Cases

  • Although the Complaint alleged that Caudill made false or fraudulent statements and/or provided false or fraudulent records to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the emphasis in the Complaint suggested that primary reliance was being placed upon the more general determination of unfitness. The Complaint alleged that Respondents (collectively, including Caudill) engaged in activities designed to circumvent an order of the Secretary of Agriculture in revoking the Animal Welfare Act exhibitor's license previously held by Lancelot Kollman Ramos, and have acted as surrogates for Ramos. Caudill and Kalmanson were alleged to continue to act as Ramos's surrogates, and to facilitate the circumvention of his license revocation order. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found factual support for termination on the grounds of false statements and providing false documents to be lacking. The AJL also found little support for the conclusion that Caudill in any way was operating as a surrogate for Ramos. The ALJ did find that although Caudill had initiated discussions with Ramos concerning the purchase of his animals prior to the effective date of his license revocation, her subsequent consummation of the transaction after his license had been revoked constitutes a violation of 9 C.F.R. § 2.132. In the end, however, the evidence was insufficient to find that Respondent Caudill was unfit to hold an AWA license or that maintenance of a license by her would in any way be contrary to the purposes of the Act
  • Ability to pay civil penalty is not to be considered in determining penalty under Animal Welfare Act.
  • Since 7 USCS § 2140 requires that exhibitors make their records identifying animals available for inspection at all reasonable times, it is not unreasonable to expect that records be with animals as they are transported
  • Recommendations of administrative officials charged with responsibility for achieving congressional purpose of statute are highly relevant to any sanction to be imposed and are entitled to great weight in view of experience gained by administrative officials during their day-to-day supervision of regulated industry; however, recommendation of administrative officials as to sanction is not controlling, and in appropriate circumstances, sanction imposed may be considerably less, or different, than that recommended by administrative officials.
  • Civil penalty of $200,000.00 (largest civil penalty ever imposed under Act) was appropriate, where degree of willfulness and flagrancy of respondents' violations was astonishing, and even after hearing was pending on initial complaint, respondents continued to violate Act.
  • Respondent Lancelot Kollman Ramos has worked as a circus performer and animal trainer his entire life. Ramos acquired Ned the elephant from William Woodcock, who was retiring from the circus. Ramos was aware of rumors that something was wrong with Ned, and he was aware that the animal was thin, but he did not know that it had any health problems. Despite the animal's emaciated condition, Ramos exhibited him in a circus. An Administrative Law Judge found Ramos willfully violated the Animal Welfare Act. $1,650 in fines were imposed on Ramos for violating a cease and desist order and another $5,000 was imposed on him for wilful failure to handle an animal as carefully as possible.
  • Respondent Lee Marvin Greenly is an individual who operates what he describes as a photographic educational game farm along the scenic Kettle River near Sandstone, Minnesota. He is a licensed exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act. A USDA complaint alleged that between March 14, 2006 and October 19, 2010 the Respondents committed some thirty-seven separate violations of the Act and its Regulationsincluding (a) failing to provide adequate veterinary care to their animals; (b) failing to establish a mechanism for communicating with the veterinarian; (c) failing to construct structurally sound housing facilities; (d) failing to timely remove and dispose of food waste; (e) failing to appropriately store food; (f) failing to adequately enclose outdoor facilities; (g) failing to make, keep and maintain adequate and appropriate records; (h) failing to provide environmental enrichment for the animals; (i) failing to allow access for unannounced inspections of the facility, the animals and records; (j) failing to handle animals so as to avoid trauma or physical harm; and (k) failing to handle animals so that there was minimal risk to the public and the animals by permitting direct contact between dangerous animals and members of the public, resulting in injuries to the public on three occasions, death to a neighbor's pet, and mandatory euthanization of one of the animals following one incident. In this order, an Administrative Law Judge issued a cease and desist order, as well as revoked Respondent’s license due to the violations.
  • Recommendations of administrative officials charged with responsibility for achieving congressional purpose of Animal Welfare Act are highly relevant to any sanction to be imposed and are entitled to great weight in view of experience gained by administrative officials during their day-to-day supervision of regulated industry; however, recommendation of administrative officials as to sanction is not controlling, and in appropriate circumstances, sanction imposed may be considerably less, or different, than that recommended by administrative officials.
  • Judicial Officer affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's decision that Marjorie Walker, d/b/a Linn Creek Kennel, violated the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Judicial Officer stated that the Animal Welfare Act provides factors that must be considered when deciding the amount of civil penalty, and that the ability to pay the penalty is not a factor. Respondent was ordered to cease and desist from violating the regulations and standards, pay a $14,300 civil penalty, and the license was revoked .

