Cases

  • The Wild and Free-Roaming Horse Act does not require that wild horses be prevented from straying onto private land, only that they be removed if they do stray onto private land.  

  • Dog bite victim sued homeowners insurer.  Held:  courts may factor traditional public policy to bar a claim under the dog bite statute, and in this case, public policy precludes imposing liability on homeowners even though the dog bite statute appears to impose strict liability.

  • In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.

  • Environmental group brought suit challenging regulation allowing ritual slaughter exception to statute requiring that animals be treated humanely. The Superior Courtupheld regulation and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeal, Masterson, J., held that: (1) group had standing to sue, and (2) regulation was valid.

  • Plaintiffs Farm Sanctuary, Inc. and Michael Baur filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment holding that the Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and the United States Department of Agriculture must classify all downed livestock as adulterated pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 342(a) and an injunction prohibiting the USDA from allowing non-ambulatory animals to be used for human consumption. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint, inter alia, on the grounds that plaintiffs lack standing to sue. For the reasons discussed, the Government's motion is granted.

  • Court held that intensive egg-laying facilities did not constitute buildings used for 'agricultural purposes' and were not exempt from county zoning ordinances.

  • In this New York case, the plaintiff commenced this negligence action seeking damages for injuries sustained when defendants' bull knocked him to the ground while plaintiff was chasing the bull from his own property. Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that plaintiff's activities in chasing the bull constituted primary assumption of the risk. This court concluded that Supreme Court properly denied defendants' motion. The record established that plaintiff was fully familiar with defendants' bull and had in fact chased the bull from plaintiffs' property on prior occasions. At no time had the bull ever acted aggressively toward plaintiff, and thus plaintiff had no reason to assume that the bull would do so on this particular occasion.

  • This Hawaii case involves a suit against owners of dog to recover for injuries sustained when the plaintiffs, in an attempt to avoid what was believed to be an imminent attack by dog, fell off a natural rock wall.  Defendants' property abutted this rock wall and defendants considered those people who used the rock wall "trespassers."  After defendant's motion for a directed verdict were granted, the plaintiffs appealed.  On appeal, the Supreme Court observed that, in an action against an owner or harborer of a dog for injury inflicted by such animal, defendant's scienter (i. e. actual or constructive knowledge) of the vicious or dangerous propensities of the dog is (except where removed by statute) an essential element of the cause of action and a necessary prerequisite to recovery.  The evidence in the record established the fact that the Payton family not only knew of their dog's propensity to run and bark at strangers utilizing the 'short-cut' via the human-made seawall and the natural rock wall, but also expected such activity from their German shepherd dog.  Indeed, it was predictable that Mrs. Farrior would become frightened and would retreat to a precarious position.

  • Reaffirms that purpose of the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) is to stabilize the livestock industry and protect the rights of sheep and cattle growers from interference and that the Secretary of the Interior may reasonably classify lands under the TGA as suitable for agriculture.

  • Petitioners, Japanese fishing federation, fisherman's association, and environmental group, filed motions for a preliminary injunction against respondent Secretary of Commerce who entered a final decision that approved the federation for an incidental take permit under the MMPA and adopted regulations that authorized the taking of Dall's porpoise within the fishery conservation zone.

  • In this New York case, a cat owner brought suit against an animal shelter and its employee for their alleged misconduct in knowingly placing a champion cat stolen from her home for adoption by unidentified family. In ruling that the lower court properly denied the plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment, the appellate court found that there are questions of fact, inter alia , as to whether “Lucy” is “Kisses." However, the Shelter defendants are correct that the plaintiff may not recover damages for the emotional harm she allegedly suffered from the loss of her cat.
  • Pending before the Court is Defendant American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, et al.'s (“ASPCA”) Motion to Temporarily Stay All Proceedings. The suit arises from Feld Entertainment, Inc. (“FEI”) claim against the ASPCA and other defendants, including Tom Rider, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that defendant Tom Rider has been bribed by the organizational defendants to participate in the ESA Action against FEI in violation of federal law. The court agreed that the public interest in the ESA claim weighs in favor of granting the temporary stay.

