Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Resolución 063/2018 - Mexico Resolución 063/2018 - Mexico The Human Rights Commission of the state of Guerrero, Mexico (Comisión de los Derechos Humanos del Estado de Guerrero) is the administrative authority responsible for overseeing human rights violations and issuing public recommendations and complaints when such violations are attributed to state and municipal authorities and public employees (See Comisión de los Derechos Humanos del Estado de Guerrero). In response to a complaint filed by members of the civil association “Responsible Citizen,” a professor, and students from the Master’s in Law program at the Autonomous University of Guerrero, the Commission addressed concerns against the director of the Zoochilpan Zoo. The complaint alleged violations of the Rights of Nature (recognized in Guerrero’s constitution since 2014) and the right to a healthy environment due to subpar conditions in which the zoo housed its animals. The complainants requested an inspection of the zoo to corroborate the conditions in which the animals were kept, which negatively affected their physical and mental health. During the inspection, the Commission observed animals of diverse species cohabiting, a pond with dirty water, and animals living in small enclosures. In addition, the President of the Institute for Handling and Conservation of Biodiversity stated that the zoo did not meet the standards of the Association of Zoos, breeders, and aquariums (AZCARM). Recommendations were issued, citing substandard conditions such as underweight animals, dirty enclosures, and improper feeder placement. As a result of these inspections, the Commission concluded that the animals were housed in inadequate conditions, violating Art 43, fractions I, XI, and XVII of the state anti-cruelty law. Moreover, it noted that these conditions could impact the human rights to a healthy environment for both visitors and zoo staff. The Commission’s recommendations are as follows: (1) The Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources of the State is advised to develop and implement the recommendations issued by the President of the Institute for the Management and Conservation of Biodiversity and the General Attorney for Environmental Protection to guarantee the respectful and dignified treatment of the exhibited animals, their protection, and health, and to provide a healthy environment to humans; (2) The Commission recommended ongoing training for the zoo’s staff to cultivate a culture of protection and the dignified, respectful treatment of exhibited animals. This measure also aligns with the protection of the Rights of Nature, acknowledging animals as integral parts of it; (3) The Zoo Director is advised to implement both legal and administrative measures to ensure their animals’ dignified and respectful treatment. This included developing a budget that allocates funds for creating the necessary infrastructure, providing adequate food, and establishing optimal health conditions. These measures would allow wildlife to live in conditions similar to those of their species.
ROL:293-15 “La arrastrada de Freirina” RIT No. 323-2014 This is the case of a pregnant dog dragged by a truck. The defendants also assaulted and threatened two people that witnessed the event and attempted to stop it. The court found the three defendants guilty of animal cruelty and sentenced them to 61 days in jail and a fine of 2 UTM for these charges. Additional jail time and penalties were given on the charges of assault, threatening, and damage to property.
Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T - Ecuador Sentencia 09333-2022-00667T Este es el caso de cuatro gatos llamados Luna, Manchas, Sonic y Tiger y dos perros, Pantera y Noah que estaban dentro de las propiedades confiscadas por las autoridades en un caso de tráfico de drogas. El abogado Kevin Prendes Vivar presentó un recurso de habeas corpus en representación de los cuidadores de los animales, alegando que los animales estaban siendo retenidos ilegalmente por el "Secretario Técnico de Gestión Inmobiliaria del Sector Público" o "Inmobiliar", la agencia gubernamental que confiscó las propiedades. El demandante argumentó que los animales, como sujetos de derechos según la decisión de la Corte Constitucional 253-20-JH/22, estaban en un estado de soledad que los ponía en riesgo de problemas de salud y bienestar, ya que estos animales tenían un apego emocional a sus cuidadores. Los animales son seres sensibles diferentes de otros objetos, y su detrimento se refleja en su salud física y emocional, causando condiciones como depresión y ansiedad, condiciones que podrían poner fin potencialmente a su vida. Los animales estaban siendo retenidos por 'Inmobiliar', y los demandantes no habían recibido ninguna información sobre la condición de los animales. Además, los demandantes estaban preocupados por la condicion de los animales ya que no tenian conocimiento acerca de su alimentacion. Especialmente porque 'Inmobiliar' no tenía presupuesto para alimentar a los animales sujetos a confiscaciones. Según loa demandante, los animales eran miembros de su familia, y sus hijos sufrían sin ellos. El tribunal provincial de Guyanas concedió el habeas corpus, sosteniendo que los animales son sujetos de derechos, encontrando que 'Inmobiliar' había violado los derechos de los animales al considerarlos propiedad personal embargable. Por lo tanto, el tribunal determinó que su confiscación era ilegal, arbitraria e ilegítima. Para proteger sus derechos a la vida, la libertad y la integridad, ordenó a 'Inmobiliar' devolver los animales a sus cuidadores. En su análisis, el tribunal afirmó que, según el caso de Estrellita, los animales no deberían ser protegidos únicamente desde una perspectiva del ecosistema o desde la perspectiva de las necesidades humanas, sino más bien desde su individualidad y su valor intrínseco. El tribunal también instruyó a la entidad gubernamental a no considerar más a las "mascotas" como semovientes en futuros procedimientos judiciales, y a distribuir, a través del correo electrónico institucional, a todos sus funcionarios la decisión de la corte constitucional 253-20-JH/22, ordenándoles leerla y analizarla. Esta decisión fue apelada por 'Inmobiliar' y la sala especializada en lo penal de la Corte Provincial de Justicia de Guyanas anuló la decisión que otorgaba el habeas corpus a favor de los animales, afirmando que este mecanismo legal no era apropiado en el caso de animales domésticos. En su fallo, el tribunal ordenó la devolución de los animales a "Inmobiliar". Esta decisión ha sido enviada a la Corte Constitucional para su revisión. Si la corte la selecciona, decidirá si un recurso de habeas corpus es apropiado en casos relacionados específicamente con animales de compañía.
Council of the State, Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012 Sentencia 22.592 of May 23, 2012 Appeal, brought by the Plaintiff, who sought compensation for negligence on the part of the municipality of Anserma for the wrongful death of her husband, who died in the corrals of the slaughterhouse of Anserma when a bull charged him, causing him to fall and hit his head. The Plaintiff alleged that the slaughterhouse facilities were in poor condition, which was the cause of her husband’s death. If the facilities have been in good condition, he would not have had the accident. The court analyzed whether the damage was a result of the municipality's negligence as it did not maintained the facilities in a safe condition, or, if alternatively, it was an unfortunate accident not imputable to the Defendant. The court concluded that the Plaintiff did not present enough evidence to prove that the conditions of the facilities were the cause of the death of her husband. The court also found that the municipality was not in charge of the cattle in the slaughterhouse. Therefore, the damages were not imputable to the municipality. Furthermore, the court found the deceased was not an employee of the municipality, he was an independent employee that was hired by the slaughterhouse workers to assist them during the slaughter of cattle. The Court affirms the decision of the lower court and declares an exception of unconstitutionality of the expression “and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” of the Article 2354 of the Civil Code In its reasoning, the court determined that the accident was a result of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk on the part of the deceased, and not a result of the behavior of the animal. The court addressed Article 2354 of the Civil Code, that established that the caretaker of a fierce animal that does not report any benefit for the owner will be responsible for the damages the animal may cause, but if he alleges that if the damages were unavoidable, he will not be heard. The court declared unconstitutional the line “ and if he alleges that he was not able to avoid the damage, he will not be heard.” The court stated that it was inappropriate to address this scenario that involves responsibility derived from the behavior of animals under the parameters in the Civil Code that treated animals as goods. As today, it was of common acceptance that animals are sentient beings. Animals just as disabled people and other beings had dignity in themselves. They have a vital purpose, so much that they can enter a direct and permanent relationship with humans. The court continues to say that without this idea, the notion of legal capacity and the recognition of fundamental rights for legal persons could not exist. Animals should not be compared to objects or things, as they have dignity. The court recognized that animals and other living beings have their own value, and that even if it is acceptable that they are used for the human’s own benefit, it does not prevent us from recognizing that they are living beings, endowed with own value, and therefore subject to some rights.
Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041, 2017 Sentencia C-041 is one of the most important court decisions on bullfighting. On this occasion, the court held unconstitutional Article 5 of Ley 1774 of 2016 that referred to the Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection. Article 7 contains the seven activities that involve animals for entertainment that are exempted from the duty of animal protection. The practices permitted correspond to rejoneo, coleo, bullfighting, novilladas, corralejas, becerradas and tientas (all variations of bullfighting), cockfighting and all the related practices. Even though the court held that the legislature had fallen into a lack of constitutional protection towards animals, and stated that bullfighting was cruel and inhumane, it deferred the effects of its sentence and gave Congress a two-year period to decide whether bullfighting and the other exception established in Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection will continue to be legally allowed. If after this period, the Congress has not legislated on the matter, decision C-041, 2017 will take full effect and bullfighting along with all the practices established in Article 7 will be considered illegal.
Sentencia C-115/06 Sentencia C-115/06 In this opportunity, the Court held that bullfighting represents a cultural manifestation and artistic expression of human beings that the legal system must protect. Therefore, bullfighting could not be considered a violent act in terms of article 12 of the Constitution because the prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment presumes an act to be violent when it is against a human being. In turn, bullfighting cannot be considered a violent act because here, there is no treatment that is incompatible with human dignity.
Sentencia C-148, 2022 Sentencia C-148, 2022 In this opportunity, the Colombian Constitutional Court deemed national recreational fishing regulations unconstitutional three years after banning recreational hunting. Specifically, the Court determined that provisions pertaining to this matter, contained in the Code of Natural Renewable Resources, the General Statute of Animal Protection, and the Fishing Statute, violated the government's constitutional obligation to protect the environment, the right to environmental education, and the prohibition of animal cruelty. The Court recognized constitutional limitations on the prohibition of animal cruelty that were based on religious freedom, eating habits, medical research and experimentation, and deeply rooted cultural manifestations. Consequently, the Court held that fishing for recreational purposes was a cruel practice that did not fall within any of these exceptions.
