Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Naruto v. Slater 888 F.3d 418 (9th Cir. Apr. 23, 2018) A seven-year-old monkey named Naruto that lived in a reserve on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia got ahold of a wildlife photographer’s unattended camera in 2011 and took several photos of himself. David Slater, the owner of the camera, and Wildlife Personalities, Ltd., (“Wildlife”) published the photos in a book that identifies Slater and Wildlife as the copyright owners of the photographs. In 2015 PETA and Dr. Engelhardt filed a complaint against Slater, Wildlife, and Blurb (the website that helped create the book) for copyright infringement on behalf of Naruto. The defendants filed motions to dismiss on the grounds that the complaint failed to state facts sufficient to establish standing under Article III or statutory standing under the Copyright Act. The district court granted the motions to dismiss. PETA and Dr. Engelhardt appealed on Naruto’s behalf. Dr. Engelhardt ended up withdrawing from the litigation, so PETA remained as the next friend of Naruto. The Court of Appeals held that PETA cannot validly assert a “next friend” status to represent Naruto because they failed to allege any facts to establish the required significant relationship between a next friend and a real party in interest and secondly an animal cannot be represented by a “next friend” under the laws of the United States. The Court pointed out, however, that lack of a next friend does not destroy an incompetent party’s standing entirely. “Article III standing does not compel a conclusion that a statutorily authorized suit in the name of an animal is not a case or controversy.” Based on precedent, the Court concluded that Naruto did not have standing to sue under the Copyright Act because the statute did not expressly state that animals have standing. The Court affirmed the district court’s ruling that held that Naruto and animals in general lack statutory standing to sue under the Copyright Act. The Court also awarded the defendants attorneys’ fees. Circuit Court Judge N.R. Smith wrote a concurring opinion agreeing that the case must be dismissed but disagreeing with the Majority’s conclusion that next friend standing is non-jurisdictional. Judge Smith stated that “the Majority ignores its own conclusion by determining that 1) next-friend standing is non-jurisdictional; and 2) even if the elements of next-friend standing are not met, any third party may still bring suit on behalf of anyone or anything – without the real party in interest’s permission – as long as the real party in interest has an Article III injury; and the real party in interest is adequately protected by the purported next friend’s (or self-appointed lawyer’s) representation. In his opinion, this fails to follow both Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent. Judge Smith further concludes that Supreme Court precedent bars next friend standing for animals because the scope of next friend standing is limited by historical practice and there is no historical evidence that animals have ever been granted authority to sue by next friend, absent an act of Congress. There is also no textual support in the habeas corpus statute or Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This is because only a natural person can have a habeas corpus petition filed on their behalf. Rule 17 only authorizes next friend suits on behalf of “a minor or an incompetent person.” The Majority’s conclusion that next friend standing is non-jurisdictional and, therefore, allowed the case to go forward is incorrect and is legally unsupportable by precedent. In his opinion, the case must be dismissed if there is no next friend standing and the Majority should have never reached the merits of the Copyright Act question. The question before the court was whether a third-party had next friend standing allowing it to invoke the authority of the court and stand in Naruto’s shoes to advance his claims. The question was not whether Naruto was properly protected or was brought into the litigation as a defendant.
U.S. v. Cameron 888 F.2d 1279 (9th Cir. 1989)

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

U.S. v. Jim 888 F. Supp. 1058 (D. Or. 1995)

