or vicious;

City ordinance limiting ownership to one pit bull per household was unconstitutional;

Statute which provides that ownership of a "pit bull dog" is prima facie evidence of ownership of a vicious dog was unconstitutionally void for vagueness.


Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Hogan

428 F.3d 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2005).

Animal advocacy groups brought an action against the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) after FWS denied their petition to list the trumpeter swans inhabiting Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. as endangered or threatened

FWS's issuance of a 90-day finding under the Endangered Species Act detailing why trumpeter swans inhabiting Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho were not a distinct population segment entitled to protection as endangered or threatened mooted the claim that the letter did not comply with the ESA;

Claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) did not fall within the “capable of repetition yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine.

State of Utah v. Reber

128 P.3d 1211 (Utah Ct. App. 2005).

Defendant was convicted of aiding or assisting in wanton destruction of protected wildlife, and two other defendants entered conditional guilty pleas to attempted wanton destruction of protected wildlife.   The defendants asserted that the state lacked jurisdiction.  

The Court of Appeals held that the state court lacked jurisdiction over hunting violations committed on Indian lands.

Butler v. City of Palos Verdes Estates

135 Cal.App.4th 174 ( Cal. App. 2 Dist. 2005).

The city had a program to manage the size of a feral peafowl population that inhabited parklands and canyon property it owned. Residents sued the city on the ground that the program violated certain deed restrictions. The court enjoined the city from allowing peafowl to use the parklands and canyons, and the city appealed.

The trial court erred in determining that the deed restrictions operate to prevent the city from continuing its peafowl management program , as the program did not constitute “keeping” wild peafowl.

State v. Paulson

128 P.3d 133
Wash. App. Div. 2 2006.).

Defendants were convicted of animal cruelty for tying a dog to a tree and repeatedly shooting arrows into it.

The Court of Appeals held that the evidence supported a finding of intent to cause undue suffering.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. U.S.

2006 WL 650694
S.D. Fla. 2006).

Indian tribe, conservation groups, and Cape Sable seaside sparrow (an endangered species), brought an action alleging, inter alia, that the water management decisions of the Army Corps of Engineers, designed to avoid jeopardy to the sparrows while carrying out Congressionally-authorized water control projects in South Florida, violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Parties and Intervenors cross-moved for summary judgment.

Army Corps of Engineers violated NEPA by failing to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for changes to water control plan;

Corps did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by relying on limited modeling information when making changes to water control plan;

Corps did not improperly delegate authority to the Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (IECR) when preparing changes to water control plan;

IECR was not an advisory committee subject to provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); and

Intervenors' motion for declaratory judgment was moot.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Lenoir County SPCA, Inc.

607 S.E.2d 317
N.C. App. 2005).

Non-profit corporation dedicated to humane treatment of animals filed action seeking injunctive relief and challenging private non-governmental animal control facility's practice of euthanizing feral cats without holding them for 72 hours.

Private non-governmental facility was not subject to a public health statute governing dogs and cats, which permitted administrative remedies against local health department and local health director, and thus, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over complaint filed under the statute;

Complaint set forth a cause of action against facility sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction for a claim of cruel treatment; and

Involuntary dismissal of claim for civil remedy for protection of animals lacked required findings and conclusions of law.

Savage v. Prator

921 So.2d 51
La. 2006).

Game clubs filed action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against parish commission and parish sheriff's office after being informed by the sheriff that an existing parish ordinance prohibiting cockfighting would be enforced.

The parish ordinance prohibiting cockfighting did not violate general law or infringe upon the State's police powers in violation of the Constitution.

Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Land Management

2006 WL 662735 (N.D. Cal. 2006).

Several environmental organizations filed a complaint alleging that defendants had violated the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to adequately protect the Peirson’s milk-vetch and the desert tortoise from recreational off-highway vehical use.

The court held that the 2005 Biological Opinion was legally inadequate;

The final rule designation of critical habitat for the milk-vetch was arbitrary and capricious;

The Environment Impact Statement is legally inadequate; and

The BLM did not take a “hard look” at the impact of the recreation area management plan on endemic invertebrates.


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