Sentencia C-148/22 Sentencia C-148/22 Attorney Gabriel Andrés Suárez Gómez filed an unconstitutionality complaint with the Constitutional Court, arguing that recreational fishing violated the precautionary principle, the right to a healthy environment, and the prohibition of animal cruelty. Following the precedent created with C-045, 2019, prohibiting sport or trophy hunting, the Colombian Constitutional Court held on May 2, 2022, that the provisions concerning recreational fishing contained in various national laws were unconstitutional, effectively banning this practice in the entire territory. The court found that fishing for the sole purpose of recreation without any other relevant purposes like commercial or sustenance constitutes a form of animal abuse. Specifically, the court emphasized that the mandate of animal protection stems from the principle of the ecological constitution, the social function of property, and human dignity. Moreover, it was pointed out that, in this context, both the Legislature and the Court have previously recognized all animals as sentient beings. The court held that while it is not possible to define with absolute certainty the harmful consequences of recreational fishing in terms of conservation and animal welfare principles or the degradation of hydrobiological resources, there is relevant scientific information that must be considered to avoid harmful effects on fish and the habitat. Regarding animal sentience, after an exhaustive analysis, the court emphasized that there are compelling reasons to consider that fish can feel pain, and the mandate of animal protection requires treating sentient beings with dignity. Similarly, according to the FAO, there is currently no method capable of fully eliminating the mistreatment of fish, and there are environmental impacts that must be seriously considered alongside the economic benefits proposed in favor of recreational fishing. This situation led the Constitutional Court to activate the precautionary principle. The court held that there is a duty to protect animals, which implied a prohibition of animal cruelty. This duty protects both the ecosystemic balance and individual sentient animals with intrinsic value. This protection is differentiated and weighted based on the type of species involved, whether domestic or wild. Moreover, the duty of animal protection carries an indisputable binding effect, requiring assessments of reasonableness and proportionality in its application by both legislators and judges. After an extensive analysis of the positive and negative effects that the prohibition of this activity would carry out, the court concluded that recreational fishing constitutes a form of animal cruelty that violates the right to a healthy environment, specifically the prohibition against animal cruelty in accordance with laws and constitutional jurisprudence that lacked constitutional support as it is not grounded in constitutionally permissible limits for animal mistreatment, such as (a) religious freedom; (b) dietary habits; (c) medical research and experimentation; and (d) deeply rooted cultural practices. Considering the interests of those affiliated with the activity, who would be significantly impacted by the invalidation of the laws subject to this opinion, and who have been conducting activities under laws previously deemed constitutional, the court decided to defer the effects of the decision for one year. This was with the purpose of allowing those adversely affected by it to adapt to the new circumstances.
Sentencia C-148/22 Sentencia C-148/22 El abogado Gabriel Andrés Suárez Gómez presentó una demanda de inconstitucionalidad ante la Corte Constitucional, argumentando que la pesca recreativa violaba el principio de precaución, el derecho a un medio ambiente sano y la prohibición de crueldad animal. Siguiendo el precedente creado con la sentencia C-045 de 2019, que prohíbe la caza deportiva, la Corte Constitucional de Colombia decidió el 2 de mayo del 2022 que las disposiciones relativas a la pesca recreativa contenidas en diversas leyes nacionales eran inconstitucionales, prohibiendo efectivamente esta práctica en todo el territorio. La corte determinó que pescar con fines recreativos, sin ningún otro propósito relevante como comercial o de sustento, constituye una forma de crueldad animal. Específicamente, la corte enfatizó que el mandato de protección animal se deriva del principio de la constitución ecológica, la función social de la propiedad y la dignidad humana. Además, se señaló que, en este contexto, tanto el legislativo como la corte han reconocido previamente a todos los animales como seres sintientes. La corte sostuvo que, aunque no es posible definir con certeza absoluta las consecuencias dañinas de la pesca recreativa en términos de principios de conservación y bienestar animal o la degradación de los recursos hidrobiológicos, existe información científica relevante que debe ser considerada para evitar efectos perjudiciales en los peces y el hábitat. Respecto a la sintiencia animal, tras un exhaustivo análisis, la corte enfatizó que hay razones convincentes para considerar que los peces pueden sentir dolor, y el mandato de protección animal requiere tratar a los seres sintientes con dignidad. De manera similar, según la FAO, actualmente no existe ningún método capaz de eliminar completamente el maltrato a los peces, y hay impactos ambientales que deben ser considerados seriamente junto con los beneficios económicos propuestos a favor de la pesca recreativa. Esta situación llevó a la Corte Constitucional a activar el principio de precaución. La corte determinó que hay un deber de proteger a los animales que implica proteger tanto el equilibrio ecosistémico como a los animales sintientes individuales con valor intrínseco. Esta protección se diferencia y pondera en función del tipo de especie involucrada, ya sea doméstica o silvestre. Además, el deber de protección animal lleva consigo un efecto vinculante indiscutible, que requiere evaluaciones de razonabilidad y proporcionalidad en su aplicación tanto por parte de legisladores como de jueces. Tras un extenso análisis de los efectos positivos y negativos que conllevaría la prohibición de esta actividad, la corte concluyó que la pesca recreativa constituye una forma de crueldad animal que viola el derecho a un medio ambiente sano, específicamente la prohibición contra la crueldad animal de acuerdo con leyes y jurisprudencia constitucional que carecían de respaldo constitucional al no estar fundamentadas en límites permisibles constitucionalmente para el maltrato animal, como (a) la libertad religiosa; (b) los hábitos alimenticios; (c) la investigación médica y experimentación; y (d) prácticas culturales arraigadas. Teniendo en cuenta los intereses de aquellos afiliados a la actividad, que se verían significativamente afectados por la invalidación de las leyes sujetas a esta opinión, y que han estado llevando a cabo actividades bajo leyes previamente consideradas constitucionales, la corte decidió posponer los efectos de la decisión por un año. Esto con el propósito de permitir que aquellos afectados adversamente por ella se adapten a las nuevas circunstancias.
Sentencia C-283, 2014 Sentencia C-283/14 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Articles 1º, 2º and 3º of Ley 1638, 2013 that prohibit the use of native and exotic wild animals in circuses. Plaintiffs argued that these Articles violated numerous provisions of the Constitution, including the right to work, right to choose a profession, rights to culture and recreation, and a violation to the freedom private initiative of the owners of the circuses. In decision C-283, the court held that Congress has the power to prohibit certain cultural manifestations that involve animal cruelty. The Court stated that “culture needs to be permanently reevaluated so it can adapt to human evolution, to guarantee of rights and the fulfillment of duties. Especially when the purpose is to eliminate the traces of a marginalized society that has excluded certain individuals and collectives.” The court also stated that the duty to protect animals is not absolute, as its application can be limited by values, principles and constitutional norms in specific cases that are contradictory to the principales. The judge must analyze each case under a reasonableness test, in a way that cultural manifestations can work harmoniously with the rights, principles, and duties established in the legal system. The Court held Article 1 of Ley 1638, 2013 constitutional, and refrains from deciding on the constitutionality of Articles 2 and 3, for lack of evidence to render a decision.
Sentencia C-367, 2006 Sentencia C-367, 2006 Decision C-367 decides on the unconstitutionality of some of the provisions of the Taurine Regulatory Statute. The Court held the provisions constitutional, but added a limitation to the participation of minors in the practice of bullfighting. With this decision, children under 14 cannot participate in the “cuadrillas.” The term “cuadrillas” is used to describe the group of people that accompany and assist the matador in the bullring throughout the duration of the bullfight. Sentencia C-367 imposes the principle of impartiality on the behavior of Mayors. Mayors have to act in strict accordance to the Law and the Constitution, and must be impartial when it comes to making decisions that affect this activity. According to this principle, “Mayors have the duty to act, recognizing that the purpose of the different procedures is to assure and guarantee the rights of all the people without any level of discrimination.” The Court also reaffirmed that Congress has complete power to legislate on bullfighting on the national level.
Sentencia C-439, 2011 Sentencia C-439, 2011 This is an unconstitutionality claim against Article 87 of Ley 769, 2002 (Trafic Code), relating the transportation of animals on vehicles of public transportation. Article 87 of Ley 769, established that only guide dogs could travel in this type of transportation when accompanying a blind person. The Plaintiff argued that this Article, which prohibited the transportation of animals on vehicles like buses and taxis, violated the right to equality, rights to personal and family privacy, right to free development of personality, freedom of locomotion, and private property. The court concluded that there was a violation to the right to free development of personality, freedom to locomotion, and to private property of the owners of domestic animals. The court added domestic animals as an exception to article 87, of Ley 769, meaning that this prohibition still remains for specimens of the wild fauna. Domestic animals now can travel on vehicles of public transportation, so long they are transported in conditions of health, safety, comfort and tranquility according to the applicable rules. The court also considered that a pertinent regulation was necessary to establish the requirements to transport animals on public vehicles.
Sentencia C-467/16 Sentencia C-467/16 This lawsuit seeks the unconstitutionality of articles 665 and 658 of the Civil Code that define "movable objects" and "real property by destination." The plaintiff alleges that these categorizations are against the Constitution's environmental orientation and international agreements. The court upheld the validity of these articles and stated that such categorizations were not against legally considering animals as sentient beings deserving of protection against pain and suffering. In other words, the protection of animals is not affected by this language. "Animals are included in the category of property because property rights may be exercised over them, and animals are often the subjects of legal transactions. Therefore, categorizing animals as property responds to a necessity and does not affect the regulation in other provisions to develop the duty to protect animals as sentient beings (Law 1774, 2016)."
Sentencia C-666, 2010 Sentencia C-666/10 The Constitutional Court decided on an unconstitutionality claim against Article 7 of the Statute of Animal Protection Ley 84 of 1989 that corresponds to the exceptions to the duty of animal protection. This decision established the conditions that must be met for the exceptions of Article 7 to apply. Put in different words, through Decision C-666, the court limits the scope of the legality of bullfighting, establishing certain requirements. In its holding, the Court stated that the seven practices in Article 7 would not violate the Constitution, so long as they were done within the following parameters: (1) As long as it is understood that these animals should, in all cases, obtain special protection against suffering and pain during the execution of these activities. This exception allows the continuation of cultural expressions and entertainment with animals, so long as exceptionally cruel acts against these animals are eliminated, or lessened in the future in a process of adaptation between cultural expressions and duties of protection to animals; (2) These practices can only take place in municipalities and districts in which the practices are themselves a manifestation of a regular, periodic and uninterrupted tradition, and therefore their execution responds to a certain regularity; (3) These practices can only take place during occasions in which they have commonly taken place and in the municipalities and districts where they are authorized; (4) These are the only practices that are authorized to be part of the exception in Article 7 to the constitutional duty to protect animals; and (5) Municipal authorities cannot economically support the construction of installations for the exclusive execution of the activities listed in Article 7 with public funds.
Sentencia C-889, 2012 Sentencia C-889/12 Decision C-889 grants constitutional value to animal protection. It establishes the parameters for tradition and social roots. It limits the scope of bullfighting in the national territory. On this opportunity, the court decided on the constitutionality of Arts. 14 and 15 of the statute of Bullfighting Statute. It establishes the criteria that must be met in order for bullfighting to be legal: (1) Bullfighting has to meet the legal conditions established for public shows in general; (2) Bullfighting must meet the legal conditions established in the statute that regulates the taurine activity, Ley 916 of 2014; and (3) Bullfighting must comply with the constitutional conditions, restrictions, and limitations established in decision C-666 of 2010 to satisfy the mandate of animal welfare, animal protection, and to avoid suffering and pain. It must also satisfy social ingrain, location, opportunity, the condition of no financial funds, and exceptionality.
Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Sentencia caso elefante Ramba Ramba was known as the last circus elephant in Chile. She was an Asian elephant that spent 40 years of her life alone, being forced to perform. Her owner was found guilty of animal mistreatment and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and to pay a fine of 10 monthly tax units (UTM). Ramba was forced to perform difficult tricks and was not provided medical care. In addition, she was kept chained in a small enclosure without adequate space, temperature, or enrichment. Ramba was officially “confiscated” in 1997 due to abuse and neglect. However, she remained with the circus but was not allowed to perform. She was removed from the circus and temporarily relocated to "Parque Safari in Rancagua" in 2011. In 2019, Ramba was relocated to Global Sanctuary for Elephants in Brazil. Unfortunately, Ramba died a few months later after arriving at the sanctuary due to kidney disease.
Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga de 25 de julio de 2017 Sentencia de Tutela Juzgado 3 de Bucaramanga This is the first time an animal, more specifically a dog, filed a lawsuit seeking that the government grant protection for the dog’s rights to life and health. The judge denied the action of "tutela" filed by the dog ("Negro") based on the definition of person given by the civil code. As a result, the judge concluded that "Negro" was not a person and therefore was not entitled to have rights. However, there is a possibility that the Constitutional Court on appeal will grant the plaintiff the rights he is seeking based on Decision T-622 de 2016, where the court declared that a river was subject to rights that guarantee its protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration, and that the government was the main guarantor of these rights.
PRIETO, GERMÁN LUIS C/ COLONNA LUCIANA ANDREA, EXPTE. N° 450237 Sentencia definitiva numero: 86 "PRIETO, GERMÁN LUIS C/ COLONNA LUCIANA ANDREA – ORDINARIO – EXPSentencia número 86 de la Cámara de Apelaciones de lo Civil y Comercial y en lo Contencioso Administrativo, de la ciudad de Río Cuarto de 26 de octubre de 2012 This case revolves around a dispute between German Luis Prieto (the plaintiff) and Luciana Andrea Colonna (the defendant) regarding the ownership of personal property acquired during their cohabitation. The plaintiff claimed sole ownership of the property assets and sought their return, while the defendant argued that these assets constituted community property acquired for their shared residence during their relationship. Additionally, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff granted her exclusive possession and gifted the property to her upon their separation, relieving her of any obligation to return it. The court held that the plaintiff had the right to take back the property, with the exception of Bauty, considering that the latter had developed a significant emotional bond with the defendant and that his surrender could cause unnecessary suffering. In the judge's view, dogs were not mere "things." Consequently, the judge upheld the lower court's decision in part, ordering all the assets to be returned to the plaintiff. At the same time, the defendant was allowed to retain custody of the canine companion.
Sentencia STC1926-2023 Sentencia STC1926-2023 Romeo and Salvador, two beloved family dogs that found themselves in the center of a heartbreaking divorce. The divorce resulted in the family judge ordering the foreclosure of the dogs in the divorce proceeding. The plaintiff filed a writ of protection or "Recurso de Tutela" before the Chamber of Civil Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice to protect her rights to family unity, free personality development, and health. Furthermore, she argued that the lower court decision had violated not just her rights but her children's rights, who had developed a filial bond with the dogs, as they are sentient beings and not just mere property. The Court denied the "tutela." It affirmed the lower court decision allowing foreclosure upon companion animals, holding that the "tutela" was not the appropriate legal mechanism to protect procedural guarantees. In his dissenting opinion, Magistrate Aroldo Wilson Quiróz stated that the court had missed a valuable opportunity to address the issue of the multispecies families in Colombia. This novel legal concept is supported under Art. 42 of the Constitution, and that it was the responsibility of the court, as the body of last instance, to delve into this subject, pointing out the fact that even though animals are considered property, they are also sentient beings in the eyes of the law with rights that limit the right to own them. Like in other family cases, the magistrate suggested that courts should address issues such as custody, visitation rights, and alimony payments when companion animals are involved.
Sentencia SU016/20 Sentencia SU016/20 In decision SU016 of 2020, the court confirmed its decision to revoke the habeas corpus granted to Chucho, the Andean bear. After holding a public audience where many experts spoke as to the possibility of granting wild animals the status of legal persons and the right to freedom, the Constitutional Court held that the judge that have granted habeas corpus had incurred in a legal error as animals have not a right to freedom, and the habeas corpus is a legal mechanism available for humans that are illegally and unjustly detained. It is no available to animals. Moreover, the court stated that there were other more adequate mechanism to guarantee the well-being of animals, such as an inquiry for intervention of the environmental authorities, or a popular action. With this decision, the status of animals remains the same. Animals are legally recognized as sentient beings, subject to special legal protection, and humans have the duty to take care of them.
Sentencia SU056/18 Sentencia SU056/18 The Constitutional Court held unconstitutional the decision of the administrative tribunal of Cundinamarca that allowed the city of Bogota to carry out a popular consultation intended to ask residents of Bogota whether they agreed to have bullfighting in the city. The court held that the decision to invalidate such a ruling was based on the principles of legal precedent and res jusdicata. The administrative court decision was against authority established in decisions A-025 of 2015, T-296 of 2013, C-889 of 2012, y C-666 of 2010 of the constitutional court, which held that the power to prohibit bullfighting rest in Congress and local governments only have police power. Allowing a mayor to carry out a popular consultation regarding the future of bullfighting is to go against authority established by the Constitutional Court, and it violates the right to due process and the right to be treated equally by the law.
Sentencia T-034/13 Sentencia T-034/13 Plaintiff filed a tutela against the homeowner’s association, who changed change the apartment complex rules to prohibit pets from using the elevator. In this decision, the court held that It is not viable for homeowners’ associations to prohibit pets from using the elevators. This is because the right to free development of personality and the right to personal and family intimacy encompass the right to have a pet. Horizontal property rules may not go against current laws or violate the resident’s fundamental rights. However, there can be limitations and parameters to these rights so long as they are established to guarantee respect for the rights of others, a peaceful coexistence, and the regulations are reasonable and proportionate.
Sentencia T-095, 2016 Sentencia T-095/16 In this decision, the court drew a line between the concept of animal welfare and the concept of animal rights. The court continues to see animal protection from a moral perspective when it states animals do not necessarily have rights, even though they should be treated with respect and should not be abused. The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary, created for the sole purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against ‘la Personería Local of Fontibón’, the local Mayor’s office of Fontibon, the District Secretary of Health, the Zoonosis Center and the Distril Secretary of the environment of Bogota. The Plaintiff argued that these governmental entities had violated his fundamental right to petition and the right to animal welfare of twenty five dogs, when the authorities ordered the confiscation the canines that were located in the District Ecological Park of the Wetland of Capellanía and who were cared for by volunteers. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants did not respond to his request to provide funds to build a shelter and provide food and veterinary assistance of the dogs or funds to relocate them. The Plaintiff sought a response from governmental authorities on the petition and to provide the funds to save the animals, thereby avoiding the Zoonosis Center to assume their care, who would euthanize the sick animals that were not adopted after five days of being up for adoption. The lower court denied the protection of the fundamental right to petition, as it found that the authorities responded to the petition of the Plaintiff in a clear and timely matter by denying the request to fund the Plaintiff to relocate the dogs or build a shelter for them. In regards to the right to animal welfare, the lower court considered it was a legal rather than a constitutional issue, therefore the action of ‘tutela’ was not the appropriate mechanism as its purpose is to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. The court held that there was a constitutional duty of animal protection that derives from the duty to protect the environment. However, this duty to guarantee the well-being of animals as sentient beings is not absolute and may be subject to exceptions. The court determines that the mandate to protect the environment, which includes sentient beings, does not translate into a right to animal welfare, and for that reason such duty is not enforceable through an action of tutela. The duty to protect animals presumes an obligation to care and prohibits maltreatment and cruelty against animals, unless these actions come from one of the limits stipulated in the constitution. The court affirmed the lower court decision to deny the protection to the right to petition and declared the inadmissibility of the action of tutela for the protection of animal welfare.
Sentencia T-146/16 Sentencia T-146/16 Plaintiffs, a family that owned a howler monkey named "bebé" or "King Kong," filed "Amparo" seeking the protection of their rights to life and health, arguing that such rights had been violated by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca's" (CAR) refusal to return "bebé" to his family. The plaintiffs alleged that "bebé" was a member of their family, and not having him affected the family's emotional and physical health. Finally, they argued that the sadness and depression were so severe that they took group therapy with a psychologist. The monkey was stolen from the family's property and rescued was assisted by "Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca," who sent the monkey to "Fundación Bioandina." However, the defendants reported the monkey to be completely "humanized." He was so stressed that he did not eat and had to be relocated to the Medellin Zoo to be rehabilitated. The Second Chamber of Review of the Constitutional Court determined that wildlife is not subject to property by individuals and that the state of freedom of wildlife should be privileged. According to article 248 of the National Code of Renewable Natural Resources, the court stated that wildlife belongs to the nation. Therefore, the defendant's actions did not violate the family's well-being, as the forfeiture of wildlife is necessary to ensure their conservation protection as it is a constitutional mandate to protect biodiversity and environmental integrity. The court noted that the monkey had completed his rehabilitation process and had been reintroduced to his natural habitat.
Sentencia T-608, 2011 Sentencia T-608/11 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) acting as the legal guardian of her husband, who had spastic quadriplegia and mixed aphasia as a result of a severe cranioencephalic trauma, against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’. The Plaintiff argued that Corpocaldas had violated the rights to health and dignified life of her husband when the Defendant confiscated a parrot that was part of the Plaintiff’s rehabilitation treatment. The Plaintiff sought immediate restitution of the parrot by the Defendant. The court affirmed the decision of the lower court to deny the Plaintiff’s petition. The court determined that the confiscation of the parrot by Corpocaldas was reasonable and according to the law, therefore there was not a violation of the rights of the Plaintiff. The court stated that as wild animals belong to the nation and they can only be reduced to property when the are obtained through legal hunting or from legal breeders. In this particular case, the Plaintiff obtained the parrot as a present from her cousin, and she did not present evidence of title. The court concluded that the bird belonged to the nation, and therefore the environmental authority had acted in accordance to its duties. The court stated that even though there was a narrow relationship between the rights to health and life with the right to environment, the protection of the environment did not only aim to the protection of humans. The court indicated that the environment should be protected whether or not it offered a benefit to the human species. The rest of the beings that are part of the environment are dignified beings that are not at the absolute and unlimited disposition of the human beings. Humans are just another element of nature, and not a superior entity that has the environment at their disposition. Therefore, the use of natural resources should not cause damage or deterioration that could threaten diversity and environmental integrity, the court stated in its reasoning.
Sentencia T-622, 2016 Sentencia T-622/16

