Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Humane Society-Western Region v. Snohomish County 2007 WL 2404619 (W.D. Wash)

Plaintiff Humane Society Western Region (d/b/a "Happy Paws Farm") filed this lawsuit against Snohomish County alleging provisions of the county code regulating barking are unconstitutionally vague in violation of the state and federal constitutions, and that the SCC provision governing the temporary housing of animals in shelters violates its federal constitutional right to substantive due process. Plaintiff argued that the noise ordinances invite subjective evaluation resulting in arbitrary enforcement because the code contains no reference to identifiable levels of noise, only to noises that are repetitive.  The absence of identifiable levels of noise, or decibel levels, does not render the noise ordinances unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that this method is not easily understood by individuals of ordinary intelligence or that it fails to protect against arbitrary enforcement. This opinion was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by Humane Society Western Region v. Snohomish County, 357 Fed.Appx. 144 (9th Cir., 2009).

Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc. v. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty 71 A.D.3d 734 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,2010)

Animal rights protestors appealed the decision of the Supreme Court, Westchester County that permanently enjoined the protestors from engaging in protest activity that constituted a private nuisance (to wit, participating in targeted protest at the home of the plaintiff Mark L. Bibi). This court found that the protestors failed to refute the evidence from the lower court that showed the plaintiffs were entitled to a permanent injunction as a matter of law (including evidence of the appellant's federal conviction conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992). While the court did find that the appellant-protestor's incarceration did not render the appeal academic, imposition of the injunction was a reasonable and constitutional restriction on protest activity.

Hurd v. State 988 A.2d 1143 (Md. App., 2010)

 In this Maryland case, Defendant appealed his convictions for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of malicious destruction of property valued under $500 relating to the fatal shooting of two of his neighbor's (Randolph's) dogs. On appeal, Defendant maintains the language of the former text of 10-416(b)(3), a section of the Natural Resources Code dealing with deer hunting, renders the shooting justifiable. The Court found that Section 10-416(b)(3) is ambiguous; as such, based on the rule of lenity, the Court construed section 10-416(b)(3), with one exception, as giving persons in Washington County (prior to the 2009 amendment) a right to kill a dog pursing a deer whether or not the dog was being used for purposes of deer hunting. However, the Court found that Section 10-416 of the Natural Resources Article gave Defendant no privilege to kill a dog pursuing a turkey.

Hyatt v. Anoka Police Department 691 N.W.2d 824 (Minn. 2005)

Plaintiff was injured by a police dog during the arrest of her husband.  Plaintiff sued under a Minnesota Statute requiring strict liability for dog injuries.  The trial court held the statute applied to police dogs, the Court of Appeals reversed, and the Supreme Court ultimately held the statute does apply to police dogs.

Hyland v. Borras 719 A.2d 662 (N.J.Super.A.D., 1998)

Plaintiff Heather Hyland brought this action for damages after defendants' dog, an American bulldog, trespassed onto plaintiff's property and attacked her ten year old shih tzu, causing serious injuries to the dog.  Defendants appeal the award of "repair costs" ($2,500) in excess of the dog's market value or "replacement cost" ($500).  In upholding the award, the court distinguished companion animals from other personal property, finding that market value fails to take into account the owner's relationship to the animal. 

I.B. Sirmans v. State 534 S.E.2d 862(Ga.App.,2000)

Defendant was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty and one count of simple assault. The portion of the sentence depriving defendant of animals which the State failed to demonstrate were abused vacated and case remanded; judgment affirmed in all other respects because the motion to suppress was properly denied, and defendant was not prejudiced by the trial court's refusal to sever the trial.

Idaho Dairymen's Ass'n, Inc. v. Gooding County 227 P.3d 907 (Idaho 2010)

After Gooding County adopted an ordinance regulating confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), cattle ranching and dairy associations brought suit challenging the constitutionality and validity of provisions within the ordinance and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.  The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the county, and the associations appealed.  The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court's findings. 

