Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
City of Columbiana v. Simpson --- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 4897158 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019) Richard G. Simpson, Appellant, lived in a residential district in Columbiana, Ohio. Simpson kept eight hens, a chicken coop, and an enclosure on his property for approximately seven years. On July of 2016, Simpson was informed that keeping chickens in the district he lived in was a zoning violation, however, Simpson found no prohibition in the Code regarding the keeping of chickens in a residential district. The city sent Simpson violation notices and instructed him to remove the chickens from the property. Simpson appealed the violation to the Planning Committee. On June 20, 2017 the City Council voted to place a resolution on the ballot for voters to decide whether chickens could be kept in residential districts. The resolution failed at the general election. A second notice was sent to Simpson and Simpson refused to remove the chickens from his property. The City instituted an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief on March 13, 2018. The trial court held that the keeping of chickens was prohibited in the City’s residential districts and that the city ordinances were valid on their face and were not arbitrarily or capriciously applied. Simpson appealed. Simpson argued that keeping the chickens did not constitute an agricultural use or poultry husbandry because he kept them as a hobby and therefore does not violate any of the city ordinances. The Court did not agree and concluded that the keeping of chickens fell within the definition of agriculture and was, therefore, prohibited based on the ordinances. Simpson next argued that since he acquired the chicken and coop prior to the City applying the prohibitions, it was a legal non-conforming use and that the zoning code contained no language that would have put him on notice that such property was not permitted on his real property. The Court concluded that there was no error by the trial court in holding that Simpson’s use of his land was not a legally conforming use. Finally, Simpson argued that the one of the city ordinances was arbitrary and unreasonable because there was no evidence of the chickens, coup, or enclosure constituting a nuisance. The Court concluded that a city is not required to show that a property owner’s proposed use constitutes a nuisance in order to establish the constitutionality of the ordinance. The Court found that the ordinance was neither arbitrary nor unreasonable and bears a substantial relation to the public health. The ordinance was a valid exercise of the City’s police power. The Court ultimately held that the City ordinance prohibited the keeping of chickens in residential districts. The prohibition was inferred from reading the ordinance in concert with other Code sections. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
City of Cleveland v. Turner --- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 3974089 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019) Defendant was convicted by bench trial of one count of sexual conduct with an animal (bestiality) in violation of R.C. 959.21(B). He was sentenced to 90 days in jail (with credit for time served), a $750 fine, with five years of inactive community control that included no contact with animals and random home inspections by the Animal Protection League (APL). The evidence supporting his conviction came from explicit letters defendant wrote to his boyfriend (who was incarcerated at the time) that described acts of bestiality. Defendant was also a sex offender parolee at the time of the letter writing. The letter, which was intercepted by jail officials, recounted a sexual act defendant engaged in with a dog that was under his care. Other similarly explicit letters were entered as evidence. In addition to the letters, the dog's owner testified that she left her dog with defendant and, after picking up the dog, the dog's behavior markedly changed from friendly to anxious and afraid. In addition, the dog was skittish for many days after, licked her genitals excessively, and was uncomfortable with any person near her backside, including the veterinarian. On appeal, defendant contends that the court erred by admitting his extrajudicial statements without independent evidence of a crime. Specifically, defendant contends the city failed to establish the corpus delicti to permit introduction of his purported confession. The court noted that this was a case of first impression since there is no Ohio case law that has analyzed the corpus delicti issue in the context of R.C. 959.21. Relying on the Indiana case of Shinnock v. State, 76 N.E.3d 841 (Ind.2017), this court found that while there was no direct evidence of a crime against the dog, the circumstantial evidence corroborates defendant's statements in his letter. The corpus delicti rule requires that the prosecution supply some evidence of a crime to admit the extrajudicial statements. Here, the city did that with the dog owner's testimony concerning the dog's altered behavior after being left alone with defendant. The court also found the evidence, while circumstantial, withstood a sufficiency of evidence challenge by defendant on appeal. On the issue of sentencing and random home inspections as a condition of his community control sanctions, the court found that the trial court did not have "reasonable grounds" to order warrantless searches of real property for a misdemeanor conviction. The finding of guilt for defendant's bestiality conviction was affirmed, but the condition of community control sanction regarding random home inspections was reversed and remanded.
State v. Schuler --- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 1894482 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019) Appellant is appealing an animal cruelty conviction. A deputy dog warden received a report from a deputy sheriff who observed a pit bull on appellant's property who was unable to walk and in poor condition while responding to a noise complaint. Appellant released the dog to the deputy and the dog was later euthanized. While the deputy was on appellant's property she observed two other dogs that were extremely thin which prompted the deputy to return to the appellant's house the next day, but the appellant was in the hospital. The deputy later returned to the appellant's home a few days later and the appellant's ex-wife allowed the deputy to perform an animal welfare check on the property. Two Australian cattle dogs were very muddy and in an outdoor kennel with no food or water. Numerous chickens, rabbits, mice, snakes, and raccoons were also observed inside and outside the house all living in cramped, filthy conditions. The deputy went to the hospital and the appellant signed a waiver releasing the raccoons and snakes to the wildlife officer, but the appellant refused to release the other animals to the deputy. As a consequence a search warrant was obtained. "Two raccoons, 3 black rat snakes, 8 dogs, 7 chickens, 3 roosters, 17 rabbits, 5 rats, 200 mice, and 2 guinea pigs were removed from the property." Appellant was charged by complaints with five counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of cruelty to companion animals. An additional complaint was filed charging appellant with one count of cruelty to a companion animal (the euthanized pit bull). The appellant raised 3 errors on appeal. The first error is that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict him of animal cruelty. The Court found that the complaint charging the appellant with animal cruelty in counts B, C, and D were not valid because it did not set forth the underlying facts of the offense, did not provide any of the statutory language, and failed to specify which of the 5 subsections the appellant allegedly violated. Therefore, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict the appellant and the animal cruelty conviction regarding the three counts for the rabbits was vacated. The second error appellant raised was that his conviction for cruelty to companion animals for the two Australian cattle dogs was not supported by sufficient evidence. The Court overruled appellant's second error because it found that the state had presented sufficient evidence to show that the appellant negligently failed to provide adequate food and water for the Australian cattle dogs. The third error the appellant raised was that the Court erred by ordering him to pay $831 in restitution. The Court also overruled appellant's third error since the appellant stipulated to paying the restitution. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed in all other respects.
Hetrick v. Ohio Dep't of Agric. --- N.E.3d ---- 2017 WL 4464371 (Ohio Ct. App.,2017) In this case, the court of appeals reversed the trial court's decision to grant appellee Hetrick's dangerous wild animal (DWA) permits. Hetrick was the owner of DWA's on his property, and according to an Ohio law he was required to register the DWA's and apply for permits before a certain statutory deadline. This court held that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) lacked a statutory basis to deny the application for a rescue facility permit on timeliness grounds but did not err in so finding on caging and care grounds. Further, the court reversed, in part, the judgment of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas in the rescue facility permit case; reversed, in toto, the judgment of the lower court in the wildlife shelter permit case; and with this decision, reinstated the ODA's denial of both permits. Judgments reversed.
State v. Agee --- N.E.3d ---- , 2019 WL 3504010 (Ohio App., 2019) The Humane Society brought this action in response to a complaint regarding a dog tangled in a tether. Three German Shepherds were discovered that belonged to the Defendant, Shawn Agee, Jr. The dogs were suffering from maltreatment. All three had been restrained without access to water or food and one of the dog’s tethers was wrapped so tightly that its leg had started to swell. Two of the dogs were suffering from fly strike. The State charged the Defendant with 12 criminal misdemeanors relating to the treatment of the three animals. The trial court acquitted the Defendant of 10 of those counts because of his unrebutted testimony that he had been out of town for the weekend and had left the dogs in the care of his mother. The Defendant was found guilty to two second-degree misdemeanors relating to the two dogs suffering from fly strike because those particular injuries were long time, very painful injuries that were not being treated and the Defendant was the dogs’ “confiner, custodian, or caretaker.” The Defendant was sentenced to community control, a fine of $100, a suspended jail sentence of 180 days, the surrender of the two dogs with fly strike, and the proviso that the remaining dog be provided with regular vet appointments and various other conditions. This appeal followed. The Defendant asserted that the Court erred by finding that he had in fact violated the statute that he was found guilty of and that his convictions were not supported by legally sufficient evidence. The Defendant argued that he did not qualify as the type or class of persons subject to criminal liability merely as an owner. The Court noted that the trial court did not impose liability due to his status as the dogs’ owner, but rather due to this having served as the two dogs’ confiner, custodian, or caretaker when they developed fly strike and should have been but were not properly treated. As for the second assignment of error, the Court found that there was sufficient evidence to find that the Defendant had violated the statute. The Defendant had admitted that he knew that the two dogs had fly strike “two or three weeks before he left town for the weekend.” The dogs were not treated before he left town. The Court ultimately affirmed both convictions.