This is not a judicial decision that touches on animal welfare issues. However, it is important to mention as the Constitutional Court granted for the first time the status of legal person to a river. The Plaintiff, ‘Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social “Tierra Digna”’ brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) in representation of various community councils of the Atrato region in the Colombian Pacific against the Presidency of the Republic and others. The basin of the Atrato river covers and area of about 40,000 KM2 (15,444.086 sq mi) It is considered one of the highest water yields in the world. There are many ethnic communities that live in the adjoined municipalities that include Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous communities and mixed communities that obtain their sustenance from activities such as artisanal mining, agriculture, hunting and fishing by this river. The water of the river is also used for direct consumption. The Plaintiff alleged that the contamination of the river is a threat to the health of the communities that use the river as a source of work, recreation and to obtain food. The Plaintiffs sought that the court stop the large-scale and permanent use of illegal extraction methods of minerals such as gold and platinum. Additionally, logging that includes the use of heavy machinery and highly toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide as well as other toxic chemicals used in mining of the Atrato river. They argued that the illegal mining in the Atrato river was resulting in harmful and irreversible consequences on the environment, affecting the fundamental rights of ethnic communities that live in the area and the natural balance of the territory. For these reasons, the Plaintiffs asked the court to declare protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities: life, health, water, food security, a healthy living environment, to culture and to the territory, by ordering the implementation of structural changes. The lower courts denied the action of ‘tutela’ in first and second instance, arguing that the Plaintiff sought the protection of collective rights, rather than fundamental rights. Therefore, this constitutional mechanism was not appropriate. After holding that the action of ‘tutela’ was the appropriate mechanism for the protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic communities, the court established in its ruling that the right to water was a fundamental right, as it is a necessary component to the right to a dignified life, and it is essential for many organisms that inhabit the planet to be able to survive. The use of mercury and other toxic substances in mining activities is prohibited, regardless the legality of the activity. In a new approach, the court held that the Atrato river is subject to rights that imply its protection, conservation and maintenance and instructs the national government to be the guardian and to exercise the river’s legal representation through the president or whichever he appointed, along with the ethnic communities that inhabit the basin of the river. Thus, it guarantees the Atrato river is represented by a member of these communities and a delegate of the Colombian government.