In Defense of Animals v. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 785 F.Supp. 100 (N.D. Ohio, 1991)

This case involves a challenge by several organizations to the proposed move of Timmy, a lowland gorilla, from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to the Bronx Zoo in New York for the purposes of mating Timmy with female gorillas at the Bronx Zoo. Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on October 25, 1991, in the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, and moved for a temporary restraining order.  The District Court held that the claim was preempted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and that plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the ESA.  Further, the court held that plaintiffs had no private cause of action under the AWA. 

In Defense of Animals v. National Institutes of Health 527 F.Supp.2d 23 (D.D.C., 2007)

This FOIA case was brought against the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") by In Defense of Animals (“IDA”) seeking information related to approximately 260 chimpanzees located as the Alamogordo Primate Facility (“APF”) in New Mexico. Before the court now is NIH's Motion for Partial Reconsideration as to the release of records. This Court rejected NIH’s arguments that the records are not “agency records” because they belong to NIH's contractor, Charles River Laboratories, Inc. (“CRL”), a publicly held animal research company. Also, the Court was equally unconvinced that the information requested here is “essentially a blueprint of the APF facility,” and that release of such information presents a security risk to the facility. This Order was Superseded by In Defense of Animals v. National Institutes of Health , 543 F.Supp.2d 70 (D.D.C., 2008).

In Defense of Animals v. National Institutes of Health 543 F.Supp.2d 70 (D.C.C., 2008)

This FOIA case was brought against the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") by In Defense of Animals (“IDA”) seeking information related to approximately 260 chimpanzees located as the Alamogordo Primate Facility (“APF”) in New Mexico. Before the court now is NIH's Motion for Partial Reconsideration as to the release of records. This Court rejected NIH’s arguments that the records are not “agency records” because they belong to NIH's contractor, Charles River Laboratories, Inc. (“CRL”), a publicly held animal research company. Also, the Court was equally unconvinced that the information requested here is “essentially a blueprint of the APF facility,” and that release of such information presents a security risk to the facility.

In Defense of Animals v. Oregon Health Sciences University 112 P.3d 336 (Or. 2005)

A nonprofit corporation petitioned the trial court for injunctive and declaratory relief regarding fees charged by a state university primate research center for document inspection.  The circuit court dismissed the action with prejudice, reasoning it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the fee issue and, assuming jurisdiction existed, the fees were in compliance with law.  The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding the circuit court had jurisdiction to review the basis, reasonableness and amount of fees charged by the university.

In Defense of Animals v. Salazar 675 F.Supp.2d 89 (D.D.C., 2009) In this case, the Plaintiffs, In Defense of Animals, Craig C. Downer, and Terri Farley, attempted to obtain a preliminary injunction that would stop the defendants, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and representatives of the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (“the Bureau”), from implementing a plan to capture or gather approximately 2,700 wild horses located in western Nevada (“gather plan”).   The plaintiffs contended that the gather plan had to be set aside pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq., because the Bureau did not have the statutory authority to carry out the gather plan, and because the plan did not comply with the terms of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“Wild Horse Act”), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331 et seq.   The Court denied the Plaintiffs request for an injunction.  
In Defense of Animals v. U.S. Dept. of Interior 648 F.3d 1012 (C.A.9 (Cal.),2011)

Plaintiff animal non-profits filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction to stop the government from rounding up, destroying, and auctioning off wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area. Plaintiffs alleged that the government's actions violated the Wild Free–Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. However, the initial phase of the plan sought to be enjoined (the roundup) had taken place. The court held that the interlocutory appeal from the denial of a preliminary injunction was moot because the roundup had already taken place.