Terranova v. United States Dep't of Agric. --- Fed.Appx. ----, 2020 WL 4589346 (5th Cir. Aug. 10, 2020) Petitioners seek review of a decision and order of the USDA/APHIS determining that they violated various provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) and its implementing regulations, imposing civil penalties, and revoking the exhibitor license granted to Terranova Enterprises, Inc. Petitioners were licensees who provide wild animals like tigers and monkeys for movies, circuses, and other entertainment. In 2015 and 2016, APHIS filed complaints against petitioners that they willfully violated multiple provisions of the AWA and knowingly violated a cease and desist order issued in 2011 to avoid future violations of the AWA. After consolidating the complaints, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") found that petitioners willfully committed four violations, so the ALJ issued a cease and desist order, suspended petitioners' license for 30 days, and assessed a $10,000 penalty and an $11,550 civil penalty for failing to obey the prior cease and desist order. On appeal by both parties to the Judicial Officer of the USDA, petitioners' exhibitor license was revoked and the penalties were increased to $35,000 and $14,850, respectively. On appeal here to the Fifth Circuit, petitioners claim that the determinations of the Judicial Officer were not supported by substantial evidence and that she abused her discretion in revoking their exhibitor license. This court found there was sufficient evidence to support the violations, including failing to allow APHIS officials to conduct compliance investigations and inspections, faulty tiger enclosures, insufficient distance/barriers between tigers and the public, failure to make an environmental enrichment plan, and failings involving tiger enclosure and protection from inclement weather, among other things. With regard to petitioners' claim that the Judicial Officer abused her discretion in revoking the exhibitor license, this court court found that petitioners committed more than one willful violation of the AWA so revocation was not unwarranted or without justification. The court concluded that the USDA Secretary’s order was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law, and that it was supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the court denied the petition for review.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Reynolds --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2022 WL 777231 (S.D. Iowa Mar. 14, 2022) Plaintiffs, five non-profit organizations dedicated to animal protection, food safety, and other advocacy issues, filed suit challenging Iowa Code § 717.3B, which they contend infringes on their constitutional rights. Specifically, these organizations contend that Iowa's new "ag-gag" law criminalizes their actions in gathering information through undercover investigations at animal production facilities. These organizations must misrepresent or conceal their identities to gather gather evidence of animal abuse and other alleged illegal conduct in day-to-day activities at facilities where they suspect wrongdoing occurs. Iowa Code § 717A.3B is the second in a series of laws passed by the Iowa legislature aimed at criminalizing undercover investigations such as the ones conducted by Plaintiffs. The previous law was challenged by these same plaintiffs and a permanent injunction was passed by the United States District Court. The defendants challenged the injunction in the Eighth Circuit, but before that was decided, the Iowa legislature passed the new section (§ 717A.3B). Here, both parties have filed Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs contend that the new law violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution because it discriminates based on content and viewpoint and cannot survive strict scrutiny. Defendants argue that the law does not regulate protected speech under the First Amendment or, if it does regulate protected speech, it is content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral and passes intermediate scrutiny. The court first noted that the issue with § 717A.3B, and other laws aimed at prohibiting trespassers at agricultural facilities, is the law seeks to single out specific individuals for punishment based on their viewpoint regarding such facilities. This law operates in a viewpoint discriminatory fashion because it prohibits the deceptive trespasser who gains access or obtain employment at an agricultural facility with the intent to cause “economic harm ... to the agricultural production facility's ... business interest" as opposed to trespassers with an intent to benefit the facility. Thus, Section 717A.3B does not focus solely on the right to exclude, the legally cognizable harm of trespass, but only on the right to exclude those with particular viewpoints. While the court noted that a state legislature may determine whether specific facilities—such as agricultural facilities, nuclear power plants, military bases, or other sensitive buildings—are entitled to special legal protections, the First Amendment does not allow those protections to be based on a violator's viewpoint. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and Defendant's was denied.
Tranchita v. Callahan --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2021 WL 50349 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 5, 2021) This case involves a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction by Plaintiff Tranchita against Colleen Callahan, Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). In 2019, agents of the IDNR seized four coyotes Tranchita was raising at her home. After the seizure, three of the four coyotes died, and the remaining coyote, Luna, is elderly and in poor health. Tranchita seeks return of Luna from the coyote rescue center where Luna now resides. The IDNR contends that it will not release Luna until a court declares that the Plaintiff can legally possess her. By way of background, Tranchita is a wildlife exhibitor and educator who has cared for orphaned coyote pups since 2006. In 2016, Tranchita forgot to obtain another Breeder Permit and then failed to do so for the successive three years. Consequently, while she possessed a USDA Exhibitor License, she did not possess the required Illinois state licenses to keep coyotes. In 2019, Plaintiff sought relief in Illinois state court, which found that should she regain possession of Luna again, she must possess a Breeder Permit. The court did not consider whether that permit alone was sufficient or whether a Hound Running Permit is also required. Plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed her state court complaint and, four months later, filed a six-count verified complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After that filing, Plaintiff moved for a TRO and preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from (1) requiring her to hold a Hound Running Permit in order to keep Luna in Illinois; and (2) seizing Luna so long as Tranchita holds a current Breeder Permit. Tranchita seeks prospective declaratory and injunctive remedies that are all directed to allowing her to keep Luna in Illinois without a Hound Running Permit. The court first examined Tranchita 's likelihood of success on the merits for her five claims: her “class-of-one” equal protection claim, preemption claim, free exercise claim, procedural due process claim, and substantive due process claim. As to the first "class-of-one" claim, the court found that Tranchita's displeasure and disagreement with Defendants’ failure to enforce the Hound Running Permit requirement against other alleged violators likely does not give rise to a class-of-one claim. Further, the court found Tranchita was not likely to success on her claim asserting that the AWA preempts the IDNR's policy requiring an individual who wants to possess a coyote to obtain a Hound Running Permit. The court rejected Plaintiff's argument that hound running in Illinois constitutes an “animal fighting venture” that the AWA prohibits. Indeed, the court noted that the state definition for "hound running" includes when an authorized species "pursued with dogs in a hound running area, but not in a manner or with the intent to capture or kill.” Further, the court noted the Seventh Circuit held that Congress did not intend for the AWA to preempt or ban state legislation, like the Wildlife Code, that regulates wild animals. Tranchita also asserts that the Hound Running Permit requirement violates her rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The court found that Hound Running Permit requirement is neutral and generally applicable and is rationally related to a legitimate government interest" (i.e., regulating who can keep coyotes (and where) in that it requires an individual who wants to raise a coyote to do so on at least ten contiguous acres of land). Because the Hound Running Permit requirement appears to be supported by a rational basis, Tranchita is not likely to succeed on her Free Exercise claim. Finally, Tranchita brings claims for procedural and substantive due process violations. The court stated that, to succeed on this contention, Plaintiff must provide something that happened after April 2019 that could arguably return her property interest in Luna or provide her with a new, independent property interest in Luna. However, the court found that Plaintiff did not have a property interest in Luna at the time of the seizure because she did not have a Breeder Permit at that time. Because Tranchita has not demonstrated that she is likely to establish a protected property interest in Luna, she has failed to show that she is likely to succeed on either due process claim based on this interest. Tranchita's argument that her current Breeder Permit (issued without the concomitant Hound Running Permit by Illinois) protects her property interest also failed to persuade the court because the law states that "[n]o fur-bearing mammal breeder permits will be issued to hold, possess, or engage in the breeding and raising of striped skunks acquired after July 1, 1975, or coyotes acquired after July 1, 1978, except for coyotes that are held or possessed by a person who holds a hound running area permit under Section 3.26 of this Act." That granting of the Breeder Permit without the necessary Hound Running Permit required by law led Tranchita to her last argument: "the IDNR's custom and policy of issuing her Breeder Permits and allowing her to keep coyotes without a Hound Running Permit created an entitlement to possess a coyote based on a Breeder Permit alone." In fact, Tranchita points out that IDNR issued her a Breeder Permit on several separate occasions without requiring her to first have a Hound Running Permit while she already possessed coyotes. The court noted that a protected property interest may “arise from mutually explicit understandings," but the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating the existence of a mutually explicit understanding. Here, the Court was "skeptical" that sufficient evidence existed to demonstrate a department-wide custom or policy. In essence, the court found Tranchita had no likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the claims. The court did briefly engage in addressing the preliminary injunction factors. With regard to her claim that she will suffer irreparable harm in the form of Luna's imminent death, the court noted that the harm must be "likely" rather than just "possible." Tranchita's delay in seeking preliminary injunctive relief (four months after she withdrew her state court claims) undermines her irreparable harm argument. While the court was sympathetic and concludes that Luna's death would constitute irreparable harm to Plaintiff, it was not enough to persuade the court that death is likely absent the issuance of a TRO or injunction. Finally, on balancing the harms and public interests, the court found they do not weigh decidedly in Plaintiff's favor. Thus, the court denied Tranchita's motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction.
Farm Sanctuary v. United States Department of Agriculture --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2021 WL 2644068 (W.D.N.Y. June 28, 2021) Plaintiffs (nonprofit organizations working to protect animals, people, and environments from industrial animal agriculture) filed suit against the USDA and FSIS challenging the implementation of the Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 52,300 (Oct. 11, 2019) ("Slaughter Rule”). Plaintiffs contend that the rule allows nearly all pigs in the U.S. to be slaughtered as "unlimited speeds," thereby posing risks to animal welfare and consumer safety. Plaintiffs' lawsuit was later amended to add a claim that challenges Defendants' failure to ban the slaughter of non-ambulatory or "downed" pigs in the rule. Defendants filed motions to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiffs have no standing to sue. Plaintiffs contend that they have been injured by Defendants' implementation of the Slaughter Rule. Specifically, Plaintiffs argue that the authorization of the high-speed slaughter rule directly conflicts with their organizational missions and redirects resources to counteracting the Slaughter Rule instead of other activities like rescue of animals and advocacy. Some of the plaintiff organizations further allege that their members include consumers who eat pork products and are concerned about the increased health risks they face from consuming products from pigs who have not been adequately inspected as well as impacts to the environment from increased slaughter. In addition, Plaintiffs allege that the FSIS is not consistent in its treatment of downed pigs versus downed cattle, and that downed pigs are inhumanely forced to rise/stand for slaughter resulting in potential exposure to the public of disease and other public health risks. The court first took up Defendants argument that Plaintiffs lack both organizational and associational standing. The Court has reviewed the amended complaint in light of this Second Circuit precedent and finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that they have been forced to divert resources from mission-critical activities to oppose the Slaughter Rule. In other words, Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that Defendants’ unlawful practices have impaired and frustrated their ability to engage in mission-related activities and caused a consequent drain on their limited resources, which “constitutes far more than simply a setback to the organization's abstract social interests" sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Taking Plaintiffs allegations in their pleadings as true, the Court finds that the amended complaint contains allegations sufficient to support organizational standing. Having found that Plaintiffs have organization standing, the Court need not reach the issue of associational standing. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied. Finally, as to the 2020 Action concerning the downed pigs, the Court found that The Court reaches the same conclusion it did in the 2019 Action: that at this stage of the case, Plaintiffs have alleged organizational standing. The Court notes that several other Plaintiffs have submitted declarations from their members, which further explain how those organizations have sustained an injury-in-fact. Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that they provide additional services beyond mere issue advocacy, that these services have been impaired by Defendants’ actions, and that they have been forced to shift their resources away from those services to oppose the slaughter of downed pigs. Defendants' motions to dismiss were denied.