  • In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

  • In August 2002, plaintiffs’ dog escaped while being exercised at defendant-kennel’s boarding facility. Birchmount appeals from the judgment claiming the court applied the wrong standard of care, and that the court erred in law in awarding the plaintiffs damages for pain and suffering. The reviewing court found that the evidence would likely have led to the same conclusion regardless of whether a “bailment” standard was used. Further, this court was satisfied that the trial judge did not err in law or in fact in making findings and in awarding general damages where there was evidence that the plaintiffs experienced pain and suffering upon learning of the dog’s escape.

  • In this New York case, a customer brought a negligence action against the owner of a retail store after she was allegedly attacked by a stray cat while shopping at store. The owner of the store moved for summary judgment. The Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County, held that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the presence of a stray or feral cat in a retail store constituted a particular danger for unassuming visitors and/or customers whose presence on premises was foreseeable precluded summary judgment.

  • Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of  the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.

  • The trial court approved a divorcing couple’s agreement for dogs to be with their children (and so travel to the husband's and wife’s houses as part of a shared custody agreement of their children).  The wife did not abide by the agreement, so the Supreme Court remanded back to the trial court to determine sole ownership of the dog.
  • The appellant's dog was removed by police officers and later euthanised. The dog was emaciated and suffering from numerous ailments. The appellant was charged and convicted with an animal cruelty offence and failure to state his name and address when asked. On appeal, it was found that the court had failed to address the elements of the animal cruelty offence and that the charge of failing to state name and address could not stand.

  • The New York appellate court held that the dangerousness or viciousness of plaintiff’s pet monkey was irrelevant, and that the city could remove the monkey regardless of its benevolent behavior.

  • In 2010, police obtained a warrant to search plaintiff’s residence for endangered species. While at the plaintiff’s residence, police shot and killed two Tibetan Mastiffs. Plaintiff was arrested and detained by police in an on the scene determination that she had violated Wisconsin's endangered species and mistreatment of animals law. These charges were later dropped. Plaintiff filed a section 1983 suit—asserting that defendants not only unlawfully searched her residence, seized and "slaughter[ed] ... her dogs," but that they also unlawfully detained her in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. After District Court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on her unlawful detention claim, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. District Court denied plaintiff's motion for reconsideration because she had not cited any intervening change in the law, any erroneous application of the law, or any newly discovered evidence that would compel the Court to reconsider its decision. Additionally, the District Court found the court had reviewed the unlawful detention claim using the proper legal standard.
  • In this Ohio case, Lorraine Flint was bitten by a pit bull dog owned by Carl Holbrook (Flint was bitten and injured by Holbrook's dog in the alley between her residence and Holbrook's).  Flint then brought suit against Holbrook and Turner Patterson, as the titled owner of the premises where the dog was kept.  Patterson was essentially selling the property to Holbrook on land contract.  In this case, the court held it was evident that the land contract agreement effectively transferred the ownership and equitable title to the property to Holbrook.  Holbrook had exclusive possession and control of the premises upon which he kept his pit bull.  While Patterson maintained the bare legal title as security for his debt, he exercised no control over the property; no clause affording him possession or control of the property was included in the land contract agreement.

  • In this Louisiana case, an inexperienced rider was thrown from a horse and sued the horse's owner for negligence and strict liability. After the lower court dismissed the claim, the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, this court held that the horse did not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to the rider such as to warrant imposing strict liability on the owner. The court noted that not every risk of injury posed by an animal represents an unreasonable risk. Here, the evidence established that the horse had a gentle disposition and the movement that caused the plaintiff to be thrown was not unusual or aggressive behavior but rather was simply "horse-like behavior."

