Cases

  • In Trautman v. Day, 273 N.W. 2d 712 (N.D. 1979), defendant shot plaintiff’s dog when it ran through defendant’s herd of cows. The court affirmed a verdict of $300 for plaintiff’s dog. In addition, the Court declined to apply the defense of immunity based on a statute concerning the “worrying of livestock.

  • A short, childless marriage ended in a custody battle over a dachshund after one spouse allegedly took the dog while the other spouse was away on a business trip. After reviewing the progression of the law in New York and in other states, the court decided to apply a “best for all concerned” standard and to give the parties a full, one-day hearing. The plaintiff’s motion to order the defendant to return the couple's dog and to be awarded “sole residential custody” of the dog was therefore granted.

  • In this Indiana case, the defendant was convicted after a bench trial of cruelty to an animal and harboring a non-immunized dog. On rehearing, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant abandoned or neglected dog left in his care, so as to support conviction for cruelty to an animal. The court held that the evidence of Butchie's starved appearance, injured leg, and frost bitten extremities was sufficient to allow the trial judge to discount Trimble's testimony and infer that Trimble was responsible for feeding and caring for Butchie, and that he failed to do so.

  • A woman fell from a horse during a riding lesson when her horse was frightened.  The woman brought claims against the riding facility and riding instructor for negligence.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed reasoning horses becoming frightened is an inherent risk when riding.

  • In this case, the Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants for trespass to chattels. She alleged that the Defendants shot her valuable dog. The Defendants countered that they were justified in shooting the dog since it was on their land chasing and worrying their cattle contrary to the Stray Animals Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. S-23, Part 3. Here, the court found credible the testimony from the defendant cow-operator that the dog was chasing a lame cow to the point where the cow was exhausted. The action by plaintiff was dismissed.

  • RSPCA officers found a horse belonging to the applicant on the applicant's property and, after preparing the horse for transport, had to euthanise the animal when it collapsed. The applicant was convicted of failing to feed a horse which led to its serious disablement and eventual euthanisation. The applicant was unsuccessful on all issues on appeal and was liable for a fine of $4000 and prevention from owning 20 or more horses for five years.

  • Plaintiff horse owner appealed a judgment of the Jefferson Circuit Court (Alabama) entered on a jury verdict in favor of defendant veterinarian in a malpractice action arising from the death of the owner's horse. The horse owner contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on the ground that the verdict was against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. The court affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of the veterinarian in the malpractice action.

  • Environmental Groups sued the National Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the United States Department of Commerce for making regulations which allowed swordfish longline fishing along the Hawaii coast, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Court found that because the regulations were made under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (Magnuson Act), and because that Act had a 30-day time limit for when challenges to regulations could be made, the environmental groups has not brought their challenge to the regulations in time.

  • The plaintiffs, In Defense of Animals and Patricia Haight brought suit against the defendants under the False Claims Act.  In 1997, defendant Michael Berens, Ph.D., submitted a grant application to the NIH in which he sought federal funding for a project to develop a canine model to study glioma, a form of human brain cancer, and attempted to create a process for implanting gliomas in the brains of beagles. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants, holding that the plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that the challenged grant application statements were objectively false. 

  • The plaintiffs, In Defense of Animals and Patricia Haight brought suit against the defendants, Michael Berens, the principal research investigator of the study in question, and the Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Catholic Healthcare West Arizona, and Catholic Healthcare West, his employers, under the False Claims Act.  In 1997, defendant Michael Berens, Ph.D., submitted a grant application to the NIH in which he sought federal funding for a project to develop a canine model to study glioma, a form of human brain cancer, and attempted to create a process for implanting gliomas in the brains of beagles. The plaintiffs brought suit against Dr. Berens under the False Claims Act asserting that he had lied in his grant application in order to obtain NIH funding. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants, holding that the plaintiffs failed to produce sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that the challenged grant application statements were objectively false.   In response, the plaintiffs filed a notice to appeal 51 days later, relying on a circuit court precedent allowing plaintiffs 60 days to file a notice of appeal in these types of cases.   However, an intervening Supreme Court decision declared that plaintiffs have only 30 days to file a notice to appeal in this type of case.   This case was amended and superseded by US ex rel Haight v. Catholic Healthcare West , 602 F.3d 949 (9th Cir., 2010).