Turner v. Ferguson --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 97526 (E.D. Wis. Jan. 7, 2020) On March 5, 2017 Lori turner was attacked by her neighbor’s (“Arndt”) dog which required her to receive 11 staples to close the wound on her scalp. She also suffered bites on her shoulder and wrist that would later require surgery. Pursuant to local regulations, the neighbor’s dog was quarantined for a ten-day period. Lori mentioned to officers that the City of Gelndale had recently enacted an ordinance that allowed for an officer to declare a dog vicious which then required the owner of the dog to adhere to certain requirements like securing the dog in a kennel when it was outdoors and maintaining liability insurance for dog bites. On March 14, 2017, Officer Ruppel issued a citation to Ardnt under a Glendale ordinance for damage caused by dogs, however, he did not declare the dog vicious under the vicious-dog ordinance. Officer Ruppel reasoned during deposition that he chose not to do so because he considered Ardnt grabbing the dog by the neck and Lori walking up and petting the dog (prior to Ardnt’s action) provocation. Lori filed suit against the officers she interacted with over the course of the next year claiming that the officers denied her equal protection of the law by refusing to declare Arndt’s dog vicious and by failing to protect her from loose dogs in the neighborhood. Lori had repeatedly contacted the police department over the course of a year about how she did not like the outcome of her dog bite case and about loose dogs in the neighborhood. Lori specifically alleged that the officers treated her with animus. The Court ultimately found that the evidence in the record did not support a class-of-one equal protection claim. Officer Ruppel’s decision to not declare Ardnt’s dog vicious was supported by a rational basis. Additionally, no evidence existed that suggested that the Glendale police department intentionally and irrationally treated Lori’s complaints about loose dogs in the neighborhood differently than it treated similar complaints by other citizens. The Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted.
Madero v. Luffey --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 733766 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 13, 2020) Ronald Madero allegedly took care of abandoned cats in his neighborhood by giving them food, shelter, and occasional medical care. Madero lived in a duplex in which his son owned both halves of the building. A neighbor contacted Animal Care and Control (ACC) and complained about abandoned kittens in front of her residence. On or about June 15, 2017, Officer Christine Luffey of the Pittsburgh Police Department arrived at Madero’s residence with a non-officer volunteer, Mary Kay Gentert. Officer Luffey requested to inspect the inside of both sides of the duplex. Madero refused and Luffey claimed she had a search warrant. Madero believed that Gentert was present to assist with spay and neuter services for the cats and consented to allow Gentert to inspect the premises while Luffey waited outside. Gentert took photographs inside. Some time afterwards, Luffey executed a search warrant. Madero asserted that the information gathered and photographs taken by Gentert were used to obtain the search warrant. A total of forty-two cats were seized. Madero asserts that after the cats were seized the cats were left for hours on the hot concrete in direct sunlight with no water and that snare catch poles were used to strangle the cats and force them into carriers or traps. Madero further asserted that the cats were not provided with veterinary care for several weeks and were kept in small cages in a windowless room. Some of the cats were ultimately euthanized. On August 7, 2017, Officer Luffey filed a criminal complaint against Madero accusing him of five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and thirty-seven summary counts of cruelty to animals. Madero pled nolo contendere to twenty counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to ninety days of probation for each count with all twenty sentences to run consecutively. Madero filed a complaint asserting various causes of action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law alleging illegal search and wrongful seizure of the cats against Officer Luffey, Homeless Cat Management Team (“HCMT”), Provident, and Humane Animal Rescue (“HAR”). The defendants each filed Motions to Dismiss. Madero pled that the cats were abandoned or stray cats, however, he also pled that the cats were his property and evidenced this by pleading that he fed the cats and provided shelter as well as veterinary care. The Court found that Madero pled sufficient facts to support ownership of the cats to afford him the standing to maintain his claims under section 1983 and common law. The Court held that Madero pled a plausible claim against Luffey on all counts of his complaint. Madero alleged that Officer Luffey violated his Fourth Amendment rights by lying about having a search warrant and securing consent by threatening to bust his door down. As for Madero’s state law claims, the court dismissed his negligent misrepresentation claim against Luffey as well as his claims for concerted tortious conduct. Madero failed to plead a threshold color of state law claim against the HAR defendants. There can be no violation of constitutional rights without state action. Madero’s claims for conversion and trespass to chattel against the HAR defendants were also dismissed. All claims against Provident were dismissed, however, Madero’s claim against HCMT for conspiracy was able to proceed. The Court ultimately denied in part and granted in part Officer Luffey’s Motion to Dismiss, Granted HAR’s Motion to Dismiss, and denied in part and granted in part HCMT’s and Provident’s Motion to Dismiss.
Just Puppies, Inc. v. Frosh --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 607026 (D. Md. Feb. 7, 2020) The State of Maryland passed a “No More Puppy-Mill Pups Act” which went into effect January 1, 2020. The Act prohibits retail pet stores in Maryland from offering for sale or otherwise transferring or disposing of cats or dogs. Four pet stores, a dog breeder, and a dog broker filed suit against Brian Frosh, the Attorney General of Maryland, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General (CPD), the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee, and the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee seeking an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Act as well as a declaration that it is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Defendants were all entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, unless an exception were to apply. Under the Ex parte Young exception “private citizens may sue state officials in their official capacities in federal court to obtain prospective relief from ongoing violations of federal law.” The CPD and Committee Defendants were not State officials and, therefore, they did not fall within the Ex parte Young exception. The Ex parte Young exception, however, applied to Mr. Frosh as he was the Attorney General of Maryland since he had some connection with the enforcement of the Act. In Counts I, II, and III, the Plaintiffs alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause. The Court found that the Plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege that the Act discriminated against out-of-state breeders and brokers in its text, in its effect, or in its purpose. Count IV alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act was preempted by the AWA. The Court found that prohibiting Maryland pet stores from selling dogs or cats had no effect on the operation of the AWA. The Puppy-Mill Act's impact on pet stores did not clash with the AWA, because pet stores were explicitly exempt from the AWA. Count V alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act deprived Plaintiffs of their constitutional right to the equal protection of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court found no merit in this argument. Count VI asserted that the Act created a monopoly prohibited by Article 41 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. The Court found that the Puppy-Mill Act did not constitute an exclusive right to sell cats and dog in Maryland. Although the Act prohibited brick and mortar stores from participating in the sale of cats and dogs, consumers still had a plethora of choices when seeking to obtain a pet, including rescue shelters, animal control units, USDA licensed breeders and brokers, and unregulated hobby breeders. The Court ultimately dismissed all claims against the CPD and the Committee Defendants and allowed the claims against Brian Frosh to proceed.
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, INC., Plaintiff, v. WILDLIFE IN NEED AND WILDLIFE IN DEED, INC. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 4448481 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 3, 2020) Wildlife in Need and Wildlife in Deed, Inc. ("WIN") is a zoo located in Charlestown, Indiana owned by Timothy Stark and Melissa Lane that houses exotic and endangered animals, including Big Cats like lions, tigers, and hybrids. WIN exhibits Big Cats to the public through hands-on encounters called “Tiger Baby Playtime” so Stark routinely declaws Big Cat cubs in his possession so he can handle them easier, not for any medical reason. Stark admitted to declawing "about a dozen cubs" in 2016 alone. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. ("PETA") filed this lawsuit against Stark and Lane and their WIN zoo alleging that the defendants harassed and wounded Big Cats in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, this case asks whether certain animal exhibitors have "taken" various species of Big Cats by declawing them and prematurely separating them from their mothers to use in hands-on, public interactions. By granting PETA's motion for Partial Summary Judgment, this court concludes that such conduct constitutes a "taking" and thus violates the ESA. The court noted that PETA's motion for preliminary injunction was granted in 2017, restraining defendant from declawing any Big Cats absent a medical necessity supported by a veterinarian's opinion. Then, on February 12, 2018, the court preliminarily enjoined the WIN Defendants from declawing their Big Cats, prematurely separating Big Cat Cubs from their mothers, and using Cubs in Tiger Baby Playtime. The court previously concluded that declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA at the preliminary injunction stage, and now found "there is no good reason to disturb that conclusion." Thus, the court again concludes the WIN Defendants' declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA: it “harasses” Big Cats by creating a likelihood of significantly disrupting normal behavioral patterns; it “harms” Big Cats by actually injuring them; and it “wounds” Big Cats by inflicting a physical injury. In addition to granting the permanent injunction, the court also directed PETA to file a motion to appoint a special master and identify a reputable wildlife sanctuary for the animals housed at WIN.