In re Capers' Estate 34 Pa. D. & C.2d 121 (Pa.Orph.) (1964)

In this Pennsylvania case, the testatrix directed in her will that her Irish setter dogs to be destroyed in a humane manner. The executors were unsure of what action to take and sought declaratory relief. In attempting to construe the testatrix's intent, the court found that she "evidently feared that either they would grieve for her or that no one would afford them the same affection and kindness that they received during her life." The court found that the intent of testatrix would be carried out if her two favored Irish setters were placed in an environment where they are given the same care and attention that she she gave them during her life. The final question the court grappled with was whether it was against public policy to hold valid a clause in a will directing the summary destruction of certain of decedent's property after her death. The court held that the clause was void as not being within the purview of the Wills Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and being against the public policy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In re Clinton Cty. 56 Misc. 3d 1155, 57 N.Y.S.3d 367 (N.Y. Sur. 2017) Synopsis from the court: County filed notice of claim, directed toward estate of cattle farmer who had passed away after he was charged with animal cruelty, seeking reimbursement for costs incurred in connection with care of seized cattle. The Surrogate's Court, Clinton County, Timothy J. Lawliss, J., held that: (1 ) county failed to establish that it was entitled to any relief based upon a theory of quantum meruit, and (2) even assuming that service providers, and thus county upon payment of service providers' bills, enriched farmer, county was not entitled to recover based upon a theory of unjust enrichment because criminal charges against farmer were dismissed upon his death. Notice of claim denied and dismissed.
In re Endangered Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation-MDL No. 2165 704 F.3d 972 (D.C. Cir. Ct. App.,2013)

After parties in a lawsuit over listing species as endangered or threatened agreed upon a settlement, the Safari Club motioned to intervene because the settlement might affect three species that the club's members hunt. The district court denied the motion to intervene as of right because the club lacked Article III standing and denied a permissive intervention because it would cause undue delay and prejudice to the parties; the court then approved the settlement and the club appealed. The appeals court affirmed the lower court's decision that the club lacked Article III standing for intervening as of right. The appeals court, however, in view of uncertainty whether Article III standing was required for permissive intervention, declined to exercise pendant appellate jurisdiction over the permissive intervention appeal.

In re Kenna Homes Cooperative Corporation 557 S.E.2d 787 (W.V. 2001)

The owners of a cooperative unit kept a dog in their dwelling despite a no pets policy. There was, however, an exception in the policy for service animals, and the Jessups argued that the small dog they kept was necessary due to various medical problems they had, including arthritis and depression. The housing authority denied the request, stating that only animals certified for the particular disability qualify as a "service animal." The West Virginia Court of Appeals held that a housing authority may require that a service animal be properly trained without violating federal law.

In re Knippling 183 P.3d 365 (Wash.App. Div. 3,2008)

The Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court in Spokane County, Washington of second degree assault and first degree animal cruelty.  The Defendant requested that he receive credit against his term of community custody for the extra 24 months' confinement time he served before he was re-sentenced.    The Court of Appeals held that the Defendant was entitled to 24 months credit against his term of community custody.   

In re Kulka's Estate 18 P.2d 1036 (1933)

This action relates to a court order in an estate case.  The decedent left a legacy in the form of some timber reserves to the Human Society of Portland Oregon "to be used solely for the benefit of animals."  The executor refused to pay the legacy.  This is an appeal from a circuit court decision directing and authorizing Andrew Hansen, executor of the estate of Otto Kulka, deceased, to pay the petitioner a legacy from proceeds in the executor's hands.  The court affirmed the payment of the legacy.