  • The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife executed an administrative order preventing the issuance of bear hunting permits.  Hunters and hunting organizations sought judicial review of the administrative decision.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey ultimately held it was within the authority of the Environmental Protection Commissioner to approve policies of the Fish & Wildlife Council and, therefore, execute the administrative order against bear hunting permits.

  • Plaintiff U.S. sought to forfeit the Defendant parakeets on the ground that they were imported in violation of Peruvian law and consequently, in violation of the Lacey Act.  The court held that, if even the "innocent owner" defense was available under the Lacey Act (which the court held it is not under the forfeiture provision of the statute), the claimant importer never attempted to independently confirm or verify that the parakeet species in question (brotogeris versicolorus) could be lawfully imported from Peru.  Thus, the court held the forfeiture valid where the U.S. established by probable cause to believe the Lacey Act was violated where the testimony at trial established that Peruvian Supreme Decree No. 934-73-AG prohibits from anywhere in the national territory the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle region. 

  • The plaintiff, the United States of America, seeks forfeiture of the defendant, 10,870 crusted sides of Caiman crocodilus yacare, an endangered species of wildlife (hides) transported from Bolivia to the U.S. in violation of the Lacey Act, among other statutes.  The court found that the testimony concerning the shrinkage of the crocodile hides during tanning did not meet the buren of the claimed owners showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the hides, which were shipped from Bolivia under the size limit imposed by Bolivian law, were not subject to the forfeiture provisions of the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. § 3374(a)(1) (1985).  The provision of the Lacey Act at issue prohibits the interstate or foreign commerce of any wildlife taken in violation of any foreign law. 

  • Defendants were charged with exporting salmon from Taiwan in violation of Taiwanese regulations.  The regulations and public announcement of the Taiwan Board of Foreign Trade restricting the export of salmon from Taiwan constituted "foreign law" as that term is used in the Lacey Act, despite the fact this was embodied in regulation, not statute.  Moreover, this provision of the Lacey Act was not void for vagueness for failing to expressly state that the term "foreign law" encompassed both foreign statutes and regulations. 

  • Before the Court is the appeal of Frank J. Abbate, Jr.from a misdemeanor conviction for violating a provision of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act ("MBTA") after a Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife agent witnessed Abbate illegally taking or attempting to take wood ducks after legal shooting hours. At trial, appellant was found guilty of the offense charged and sentenced him to a two-year term of probation. As a special condition, the magistrate ordered that appellant pay a fine of $500 and refrain from hunting birds during the probationary period. Appellant petitions this Court to review his portrayal of the facts and reconsider the credibility of the witnesses and evidence in light of the arguments and allegations presented in his appellate brief. However, rules of procedure governing this appeal preclude appellant from receiving a trial de novo. Accordingly, this Court cannot consider new facts which appellant did not allege at trial and disregarded appellant's arguments which raise conflict over the weight and credibility of testimony. With regard to sentencing, the court found that the magistrate properly exercised his discretion where appellant had a prior conviction under the MBTA for illegal hunting and the revocation of his hunting license would properly prevent future MBTA violations.

  • Defendant, an Indian who resided on a reservation charged with the possession of golden eagle parts under the BGEPA, challenged the indictment as a violation of treaty rights and an unconstitutional burden on his exercise of religion.  In an unusual decision, the court found that the BGEPA placed an unconstitutional burden on defendant's exercise of religion, where the golden eagle was not threatened in New Mexico and permits to kill depredating eagles had previously been issued.  The court also held that the treaty at issue granted special religious accommodations to the tribe, thereby preserving a treaty right to harvest eagles for religious needs.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

  • Defendant was a member of a Canadian tribe when he brought eagle feathers across the border to the U.S. for a "potlatch" ceremony (exchange of eagle parts for money and goods, which was religiously significant to defendant).  On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction under the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), arguing in part that the government lacked an asserted compelling interest where the USFWS had issued a proposed delisting of the eagle from the ESA list.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding the evidentiary weight of the proposed delisting was lacking and that defendant was not discriminated against based on religion, but rather was excluded from the permit system based on the secular component of the Act (i.e., the requirement for membership in a federally-recognized tribe).