Dallas Safari Club v. Bernhardt --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 1809181 (D.D.C. Apr. 9, 2020) Individual elephant sport hunters and their hunting organizations (“Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) seeking to import their sport-hunted elephant trophies from Africa into the United States. The Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction requiring the Service to process pending and subsequently filed permit applications. The African Elephant is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and is also a species that is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”). All African elephant trophy imports require the Service to make an enhancement finding, meaning that the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species, and issue an ESA permit. Additionally, certain African elephant trophy imports require a non-detriment finding and a CITES import permit. Historically, the Service made periodic countrywide enhancement and non-detriment findings, however, this came to a halt due to a Presidential tweet surrounding media criticism over the Service’s decision to lift the suspension on Zimbabwe’s ESA enhancement finding. The Court found that injunctive relief was not warranted because the Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm as to any Plaintiff. The individual Plaintiffs argued that they had suffered both emotional harm and economic harm. However, the Plaintiffs were on notice that their applications could take a significant amount of time to process. Additionally, the emotional distress claimed by the Plaintiffs would be alleviated when the Service issues a decision either granting or denying their permit applications, therefore, the harm that the Plaintiffs were claiming was not irreparable. The Court found that the individual hunter Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional and economic injuries were insufficient to warrant a preliminary injunction. The organizational Plaintiffs argued that they each were suffering irreparable harm derivatively because the Service’s delay in processing permit applications would decrease the popularity of sport hunting in Africa and cause a decrease in funding for conservation efforts. The problem was that the organizational Plaintiffs offered no proof to substantiate this argument. The Court ultimately held that in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the diminished capacity of the Service to process permit applications during this unprecedented time, it would be unwise and not in the public interest to order the expeditious processing of sport trophy permit applications. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
PETA v. Tri-State Zoological Park --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 7185560 (D. Md. Dec. 26, 2019) PETA brought this action against defendants Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland, Inc., Animal Park, Care & Rescue, Inc., and Robert Candy (collectively, “Tri-State”). Prior to this lawsuit, Tri-State was home to two lemurs, five tigers, and two lions which are all protected under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). More than half of the protected species housed at Tri-State died. PETA alleged violations of the ESA. PETA contended that the animals were subjected to harm and harassment and that Tri-State committed a “take” as defined by the ESA as a result of unsanitary living conditions, poor diets, and inadequate shelter and enrichment. The district court found that PETA had standing to bring suit. The court also found that each of the respective animals had been subjected to a take under the ESA. The court ultimately held that it would enter a separate order declaring that the Defendants violated the ESA by unlawfully taking the remaining big cats and maintaining possession of them. The Court permanently enjoined the Defendants from ever owning or possessing any endangered or threatened species and terminated the Defendants’ ownership and possessory rights to the animals. The Defendants’ motion to stay was denied.
Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico Inc. v. United States --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 5566322 (D.P.R. Oct. 28, 2019) Club Gallistico de Puerto Rico, Inc. (Club Gallistico) and the Asociacion Cultural y Deportiva del Gallo Fino de Pelea (Asociacion Cultural) both filed civil complaints against the United States Government. The complaints alleged that the Section 12616 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violated bedrock principles of federalism and rights protected under the United States Constitution. Both Club Gallistico and Asociacion Cultural are both non-profit organizations involved in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s cockfighting industry. The amendments to the AWA outlawed all animal fighting ventures in which animals were moved in interstate or foreign commerce in every United States jurisdiction. These amendments extended the ban to United States territories which the Plaintiffs argued the United States did not have the authority to do. Both cases were consolidated and heard by the District Court. The Court analyzed the amendments under the Federalism doctrine, the Commerce Clause, and the Territorial Clause. Extending the ban on live-bird fighting did not violate either of the three. Further, the amendments did not violate the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution or any other constitutional rights such as free speech or due process. The Court ultimately denied the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and Granted Defendant United States’ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
Art and Antique Dealers of Am., Inc. v. Seggos --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 3817305 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 2019) The plaintiffs are trade organizations representing arts and antique dealers. Plaintiff’s members have an “economic and professional interest in. . .the purchase, sale, distribution or trading of antique elephant ivory.” The Defendant is the Commissioner of DEC which is a state agency tasked with protecting New York’s natural resources and environment. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the import and export of endangered species and the sale, offering for sale, or movement of endangered species in interstate or foreign commerce. The prohibitions, however, had exceptions for “antique articles” that are 100 years of age or older. Those wishing to import such antique articles needed to first obtain a federal permit. Under the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior, trade of African elephant ivory is generally prohibited. Only certain items containing a de minimus quantity of ivory are exempt. The state of New York imposed a ban on elephant ivory with even narrower exceptions than the ESA. The DEC only issued licenses authorizing trade in ivory pursuant to the State Ivory Law’s exceptions. The licenses actually issued by the DEC restricted the advertisement and display of ivory products. Plaintiff’s filed this action challenging the constitutionality of the State Ivory Law on preemption and First Amendment grounds. The Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and the Defendants and Intervenors crossed-moved to dismiss. The Court examined the ESA and determined that section 1535(f) did not preempt the State Ivory Law because the ESA prohibitions only applied to interstate or foreign commerce while the State Ivory Law applied to intrastate commerce. As result, the exceptions contained in the State Ivory Law did not prohibit what was authorized by the ESA. The Court granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss on Count I because it was not “the clear and manifest purpose of Congress to preempt state laws restricting purely intrastate commerce in ivory.” The Plaintiff’s second count alleged that the State Ivory Law’s permit requirement violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The display restriction in the license prohibited the physical display for sale of any item not authorized for intrastate sale under the State Ivory Law even if the merchant was authorized under the ESA to sell the item in interstate commerce. The Court determined that the in-store display of ivory products constituted commercial speech because the display constituted lawful activity, New York had a substantial interest in regulating the sale of ivory within its borders and the display restriction directly advanced that interest. The Court was unable to determine whether the display restriction burdened substantially more speech than was necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests. Ultimately the Court granted the Defendant’s and Intervenor’s cross-motions to dismiss with respect to preemption and denied both the Defendant’s and Plaintiff’s motions for summary judgment with respect to the First Amendment Claim.
Sanzaro v. Ardiente Homeowners Association, LLC --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 1049380 (D. Nev. Mar. 5, 2019) Deborah Sanzaro and Michael Sanzaro are the plaintiffs in this action. Plaintiffs are homeowners and members of a homeowners association ("HOA"). Three incidents occurred at the HOA clubhouse in which Deborah Sanzaro attempted to enter with her Chihuahua, which she claimed was a service animal. In each of these three incidents, Deborah was denied access to the clubhouse. The first incident occurred on March 11, 2009. Deborah entered the club house with her dog and the manager of the HOA asked her why she brought the dog into the clubhouse with her. Deborah explained that her dog assisted her with her disability and was a service animal, however, she could not provide any documentation to the manager as to that effect. She was then asked to leave the clubhouse to which she refused. Only after security was called did Deborah leave. Later, on that same day, Deborah entered the clubhouse with her service dog without any incident. The HOA sent a letter to the plaintiffs after the first incident notifying them that that Deborah had violated the HOA’s governing documents and that a hearing before the HOA board would take place on March 30, 2009. Plaintiffs never showed for this hearing which ultimately resulted in the Board finding that Deborah violated HOA rules and regulations by entering the clubhouse with her dog and not providing documentation. Deborah was assessed multiple fines. Prior to the hearing, the HOA sent out letters to the other residents letting them know that they would accommodate any legitimate service animal if their staff is properly advised of such. They also mailed out a letter regarding the incident with the plaintiffs to all of the other residents. The plaintiffs began to receive hate mail and verbal harassment regarding their dispute with the HOA board. The plaintiffs received many threats and had their property defaced by an anonymous homeowner who spray painted their garage door telling them to get out of the neighborhood. The HOA did nothing to stop this harassment. Plaintiffs filed a complaint with the Nevada Real Estate Division and their claim was submitted to a non-binding arbitrator. Deborah provided a doctor’s statement requesting that her dog be registered as a service dog, a notice of entitlement to disability benefits from the SSA, a doctor’s statement regarding Deborah’s disability, and a statement from Deborah explaining how her dog had been trained to assist her. The Arbitrator found for the Ardiente Homeowners Association because she did not find Deborah’s explanation as to why she needed the dog as being persuasive. The arbitration decision was upheld by the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County, Nevada as well as by the Nevada Supreme Court. On July 26, 2010, Plaintiffs entered the clubhouse again with the dog. They were told that they could not come in unless they provided more documentation despite the documentation that the Deborah had provided during the arbitration proceeding. On January 29, 2011 the plaintiffs entered the clubhouse again with the dog and they were again denied entry until the plaintiffs could provide documentation that the dog was a registered service animal. The HOA eventually foreclosed on the plaintiff’s home in order to recover the fines and attorney’s fees that were owed. Plaintiffs then brought 102 causes of action in federal court under the ADA and FHA which were pared down to two questions: (1) whether the HOA clubhouse was a place of public accommodation under the ADA and NRS § 651.075, and (2) whether Plaintiffs requested, and were ultimately refused, a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. For the plaintiff ADA claims, the District Court found that Deborah is disabled as a matter of law and that the HOA and other defendants were aware of her disability at least as of July 27, 2009 (the date of the arbitration). The Court also found that the clubhouse was not a place of public accommodation and that the entire community including the clubhouse was a private establishment. As a result the plaintiffs were not able to establish a claim for disability discrimination under the ADA. For the plaintiff’s FHA claims, the Court found the following: Deborah was qualified as handicapped under the FHA; the defendants were reasonably expected to know about her handicap; an accommodation was necessary for Deborah to use the clubhouse; the dog qualified as a service animal and permitting the dog to accompany Deborah was a reasonable accommodation; and the defendants refused to make the requested accommodation which makes them liable. For the Nevada law claim, it failed because the community and clubhouse are a private establishment and were not considered public accommodations. Plaintiffs were entitled to damages for their FHA claims only. The Court ultimately found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $350,000 in compensatory damages, $285,000 in punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation.