In re Marriage of Berger and Ognibene-Berger (Decisions Without Published Opinions) 834 N.W.2d 82 (Table) (2013) Joe Berger appeals from the provisions of the decree of divorce from Cira Berger, including the court’s grant of Max, the family golden retriever, to Cira. He argues that it would be more equitable to grant him ownership of Max because Cira already owns another dog, Sophie, and the parties’ son, who lives with Joe, is very attached to Max. The district court made their decision based on which party would be more available to care for the dog. This court affirms that decision, citing evidence that Max is licensed to Cira, only Cira’s name is in the dog’s ‘GEO tracker’ device, and Cira got Max medical attention even when Max was in Joe’s care. The court specified that they need not determine a pet's best interests when deciding custody.
In re MARRIAGE OF Kimberly K. Enders and Michael A. BAKER 48 N.E.3d 1277 (Ill. App. Ct., 2015)

In this case, Michael A. Baker appealed the trial court’s decision regarding property distribution and visitation rights with regard to his two dogs, Grace and Roxy, following his divorce from Kimberly K. Enders. The trial court awarded custody of both dogs to Enders and denied Baker any visitation rights. In making its decision, the trial court relied on a New York case in which the New York Supreme Court did not allow dog visitation. (Travis v. Murray, 42 Misc.3d 447, 977 N.Y.S.2d 621, 631 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2013). The New York Supreme Court refused to apply the “best interests of the dog” standard and instead applied a “best for all standard,” holding that “household pets enjoy a status greater than mere chattel.” Baker appealed the trial court’s decision arguing that Illinois courts have the authority to order pet visitation. On appeal, the court determined that there was no case law to suggest that an Illinois court had ever addressed the issue of dog visitation. As a result, the court found that the trial court was well within its discretion to apply the standard used in the New York case. Additionally, the court of appeals applied the statutory definition of “dog owner” in Illinois and determined that Enders was the dogs’ rightful owner. The Illinois statute defined owner as “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian.” The court found that because the dogs were left in Ender’s care following the divorce, she is the one who “keeps or harbors” the dogs and is therefore the owner. Ultimately, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision and denied Baker visitation rights.

In re Marriage of Piskalns Unpublished Disposition, 344 Mont. 555, 186 P.3d 877 (Table) (2008) The parties both appealed from the district court’s orders distributing the marital estate upon the parties’ divorce. Kara Pilskalns claimed that the court erred when it granted ownership of Maggie, the couple’s dog, to Andrew Pilskalns. This court affirms the decision, declining to use the best interest of the child standard for the distribution of pets as they are marital property.
In re Marriage of Stewart 356 N.W.2d 611 (Iowa Ct. App. 1984)

Dog which had been gift from husband to wife was awarded to husband in divorce decree; wife appealed.  Appeals court found that the trial court did not err, considering both "the property division as a whole" and that the dog had accompanied husband to work each day.  Court held that a dog is personal property whose best interests need not be considered.

In re Marriage of Tevis-Bleich 939 P.2d 966 (Kan. Ct. App. 1997) A couple had agreed to a divorce settlement where they each had visitation rights with their dog; the trial court approved of the arrangement.  The wife later tried to have that section removed from the decree, but the trial court held that they did not have jurisdiction to make such a change.  The appellate court affirmed the decision, which left visitation intact

In this order, the court held that Respondent shall cease and desist from transporting live animals in primary enclosures which are not sufficiently large to insure that each animal contained therein has sufficient space to turn about freely in a standing position using normal body movement, to stand and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position, which spatial requirements are contained in the regulations issued pursuant to the Act. (9 CFR 3.12(c)).

In re Molly 712 N.W.2d 567 (Minn.App.,2006)

In this Minnesota case, the appellant challenges the district court's order designating his dog a "dangerous dog" under Minn.Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004). The appellate court held that the city lacked authority to bring action to enforce non-self-executing statutory provision concerning dangerous dogs. While the city of Arden Hills argues that the legislature, in section 347.53, gives cities "the power to enforce the dangerous dog statute, section 347.53 authorizes cities to "regulate potentially dangerous dogs," a statutory category expressly separate from and exclusive of "dangerous dogs." The court stated that the issue is whether Arden Hills may enforce the statute without first adopting it or promulgating procedures for its enforcement. Further, while it is undisputed that Scooter was badly injured by Molly during the attack, she was not dead then or upon arrival at the veterinary clinic. The owners undertook the decision to euthanize rather than treat the injured dog.