Sentencia T-760, 2007 Sentencia T-760/07 The Plaintiff brought an action of ‘tutela’ (Constitutional mechanism that is preferential and summary created for the purpose of protection of fundamental rights) against Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas ‘CORPOCALDAS’, arguing that ‘CORPOCALDAS’ had violated the fundamental rights to health, personal integrity, life and human integrity of the Plaintiff’s wife, who became severely depressed when the Defendant confiscated an amazonian parrot she kept as her pet. The Plaintiff argued that the parrot was the only company the Plaintiff’s wife had for over five years, and that the confiscation of their parrot, was a violation of the Plaintiff's wife's fundamental rights. Furthermore, the Plaintiff argued that his wife was 65 years old, had raised the parrot that was never abused or neglected and who was allowed to move freely as her wings were never trimmed. The Plaintiff sought the the return of the parrot by the environmental authority ‘CORPOCALDAS’ to his wife, as well as the granting of the parrot’s title to her. The Court was able to find that the Plaintiff’s wife’s health was indeed diminished after the confiscation of the bird and the she had to undergo treatment as a result of it. However, the court found that the Plaintiffs were unable to provide evidence tending to prove that they had acquired the animal in a legal manner, as no permit, hunting license, or evidence that the parrot was obtained from a legal breeder were provided. The court determined that CORPOCALDAS did not overstep its responsibilities, as it is its duty to protect the wild fauna of the nation. Touching on the issue of whether the the fundamental rights of the plaintiff had been violated, the court concluded there was not such violation, as the environmental authority’s action was legal, reasonable, necessary and legitimate, and the Plaintiff did not obtained the parrot in accordance with the requirements legally established. In this case, the collective right to a healthy environment prevailed over the personal interest of the Plaintiff. The Constitutional Court affirmed the judgment of the ‘Juzgado Segundo Laboral del Circuito de Manizales’.
State v. Jacobs Slip Copy (unpublished decision) 2015 WL 618098, 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4244 (Ct.App. 2015) The defendant, Michael Jacobs, was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and corrupting another minor with drugs, receiving a prison sentence of four years. The victim testified with a “companion dog” at her feet. Among other assignments of error, Jacobs argued that he was denied his right to a fair trial because of the presence of the companion dog during the victim’s testimony. The child was under 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, but 17 years old when she testified. The Ohio appellate court concluded that the use of a companion dog in such a case was a matter of first impression in the state, though other comfort items, such as teddy bears had previously been used in similar situations in Ohio courts. To the defense’s objection that the witness was no longer under 15 at the time of her testimony, the appellate court stated that the defense had “failed to offer any authority to support the proposition that there is a certain age cut-off for the use of special procedures on behalf of alleged sexual abuse victims.” The court concluded that Ohio Evidence Rule 611(A), which provides that a trial court is to exercise “reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses…” and to “protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment,” was sufficiently flexible to allow the use of the dog during the trial. Having overruled all of Jacobs' assignments of error, the court affirmed the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.
Tillett v. Bureau of Land Management Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1312014 (D. Mont. Apr. 4, 2016) In this case, plaintiff (proceeding pro se) filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) challenging its management of wild horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR). Plaintiff filed suit challenging BLM’s fertility control and gather programs. BLM argued that plaintiff’s claims should be denied as a matter of summary judgment. The court ultimately held that plaintiff failed to provide any “legal authority” or “jurisdictional basis” for the remedies in which she was seeking. The court held that BLM was within its own authority to rely on its own data and surveys of its programs and was under no obligation to review its programs based on plaintiff’s alleged observations. Finally, the court held in favor of BLM as a matter of summary judgment.
Grey v. Johansson Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1613804 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2016) This suit was filed after Grey and Johansson entered into a disagreement about who was the rightful owner of Johansson’s late wife’s horse, Navy. Grey was Johansson’s lawyer and was left responsible for caring for and handling all sales regarding her horses after her death. Grey filed suit for fraud and defamation against Johansson after he publicly referred to Grey as a “horse stealer.” Ultimately, the court held that Grey did not produce enough to evidence to establish a case for either fraud or defamation against Johanasson. Although Johanasson did call Grey a “horse stealer,” the court found that this comment was protected by judicial privilege.
State v. Reyes Slip Copy (unpublished) 2016 WL 3090904 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 24, 2016) Defendant, Jose Reyes, was convicted of one count of rape of a child and sentenced to thirty-two years at 100%. On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict and that the trial court erred in denying his motion in limine to prevent the Child Advocacy Center facility dog from being present with the victim as he was testifying. The appellate court reviewed prior relevant cases including Dye, Chenault, and Tohom, and stated that “we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting the use of the facility dog, Murch, during the trial.” The attempt to assign error to the procedure was determined to be “without merit.” Other defense arguments on appeal having been similarly rejected, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert Slip Copy 2017 WL 2912423 (D. Utah July 7, 2017) This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.
Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Slip Copy, 2019 WL 6118448 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2019) Plaintiffs brought a securities fraud class action against the collective Defendants, including Seaworld Entertainment, Inc. This action involved statements and omissions made by the Defendants following a 2013 documentary titled Blackfish. The issues centered on the attendance impact that the documentary had on Seaworld. Company-wide attendance declined in 2013 and 2014, however, several officials of the Company made statements that there was no attendance impact resulting from the documentary. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants moved to exclude the testimony of several experts. The Court ultimately affirmed its tentative rulings, denied Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of two of Plaintiff’s experts, granted Defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. James Gibson, granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Craig Lewis, granted Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Randolph Bucklin, and denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Wemer v. Walker Slip Copy, 2015 WL 2058960 (Ohio Ct. App. May 1, 2015)