Am. Anti-Vivisection Soc'y v. United States Dept. of Agric. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2018 WL 6448635 (D.D.C. Dec. 10, 2018). The American Anti-Vivisection Society and the Avian Welfare Coalition sued the Department of Agriculture and its Secretary alleging that the Department's failure to promulgate bird-specific regulations is unreasonable, unlawful, and arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. The Plaintiffs sought court-ordered deadlines by which the Department must propose such rules. The Department moved to dismiss the Plaintiff's claims arguing that the Plaintiffs lack standing to sue, that it is not required by law to promulgate regulations for birds, and that it has not taken a final action reviewable by the court. The District Court ultimately held that, although the Plaintiffs have standing to sue, both of their claims fail. The Department is not required by the Animal Welfare Act to issue avian-specific standards; rather, it must to issue welfare standards that are generally applicable to animals. Secondly, although the Department has not taken any action to develop avian-specific standards, that does not mean that will not do so in the future. The District Court granted the department's motion to dismiss.
Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Vilsack --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2015 WL 1432069 (D. Colo. 2015) In an amended complaint, Plaintiffs asserted four claims against Defendants relating to a May 7, 2013 United States Department of Agriculture inspection of Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. The claims included a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the Inspector Defendants “because they acted under color of state law when they induced the deputies to cut the chains and enter the premises;” a declaratory judgment “declaring that [Defendant] Thompson inappropriately overrode the medical advice of [Plaintiff] Big Cats' veterinarians and declaring that, in the future, the USDA cannot force [Plaintiff] Sculac to choose between following the medical advice of his veterinarians and the mandates of a USDA inspector;” and a declaratory judgment that the USDA must follow its own regulations and that it cannot conduct a warrantless search of the Big Cats facility outside of ‘normal business hours' solely because an inspector ‘want [s] to’ or because an inspector subjectively ‘believe[s][it] necessary to determine the welfare status of the animals....' ” In addition to declaratory relief, Plaintiffs also sought compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment interest. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. US Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation that, to the extent the Motion argued that the declaratory judgment claims should be dismissed because Plaintiffs lack standing, the Motion be granted in part and denied in part and that the declaratory judgment claims asserted by Plaintiffs Nick Sculac, Julie Walker, and Jules Investment, Inc. be dismissed without prejudice. In all other aspects, the Magistrate recommended that the Motion be denied. A District Court judge approved and adopted these recommendations and denied defendant’s objections to the recommendations.
Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife v. Kelly --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2015 WL 1293338 (D. Idaho 2015) Plaintiffs brought an action against the Defendants, challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”)'s November 28, 2012 Final Rule designating 30,010 acres in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Specifically, plaintiffs alleged (1) that the Final Rule's critical habitat designation was arbitrary and capricious because the Defendants failed to explain how the limited amount of critical habitat designated was sufficient to recover this population of caribou and (2) that Defendants failed to provide public notice and comment on the substantially revised critical habitat designation before issuing the Final Rule. Defendants and Intervenors argued that the Final Rule satisfied the requirements of the ESA and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA").While the district court stated that the Final Rule's analysis seemed reasonably based on the best available science, it refused to make a conclusive determination on the arbitrary and capricious issue because procedural requirements necessitated a further public review and comment period. The court therefore found the error in this case was a procedural one resulting from the FWS failing to provide a period of public review and comment on the Final Rule's critical change in reasoning. The Court therefore remanded this matter to the FWS to cure the procedural error by affording the necessary public comment period and to consider anew the critical habitat designation in light of those comments.
Marino v. Nat'l Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin. --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 1548489 (D.C. Cir. May 17, 2022) Plaintiff animal welfare organizations sued the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking to enforce conditions in permits held by SeaWorld. The permits authorize the capture and display of orcas and require display facilities to transmit medical and necropsy data to the NMFS following the death of an animal displayed under the terms of a permit. In 1994, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was amended such that it shifted authority to oversee conditions of marine mammals at exhibitors from NMFS to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). After three pre-1994 orcas died at SeaWorld, plaintiffs tried to convince NMFS that it still had the authority to enforce the pre-1994 rules related to release of records, but NMFS contended that its authority was extinguished in 1994. Plaintiffs brought suit, arguing that the NMFS's policy rests upon an arbitrary and capricious interpretation of the MMPA, and that its refusal to enforce the permit conditions was also arbitrary and capricious. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit for lack of standing. On appeal here, the court examined plaintiffs' standing under the three-part Lujan test. The court found a lack of redressability for the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs fail to allege any facts from which the court could infer the relief they seek would likely cause the NMFS to redress their alleged harms. In fact, because the MMPA language on permits is permissive, NMFS has discretion whether to enforce them. This is coupled with the fact that there is no evidence that third-party SeaWorld will turn over the reports even if NMFS were to direct them. Therefore, this court held that the district court did not err in determining that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue this case. Affirmed.
Ass'n des Éleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Bonta --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 1436840 (9th Cir. May 6, 2022) California prohibits the in-state sale of products that are “the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size.” Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25982. The law had a 7.5-year grace period before it went into effect. The law has two components: first, it bans the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras; and second, the law banned the in-state sale of products that are "the result" of that practice. After nine years of litigation and in their third set of appeals before this Court, the parties ask the court here to decide whether California's sales ban is preempted by the Poultry Products Inspection Act (“PPIA”) or violates the dormant Commerce Clause. As to the first issue of preemption, the plaintiff sellers contend that at least one USDA Policy Book defines foie gras as liver from poultry that has been "specially fed and fattened" and other USDA documents suggest this is done via forced-feeding. Thus, contend the sellers, it is impossible to produce and properly label foie gras, as is required by the PPIA, and then also comply with the California law. The court disagreed with the assertion, finding that the sellers can still force feed birds to make their products, but not sell those in California. Said the court, "The sales ban is neither a command to market non-force-fed products as foie gras nor to call force-fed products something different." Further, the sellers raise a new suggestion that the ban constitutes express preemption because force feeding operates as an "ingredient requirement." Essentially, they contend you cannot have foie gras without force-feeding birds. This was also rejected, as the court found nothing new that would reverse the precedent established in the prior decision by the court. Finally, the sellers appeal dismissal of their dormant Commerce Clause claim, arguing that the sales ban is impermissibly extraterritorial because force-feeding is only banned in California and therefore, only regulates out-of-state conduct. The court dismissed this, noting states are free to regulate commerce within their boundaries provided such regulation does not affect transactions from out of that state. Moreover, the sellers' argument that the ban is "unduly burdensome" for this reason also failed since there is not requirement that a state impose the "least burdensome" method for in-state commerce. The court held that the sales ban is neither preempted nor unconstitutional and that the specified transactions are out-of-state sales permitted by California law.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Haaland --- F.3d ----, 2021 WL 2232487 (9th Cir. June 3, 2021) This case is a challenge to a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") reversing its previous decision that the Pacific walrus qualified for listing as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (“ESA”). In 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity (“Center”) petitioned the Service to list the Pacific walrus as threatened or endangered, citing the claimed effects of climate change on its habitat. In 2011, after completing a species status assessment, the Service issued a 45-page decision ("Decision") that found the listing of the Pacific walrus was warranted, but it declined to list the species because it found the need to prioritize more urgent listings. A settlement between the parties in 2017 required the Service to submit a proposed rule or a non-warranted finding. In May of 2017, the Service completed a final species assessment ("Assessment") that concluded some of the stressors to the species had "declined in magnitude" and the walruses had adjusted, which culminated in "a terse 3-page final decision that the Pacific walrus no longer qualified as a threatened species." As a result, in 2018, the Center filed this action alleging that the 2017 Decision violated the APA and ESA. The District Court granted summary judgement to the Service and this appeal followed. The Ninth Circuit first observed that, while the Assessment contains some new information, it does not explain why this new information resulted in an about-face from the Service's 2011 conclusion that the Pacific walrus met the statutory criteria for listing. The Service contends the appellate inquiry must be limited to the 3-page Decision document from 2017. However, the Court noted that a review of the reasons offered by the Service in its appellate briefing illustrates why the Court cannot conduct the required appellate review without reference to the previous Assessment. The agency's new policy contradicts its prior policy (the Decision document which was 40+ more pages longer than the Assessment and includes citations and other data). The Ninth Circuit now holds that the Service did not sufficiently explain why it changed its prior position. As a result, the Court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Service and remanded it to the District Court to direct the Service to provide a sufficient explanation of its new position.