In re New Jersey Pinelands Com'n Resolution 812 A.2d 1113 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2003)

This case concerns the approval of a settlement agreement for a residential development project that contained habitat critical to the survival of a local population of timber rattlesnakes, an endangered species in New Jersey.  The court's review of the record found that there is no reason to interfere with the determination by the Commission, since there was ample evidence to support the Commission's decision to approve the settlement.  The court also agreed with the lower court that the environmental organizations lacked standing to bring an endangered species counterclaim before the lower court.  Specifically, the court found that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Commission did not fail to act in implementing the endangered species act; thus, no standing was conferred upon the groups.  The court also noted that the DEP and the Commission acted in their requisite complementary roles in effecting the Act.

In re Pajarito American Indian Art, Inc. 7 B.R. 343 (Bkrtcy.Ariz., 1980)

A trustee in a bankruptcy proceeding sought turnover of Sioux Indian Ghost Dance Shield containing eagle feathers.  The court observed that normally the laws of the UCC would prevail and the merchants to whom the item was entrusted would have legitimate title to transfer, but since the BGEPA prohibits the sale of eagle artifacts, only the original owner had title to the shield, not the bankrupt who allegedly tried to sell the shield nor the potential purchasers.  The court held that the underlying public policy outlined in Allard weighed heavily in the decision to invalidate what it termed an illegal contract.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts under the BGPEA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

In re Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and Section 4(d) Rule Litigation-MDL No.1993 United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. 720 F.3d 354 (D.C. Cir. 2013)

Hunters and hunting organizations sued the Secretary of Interior, the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Service itself after the Service listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and barred the importation of polar bear trophies under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). On appeal, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision to grant the defendants' motion of summary judgment.

In re Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and § 4(d) Rule Litigation 627 F.Supp.2d 16 (D.D.C.,2009)

Plaintiffs Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation brought this action under the APA challenging the FWS's legal determination that the listing of the Polar Bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act was a final agency action. At issue here is defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on the grounds that plaintiffs fail to challenge a final agency action as required for judicial review under the APA. Alternatively, defendants argue that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring this action. This Court found that the action challenged by SCI and SCIF is final agency action for purposes of judicial review pursuant to the APA. On the issue of standing, defendants argue that plaintiffs' suit must be dismissed for lack of standing because plaintiffs have not alleged facts to establish that they have suffered an injury-in-fact. The court disagreed, finding that the plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded that the “procedures in question” threaten a “concrete interest" - an interest in conservation that is impacted by the import ban. Defendants Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings was denied.