  • Secretary is authorized to promulgate standards applicable to operator of auction sale as to care, treatment, housing, feeding, watering, and sanitation of animals, since literal language of 7 USCS § 2142 and its legislative history gives Secretary broad authority to impose on auction operator standards of humane handling of all animals subject to Animal Welfare Act, and although construing word "handling" in § 2143 broad enough to include those areas would nullify significance and effect of additional terms, contemporaneous construction of Act by administrative officials charged with responsibility for achieving congressional purpose of ensuring humane care and treatment of animals indicates Secretary has authority to impose such standards on auction operators.
  • This is a disciplinary proceeding under the Animal Welfare Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. s 2131 et seq.), and the regulations issued thereunder (9 C.F.R. s 1.1 et seq.). On January 29, 1991, Administrative Law Judge James W. Hunt (ALJ) issued an Initial Decision and Order assessing a civil penalty of $10,000, and directing respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act, regulations and standards, and, in particular, to cease and desist from engaging in any activity for which a license is required without holding a valid license. The court held that a suspension order may be issued where violation occurred while respondent was not licensed.

  • This opinion held that the USDA may impose sanctions even if respondent dealer is not licensed. Respondents were operators of kennel facilities in Washington, Kansas, and in nearby Reynolds, Nebraska. In 1991 and 1992, Respondents each applied for dealer's licenses under the Act and both were denied. The Judicial Officer affirmed that part of the Order by Judge Bernstein (ALJ) assessing civil penalties of $7,500, and ordering Respondents to cease and desist from engaging in any activity for which a license is required without being licensed, and failing to maintain their facilities in accordance with the regulations and standards involving housing, shelter, veterinary care, records, sanitation, cleaning, food, and water. However, the Judicial Officer increased from 1 year to 10 years the period in which Respondents are disqualified from becoming licensed under the Act and regulations.
  • Congress has authority under Commerce Clause (Art I, § 8, cl 3) to give Department of Agriculture authority to regulate interstate activities within purview of Animal Welfare Act (7 USCS §§ 2131 et seq.), including activities of animal exhibitors.
  • Sanction in each case is to be determined by examining nature of violations in relation to remedial purposes of regulatory statute involved, along with all relevant circumstances, giving appropriate weight to recommendations of administrative officials having responsibility for achieving congressional purpose.