Court considered defendant's claim based on newly enacted RFRA.  Court finds defendant's asserted need to kill 12 eagles a year would decimate eagle population in Oregon.  While not perfect, court finds the eagle permit system the least restrictive means to achieve the compelling need of protecting eagles.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Kuehl v. Sellner 887 F.3d 845 (8th Cir. Apr. 11, 2018) Plaintiffs, including advocacy organization Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), brought suit against defendants the Sellners and the Cricket Hollow Zoo to enjoin defendants' mistreatment of their animals in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. Defendants ran a zoo with over 300 animals, including lemurs, tigers, cougars, monkeys and birds, among others. Several of the plaintiffs visited defendants' zoo and witnessed care that raised concerns about the animals' mental and physical well-being, including lemurs kept in isolation with insufficient climbing structures, and tigers kept in feces-filled cages with inadequate care/enrichment. The district court denied plaintiffs' requests for attorney fees and costs and also transferred the animals to a facility that was not proposed by plaintiffs. On appeal, defendants argued that plaintiffs lack standing, and, even if they had standing, defendants contend that they did not violate the ESA. Plaintiffs also appealed, challenging the district court's placement decision for the animals, as well as the court's denial of their request for attorney fees. The Court of Appeals disagreed with defendants that plaintiffs lacked standing because "[they] visited the Cricket Hollow Zoo for the purpose of looking for claimed violations." The court noted that "it is the violation itself" and not the search for it that has caused injury to the plaintiffs. As to defendants' argument that they could not have violated the ESA because the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) provides a "safe harbor" for licensed facilities, the court found that the AWA does not provide a blanket immunity to the ESA. Here, the defendants harassed the lemurs under the ESA by keeping them socially isolated with insufficient enrichment. The defendants also harassed the tigers under the ESA by failing to provide appropriate veterinary care and keeping them in unsanitary conditions. With regard to the placement of the animals at a facility chosen by defendants, this court found no clear error by the district court and, thus, there was no abuse of discretion in the placement decision. Finally, as to denial of plaintiffs' request for attorney fees and costs, the court found that plaintiffs were seeking fees to serve "as a vehicle to close Cricket Hollow." The court was concerned that the use of the ESA as a "weapon" to close small, privately-owned zoos was not envisioned by the Act. Hence, those circumstances justified the district court's decision to deny the motion for attorney fees. The lower court's decision was affirmed.
U.S. v. Thomas 887 F.2d 1341 (9th Cir. 1989)

The issue in this case is whether Edward A. Thomas, a Montana hunting guide and outfitter, may be found guilty of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act where the alleged object of the conspiracy was "to transport, receive and acquire elk in interstate commerce ... in violation of Montana state hunter's law."  The Court held that while a prosecution under the Lacey Act may not be sustained for the substantive acts of selling guiding services and hunting permits, an action can be maintained for conspiracies to violate the Act through these types of acts.  In this case, the underlying violations were acts of hunting with a transferred license or permit where the acts were allegedly committed by others.

Thompson v. Dover Downs, Inc. 887 A.2d 458 (Del.Supr.,2005)

Vernon Thompson appeals from a Superior Court order reversing a decision and order of the Delaware Human Relations Commission (DHRC) after Thompson was denied access to defendant's casino because Thompson insisted that his dog accompany him, but refused to answer the officials' inquiries about what his alleged support animal had been trained to perform. The DHRC determined that by denying access, Dover Downs had unlawfully discriminated against Thompson in violation of the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law. The Supreme Court here agreed with the Superior Court in reversing the DHRC. It found that Dover Downs' personnel were entitled to ask Thompson about his dog's training. Since Thompson refused to answer these questions, there is no rational basis to conclude that Dover Downs' refusal to admit Thompson accompanied was pretextual.

Hebert v. Broussard 886 So.2d 666 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2004)

A dog that chased and pinned a man was shot by a police officer who had been called for assistance.  The dog owner instituted an action against the police officer, the police chief and the city.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the police officer, police chief and city, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding the police officer was entitled to statutory immunity.

Claddie Savage v. Prator 886 So.2d 523 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2004)

A Parish Sheriff informed game clubs the parish ordinance against cockfighting would be enforced, despite the fact that cockfighting tournaments had been held at the game clubs since 1991.  The game clubs filed for and received a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the parish ordinance.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court decision.  Reversed by Savage v. Prator , 921 So.2d 51 (La., 2006).

Bueckner v. Hamel 886 S.W.2d 368 (Tex. App. 1994).

Texas law allows persons to kill without liability dogs that are attacking domestic animals. However, the attack must be in progress, imminent, or recent. This defense does not apply to the killing of dogs that were chasing deer or non-domestic animals.