  • The plaintiffs charge in that the Secretary of the Interior, in contravention of statutory duty, has failed to conduct the nondiscretionary, five-year status reviews of species listed as endangered or threatened in the Federal Register. Plaintiff seeks an order declaring that Defendants have violated the Endangered Species Act and that the failure to conduct the status reviews constitutes agency action “unlawfully withheld” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Defendants argue that their failure to conduct the mandatory status reviews is not an agency action that is reviewable under the APA. Defendants therefore assert that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's suit to compel agency action to the extent that it arises under the APA. Although not addressed by Defendants and although there is little authority on the issue, Defendants' failure to comply with a mandatory duty falls within the first category of actions reviewable under the APA as an agency action, or inaction, “made reviewable by statute” because the ESA explicitly “provides a private right of action." Defendants assert that budgetary and resource constraints precluded the Secretary from fulfilling the obligation imposed by Congress. However, the court stated that defendants ". . . should take up such constraints with Congress rather than let mandatory deadlines expire with inaction."

  • FEMA, under the National Flood Insurance Program, issues insurance to promote new development in flooded areas.  Plaintiffs sought to compel FEMA to enter into ESA consultation with FWS, and once that consultation occurred, amended their complaint to challenge the sufficiency of the FWS' biological opinion and reasonable and prudent alternatives.  The Eleventh Circuit held for the plaintiffs, reasoning that FEMA had not sufficiently complied with the obligation on federal agencies to carry out their programs consistent with the conservation of endangered and threatened species.

  • The Florida Marine Contractors Association applied for permits to build recreational docks on Florida's inland waterways.  The permit requests were denied due to danger to the West Indian Manatees that live in the waterways.  The Florida Marine Contractors Association challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's permit denials on the basis that the Marine Mammal Protection Act does not apply to residential docks.  Summary judgment was granted in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

  • Plaintiff brought civil rights action against the City of Waterloo, Iowa (City) alleging procedural and substantive due process violations after Animal Control Officers seized Plaintiff’s dog and detained the dog for one hundred days while an appeal was pending.   On Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, the United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division, found that the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause did not apply to Plaintiff’s claim, the Animal Control Officers were acting under color of state law, and that the one hundred day detention of Plaintiff’s dog was a meaningful interference with Plaintiff’s possessory interest in his dog.   The Court also found that Plaintiff’s right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment was satisfied by the post-deprivation hearing provided Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s claim that the decision to detain Plaintiff’s dog was unreasonable or arbitrary, implicated the “unreasonable seizure” provisions of the Fourth Amendment, rather than the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that even if the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment were otherwise applicable, Plaintiff would not have been entitled to relief under the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • Defendant-veterinarian sought appeal of a judgment against him for malpractice resulting from the injury to plaintiff’s thoroughbred colt that resulted in its destruction. The Court of Appeals held that an examination of the record revealed that sufficient evidence was produced to put in issue the question of whether appellant used such skill and attention as may ordinarily be expected of careful and skillful persons in his profession. Thus, the issue was correctly submitted to a jury.

  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit by plaintiffs against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that challenged the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) promulgated under the US Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The court held that plaintiff’s failed to state an injury-in-fact that was traceable to the actions of the defendants for which relief could be granted. Under NPIS, far fewer federal inspectors would be stationed along slaughter lines, and the employees themselves could conduct a preliminary screening of the carcasses before presenting the poultry to a federal inspector for a visual-only inspection. Plaintiffs contended that the revised processing procedures were inconsistent with the PPIA and would ultimately result in the production of unsafe poultry products. They sought a preliminary and permanent injunction by the court to prevent the USDA and the USDA′s Food Safety and Inspection Service from implementing NPIS.
  • In this Virginia case, the defendant was convicted of maliciously shooting a companion animal of another “with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill,” contrary to Va. Code § 18.2-144, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The Court held that the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions, where the defendant admitted he drove the vehicle witnesses saw by the barn where the dog was shot and one witness saw him shoot toward the barn. 

  • A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.