  • Appellants, Apollo Energies, Inc. and Dale Walker, were charged with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act after an agent with the USFWS discovered dead migratory birds lodged in each appellant's "heater-treater," a piece of equipment used in the course of appellants' Kansas oil drilling businesses, on several occasions. At trial, both Apollo and Walker were convicted of  misdemeanor violations for "taking" or "possessing" migratory birds. On appeal, Apollo and Walker contested that (1) the MBTA is not a strict liability crime or, (2) if it is a strict liability crime, the MBTA is unconstitutional as applied to their conduct. Bound by a previous holding that found misdemeanor violations of the MBTA are strict liability crimes, the court concluded that the MBTA includes no mens rea requirement. As to Appellants' second contention challenging the constitutionality of the Act, the court concluded that while the Act is not unconstitutionally vague, "the MBTA requires a defendant to proximately cause the statute's violation for the statute to pass constitutional muster.

  • Melville O'Neal Atkinson was convicted of twenty-one felony violations of the Lacey Act for his role in organizing and guiding several illegal hunting expeditions.  The court found sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction based on interstate commerce where, at the end of each illegal hunt, defendant arranged or assisted in arranging to ship deer carcasses to the hunters' homes outside the state. 

  • After two applications to seek compensation for South Africa were denied, the United States appealed the two orders and the 2nd Circuit held that South Africa (1) had a property interest in rock lobsters unlawfully harvested from its waters and (2) was a victim under the MVRA and VWPA. The 2nd Circuit therefore held that restitution was owed to South Africa and the case was remanded for the district court to calculate restitution.

  • On November 23, 1987, defendant, John Terrence Big Eagle, filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in this action on the grounds that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The indictment charges the defendant with violating the Lacey Act prohibitions against transporting, selling, or acquiring fish taken or possessed in violation of state law or Indian tribal law.  The court held that the fishing regulations of the Lower Bule Sioux Tribe were applicable to defendant, a Native American of another tribe, and that this subjected him to prosecution under the Lacey Act.

  • Defendant-appellants appealed their convictions following guilty pleas to offenses relating to illegal cockfighting and gambling activities. On appeal, they challenged the denial of their motion to dismiss for selective prosecution or, in the alternative, for discovery in support of their selective prosecution claim. In particular, appellants contend that district court should have dismissed the indictment or granted leave to obtain discovery because they, as Caucasians, were prosecuted federally, while two Hispanic co-conspirators and thirty-six Hispanic people arrested in connection with another cockfighting ring in Hampton County, South Carolina, faced only state charges. The Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, found that appellants failed to show that they were similarly situated to the Hispanic defendants who were not prosecuted on federal charges.

  • The Government charged Brigham Oil & Gas, L.P.with “taking” (killing) two migratory birds found dead near one of its reserve pits. But, the Court found that the use of reserve pits in commercial oil development is legal, commercially-useful activity that stands outside the reach of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Therefore, the Court held that the oil and gas companies' use of reserve pits did not violate Migratory Bird Treaty Act's prohibition against taking of protected birds, since death or injury was not intentional, and grated the defendant's motion to dismiss.
  • After defendant received a shipment of dead frogs, he was convicted of violating a portion of the Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 42(c), which made it a misdemeanor to knowingly cause or permit any wild animal to be transported to the United States under inhumane or unhealthful conditions. Defendant appealed, and judgment was reversed and remanded with instructions to enter a judgment of not guilty. The government failed to meet its burden to prove not only that the defendant knowingly caused or permitted the transportation to the United States of a wild animal, but also that the defendant knew the conditions under which the frogs was transported were "inhumane or unhealthful."

  • Ricky Bryant appeals convictions on one misdemeanor and two felony counts of purchasing illegally obtained fox pelts, violations of the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, 16 U.S.C. § 3371-3378 (1981).  The court held that the North Carolina regulation, which unambiguously prohibited the hunting of foxes without authorization and expressly stated that dealing in untagged pelts is illegal, withstood the void for vagueness test as prosecuted under the Lacey Act.  The court further dismissed challenges based on an entrapment defense and arguments that the Lacey Act constitutes an unconstitutional delegation to the States of legislative power reserved to Congress.