Hines v. Quillivan --- F.3d ----, 2020 WL 7054278 (5th Cir. Dec. 2, 2020) This case asks whether a veterinarian in Texas has a right to engage in telemedicine for a pet he has not physically examined. The plaintiff challenged Texas' physical-examination requirement that prohibits veterinarians from offering individualized advice to pet owners unless the vet previously examined the animal. Dr. Ronald Hines, a licensed veterinarian in Texas, stopped practicing in-person veterinary medicine in 2002 due to his age and other ailments. He then transitioned to a practice based remotely through the Internet. In 2012, the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (the Board) investigated Hines and found he had violated state law. The Board ordered him to cease providing veterinary advice electronically without first physically examining the animal. In 2013, Dr. Hines filed suit against the Board members claiming that the physical-examination requirement violated his First Amendment, equal-protection, and substantive-due-process rights. The district court then granted the motion to dismiss by the Board and the Court of Appeals found Hines failed to state a claim on appeal. Since that 2015 opinion, Texas revised its medical doctor laws, allowing them to engage in telemedicine, but did not do the same for veterinary practice laws. In addition to that change, a United States Supreme Court held that statements made by medical doctors could now be deemed "professional speech" (the "NIFLA" case). As a result of these changes, Hines brought the present suit arguing that the changes in Texas' telemedicine laws and the NIFLA case enabled him to pursue a new equal-protection claim and First Amendment claim. With regard to his protected speech claim, this Court found that subsequent caselaw does entitle Hines' claim to greater judicial scrutiny than his previous case allowed. Thus, remand to the district court to make the initial evaluation of whether Hines' conduct or speech is being regulated is required. On the equal-protection argument, the court found that Hines presents an argument slightly different than his previous one. In essence, Hines argued in the prior appeal that the he physical-examination requirement treated veterinarians engaging in telemedicine differently than other veterinarians. Here, Hines argues that changes to the medical doctor licensing laws treats medical doctors differently than veterinarians in the state with respect to telemedicine. Using a rational-basis review, the court held that it is rational to distinguish between human and animal medicine because of the differences in training, schooling, and overall practice of the professions. The court found the state's proffered reason that animals cannot communicate their symptoms as humans can ordinarily was a persuasive rational basis (although both Hines and the Dissent note that some humans like infants are unable to speak similar to animals and yet are allowed to be treated via telemedicine). The court found the services provided by both professions are not interchangeable and thus, the physical-examination requirement is not a protectionist measure for medical doctors. Ultimately, the court left it to the Texas legislature to expand any telemedicine changes to the veterinary practice code. The action was affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.
Lunon v. Botsford --- F.3d ----, 2019 WL 7198501 (8th Cir. Dec. 27, 2019) Lunon had a German Shephard as a breed dog, named Bibi, which had gotten loose and was turned into the local animal shelter. The animal control officer failed to scan the dog for a microchip. After five days at the animal shelter, Bibi was sterilized and adopted out. Lunon was able to recover his dog through a replevin action, however, Lunon claimed that his fourteenth amendment right to procedural due process was violated when Bibi was spayed and adopted out without providing pre-deprivation notice and an opportunity for Lunon to be heard. Lunon filed suit against the animal control officer, two directors of the animal shelter in Pulaski County, the city of North Little Rock, Pulaski County, the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, and the North Little Rock Animal Shelter. The defendants removed the case to federal court and sought summary judgment. The district court did not grant summary judgment and the defendants appealed. The Court found that the animal control officer picking up Bibi and delivering her to the animal shelter did not deprive Lunon of a protected property interest. There is no constitutional duty for an animal control officer to scan a stray dog for a microchip. Therefore, the animal control officer was not liable. The public officials that participated in this action were all protected under governmental immunity because Lunon failed to demonstrate that each individual defendant violated his constitutional right to due process. The Court ultimately reversed the order of the district court and remanded with directions to enter judgment dismissing those claims with prejudice.
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Perdue --- F.3d ----, 2017 WL 4320804 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 29, 2017) The Secretary of Agriculture is directed by the Animal Welfare Act to promulgate regulations governing minimum animal housing and care standards and to issue licenses for animal exhibitionists only if they adhere to these standards. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Department of Agriculture for renewing Tom and Pamela Sellner's Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa despite multiple violations of the animal welfare requirements set forth in the Act. In fact, the USDA had filed an administrative complaint against the Sellners and commenced a formal investigation in 2015 According to the court, the USDA has established a "bifurcated" approach to licensing, where initial applicants must comply with regulations and pass an agency compliance inspection, while license renewal applicants must only pay a fee and agree to continue to comply with regulations. After the District Court's dismissal of the case, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part but remanded back to the District Court the question whether the USDA's reliance on self-certification was an arbitrary and capricious action with instructions to get further explanation from the agency. As stated by the court, "On remand, the agency must, at a minimum, explain how its reliance on the self-certification scheme in this allegedly “smoking gun” case did not constitute arbitrary and capricious action."
Park Management Corp v. In Defense of Animals --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2019 WL 2539295 (Cal. Ct. App. June 20, 2019) An animal rights activist named Joseph Cuviello appealed the entry of a permanent injunction in a trespass action that prohibited him from demonstrating outside of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom ("The Park") in California. The superior court rejected Cuviello’s federal and state constitutional claims that he had a right to picket there peacefully and his common law defense based on a claimed prescriptive easement. The Park was originally municipally owned and privately operated until 2007 when the Park's management acquired the park from the City of Vallejo. After that acquisition, the Park began to limit free speech until it ultimately banned all expressive activity on the property. Cuviello was one of the many people that protested at the park advocating for animals and he had done so many times in the past. The Park filed a single cause of action for private trespass against several animal advocacy groups. Cuviello argued that he had a First Amendment right to protest there because the park had been dedicated to public use, the park was a public forum under state constitutional law, and given the amount of times he had protested at the park in the past, he had acquired a common law prescriptive easement right to protest there. The trial court denied Cuviello’s cross-motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment for the Park. It ruled that the First Amendment does not apply to private property and that the property was not a public forum under California’s constitution. It also rejected the prescriptive easement claims. Although the Park was zoned as a public and quasi-public property, the Appeals Court grappled with whether to classify the Park as a private or public forum. The Court applied a balancing test which balanced society’s interest in free expression against the Park’s interests as a private property owner. The Court concluded that the unticketed, exterior portions of the Park was a public forum. Ultimately the Court held that the trial court erred in granting the Park’s summary judgment and in denying Cuviello’s cross-motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court reversed the decision of the trial court and held that on the undisputed facts here, the Park may not ban expressive activity in the non-ticketed, exterior areas of Six Flags.
People v. Smalling --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2019 WL 2400413 (Cal. App. Dep't Super. Ct. May 30, 2019) Defendant was cited for allowing a dog controlled or owned by her to cause injury or death to a service dog in violation of California’s Penal Code. The offense was an infraction. The defendant pled no contest and was fined $157. The service dog’s owner requested a restitution hearing, but the trial court denied the request stating that since the offense was an infraction, a restitution hearing was not permissible. The service dog owner appealed the decision of the trial court. The Court ultimately found that the trial court incorrectly stated that a victim of an infraction is not entitled to restitution. Both the California Constitution and the California Penal Code (the very statute that the Defendant was convicted of violating) entitle the victim to restitution. The California Constitution specifically states that restitution shall be ordered in every case regardless of the sentence or disposition of a crime in which a victim suffers a loss. The Court stated that an infraction is a crime, therefore, a restitution hearing is mandatory. The statute that the Defendant violated (section 600.2 of California’s Penal Code) also stated that a defendant shall be ordered to make restitution. The trial court abused its discretion in erroneously concluding that a crime victim is not entitled to restitution if the offense committed is an infraction and ultimately denying the victim restitution. The Defendant argued that an order for payment of restitution would be improper because she was never advised that victim restitution would be a consequence of her plea and that such an order would violate her plea agreement. She also argued that the trial court found, in good faith, that restitution was unnecessary. The Court, however, found the Defendant’s arguments unpersuasive. The Court reversed the order denying victim restitution and remanded the matter to the trial court with directions to conduct a restitution hearing.
Perez v. County of Monterey --- Cal.Rptr.3d ---- 2019 WL 621483 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2019) In this California case, the plaintiffs sued to challenge the validity of the County of Monterey rooster-keeping ordinance, seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. The ordinance limits residents to no more than four roosters on a single property without a rooster keeping permit and also describes care and keeping requirements. The trial court found that the ordinance did not violate the constitution and entered judgment for the City. Plaintiffs here appeal that decision, arguing that the ordinance: (1) takes property without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) infringes on Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce; (3) violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (4) is a prohibited bill of attainder; and (5) violates the rights to privacy and to possess property guaranteed by the California Constitution. With respect to the Fifth Amendment taking challenge, the court found that the regulatory takings argument failed because there is no evidence that the ordinance affected plaintiffs or that they even applied for or were eligible for a permit. As to the interstate commerce challenge, plaintiffs provided no evidence that the ordinance would cause excess roosters to be divested from owners and sold in commerce to support this claim. As to Equal Protection, the plaintiffs correctly assert that the ordinance treats people differently based on age (i.e., students engaged in 4-H or FFA activities are exempted from the four-rooster limitation). However, the court found that the county stated a legitimate objective of public health and safety and this differential treatment of a non-suspect class advances that interest. Finally, the court found the ordinance was not a bill of attainder since it prospectively regulates roosters and also that it does not violate California's right to privacy and property possession. Indeed, the court found that plaintiff did not identify a specific privacy interest implicated by the ordinance. Thus, the judgment was affirmed.