  • Where complaint advised respondent of exact matters at issue, there is no basis for dismissing any allegations of complaint merely because they failed to specify subsections of regulations or standards involved in some of alleged violations. Formalities of court pleading are not applicable in administrative proceedings. Findings of fact need only be supported by a preponderance of the evidence. A violation is willful if the person intentionally does an act which is prohibited or acts with careless disregard of statutory requirements.
  • Proof of willfulness is not prerequisite to concluding that respondent violated Animal Welfare Act or assessing civil penalty or issuing cease and desist order.
  • Respondent's failure to file timely answer or deny allegations of complaint constitutes admission of allegations in complaint and waiver of hearing.
  • Individual who owned auto parts company, and who kept exotic animals on premises (allegedly as pets), was exhibitor for purposes of Act, even though economic benefit to him from exhibiting animals to public was de minimis, because individual's activities were in commerce.
  • Civil penalty of $1,000 against unlicensed dealer was appropriate under 7 USCS § 2149(b), and greater penalty could have been requested where although moderate size of kennel suggested modest penalty, selling hundreds of dogs without license over 40-month period was grave violation of Animal Welfare Act, violations were not committed in good faith since dogs were knowingly and intentionally sold without license after receiving 4 warnings, and even though dealer thought mistakenly that Department would not prosecute her for such violations and there was no history of previous violations, the hundreds of violations proven were sufficient to warrant severe sanction.
  • Reliance is to be no longer placed on "severe" sanction policy set forth in prior decisions; rather, sanction in each case will be determined by examining nature of violations in relation to remedial purposes of regulatory statute involved, along with all relevant circumstances, always giving appropriate weight to recommendations of administrative officials charged with responsibility for achieving congressional purpose.
  • Proof of respondent's willful violations of Animal Welfare Act and regulations and standards is not necessary for revocation or suspension of respondent's license where respondent received notice in writing of facts or conduct that might warrant suspension or revocation of his license, and respondent had opportunity to achieve compliance with requirements of Act and regulations and standards.
  • Inspectors have considerable discretion in selecting their methods of inspection and way in which they document their observations, and photographic documentation obtained during normal business hours in reasonable manner that does not disrupt ongoing research must be construed as within boundaries of such discretion; interference with inspectors' reasonable efforts to take photographs to enhance inspection violates § 2146(a).
  • Respondent who is unable to afford attorney has no right to have counsel provided by government in disciplinary administrative proceedings conducted under Animal Welfare Act.
  • Willful violation is defined as one where violator either intentionally does act which is prohibited, irrespective of evil motive or reliance on erroneous advice, or acts with careless disregard of statutory requirements.
  • Mr. Candy started Tri-State, a zoo, in 2002 as a way to provide his children and other members of the community in Cumberland, Maryland, with an entertaining and educational activity. However, several violations of the Animal Welfare Act led to a cease and desist order and a 45 day suspension of the zoo’s license.
  • An Administrative Law Judge issued a cease and desist order against Vanishing Species, Inc for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The ALJ also revoked the organization’s license and assessed civil penalties. Facts that led to these sanctions include: Respondent housing animals at a site without notifying APHIS of the location; a storm interfering with the air conditioning system that cooled a building that housed animals owned by Respondent, and because the system did not correct itself and Respondent did not provide an alternate cooling system or verify the health of the animals, at least one animal died; Respondent not having a currently signed program of veterinary care on February 4, 201; a wooden frame surrounding the water tub in the bear enclosure was in disrepair; the wooden horizontal support beam for the bear enclosure was cracked; and the vertical metal support next to the door of the skunk enclosure had exposed jagged edges that were accessible to animals.
  • While corrections are to be encouraged and may be taken into account when determining sanction to be imposed, even immediate correction of violation does not operate to eliminate fact that violation occurred and does not provide basis for dismissal of alleged violation.
  • Except as provided in 9 CFR § 2.11, neither Animal Welfare Act (7 USCS §§ 2131 et seq.) nor regulations issued under Act specifically provide for order prohibiting person who is unlicensed from obtaining license; nevertheless, Act provides that Secretary has general authority to promulgate such "orders," as well as such rules and regulations, as may be necessary to effectuate purposes of Act (7 USCS § 2151), which means that Secretary does have power to order that unlicensed person who violates Act, or regulations or standards under Act, be barred from licensure.
  • Exhibitor who engaged in recurring pattern of noncompliance with standards governing structural strength, food storage, ventilation, maintenance of facilities and enclosures, cleaning, housekeeping and interior building surfaces, but who made good faith effort to achieve compliance, is properly sanctioned with $1000 civil penalty, 20-day suspension, and cease and desist order.
  • Respondent Raymond Kerlin, D.V.M., appealed a decision of the Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (Board), finding him guilty of "gross malpractice or gross neglect" in the practice of veterinary medicine after an employee at his office (his wife) stated that the office could not treat a deathly ill kitten after the owners requested payment by credit (apparently not accepted at the office).  In this case, the court observed nothing in the findings of facts to support a conclusion that respondent was aware of the exchange which occurred between the kitten’s owner and Mrs. Kerlin in time for him to have prevented the situation or to have taken remedial steps. Nothing adduced at trial proved that Dr. Kerlin followed the policy of rejecting requests for emergency treatment on credit. Thus, the court concluded that the State failed to establish that respondent was guilty of a violation or of conduct warranting disciplinary action for "gross malpractice", and the decision of the Board was reversed. 