Columbus v. Kim 886 N.E.2d 217 (Ohio, 2008)

An Ohio dog owner was convicted in the Municipal Court, Franklin County, of harboring an unreasonably loud or disturbing animal as prohibited by city ordinance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the owner contended that the term “unreasonable” in the ordinance “does not provide enough explanation to allow the average person to know what behavior is permissible.” The Supreme Court held that the ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague on its face, and was not unconstitutionally vague as applied.

People v. Larson 885 N.E.2d 363 (Ill.App. 2008) In December 2005, defendant Alan J. Larson was found guilty of possession of a firearm without a firearm owner's identification card and committing aggravated cruelty to an animal when he shot and killed the Larsons’ family dog Sinai in October 2004. Evidence included conflicting testimony among family members as to the disposition of the dog and whether he had a history of biting people, and a veterinarian who concluded that a gunshot to the brain was a conditionally acceptable method of euthanasia. Defendant appealed his conviction on the grounds that the aggravated-cruelty-to-an-animal statute was unconstitutionally vague because it fails to address how an owner could legally euthanize their own animal. The appellate court rejected this argument and affirmed defendant’s conviction.
People v. Bergen 883 P.2d 532 (Col. Ct. App. Div. III 1994)

Defendant, a journalist, attempted to film a dogfight for an investigative story on dogfighting following the passage of a Denver ordinance forbidding the ownership of bull terriers (pitbulls).    Defendant videotaped two separate fights and dogs "training" by running on treadmills.  After the story aired, public outcry lead to a police investigation as to the source of the dogfighting footage, which lead to the arrest of the defendant and her cameramen for dogfighting and perjury.

Slay v. Spell 882 So.2d 254 (Miss. 2004)

A slaughterhouse owner violated a Mississippi statute by failing to provide E. coli swab samples from hog carcasses for three weeks.  The Circuit Court found in favor of the Mississippi Department of Commerce and the Court of appeals affirmed the decision.

Smith v. Wisconsin Mut. Ins. Co. 880 N.W.2d 183 (Wis. Ct. App., 2016) (unpublished) This case concerns the measure of damages for injury to companion animals in Wisconsin. It arises from the incident between the plaintiff’s 11-year-old dog and the neighbor's dog. Plaintiff’s dog sustained severe injuries that resulted in veterinary bills and related expenses for the amount of $12,235. Plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to recover all veterinary and related expenses. Additionally, the plaintiffs contended that their damages were entitled to doubling under § 174.02(1)(b) as there were records that showed that the dog’s owner had knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities. Defendants’ insurer sought declaratory ruling arguing that under Wisconsin law, plaintiffs’ maximum recovery was the lesser amount between the dog's "cost of repair" and the dog's pre-injury fair market value, as it was the measure for personal property damage. The circuit court limited damages to $2,695, which was the amount conceded by the parties to be the replacement cost of plaintiff’s dog. In addition, that amount was doubled pursuant to § 174.02(1)(b). The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court and declined to extend Wisconsin's "keepsakes" rule to pets to provide different damages for pets that only have value to the owner. The court found there were “significant differences between an unrepairable and lost forever keepsake and an injured but "repairable" pet.” The court was also not persuaded by other states' precedent about allowing or denying veterinary treatment as part of damage awards and decided to continue to treat dogs the same as other personal property. On the additional expenses allegations, the court found them to be “expenses incurred by the Smiths to facilitate "repairing" their dog” that were subject to property damage limitations.
Carrasquillo v. Carlson 880 A.2d 904 (Conn.App., 2005)

A Connecticut motorist brought a negligence action against a dog owner, seeking to recover for personal injuries allegedly sustained when he took evasive action to avoid hitting dog.  The Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, granted the dog owner's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Appellate Court held that the record was adequate for appellate review; the dog owner exercised reasonable control while walking dog; the statute allowing imposition of fine or imprisonment or both on owner of dog that interferes with motor vehicle did not apply; and the dog owner demonstrated that motorist would be unable to cure legal defects in complaint even if permitted to replead.