Burkholder v. Department of Agriculture --- A.3d ----, 2021 WL 4780651 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Oct. 14, 2021) In this Pennsylvania case, James Burkholder, d/b/a Whispering Spring Kennel (Burkholder), petitioned for review of an adjudication of the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) that imposed a $19,500 civil penalty on Burkholder for transferring two dogs in excess of the annual limit under his Class IV kennel license in December of 2017. Burkholder raises two arguments: first, the Dog Law does not specify that transfers of more than 60 dogs by a private kennel constitute violations; and two, the penalty imposed is excessive and unreasonable. This court first noted that a Kennel Class IV license clearly does not allow him to transfer more than 60 dogs and thus any transfers in excess violate the Dog Law. As to the excessive penalty argument, the court first examined the distinction between separate and ongoing violations of the Dog Law because it raised a question of first impression under the Dog Law. Relying on the distinction in other contexts, particularly regarding penalties imposed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the court found that a kennel owner holding too many dogs could remedy the violation simply by transferring the excess dogs. The problem here is that, where an owner has transferred more dogs than his license allows, there is no way to correct the violation. Thus, said the court, a per-day fine is improper. "Each unauthorized transfer of a single dog is a single violation of the Dog Law, not a continuing violation, because it is not ongoing in nature and such transfers can be feasibly segregated into discrete violations so as to impose separate penalties." The court concluded that the Department erred as a matter of law by imposing ongoing penalties for two discrete unauthorized transfers. The order of the Department as to the excess transfers of dogs was affirmed, but the portion as to the amount of the penalty was vacated. The matter was remanded for further proceedings.
Anne Arundel County v. Reeves --- A.3d ----, 2021 WL 2306720 (Md. June 7, 2021) This Maryland case examines the scope of compensatory damages available forf the tortious injury or death of a pet under Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. (“CJP”) § 11-110, a law that allow pet owner to recover damages for the tort-based death or injury of their pet up to a capped level. The incident giving rise to this case occurred when Anne Arundel County Police Officer Rodney Price shot Micheal Reeves' dog in the front yard of Mr. Reeves' home. Officer Price was going door-to-door inquiring with residents after a recent spate of burglaries. Mr. Reeves' dog Vern burst from the front storm door and put his paw on the officer's forearm. While Officer Price stepped back and pushed the dog away, he testified that he did not vocalize any commands to the dog at that time, and, instead, decided to shoot the dog. Testimony by a veterinary pathologist at trial revealed that, if the dog were going for the officer's face as Price testified, this would have been improbable based on the dog's size as compared to the officer. Further, there was no dirt on that area of the officer's arm/chest nor any marks from the dog's paws. After a jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of Mr. Reeves for $10,000 for the trespass to chattel claim, and $500,000 in economic damages and $750,000 in noneconomic damages for the gross negligence claim. The circuit court then reduced the gross negligence damages to $200,000 pursuant to the Local Government Tort Claims Act (“LGTCA”). CJP § 5-301 et seq. The circuit court also reduced the trespass to chattel damages to $7,500 pursuant to the then-applicable damages cap in CJP § 11-110.1. The Court of Special Appeals held in an unreported divided decision that the statute did not bar recovery of noneconomic damages. On appeal here, this court now holds that CJP § 11-110 limits the recovery for compensatory damages to the amount specified by that statute and does not allow for recovery of noneconomic compensatory damages. And while the court found there was legally sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that Officer Price was grossly negligent, it also held that Mr. Reeves could not recover these damages due to Maryland's single recovery rule. As a matter of first impression, this court found CJP § 11-110's plain language evinces an intent to exclude those things not expressed in the statute. In other words, because the legislature defined the specific types of compensatory damages it allows, it intended to exclude other forms of damages like noneconomic damages. Further, the court found the plaintiff's reading of the statute "illogical" because economic damages would be capped, but yet noneconomic damages would not be. Thus, it would be up to the General Assembly to expressly provide for noneconomic damages in amendments to the statute. The court ultimately concluded that the statute defines and caps the recovery of compensatory damages in the case of the tortious death or injury of a pet and the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The dissent noted the majority decision created a "double anomaly" in Maryland law by capping damages for victims of a tortfeasor who kills their dog but allowing a fraudster who intentionally tricks a family into selling a painting of their dog unlimited damages. Further, the dissent argued the majority ignored both judicial and ethical trends regarding pets in society and disregards the legislative debate when the statute was re-enacted showing an intent to include higher damages amounts.
State v. Fay --- A.3d ----, 2020 WL 7051326 (N.H. Dec. 2, 2020) In this New Hampshire case, Christina Fay appeals her convictions on seventeen counts of cruelty to animals. In 2017, a search warrant executed at her residence resulted in the seizure of over 70 Great Danes. Police learned of the conditions at defendant's residence from defendant's prior employees, who gave accounts of floors covered in layers of feces, dogs being fed maggot-infested raw chicken, and dogs present with injuries/illness. After conducting an investigation, the investigating Wolfeboro's police officer (Strauch) partnered with HSUS because the department did not have the resources to handle a large-scale animal law seizure. Strauch did not include in his affidavit supporting the search warrant's issuance that HSUS would be assisting the police, and the warrant itself did not explicitly state that HSUS was permitted to assist in its execution. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress by violating two of her constitutional rights: her right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and her right to privacy. As to the right to privacy argument, the court first noted that defendant grounded her argument in a recently enacted amendment to the state constitution. However, this new amendment, which states that an individual's right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent, did not apply retroactively to defendant. As to defendant's second argument that she had a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the court noted that it has not previously considered the extent to which it is constitutionally reasonable for the police to involve civilians when executing search warrants. The defendant argues that Strauch's failure to obtain express authorization for HSUS's aid from the magistrate who issued the search warrant was constitutionally unreasonable. The court found no instance in which a court has held that the failure to obtain express judicial authorization for citizen aid prior to the execution of a warrant rendered the subsequent search unconstitutional. While other courts have opined that is might be a "better practice" to disclose this matter when applying to the magistrate for a search warrant, failure to do so does not itself violate the Fourth Amendment. The pertinent inquiry is whether the search was reasonable in its execution, and any citizen involvement would be held to that scrutiny. The court concluded that the state did not violate the constitution by failing to obtain authorization for HSUS's involvement prior to the warrant's execution. Affirmed.
Giarrusso v. Giarrusso --- A.3d ----, 2019 WL 1606351 (R.I. Apr. 16, 2019) This Rhode Island Supreme Court case centers on a disagreement among former spouses concerning the ex-husband's visitation with their two dogs acquired during marriage. Before the Court is an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After review, the Court concluded that cause was not shown and affirmed the order of the Family Court. The couple entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) formalizing the terms of the dissolution of Diane and Paul Giarrusso's marriage and giving Diane all title and interest to the dogs and Paul twice a week visitation. The weekly visitation proceeded according to the agreement for over a year, when Diane ceased allowing Paul's visits. Paul then filed a motion for post-final judgment relief citing breach of the agreement and Diane counterclaimed. A justice of the Family Court held a hearing on the issue, where each party testified and submitted associated texts and emails. In one recounted incident, a dog was missing for some time at Paul's house. Ultimately, the dog was found to be accidentally locked in a closet. At the conclusion of the hearing, Diane argued that the justice should withdraw approval for the MSA because Paul failed to care for the dogs and showed bad faith, while Paul argued that Diane had breached the terms. The hearing justice affirmed the visitation schedule of the MSA, denied Diane's requested relief, and awarded attorney fees to Paul. On appeal here, Diane argues that the hearing justice was "clearly wrong and overlooked material evidence when she found that Paul had acted in good faith." In particular, Diane contends that the dogs are chattel and Paul failed to provide safe conditions and return them to her in an undamaged condition. The Supreme Court held, in noting that the MSA retains the characteristics of a contract, that it would not overturn the hearing justice's determination in absence of mutual mistake in the contract (the MSA). There was no mutual mistake in the MSA's visitation provision and no basis for the hearing justice to conclude that the MSA needs to be reformed. Further, this court found no evidence of bad faith on Paul's part and that the hearing justice's findings were support by the evidence. Thus, it was not inequitable to enforce the visitation term in the MSA as written. The order of the Family Court was affirmed and the matter returned to Family Court.
Commonwealth v. Baumgartner --- A.3d ----, 2019 WL 1010357 (Mar. 4, 2019) Appellant Charles Baumgartner was charged and convicted of animal fighting for amusement or gain as a result of an incident that occurred on March 9, 2017. Baumgartner brought his white pit pull named "Menace" to fight a pit bull that belonged to Adam Aviles. Police learned of the dog fight after being informed a video of the fight had been uploaded to social media. Baumgartner was ultimately charged with animal fighting and assaulting Mr. Aviles, but was convicted by jury only of animal fighting. On appeal, Baumgartner contends that his conviction should be set aside because the Commonwealth failed to present any evidence of amusement or gain as required by statute. As a matter of first impression, this Court considered the term "amusement or gain" as an element of the animal fighting, which is undefined in the anti-cruelty laws. The court found that no cases or other jurisdiction defines the term with respect to animal fighting, and thus, under principles of statutory interpretation, relies on the common usage and dictionary definitions. The court found that there was sufficient evidence admitted a trial for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Baumgartner allowed his dog to engage in animal fighting for amusement or gain, i.e., for “pleasurable diversion” or “advantage acquired or increased.” The Court concluded that Baumgartner facilitated the dog fight as a means of retribution against Aviles for a prior dog fighting incident. Therefore, his motive was personal gain. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Baumgartner’s conviction. Judge Pellegrini dissented stating that she does not believe that retribution is the type of amusement or gain within the meaning of the statute. She interprets the statute as outlawing animal fighting as a sport rather than all animal fights.
Saenz v. DOI (vacated by U.S. v. Hardman, 260 F.3d 1199 (10th Cir. 2001)) (no West citation. Docket No. 00-2166)