  • In this case, an environmental group filed a citizen suit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) seeking an injunction to prevent modification of the habitat of a pair of spotted owls by defendant-logging company. The United States District Court for the District of Oregon entered summary judgment for the logging company. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The Court found the issue on appeal is whether the district court correctly interpreted the ESA to foreclose citizen suits that only allege a future injury to a protected species. The Court held that the ESA's language, purpose, and structure authorize citizens to seek an injunction against an imminent threat of harm to a protected species. The proposed clear-cutting logging activity was imminent and reasonably certain to injure the owl pair by significantly impairing their essential behavioral patterns.
  • Appellant, Forest Guardians, contend on appeal that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated section 10(j) of the ESA by releasing captive-bred Falcons within an area not wholly separated geographically from an already-existing Falcon population. Forest Guardians aver that the FWS violated the NEPA by deciding to release the captive-bred Falcons before taking the requisite "hard look" at the environmental impact of its decision. Regarding Forest Guardians’ challenge of section 10(j) of the ESA, the court held that the FWS’s release of the captive-bred Falcons did not violate the Act. Forest Guardians’ contention that New Mexico, the location of the experimental release, already quartered an existing population was unpersuasive. The court further rejected Forest Guardian’s second contention that the FWS violated the NEPA by failing to adequately review its proposed action.

  • District Court held that United States Forest Service could issue permits that allow cattle on lands near waterways where spikedace and loach minnows live, both species are listed as "threatened" species, even though this grazing could delay their recovery.

  • To address the Zoo's growing size and complexity, Defendant Woodland Park Zoo Society (WPZS) entered into an “Operations and Management Agreement” (Agreement) with the City of Seattle. The Agreement gave WPZS exclusive rights and responsibilities regarding many areas such as the care, sale, and purchase of the Zoo's animals. The Agreement also contained several provisions addressing public oversight of the Zoo.  Plaintiff Alyne Fortgang requested several categories of records, all pertaining to the Zoo's elephants. She filed the request under the Public Records Act (PRA), which requires every government agency to make records available for public inspection and copying.  The Zoo's director of Communications and Public Affairs responded to Fortgang's request by asserting that the PRA did not apply because WPZS was a private company. Fortgang filed a lawsuit and alleged that WPZS violated the PRA by refusing to disclose certain records. The trial court granted WPZS's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action on the ground that WPZS was not an agency subject to PRA disclosure requirements. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the Court of Appeals and held that the Telford test was the proper analytical framework for evaluating the private entity’s disclosure requirement. The Supreme Court reasoned that under the Telford analysis, WPZS was not the functional equivalent of a government agency. The court stated that although the second Telford factor was inconclusive, all the other factors weighed against PRA coverage: (1) WPZS did not perform an inherently governmental function by operating the Zoo; (2) the City did not exercise sufficient control over the Zoo's daily operations to implicate PRA concerns; (3) WPZS was created solely by private individuals and not  government action and (4) because operating a zoo is not a nondelegable, “core” government function, the case did not involve the privatization of fundamentally public services. The Court of Appeals' decision was affirmed.

  • A dog rescue organization was cited with a violation of the city code for having a dog at large. One rescue dog escaped and lunged at a neighbor. Francis argued that the trial court erred in applying strict liability, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, and challenged the constitutionality of the municipal ordinance. The trial court also found that a violation of the ordinance also imposed restrictions on Francis; she could no longer operate the animal rescue shelter and could only own or keep two dogs. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
  • Five-year-old Femina asked the dog walker, Ms. Dailey, if she could pet Julius, the pit bull. When she bent over to do so, the dog jumped up and bit her on the chin. The Plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Franciscus commenced this negligence action to recover damages for injuries sustained by their daughter, Femina. They filed the action against Mr. Sevdik, the owner of the dog, Ms. Dailey, the dog walker, and Mr. Steigerwald, the individual owner and operator of Fetch Pet Care of West Hills/South Hills. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that summary judgment granted by the trial court in favor of Ms. Dailey and Fetch Pet Care was improper. The Court reasoned that the dog was entrusted to these Defendants by Mr. Sevdik and the dog was in their control when the injury occurred. Since the Defendants knew the dog jumped on people, was to be muzzled when walked, and was not to be walked along routes where there were people, specifically children and other dogs, they had a duty to use reasonable care to protect others from harm while the dog was in their control. While the court stated it did not need to reach the issue of whether the trial court erred in refusing refusing to take judicial notice of dangerous propensities of pit bulls, it noted that Pennsylvania law does not recognize a presumption that pit bulls as a breed are dangerous or have dangerous propensities. The order was vacated and the case was remanded.
  • Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.