  • Co-executor of an estate petitioned the Westchester County Surrogate's Court for a decree in accordance with EPTL 7–8.1[d] reducing the amount of money to be transferred from the estate to the trustees of a testamentary pet trust established under the decedent's will. Since the decedent gave very specific instructions as to how she wanted her cats to be cared for and the petition was in opposition to the decedent’s wishes, the court denied the reduction.
  • The principle issue in this case is whether the planned stopover of a few hours in Kennedy Airport in New York constitutes an "importation" within the meaning of the MMPA.  The respondent in this case was employed by a business dealing in the international trade of animals and was attempting to bring four dolphins captured off the coast of Argentina back to Japan.  The respondent only landed the dolphins in New York as a stopover on their way to Tokyo, but the court found that there was no requirement of knowledge or specific intent under the MMPA to constitute civil violations.

  • This case is a civil penalty proceeding under the MMPA for the unlawful importation of eight bottlenose porpoises into the United States.  In this case, the court found that specific intent is not required for importation under the MMPA. The court found that the route taken over the United States, the requirement to land for customs clearance purposes, or weather conditions was known or should have been foreseeable to all parties. 

  • In 1999, civil penalties in the amount of $59,500 were assessed for the release of two dolphins from captivity.  The dolphins were not prepared to survive in the wild and sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of their release.  An administrative law judge found that the release of two dolphins without providing them with the necessary skills for survival resulted in harassment and injury to them, and therefore, constituted a violation of the MMPA.

  • This case involves violations of the MMPA by taking, in the form of harassment by feeding or attempting to feed wild dolphins.  The respondents, a captain of a vessel used in a dolphin-feeding encounter, and the sole shareholder of a boat renal company, were both found guilty and assessed civil penalties in the amount of $4500.  Though the shareholder was not on the vessel when it committed the feeding violations, he was found guilty of violating the MMPA, by providing a platform from which feeding is conducted or supported. 

  • The question in this case was whether respondents, members of a marine mammal conservation group, violated the MMPA by interfering with the authorized capture of six dolphins.  As result of this case, which was a civil penalty proceeding, only one of the respondents was found guilty of taking under the MMPA. The court found that the respondent's actions, although taken with noble intentions, endangered the lives of the dolphins, was improper, and dangerous.  He was assessed a fine in the amount of $2,000.

  • Appellee established a business that allowed for "high fence" hunting, which refers to hunting wild animals on property that is enclosed by a fence, of privately-owned whitetail deer. The pivotal question in this appeals case was whether the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) was correct in asserting that the current statutory scheme prohibited this practice, and therefore allowed the agency to promulgate rules effectuating that prohibition. The Indiana Court of Appeals held that IDNR did not have the power to regulate fish and wildlife that were legally owned or held in captivity under a license. The IDNR therefore went beyond its express powers conferred upon it by the General Assembly when it promulgated rules that prohibited "high fence" hunting. The lower court's grant of summary judgment to the appellee was affirmed.
  • A man shipped his dog on an American Airlines airplane, and the dog died shortly after landing. The court found that the contract signed prior to take-off limited the liability of the airline. However, the airline could be liable because after landing, the man had asked for his dog back, to give it veterinary care, but the airline took more than four hours to give it back. Also, the airline could be liable if the plane temperature had been higher than for which the contract called.

  • Motion of Western Wildlife Conservancy, et al., for leave to file a brief as amici curiae granted. Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied.

  • Several plaintiffs - including six wildlife and animal advocacy groups, several state legislators and politicians, and more than a dozen individuals - bring a facial First Amendment challenge to the Utah constitution supermajority requirement for initiatives related to wildlife management. District court held the plaintiffs had standing, but dismissed the claims on their merit. On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court's decision.

  • After the International Court of Justice ruled against Japan in the Whaling in the Antarctic case, Sea Shepherd moved to dismiss the Ninth Circuit’s earlier ruling regarding Sea Shepherd’s own actions in the Antarctic. Sea Shepherd claimed that because the Institute had announced that it would not engage in whaling in the 2014-15 season, its claim was moot. This argument, though, ignored the fact the Institute also stated that it plans to resume whaling in the future, leading the Court to dismiss the motion.
  • The Institute of Cetacean Research, a Japanese whaling group, sued the direct action environmental protection organization Sea Shepherd, claiming that Sea Shepherd’s actions taken against the whaling group’s vessels in the Antarctic are violent and dangerous. The Institute claimed that Sea Shepherd had rammed whaling ships, thrown dangerous objects on to the ships, attempted to prevent them from moving forward, and navigated its vessels in such a way as to endanger the Japanese ships and their crews. The Institute’s request for an injunction was denied when the Court held that the Institute did not establish the necessary factors. The Court did state, however, that though Sea Shepherd’s acts did not constitute piracy, it did not approve of the organization’s methods or mission.
  • After the Institute was denied an injunction in the trial court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction preventing Sea Shepherd from attacking any of the Institute’s vessels in any way and from coming within 500 yards of any Institute vessel operating in the open sea.
  • Several whalers brought suit against Paul Watson and the Sea Shepard Society—of Animal Planet fame—under the Alien Tort Statute for acts that amounted to piracy and that violated international agreements regulating conduct on the high seas. Though the district court denied the whalers a preliminary injunction and dismissed the whalers' piracy claim, the Ninth Circuit found in favor for the whalers. The case was reversed and instructed to be transferred to another district judge; Circuit Judge Smith dissented on the instruction to transfer.

  • The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) brought action against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and others, alleging that NMFS regulations did not properly implement the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and that the NMFS was improperly administering placement list for rehabilitated sea lions that could not be reintroduced into the wild. Parties cross-moved for summary judgment. After considering the parties' arguments, the administrative record, and the relevant law, the District Court found that the IMMS lacked standing to bring its claim that NMFS regulations did not properly implement the Marine Mammal Protect Act ("MMPA"). Further, the Court found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction of IMMS' claims that the NMFS was improperly administering a placement list for non-releasable sea lions. However, the Court found it may review the claims concerning the permit allowing IMMS to "take" sea lions. The Court found that a term included in IMMS' permit improperly delegated federal authority to third parties. The permit was therefore remanded to the agency for reconsideration. Each summary judgment motion was granted in part and denied in part.
  • Private individuals and organizations brought action seeking to be named guardians of medical research animals seized from organization whose chief was convicted of state animal cruelty statute violations. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, John R. Hargrove, J., dismissed action, and individuals and organizations appealed. The Court of Appeals, Wilkinson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) individuals and organizations lacked standing to bring action, and (2) Animal Welfare Act did not confer private cause of action. Case discussed in topic: US Animal Welfare Act.

  • Irvin Wilson, Sr. owns a corporation named Pet Paradise, Incorporated, which included a pet shop, also called Pet Paradise, specializing in exotic animals. The pet shop was operated by Irvin Wilson, Jr., who is now incarcerated on unrelated charges. Several inspections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) resulted in a finding of 61 violations involving 27 of the regulations and standards promulgated pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. The USDA imposed sanctions of a $5,000 fine and a suspension of the USDA license for 30 days or until compliance is shown. This court found no reason to disturb the sanctions imposed.
  • In this case, Degtiarov's unleashed dog attacked Irwin's dog without provocation. Though Irwin's dog survived, there were significant veterinary costs. Irwin brought this suit for damages in the form of veterinary costs, which were granted by the district court and affirmed by the appellate court. The sole issue on appeal considers whether damages should be capped at the market value of the dog, despite the reasonableness of the veterinary costs necessary to treat the dog's injuries. The appellate court affirms the damages for reasonable veterinary costs that were incurred for damage caused by a dog, even if these costs exceed the market or replacement value of the animal injured by the dog.
  • The appellant was a keeper of livestock who had shot and injured a neighbor's dog that had strayed into the appellant's pig pen. He had been convicted of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the dog contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a) (second limb). Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that the local justices were entitled to find as a matter of fact that it had not been reasonably necessary to shoot the dog.

  • This is an action for damages for the deliberate killing of a dog by a Deputy Sheriff that was alleging terrorizing the neighborhood.  In finding for defendant-officer, the court noted that the consensus among the courts is that a vicious dog is a public nuisance and that governments and their agents have broad power to protect the public from these animals.  The court thus found the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances and had a qualified immunity defense.

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