  • Defendant was a commercial fisherman and conditionally pled guilty to unlawfully acquiring and transporting halibut with market value of more than $350 and knowingly intending to sell illegally taken halibut in violation of Lacey Act after he exceeded the catch limits set by the Pacific Halibut Act.  Defendant argued that the Lacey Act criminalized the same civil conduct regulated by the Halibut Act, thereby superseding that federal statute.  The court disagreed, finding that the purpose of the Lacey Act was to strengthen existing wildlife laws where the underlying law did not specify exclusive control. 

  • Defendant owned a goldfish farm and hired lethal "birdmen" to kill various birds that interfered with his operation, including herons and egrets, by means of shooting, trapping, and poisoning.  In reversing defendant's conviction under the Lacey Act, the Court disagreed with the government's position that the act of taking of the birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act also implicated the Lacey Act.  The court held that the Lacey Act requires something beyond the first taking; indeed a person must do something to wildlife that has already been "taken or possessed" in violation of law.

  • After 35 dead Brown Pelicans were discovered in the space between the inner wall of the caisson and the outer wall of a wellhead, Chevron was charged with a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. But, the Court held that the MBTA was clearly not intended to apply to commercial ventures where, occasionally, protected species might be incidentally killed as a result of totally legal and permissible activities. Therefore, at the plea hearing the Court refused to accept the plea of guilty from Chevron.
  • In 2007, CITGO was convicted of unlawfully taking and aiding and abetting the taking of migratory birds under MBTA § 707(a) after ten dead birds were found in two large open-top oil tanks. CITGO moved the Court to vacate its convictions, arguing that the MTBA criminalizes the unlawful taking or killing of migratory birds by hunting, trapping, poaching, or similar means, but does not criminalize commercial activities in which migratory birds are unintentionally killed as a result of activity completely unrelated to hunting, trapping, or poaching. In response, the Government argued that the MTBA prohibits the taking or killing of a migratory bird at any time, by any means or in any manner. The evidence presented at trial established that a number of individuals saw oil-covered birds, both dead and alive. An employee told senior management and suggested to another member of CITGO's senior management team that CITGO install nets on the tanks to prevent birds from landing in the oil. Based on this evidence, the court held that not only was it reasonably foreseeable that protected migratory birds might become trapped in the layers of oil on top of the tanks, but that CITGO was aware that this was happening for years and did nothing to stop it. Because CITGO's unlawful, open-air oil tanks proximately caused the deaths of migratory birds in violation of the MBTA, CITGO's Motion to Vacate CITGO's Conviction for Violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was denied.
  • CITGO was convicted of multiple violations of the Clean Air Act and its regulations, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (“MBTA”). CITGO urged the 5th Circuit to reverse the Clean Air Act convictions because the district court erroneously instructed the jury about the scope of a regulation concerning “oil-water separators.” CITGO also contended that the MBTA convictions were infirm because the district court misinterpreted the statute as covering unintentional bird kills. The 5th Circuit agreed with both contentions, holding that CITGO's equalization tanks and air floatation device were not oil-water separators under the Clean Air Act's regulations and that “taking” migratory birds involved only “conduct intentionally directed at birds, such as hunting and trapping, not commercial activity that unintentionally and indirectly caused migratory bird deaths. The district court’s decision was reversed and remanded with instructions.
  • Defendant and several individuals went on a duck hunt in and were charged with exceeding the limit for migratory birds under Virginia law.  The game wardens testified that the defendant, Clucas, admitted in the presence of the other parties that they had killed more than the 'bag', meaning thereby that they had killed more than ten ducks allowed for each person.  The government held the position that the other individuals were hired for the reason of taking or killing the ducks.  The court held that in view of the fact that January 6, 1943, was not the first day of the season the possession of twenty-six ducks by the two defendants did not constitute a violation of the provisions of the Virginia regulation. The possession being legal, the burden of proof did not shift to the defendants. 