  • In a replevin action to recover possession of a lost dog from its finder, the court reversed and remanded the case so a jury could determine whether the statute of limitations was tolled due to the defendant's alleged fraudulent concealment of his possession of the dog.

  • Cleveland H. Downs and Walter Smith were informed against for cruelty to animals, and they move to quash complaints. Complaint quashed against defendant Smith, and defendant Downs held to answer.

  • This case involves two passengers who were injured when the horse-drawn carriage that they were riding in turned over after the horse was startled and the driver lost control of the horse.   The trial court held, and the court of appeals affirmed, that the defendant’s carriage business was not immune from liability to its passengers under Tennessee’s equine liability statute.   There were three reasons for this decision:   1) the defendant is not an “equine activity sponsor,” 2) his business is not an “equine activity,” and 3) the plaintiffs were not “participants” engaging in an “equine activity” when they were injured.

  • Friends of Animals, an animal welfare organization, filed suit for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Friends of Animals filed suit after the BLM started organizing a new “gather” which is a a term used for the removal of wild horses. The BLM planned to “gather” wild horses from a range in Utah and the Friends of Animals challenged the decision on three grounds: (1) the decision to gather was not grounded on any National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document such as a environmental assessment (EA); the BLM failed to honor its previous commitment to include new EAs for any new gathers; and (3) the gather violates the Wild Horses Act on the basis that the BLM failed to make a excess population determination before authorizing the gather.

    The court reviewed the three claims separately and determined that Friends of Animals’ challenges to the gather were not likely to succeed and there was not a sufficient irreparable harm to warrant a preliminary injunction. First, the court found that under NEPA, an agency is able to rely on a previous EA so long as “new circumstances, new information or changes in the action or its impacts not previously analyzed [do not] result in significantly different environmental effects.” The court found that previous EAs were sufficient because they had assessed an “essentially similar” capture method. Additionally, the court determined that although BLM had previously agreed to provide new EAs for any new gathers, the BLM was not legally required to do, so the Friends of Animals argument regarding this issue would not succeed. Lastly, the court found that the BLM had not violated the Wild Horses Act because the BLM had in fact conducted an excess population determination.

    Lastly, the court analyzed whether or not the gather created an irreparable harm that would warrant a preliminary injunction. The court found that there was not sufficient evidence to prove any irreparable harm. As a result, the court denied the preliminary injunction and held in favor of the BLM.