In re Priv. Crim. Complaint Filed by Animal Outlook 271 A.3d 516 (2022), appeal granted, order vacated, 298 A.3d 37 (Pa. 2023) Animal Outlook (“AO”) appealed from the order that dismissed its petition for review of the disapproval of the Franklin County District Attorney's Office (“DA”) of multiple private criminal complaints. The requested charges stem from information obtained from an undercover agent who was employed at Martin Farms, where she captured video of cruel mistreatment of animals on the farm that AO contends constituted criminal animal cruelty. These data were complied into a table of 327 incidents, a letter of support from a veterinarian, and a legal memorandum that detailed how these incidents violated Pennsylvania law. AO submitted the gathered information to the pertinent authorities in January 2019 and the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) initiated an investigation which concluded more than a year later. Ultimately, the PSP issued a press release in March 2020 that indicated that the District Attorney had declined prosecution. After this, AO drafted private criminal complaints that were submitted to the Magisterial District Judge who concluded that the DA correctly determined that there was not enough evidence for prosecution. AO then filed a petition of review of the disapproval of its private complaints pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 506(B)(1) before the trial court, which again dismissed AO petition for review. AO filed this appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. In reviewing the trial court's decision, the Superior Court found that the trial court committed multiple errors of law. First, the trial court did not view the evidence in the light most favorable to moving forward with a prosecution and gave too much credit to the evidence from the Martin Farms veterinarian versus the undercover agent's testimony. The trial court went beyond its role of determining whether the evidence proffered supported each element of the crime charged and instead gave impermissible weight and credibility to Martin Farms evidence. Second, the court made a point of noting that Martin Farms voluntarily changed its practices after the investigation, which had no bearing on the legal sufficiency for criminal charges. The trial court also addressed "only a hand-picked few of the alleged instances of abuse," especially with regard to ignoring the non-anesthetized dehorning of calves. Thus, this court found that AO provided sufficient evidence to show prima facie cases of neglect, cruelty, and aggravated cruelty with respect to the incidents. The court then analyzed whether the record supported a defense of "normal agricultural operations" defense that would counter the charges. This court found that incidents like the dehorning of cattle that already had horns fused to the skull and extreme tail twisting and shocking were sufficient to overcome the affirmative defense. The trial court's dismissal of AO's petition for review was reversed and the trial court was ordered to direct the DA to accept and transmit charges for prosecution.
In re Searight's Estate 87 Ohio App. 417 (1950) This Ohio case dealt with a deceased testator's will that bequeathed his dog to a certain person, including $1000 to be used for the care of the dog. The issues in this case were whether the testamentary bequest for the care of the dog was valid in Ohio as a proper subject of a "honorary trust," whether the bequest violated the rule against perpetuities, and whether the bequest was subject to the inheritance tax laws of Ohio. Ohio's Ninth District Court of Appeals held: 1) the testator's purpose was not capricious or illegal, and that such gift, whether designated as an 'honorary trust' or a gift with a power which is valid when exercised, is lawful; 2) such a bequest does not, by the terms of the will, violate the rule against perpetuities; and 3) a succession tax based on the amount of money expended for the care of the dog cannot lawfully be imposed, since the money is not property passing for the use of a "person, institution or corporation."
In re Tavalario 901 A.2d 963 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2006)

This appeal presents a challenge by Anthony Tavalario to the manner in which the State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) determines whether keeping horses on property constitutes a "commercial" agricultural operation that exempts the property from local zoning and other land use restrictions as the result of the preemptive force of the Right to Farm Act, N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 to -10.4. The SADC found that Tavalario's use of the land did not qualify for protection under the Act, because he could not demonstrate that, as of July 3, 1998, his operation produced "agricultural or horticultural products worth $2,500 or more annually" as required by the definitional section of the Act. Tavalario contends on appeal that the SADC erred because it failed to consider as income in 1998 uncollected stud fees, the imputed value of a horse sold as a broodmare in 2002 for $8,000 and another horse sold in 2003 for $5,400, and race winnings of an undisclosed amount allegedly awarded at an unspecified time after 1998. The court found no grounds for reversal of the SADC's interpretation of the production requirements of the definition of "commercial farm" found in N.J.S.A. 4:1C-3 or its application to Tavalario's case.

IN RE: ALEX PASTERNAK 52 Agric. Dec. 180 (1993)

The court concluded that respondent had committed more than thirty violations of the AWA for his abuse of his exhibition animals (mainly leopards).  Among the violations were a failure to maintain required records, failure to provide veterinary care, failure to comply with standards affecting all aspects of cat care, and physically abusing animals. As a result, respondent's license was suspended, a civil penalty was imposed and an order was issued directing respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act. Although respondent sought the protection of the bankruptcy code, the automatic stay of proceedings provided by bankruptcy law does not prevent the Department from obtaining corrective action to preserve animal welfare.

In re: BIG BEAR FARM, INC., ANDREW BURR, AND CAROL BURR 55 Agric. Dec. 107 (1996) Only requirement of 7 USCS § 2149(a), which authorizes suspension or revocation of license of exhibitor if exhibitor has violated or is violating any provision of Animal Welfare Act (7 USCS §§ 2131 et seq.) or any regulation or standard promulgated by Secretary under Act, is that at least one of violations be willful; existence of additional violations not shown to be willful does nothing to take away Secretary's authority to suspend or revoke exhibitor's license.