  • As related to the BGEPA, the opinion distinguishes the degree of intent under the MBTA from that of the BGEPA.  It also holds that both statutes were designed to apply to activities outside of traditional scope of hunting and poaching (in this case poisoning of birds).  For further discussion on activities such as poisoning and electrocution prohibited under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

  • The court reversed the district court's judgment of convictions against defendants for the illegal importation and the intent to sell iguanas in the United States because of prosecutorial misconduct. The court held that the prosecutor wasted valuable money in pursuing irrelevant testimony, and improperly questioned defendants and their witnesses after repeated warnings from the district court judge.

  • The legislative history surrounding the passage of the BGEPA as well as the plain language of the Act evinces an intent by Congress to abrogate the rights of Indians to take eagles except as otherwise provided by statute.  Defendant, a member and resident of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and Reservation, was charged with violations of the BGEPA and ESA after shooting several eagles on the reservation and selling eagle parts.  The Court held that any other interpretation would be inconsistent with the need to preserve the species.  For further discussion on the abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

  • Doyle is a physician who lives in Texas and runs a bird rehabilitation center where he breeds captive falcons, hoping to reintroduce them.  Here, the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction for violation of the Lacey Act making it unlawful for any person to possess and transport in interstate commerce any wildlife taken or transported in violation of any state law (Montana).  Although defendant obtained proper state permits to possess and transfer described falcons, defendant was aware that the falcons' origins had been misrepresented; therefore, defendant has sufficient knowledge under the statute.

  • The jury found that Fejes sold caribou in violation of the Lacey Act by providing guide services to two hunters that took the caribou in violation of Alaska law.  The court held that a "sale" of wildlife for purposes of 16 U.S.C. § 3373(d)(1)(B) encompasses not only the agreement to provide guide or outfitting services, but also the actual provision of such services.  Further, defendant was not entitled to instruction regarding alleged state law requirement that he transport illegally taken caribou because the evidence at trial unquestionably showed that he sold caribou in interstate commerce.

  • Defendant kennel operator was found to violate the AWA on multiple occasions when inspected by APHIS representatives. From 2005 to 2009, defendant repeatedly failed inspections where APHIS found that he provided inadequate veterinary care, did not maintain complete records on the dogs, and did not properly maintain the housing facilities for the dogs. The Administrator of APHIS filed and served on Defendant an administrative complaint for violations. Defendant never filed an answer, and so a Default Decision and Order was entered against Defendant. The Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in part because Defendant failed to file an answer to the administrative complaint, and so was deemed to have admitted the allegations in the complaint.

  • FMC operated a plant which manufactured various pesticides, requiring large amounts of wastewater which was stored in a pond. The pond attracted waterfowl during migration, some of which died. FMC attempted various measures to keep birds away from the pond. But, the Court held that FMC had engaged in an activity involving the manufacture of a highly toxic chemical and had failed to prevent this chemical from escaping into the pond and killing birds. The Court, therefore, held that this was sufficient to impose strict liability on FMC.
  • Roosevelt Fountain, Sr. ("Fountain") and his daughter, Shirley Fountain Ellison ("Ellison") operated an oyster fishing business in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, called Fountain Seafood, Inc., where their convictions arose from the manner in which they operated the business (i.e., tagging violations, taking of oysters from closed areas, taking of excess limits of oysters, and licensing violations).  The indictment further contended that the appellants worked to accomplish this goal by creating false records relating to their oyster sales.  The court held that it was not error for no instruction on the term "willfully," since the false record provision refers to "knowingly" as the mens rea requirement.  Further, the court held that "materiality" is also not a provision of the Lacey Act's false records provision.

  • The Defendant, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming, was charged with violating the Eagle Act after he illegally shot a bald eagle for an important religious ritual. The Defendant claimed that prosecution was prevented by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Friday claimed that the government failed to protect eagles killed when they strike power lines. The Court of Appeals held that the permitting process did not facially violate the RFRA and any difference in government's treatment of Native Americans taking eagles for religious purposes and power companies whose power lines killed eagles did not indicate that government failed to protect eagles in least restrictive manner. 