  • Friends of Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, filed suit against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("the Service") in 2013, after the Service issued no initial or final determinations for 39 species of sturgeon the organization petitioned as endangered or threatened. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the Service must make a determination within 90 days for an initial determination or 12 months for a final determination after a petition is received from an interested party. However, there is also a provision in the ESA that the plaintiff must give the Service 60-days notice before filing suit. The District Court held that Friends of Animals did not give the Service adequate notice before filing suit and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, this court agreed, finding that Friends of Animals "did not wait until after the issuance of the positive initial determinations to provide 60 days' notice of the allegedly overdue final determinations." In dicta, the Court noted that "[t]he Service's approach may not be the most efficient," but the deadlines are mandatory in the statutes. Thus, its suit to compel the final determination on the listings was barred and the judgment of the District Court was affirmed.
  • Friends of Animals (“FOA”) appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granting summary judgment in favor of defendants-appellees William Clay in his official capacity as a Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture-APHIS and the FWS. FOA challenged FWS's issuance of a “depredation permit” to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorizing the emergency “take” of migratory birds that threaten to interfere with aircraft at JFK Airport. FOA argues that FWS's own regulations unambiguously prohibit it from issuing such a permit and that the permit should therefore be set aside as the product of agency action that was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The District Court granted summary judgment for defendant FWS. On appeal, this court affirmed that ruling. FOA pointed out that the "emergency take" regulation at 50 C.F.R. § 21.41 does not authorize FWS to issue a permit that allows the emergency take of a migratory bird irrespective of its species, but instead requires a "species-specific" inquiry. However, this court disagreed, finding that "§ 21.41 does not place Port Authority officials in the untenable position of having to choose between violating federal law and deliberately ignoring serious threats to human safety." Further, the court found the specific requirements in § 21.41 concern only applicants seeking a permit and not the FWS itself. In this situation, the court found the 2014 permit's emergency-take provision satisfied § 21.41. The District Court's order was affirmed.
  • 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.
  • Plaintiffs brought an action against the Department of Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of Interior (“Defendants”) alleging that Defendants unlawfully promulgated a rule (the “Rule”) under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) exempting three endangered antelope species from the import, take and other prohibitions under the ESA.   On the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, the United States District Court, District of Columbia granted Defendants’ motion in part and denied Defendants’ motion in part, finding Plaintiffs lack representational standing with respect to wild antelope and antelope in captivity, but have organizational standing under Section 10(c) of the ESA.   The Court granted Plaintiffs motion with respect to their Section 10(c) claim, finding that the promulgated rule violates Section 10(c) of the ESA.
  • Friends of Animals (“FOA”) filed a Complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the ESA and APA seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. At issue is the petition FOA filed with the FWS in January 2008 to list thirteen species of foreign macaws, parrots and cockatoos as threatened or endangered due to the caged pet bird trade. In July 2009, FWS placed on public inspection at the Federal Register its 90-Day Finding for the Thirteen Species and also moved to dismiss FOA's lawsuit as moot. While the Court held that FOA's substantive claims must be dismissed, it considered FOA's argument that an award of fees and costs is appropriate here because its suit served as the “catalyst” for FWS's subsequent remedial actions. The Court allowed FOA to file a motion for fees and costs and defendants to respond to such motion.

  • Friends of Animals (FOA), an animal advocacy group, brought an action against the Secretary of the Interior, et al, (Defendants) under the Endangered Species Act seeking declaratory and injunctive relief by claiming that the Secretary failed to make statutory 90-day and 12-month findings related to the petition to have 13 species of birds listed as threatened or endangered. The Court found that FOA's claim that Defendants failed to make a 90-day finding on its endangered-species petition was moot, and its claim that Defendants failed to meet the 12-month deadline provided by the ESA had to be dismissed due to FOA's failure to provide Defendants with proper notice. The Court did find, however, that FOA's lawsuit was the catalyst prompting Defendants to ultimately issue a 90-day finding as required. Thus, the Court here considers FOA's motion for attorneys' fees and costs. The Court held that FOA could recover fees for work on the notice letter, complaint, and petition for fees to the extent it related to the claim that prompted the 90-day finding. However, the court reduced the amount of time spent on the complaint by fifty percent.

  • Friends of Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service when the Service began issuing permits that allowed the scientific taking of barred owls, both lethally and non-lethally, for the purpose of preserving the habitat of the northern spotted owl, a threatened species. The two species compete with each other in the same territory within Oregon and Northern California. Friends of Animals alleges that these permits are a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which limits the removal of birds from their habitat only for scientific purposes. The theory set forth by the plaintiff is referred to as the ‘same-species theory,’ meaning that the removal of a bird must be for the scientific purposes pertaining to the very species that was taken. This theory is based on language found in the Mexico Convention which is referenced in the MBTA. The lower court granted FWS' motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court, holding that the plain text of the MBTA and Mexico Convention do not demand the same-species theory in the removal of a bird. Specifically, the court concluded that the “used for scientific purposes” exception in Article II(A) of the Mexico Convention includes taking birds to study whether their absence benefits another protected bird species.
  • In 1985, after scientists had found only 10 living squirrels, the Virginia northern flying squirrel was listed as endangered under the ESA. In 2006, after scientists had captured 1,063 squirrels, the FWS went through the procedure to delist the squirrel. Friends of Blackwater filed a complaint against the Secretary of Interior in district court, challenging the Secretary's rule to delist the squirrel. Subsequently, the Secretary of Interior appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment. The D.C. circuit court of appeals reversed the district court's decision, holding that the Secretary's determination the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel was no longer endangered was neither arbitrary and capricious nor in violation of the Act.

  • An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

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