This is a disciplinary proceeding under the Animal Welfare Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. s 2131 et seq.), and the regulations and standards issued thereunder (9 C.F.R. s 1.1 et seq.). On November 20, 1992, Administrative Law Judge Edwin S. Bernstein (ALJ) issued an Initial Decision and Order assessing a civil penalty of $2,000, and suspending Respondents' license for 30 days, and thereafter until they are in full compliance with the Act, regulations and standards, because Respondents failed to keep their primary enclosures sanitary and in suitable condition, failed to maintain complete records, failed to keep food and watering receptacles clean, failed to handle wastes properly, failed to provide adequate veterinarian care, and failed to utilize sufficient personnel to maintain proper husbandry practices. (Respondents were licensed exhibitors of captive wildlife, including deer, non-human primates, and bears, among other animals.) The court also found the sanctions were not too severe, considering the willfullness of the violations.


Respondents, Craig and Marilyn Lesser, were respectively, president and vice-president of LSR Industries, a Wisconsin corporation that was in the business of breeding and selling rabbits to research institutions, and licensed dealers under the Animal Welfare Act. The ALJ issued an Initial Decision and Order assessing civil penalties of $9,250, and suspending Respondents' license for 30 days, after respondents interfered with APHIS inspections of their facilities and failed to maintain their facilities in accordance with the standards involving housing, sanitation, cleaning, ventilation, storage of food and bedding, and lighting. However, the Judicial Officer increased the civil penalties of $9,250 assessed by the ALJ by $500, because of sanitation and waste violations, for which the ALJ assessed no civil penalties. Since Respondents did not raise any issue before the ALJ as to whether warrantless inspections are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, they cannot raise the issue on appeal. The Fourth Amendment is not violated by warrantless inspections under this regulatory statute.

In re: DAVID M. ZIMMERMAN 56 Agric. Dec. 433 (1997) Purpose of sanctions is to deter respondent, as well as others, from committing same or similar violations.
In re: DAVID M. ZIMMERMAN 57 Agric. Dec. 1038 (1998) Ongoing pattern of violations establishes "history of previous violations" for purposes of 7 USCS § 2149(b), and it is appropriate to view evidence as establishing prior violations in determining appropriate level of civil penalty.
In re: DELTA AIR LINES, INC. 53 Agric. Dec. 1076 (1994) The Judicial Officer affirmed the Decision by Chief Judge Palmer (Chief ALJ) assessing civil penalties of $140,000, with $60,000 held in abeyance for 1 year, for transporting 108 dogs and cats in a cargo space that was without sufficient air, causing the death of 32 dogs. The Order also directs Respondent to cease and desist from violating the Act, regulations and standards, and, in particular, to cease and desist from failing to ensure that dogs and cats have a supply of air sufficient for normal breathing.  On appeal, the court held that when regulated entity fails to comply with Act, regulations or standards, there is separate violation for each animal consequently harmed or placed in danger.

Imposition of $4,000 civil penalty was appropriate under 7 USCS § 2149(b) where respondent committed numerous, serious violations of Animal Welfare Act, respondent handled large number of animals, and violations continued after respondent was advised in writing of violations and given opportunity to correct them.