(This case was vacated by United States v. Hardman, 260 F.3d 1199(10th Cir. 2001). Appellant was descended from the Chiricahua tribe of Apache Indians, and, although originally recognized as a tribe, it is not presently recognized.  The court affirmed the vacating of defendant's conviction for possessing eagle parts, holding that the present test under RFRA with regard to whether a tribe has been formally recognized bears no relationship whatsoever to whether one sincerely practices Indian religions and is substantially burdened when prohibited from possessing eagle parts.  For discussion of Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion .

Coyote v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (no F.Supp. citation) 1994 E.D. California

Defendant brought a motion after the USFWS denied his application to obtain eagle feathers for religious use where defendant failed to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he was a member of a federally-recognized tribe.  The court held that this requirement is both contrary to the plain reading of that regulation and arbitrary and capricious.  For discussion on formerly recognized tribes and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.

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.
Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser (2009) 177 FCR 398

The respondent placed ham in food to be fed to sheep prior to live export. This action resulted in delay of live export and constituted a breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) without falling under the defence of 'environmental protection'. The second applicant was entitled to damages from the respondent falling under the following heads: purchasing sheep; transport; killing fees; processing fees; freezer storage fees; cost of resale; and travel expenses. The total loss was calculated at $72,873.73.

Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser (2008) 249 ALR 445

The trial judge held that the respondent's placing of a ham mixture in the feed of sheep prior to live export was covered by the defence of dominant purpose for environmental protection under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). On appeal, the court held that the respondent's actions were not an attempt at environmental protection but rather sought to prevent what he believed would be cruelty to those animals on board the ship during live export and upon arrival. The case was referred back to the Federal Court for assessment of damages.

Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd (2008) 244 ALR 161

The applicant, an incorporated public interest organisation, sought an injunction to restrain the respondent Japanese company which owned several ocean vessels engaged in, and likely to further engage in, whaling activities in waters claimed by Australia. It was found that the applicant had standing to bring the injunction and the respondent engaged in activities prohibited by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). Orders were entered against against the respondent even though it had no assets in Australia and the likelihood of being able to enforce judgment was very low.

Re Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts (2008) 106 ALD 123

The Minister for the Environment declared the New South Wales Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2007-2011 to be an approved wildlife trade management plan within the meaning of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth). The Tribunal considered aspects of the plan including: ecological sustainability; conservation of biodiversity; humane treatment; response to environmental impact; precautionary principles; ethical research; and state legislation. The plan was ultimately approved by the Tribunal with a caveat that it include a trigger to suspend the 'harvest' if population levels dropped by 30% or over.

Re Nature Conservation Council of NSW Inc and Minister for Environment and Water Resources (2007) 98 ALD 334

The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Water Resources declared an Ocean Trap and Line Fishery to be an approved wildlife trade operation. This permitted the export of sea life from the fishery. The Nature Conservation Council claimed that the fishery was detrimental to the survival of east coast grey nurse sharks. The Tribunal found that the operation would not be detrimental to the survival of the east coast grey nurse population.

Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser (2007) 243 ALR 356

The applicants held sheep in a pen pending live export. The respondent broke into that pen and put pork products in their feed rendering them unfit for export to countries whose markets had religious proscriptions against eating pork products. The court found that the respondent's conduct did not amount to 'hindering' as defined in the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and that his action was for the dominant purpose of environmental protection, which included protecting sheep from the conditions suffered during the live export trade.

Re The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Ors and Minister for Environment and Heritage (2006) 42 AAR 262

Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import five Asian elephants. After an initial hearing, further evidence was sought in relation to the condition and nature of the facilities at the zoos. The Tribunal decided that the importation of the elephants should be in accordance with a permit issued under s 303CG of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Minister for Environment and Heritage (2005) 93 ALD 594

Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import asian elephants for conservation and exhibition. The Tribunal considered whether the elephants were being imported "for the purposes of conservation breeding or propagation", the zoos were "suitably equipped to manage, confine and care for the animals, including meeting the behavioural and biological needs of the animals", the importation of the elephants would "be detrimental to, or contribute to trade which is detrimental to ... the survival .... or ... recovery in nature of" Asian elephants and whether the elephants were "obtained in contravention of, [or] their importation would ... involve the contravention of, any law". The importation was allowed.

Song v Coddington (2003) 59 NSWLR 180

The appellant was charged and convicted of being a person in charge and authorising the carriage of a number of goats in cages which did not allow those goats to stand upright. The appellant was a veterinary doctor employed by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and authorised under the Export Control (Animals) Orders 1987 to certify animals for export. On appeal, it was determined that for the purposes of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996, the appellant was not a person in charge of the goats.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Western Australia Inc v Hammarquist (2003) 138 A Crim R 329

The respondents were charged with nine counts of inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal, a cow, and one count of of subjecting 50 cows to unnecessary suffering. The trial judge found the respondents wrongly charged and dismissed the charges without the prosecution clearly articulating its case. The trial judge was incorrect to dismiss the charges for want of particulars. The trial magistrate was also incorrect to dismiss the tenth charge for duplicity. In some circumstances it is possible to include multiple offences in the same charge where the matters of complaint are substantially the same.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd (2001) 208 CLR 199

The respondent was successful in obtaining an injunction against the appellants from publishing a film displaying possums being stunned and killed at an abattoir. The film had been obtained from a third party while trespassing. The Court found that it was not unconscionable for the appellants to publish the film and a corporation did not have a right to privacy.

RSPCA v Harrison (1999) 204 LSJS 345

The respondent was the owner of a dog which was found with skin ulcerations, larval infestations and saturated in urine. On appeal, it was found that the trial judge failed to give proper weight to cumulative circumstantial evidence as to the respondent's awareness of the dog's condition. It was also found that 'illness' was intended to cover a wide field of unhealthy conditions and included the larval infestation. The respondent was convicted and fined.

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