In this case, James Wemer appealed the lower courts decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant John Walker. Wemer initially filed suit against Walker alleging that the injuries he suffered from a horse-bite at Walker’s barn was due to negligence and wanton recklessness of Walker. The trial court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Walker based on the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision on appeal. However, the trial court once against granted summary judgement in favor of Walker and Wemer appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals determined whether or not Walker was immune from liability under the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals found that Walker was immune from liability under statute because of the fact that Walker had warned Werner that his horses had a tendency to fight and Wemer voluntarily chose to get involved in separating the horses which led to his injuries. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that both parties had a knowledge regarding equine activity and that Wemer was unable to establish that Walker’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances presented. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Walker.

Lewis v. Chovan Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1681400 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

This Ohio case raises the issue of whether an employee of a pet grooming establishment is a "keeper" under state law, thereby preventing the application of strict liability for injury. The employee was bitten by dog while attempting to assist the establishment's owner and another employee in giving the dog a bath. She then brought an action against dog's owners asserting, among other things, that the owners were strictly liable for her injuries. The court relied on its previous definition of the word "keeper" in the context of R.C. 955.28(B) as "one having physical charge or care of the dogs." Based upon this precedent, the court found that a person who is responsible for exercising physical control over a dog is a "keeper" even if that control is only temporary.

Coos County Bd. of County Com'rs v. Norton Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1720496 (D.Or.)

Alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), plaintiffs sought to compel defendants to publish in the Federal Register proposed and final rules to remove the Washington, Oregon and California population of the marbled murrelet (a coastal bird) from the list of threatened species. Plaintiffs alleged that after defendants completed a five year review of the murrelet, defendants violated the ESA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to publish proposed and final rules "delisting" the murrelet. However, the court found that under the subsection upon which plaintiffs rely, the Secretary need publish a proposed regulation only after receiving a petition to add or remove species from the lists of threatened and endangered species and making certain findings. Because plaintiffs have not alleged or demonstrated that they filed a petition, they cannot establish that the Secretary has a duty to publish a proposed regulation. Thus, defendant's motion to dismiss was granted.

State v. Siliski Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1931814 (Tenn.Crim.App.)

In this Tennessee case, the defendant, Jennifer Siliski, was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Williamson County Animal Control took custody of over two hundred animals forfeited by the defendant as a result of her criminal charges and convictions. Third parties claiming ownership of some of the animals appeared before the trial court and asked for the return of their animals. This appeal arises from third parties claiming that they were denied due process by the manner in which the trial court conducted the hearing regarding ownership of the animals and that the trial court erred in denying their property claims. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not have jurisdiction in the criminal case to dispose of the claims, and reversed the judgment.

Toledo v. Tellings - Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007) Slip Copy, 2006 WL 513946 (Ohio App. 6 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-975

Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007). In this Ohio case, defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court of violating city ordinance limiting ownership to only one pit bull per household, and of violating statute requiring owner of a "vicious dog" to provide liability insurance.  On appeal, the court held that the statute requiring an owner of a pit bull to provide liability insurance was unconstitutional.  Further, the statute, which provides that the ownership of a pit bull is prima facie evidence of the ownership of a vicious dog, was unconstitutional because after hearing evidence the trial court found that pit bulls as a breed are not inherently dangerous.  Thus, the court held that R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii) is unconstitutional, since it has no real and substantial relationship to a legitimate state interest. 

State v. Davidson Slip Copy, 2006 WL 763082 (Ohio App. 11 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-1458

In this Ohio case, defendant was convicted of 10 counts of cruelty to animals resulting from her neglect of several dogs and horses in her barn.  On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient where the prosecution witness did not state the dogs were "malnourished" and said that a couple were reasonably healthy.  The appellate court disagreed, finding that defendant mischaracterized the veterinarian's testimony and that there was no requirement to prove malnourishment.  Further, the dog warden testified that she did not find any food or water in the barn and that the animals' bowls were covered with mud and feces.

Humane Society of U.S. v. Johanns Slip Copy, 2007 WL 1120404 (D.D.C.)

In this case, plaintiffs alleged that by creating a fee-for-service ante-mortem horse slaughter inspection system without first conducting any environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), has violated NEPA and the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ's) implementing regulations, abused its discretion, and acted arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). At the time Plaintiffs filed their Complaint, horses were slaughtered at three different foreign-owned facilities in the United States to provide horse meat for human consumption abroad and for use in zoos and research facilities domestically. The instant case pertains to the web of legislation and regulations pertaining to the inspection of such horses prior to slaughter. Based on the Court's finding of a NEPA violation, the Court declared the Interim Final Rule to be in violation of the APA and NEPA, vacated the Interim Final Rule, permanently enjoined the FSIS from implementing the Interim Final Rule, and dismissed this case. This present action is defendant-intervenor Cavel International, Inc's Emergency Motion for a Stay of the Court's March 28, 2007 Order. The Court notes that as of the Court's March 28, 2007 Order, Cavel was the only facility still in operation processing horsemeat for human consumption. The Court finds that a stay of its March 28, 2007 Order would not be in the public interest, and particularly in light of Cavel's failure to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits and adequately demonstrate irreparable injury, the Court finds that a balancing of the factors enumerated above supports denying Cavel's request for a stay. 

Western Watersheds Project v. Hall Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2790404 (D.Idaho)

Plaintiff Western Watersheds Project filed the instant action challenging the “90-Day Finding” issued by the Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service that denied protection of the Interior Mountain Quail as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that the Petition had failed to provide information demonstrating that the Interior Mountain Quail population is discrete under the ESA. The District Court stated that, in order to qualify as a DPS, a population must “be both discrete and significant.” The court found that the Service's conclusion appropriately determined that this discreteness standard was not met and it provided a rational basis for concluding the Petition had failed to provide evidence of a marked separation between the populations of the same taxon.

Donald HENDRICK and Concerned Citizens for True Horse Protection, Plaintiffs v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (“USDA”), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“Aphis”), Defendants. Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2900526 (W.D.Ky.)

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant United States Department of Agriculture's Motion to Dismiss. The Horse Protection Act (HPA) is federal legislation which outlaws the practice of “soring” (harm to the feet or limbs of horses in order to enhance the attractiveness of a light-stepped or high-stepping gait during horse-show performances), which is a particular concern for the breed of Tennessee Walking Horses. Plaintiffs seek to have the Court define “sore” and “scar” beyond the definitions provided in the regulations (specifically the “scar rule”). The court found, however, that any alleged or threatened injury based on the HPA or the Scar Rule has not yet occurred. Mere uncertainty about the HPA and Scar Rule alone does not create an injury in fact.

State v. West Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2963990 (Table) (Iowa App.)

In this Iowa case, the defendant, West, shot his neighbor's dogs after the dogs were seen running the perimeter of his deer-pen, agitating 15 of his deer in the process. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two counts of animal abuse charges and fifth degree criminal mischief.  On appeal, West argued that the section 351.27 (a provision that allows a person to kill a dog caught in the act of worrying livestock) provides an absolute defense to the charges of animal abuse and that he had the right under the facts and this statute to summarily kill Piatak's dogs because they were worrying and chasing his deer. He also contended that the statute has no additional “reasonableness” requirement, and the trial court was incorrect to graft the “reasonably acting” standard from the animal abuse law. The appellate court agreed, finding that section 351.27 provides an absolute defense to a charge of animal abuse under section 717B.2.

Stephens v. City of Spokane Slip Copy, 2007 WL 3146390 (E.D.Wash.)

Before the court here is defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion to certify a class. Plaintiffs claim is based on Spokane's "barking dog" ordinance" for which they were each issued an infraction by animal control officers. Plaintiffs contend the ordinance is void for vagueness. The court disagreed, finding that the ordinance has incorporated the reasonableness standard and is presumptively constitutional. In the ordinance, the citizen of average intellect need not guess at the prohibition of allowing an animal to unreasonably disturb persons by “habitually barking, howling, yelping, whining, or making other oral noises.”

State v. Conte Slip Copy, 2007 WL 3257378 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.), 2007 -Ohio- 5924

Plaintiff-appellant, State of Ohio/City of Bexley, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Municipal Court dismissing the indictment against defendant-appellee, Joseph Conte. Appellant cited appellee for violating Bexley City Code 618.16(e), entitled “Dangerous and Vicious Animal.” Two days later, animal control then issued another citation against appellee for allowing his dog to run free without restraint in violation of Bexley City Code Section 618.16(e). In granting appellee's motion to dismiss, the trial court struck down a portion of Bexley City Code 618.16(e) as unconstitutional that provided that the owner of a vicious or dangerous animal shall not permit such animal to run at large. On appeal, this court found that the ordinance was not unconstitutional where the prosecution must prove at trial that the dog is vicious or dangerous as an element of the offense. 

Ocean Mammal Inst. v. Gates Slip Copy, 2008 WL 2185180 (D.Hawai'i)

Plaintiffs sued the Navy over the use of sonar; the Plaintiffs feared that the sonar would kill whales and other marine life.  This case dealt with the required production of documents the Defendant claimed were privileged and or work product material.  The Court found that the Defendant must hand over the material to the Plaintiffs because the documents were not in fact privileged.

Animal Protection and Rescue League v. California Slip Copy, 2008 WL 315709 (S.D.Cal.)

Plaintiffs move for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to compel defendant City of San Diego to place a seasonal rope barrier at the La Jolla Children's Pool Beach to limit human interaction with harbor seals during pupping season. In denying the TRO, the court noted that plaintiffs failed to identify a single incident of harassment occurring since December 15, 2007 (the beginning of the pupping season) or any causal nexus between miscarriages and people walking up to the seals. While the parties agree placement of the barrier would not harm people and act as an effective tool, the court noted that the focus of irreparable harm is on the harm sought to be prevented not on the difficulty in carrying out the task.   

Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. Kimbell Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4186913 (D.Or.)

After filing a complaint challenging certain decisions by the United States Forest Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service authorizing livestock grazing within a national forest, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction seeking an order prohibiting the authorization of livestock grazing on certain public lands until Plaintiffs’ claims could be heard on the merits.   The United States District Court, D. Oregon granted Plaintiffs’ motion, finding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of at least one of its claims, and that Plaintiffs made a sufficient showing that irreparable harm would likely occur if the relief sought is not granted.  

Giaconia v. Delaware County Soc. for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4442632 (E.D.Pa.)

Plaintiff brought various claims against Defendants after Plaintiff’s cat was euthanized prior to the standard 72 hour waiting period.   On Defendants’ motion to dismiss, the United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania found that Defendants were not acting under color of law.   Because any and all claims for which the Court had original jurisdiction were being dismissed, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s State law claims.  

Californians for Humane Farms v. Schafer Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4449583 (N.D.Cal.) (Not Reported in F.Supp.2d)

Plaintiff, a nonprofit ballot committee established to sponsor Proposal 2, a State ballot initiative that would result in prohibiting the tethering and confinement of egg laying hens and other farm animals, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, after Defendant approved a decision by the American Egg Board (the “Egg Board”) to set aside $3 million for a consumer education campaign to educate consumers about current production practices.   The United States District Court, N.D. California granted Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, finding that Plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits, direct harm to Plaintiff was likely to occur if the injunction was not granted, and that the public interest would be served by granting the preliminary injunction.

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