Bal Harbour Village v. Welsh 879 So.2d 1265 (Fl. 2004)

Defendant owned four dogs prior to the enactment of an ordinance prohibiting municipality residents from owning more than two dogs in one household.  The municipality brought suit against Defendant for failing to comply with the ordinance.  The trial court denied the municipalities prayer for permanent injunctive relief, but the Court of Appeals overruled the decision holding the ordinance could constitutionally be enforced under the police power to abate nuisance.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Miami Seaquarium 879 F.3d 1142 (11th Cir. 2018) PETA, an animal rights organization, brought this action in July 2015 to enjoin the Miami Seaquarium. The injunction would force the marine park to relinquish possession of a killer whale, Lolita, by releasing her to a sea pen. The grounds for this injunction is an alleged violation of section 9(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act by the marine park when they confined the killer whale in such conditions that the confinement amounted to a taking of the endangered species of animal. PETA specifically alleged that the marine park took Lolita by harming and harassing her, citing thirteen different injuries that were directly caused by her confinement quarters. When Lolita’s species was recognized as an endangered species by the Act, it specifically excluded captive members of the species. Just two months prior to filing suit, PETA had successfully lobbied to have that exclusion removed from the listing, enabling the suit itself. The district court held for summary judgment in favor of the marine park, saying that to have taken an animal would require a grave threat or potential for a grave threat to the animal’s survival, and PETA did not provide evidence of conduct that met that standard. In this appeal, the court affirms the district court’s summary judgment, but disagrees with their standard for a taking of an animal. After lengthy analysis of the statutory language, this court lowers the standard to posing a threat of serious harm to the animal, rather than death of the animal. However, this court also holds that PETA did not prove that the Seaquarium’s confinement of Lolita met this standard either. Affirmed.
Friends of Animals v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv. 879 F.3d 1000 (9th Cir. 2018) Friends of Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service when the Service began issuing permits that allowed the scientific taking of barred owls, both lethally and non-lethally, for the purpose of preserving the habitat of the northern spotted owl, a threatened species. The two species compete with each other in the same territory within Oregon and Northern California. Friends of Animals alleges that these permits are a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which limits the removal of birds from their habitat only for scientific purposes. The theory set forth by the plaintiff is referred to as the ‘same-species theory,’ meaning that the removal of a bird must be for the scientific purposes pertaining to the very species that was taken. This theory is based on language found in the Mexico Convention which is referenced in the MBTA. The lower court granted FWS' motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court, holding that the plain text of the MBTA and Mexico Convention do not demand the same-species theory in the removal of a bird. Specifically, the court concluded that the “used for scientific purposes” exception in Article II(A) of the Mexico Convention includes taking birds to study whether their absence benefits another protected bird species.
Safari Club International v. Zinke 878 F.3d 316 (D.C. Cir. 2017) This case dealt with an action brought by an organization of safari hunters and firearm advocacy association under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), challenging the decision to suspend imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered summary judgment in FWS's favor, and the organization and association appealed. Under the ESA, sport-hunted African elephant trophies may only be imported into the United States if, among other things, the FWS makes “[a] determination ... that the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species”. The Court of Appeals held that 1) FWS's interpretation of Special Rule forbidding import of sport-hunted elephant trophies was permissible; 2) FWS could base finding that killing of African elephants did not enhance species' survival on absence of evidence that sport hunting enhanced survival of species; 3) FWS's conclusion that it lacked evidence to make finding that killing African elephants in Zimbabwe would enhance survival of species rebutted any presumption that importation did not violate any provision of ESA or regulation issued pursuant to ESA; 4) removal of enhancement requirement from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora did not require FWS to reconsider Special Rule; 5) finding constituted rule rather than adjudication; and 6) FWS's failure to engage in notice-and-comment prior to finding was not harmless error. Affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded so the FWS can initiate rule making to address enhancement findings for the time periods at issue in this case.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Wasden 878 F.3d 1184 In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. Animal rights advocacy organization brought action against the Governor and Attorney General of Idaho, challenging statute that criminalized interference with agricultural production facilities as violative of the First Amendment's free speech protections, violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and preempted by federal law. The United States District Court for the District of Idaho entered summary judgment in favor of organization and granted organization's motion to permanently enjoin enforcement of the statute. The court held that 1) Idaho statute criminalizing entry into an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation violated First Amendment; 2) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate First Amendment; 3) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate