Cases

  • Purpose of sanctions is to deter respondent, as well as others, from committing same or similar violations.
  • Ongoing pattern of violations establishes "history of previous violations" for purposes of 7 USCS § 2149(b), and it is appropriate to view evidence as establishing prior violations in determining appropriate level of civil penalty.
  • The Judicial Officer affirmed the Decision by Chief Judge Palmer (Chief ALJ) assessing civil penalties of $140,000, with $60,000 held in abeyance for 1 year, for transporting 108 dogs and cats in a cargo space that was without sufficient air, causing the death of 32 dogs. The Order also directs Respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act, regulations and standards, and, in particular, to cease and desist from failing to ensure that dogs and cats have a supply of air sufficient for normal breathing.  On appeal, the court held that when regulated entity fails to comply with Act, regulations or standards, there is separate violation for each animal consequently harmed or placed in danger.
  • Imposition of $4,000 civil penalty was appropriate under 7 USCS § 2149(b) where respondent committed numerous, serious violations of Animal Welfare Act, respondent handled large number of animals, and violations continued after respondent was advised in writing of violations and given opportunity to correct them.

  • This is a disciplinary proceeding under the Animal Welfare Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. ss 2131- 2156). On April 20, 1989, Administrative Law Judge Edwin S. Bernstein (ALJ) issued an initial Decision and Order suspending respondents' license for 90 days, and thereafter until respondents demonstrate compliance with the Act and regulations, assessing a civil penalty of $12,000, and directing respondents to cease and desist from failing to retain possession and control of all dogs until they are at least 8 weeks of age and have been weaned, failing to hold dogs for not less than 5 business days after acquisition, failing to keep and maintain proper records, and failing to allow inspection of respondents' facility and records. Dealers and other regulated persons are required to grant access to their records during ordinary business hours, without any advance notice from Department.

  • On March 14, 1990, the civil penalty and suspension provisions of the order issued in this case on January 29, 1990, 49 Agric.Dec. 115, were stayed pending the outcome of proceedings for judicial review.  This order is issued lifting the stay.  The civil penalty of $12,000 assessed against the respondents shall be paid no later than the 90th day after service of this order.

  • Licensed dealer who engaged in recurring pattern of trivial noncompliance with housekeeping requirements, failed to provide records on two occasions and failed to permit inspection on one occasion, is properly sanctioned with 20-day license suspension, $1500 civil penalty, and cease and desist order.
  • This Administrative Order revoked the Animal Welfare Act exhibitors license and assessed a $39,375 civil penalty to the owners of Collins Exotic Animal Orphanage. The owners of the license were also order to cease and desist from in particular, shall cease and desist from: failing to maintain complete records showing the acquisition, disposition, and identification of animals; failing to maintain programs of disease control and prevention, euthanasia, and adequate veterinary care under the supervision and assistance of a doctor of veterinary medicine; failing to provide veterinary care to animals in need of care; failing to provide food for rabbits that is free of contamination, wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient quantity and nutritive value for the rabbits; failing to keep food receptacles for rabbits clean and sanitized; failing to locate food receptacles for rabbits so as to minimize contamination by excreta; failing to construct housing facilities for animals so that they are structurally sound; failing to maintain housing facilities for animals in good repair; failing, during public exhibition, to maintain a sufficient distance or barrier between animals and the general viewing public to assure the safety of the animals and the viewing public; failing to provide natural or artificial shelter appropriate to the local climatic conditions for animals kept outdoors to afford the animals protection and to prevent discomfort to the animals; failing to enclose all outdoor housing facilities for animals with a perimeter fence of sufficient height; and failing to remove excreta from primary enclosures as often as necessary to prevent contamination of the animals contained in the primary enclosures and to minimize disease hazards.
  • Willfulness is not required for cease and desist orders or for monetary fines; it is only required for license revocation if agency has not given respondent written notice of violations and opportunity to come into compliance with regulations. (Chief Administrative Law Judge Victor W. Palmer imposed a civil penalty of $15,000.00, issued a cease and desist order, and revoked Respondent's license after finding that Respondent: failed to allow department officials to inspect its facility; failed to maintain complete and accurate records of the acquisition, disposition, and identification of dogs; failed to properly identify dogs; failed to hold dogs for the required period of time; offered dogs for transportation in enclosures that did not conform to structural strength and space requirements; failed to construct and maintain primary enclosures for dogs that protect the dogs from injury; failed to deliver health certificates for dogs transported interstate; failed to provide adequate veterinary care; and obtained random source dogs from individuals who had not bred and raised the dogs on their own premises.)
  • Dog broker shipping dogs under 8 weeks old was assessed civil penalty of $7,000 and license as dealer under Animal Welfare Act was suspended for 35 days, since broker was one of largest dog brokers in state, 8-week minimum age requirement was based on finding that ability of dogs to function in adult environment was adversely affected if shipped under that age, violations were serious and flagrant in view of large number of puppies shipped on 10 different occasions during 2-month period, and broker had violated Act and standards on prior occasion resulting in 12 day license suspension.
  • Ongoing pattern of violations establishes "history of previous violations" for purposes of 7 USCS § 2149(b).
  • Respondent's inability to pay civil penalty is not consideration in determining civil penalties assessed under Animal Welfare Act.
  • Respondents' failure to file timely answer, or deny allegations of complaint, constituted admission of complaint allegations and waiver of hearing, irrespective of respondents' contention that they were justified in not filing answer because ALJ did not rule on respondents' motions to sever, strike and make more definite and certain, since Department's rules of practice do not alter time for filing answer when such motions are filed.
  • Respondent who, after being duly notified, fails to appear at hearing for good cause, is deemed to have admitted any facts presented at hearing and all material allegations of fact contained in Animal Welfare Act complaint.
  • Licensed dealer found guilty of numerous violations of Act involving care and housing of dogs and cats, failure to allow inspection of records, and failure to keep and maintain adequate records as to acquisition and disposition of animals, is properly penalized with 25-year suspension of license, civil penalty of $40,000, and cease and desist order.
  • 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. 

Pages