  • The court finds that the legislative history and surrounding circumstances of the BGEPA evinces a congressional intent to restrict treaty-based rights to hunt eagles.  The court aligns itself with Judge Lay's dissent in U.S. v. White to hold that the BGEPA abrogated Indian hunting rights related to eagles.  For further discussion on the abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

  • In an issue of first impression, this Court considered whether the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) was unconstitutional either on its face or as-applied to defendants. The defendants in this case were an animal rights organization ("SHAC") and six associated individuals. The defendants engaged in direct action ranging from electronic civil disobedience to destroying property at the homes of individuals associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences (a research corporation that performs animal testing for other companies). Defendants argued that the statute has a chilling effect on speech because protestors will refrain from all speech, even protected speech, due to the ambiguity of what the statute proscribes. Thus the Court found that the government provided sufficient evidence to prove that the defendants conspired to violate the AEPA.

  • Defendant first argues that the district court lacked jurisdiction because the government failed to plead and prove two essential jurisdictional elements for a 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a)(1) violation--namely, that Mr. Gardner was not an Indian and that the crime affected interstate commerce.  The court found the non- Indian status of the defendant is not an essential element of jurisdiction for a 16 U.S.C. § 3372 violation.  It is only necessary to plead and prove an interstate commerce nexus where § 3372(a)(2) is implicated.  The Court reverses because the jury instructions did not sufficiently instruct the jury as to how it should consider uncorroborated accomplice testimony.

  • Gay-Lord was found guilty of engaging in interstate commerce in striped bass (rockfish) in violation of regulations and statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia after purchasing the fish from undercover FWS agents and later selling it to an interstate distributor.  The Court held that conviction was proper despite undercover agents having transported fish from Virginia to trafficker's place of business in North Carolina.

  • The primary question in this appeal was whether Congress exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause in enacting a criminal prohibition against animal fighting. Defendants were indicted, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, for their roles in organizing, operating, and participating in “gamefowl derbies,” otherwise known as “cockfighting.” Upon the 4th Circuit’s review of the parties' arguments, it held that the animal fighting statute was a legitimate exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. It also held that the statute did not require the government to prove the defendants' knowledge regarding the particular venture's nexus to interstate commerce. Accordingly, the district court’s decision was affirmed.
  • Court held that defendant has standing to raise a facial challenge to the Indian eagle permit process where he declined to apply for a permit based on the intrusiveness of the questions.  Defendant is a member of a highly secretive religious sect of his tribe.  In the RFRA analysis, the court held that the permit application was not the least restrictive means of implementing the government's compelling interest where the permit required intrusive information about religious practices.  For further discussion on Native American religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

  • Defendant challenged the search of his residence in a drug raid in which his dog was shot.  The court held that the shooting of Gregory's dog was done excusably by an officer who reacted quickly in a potentially dangerous situation to a perceived attack by an animal reasonably believed to be an attack dog. The shooting of the dog did not render the search unreasonable.

  • In a Lacey Act prosecution for conspiracy to engage in conduct prohibited by the Act, the prosecution need not allege that all the defendants involved committed the underlying substantive violation of the Lacey Act to charge the defendants with conspiracy.  Moreover, the alleged overt acts need not be criminal in nature.

  • The court affirmed the decision of the district court which convicted defendant of violations of the Lacey Act (Act) and the Endangered Species Act. The court held that the Act was not unconstitutional, that defendant was not permitted to collaterally challenge an agency regulation on the grounds of new scientific evidence, and that the Secretary of the Interior's finding that the turtle was a valid species was not arbitrary.

  • Defendants appealed sentences arising out of a Missouri-based dog-fighting conspiracy. Each man pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in animal fighting ventures in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and one Defendant additionally pleaded guilty to engaging in animal fighting ventures in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2156. When sentencing each defendant, the district court applied an upward departure provision found in the application notes to United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG or Guidelines). Each appellant argued that his relevant conduct was not sufficiently cruel to warrant the upward departure. The 8th Circuit found, however, that the district court had properly considered conduct that was legally relevant to Defendants' sentencing under the Guidelines. The court also found that Defendants' conduct amounted to more than just possessing fighting pit bulls. Defendants bred, raised, trained, sold, and fought them knowing that the dogs would be allowed, if not required, to fight until severely injured or dead. Thus, the ordinary cruelty inherent in dog fighting justifies base offense level, while the extraordinary cruelty of Defendants' crimes separately justified the upward departure. The district court's judgment was affirmed.

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