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

IN RE: E. LEE COX AND BECKY COX, D/B/A PIXY PALS KENNEL 50 Agric. Dec. 1662 (1991)

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

IN RE: ERVIN STEBANE 47 Agric. Dec. 1264 (1988) Licensed dealer who engaged in recurring pattern of trivial noncompliance with housekeeping requirements, failed to provide records on two occasions and failed to permit inspection on one occasion, is properly sanctioned with 20-day license suspension, $1500 civil penalty, and cease and desist order.
In re: Gus White 2014 WL 4311058 (U.S.D.A. May 13, 2014) This Administrative Order revoked the Animal Welfare Act exhibitors license and assessed a $39,375 civil penalty to the owners of Collins Exotic Animal Orphanage. The owners of the license were also order to cease and desist from in particular, shall cease and desist from: failing to maintain complete records showing the acquisition, disposition, and identification of animals; failing to maintain programs of disease control and prevention, euthanasia, and adequate veterinary care under the supervision and assistance of a doctor of veterinary medicine; failing to provide veterinary care to animals in need of care; failing to provide food for rabbits that is free of contamination, wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient quantity and nutritive value for the rabbits; failing to keep food receptacles for rabbits clean and sanitized; failing to locate food receptacles for rabbits so as to minimize contamination by excreta; failing to construct housing facilities for animals so that they are structurally sound; failing to maintain housing facilities for animals in good repair; failing, during public exhibition, to maintain a sufficient distance or barrier between animals and the general viewing public to assure the safety of the animals and the viewing public; failing to provide natural or artificial shelter appropriate to the local climatic conditions for animals kept outdoors to afford the animals protection and to prevent discomfort to the animals; failing to enclose all outdoor housing facilities for animals with a perimeter fence of sufficient height; and failing to remove excreta from primary enclosures as often as necessary to prevent contamination of the animals contained in the primary enclosures and to minimize disease hazards.
In re: JACK D. STOWERS, DOING BUSINESS AS SUGAR CREEK KENNELS 56 Agric. Dec. 279 (1996) Willfulness is not required for cease and desist orders or for monetary fines; it is only required for license revocation if agency has not given respondent written notice of violations and opportunity to come into compliance with regulations. (Chief Administrative Law Judge Victor W. Palmer imposed a civil penalty of $15,000.00, issued a cease and desist order, and revoked Respondent's license after finding that Respondent: failed to allow department officials to inspect its facility; failed to maintain complete and accurate records of the acquisition, disposition, and identification of dogs; failed to properly identify dogs; failed to hold dogs for the required period of time; offered dogs for transportation in enclosures that did not conform to structural strength and space requirements; failed to construct and maintain primary enclosures for dogs that protect the dogs from injury; failed to deliver health certificates for dogs transported interstate; failed to provide adequate veterinary care; and obtained random source dogs from individuals who had not bred and raised the dogs on their own premises.)
IN RE: JAMES AND JULIA STUEKERJUERGEN, D/B/A CORNER VIEW KENNELS. 44 Agric. Dec. 186 (1985) Dog broker shipping dogs under 8 weeks old was assessed civil penalty of $7,000 and license as dealer under Animal Welfare Act was suspended for 35 days, since broker was one of largest dog brokers in state, 8-week minimum age requirement was based on finding that ability of dogs to function in adult environment was adversely affected if shipped under that age, violations were serious and flagrant in view of large number of puppies shipped on 10 different occasions during 2-month period, and broker had violated Act and standards on prior occasion resulting in 12 day license suspension.
In re: JAMES E. STEPHENS AND WATER WHEEL EXOTICS, INC. 58 Agric. Dec. 149 (1999) Ongoing pattern of violations establishes "history of previous violations" for purposes of 7 USCS § 2149(b).
In re: JAMES J. EVERHART 56 Agric. Dec. 1400 (1997) Respondent's inability to pay civil penalty is not consideration in determining civil penalties assessed under Animal Welfare Act.
In re: JAMES JOSEPH HICKEY, JR., d/b/a S & H SUPPLY CO., AND JERRY R. BRANTON 53 Agric. Dec. 1087 (1994) Respondents' failure to file timely answer, or deny allegations of complaint, constituted admission of complaint allegations and waiver of hearing, irrespective of respondents' contention that they were justified in not filing answer because ALJ did not rule on respondents' motions to sever, strike and make more definite and certain, since Department's rules of practice do not alter time for filing answer when such motions are filed.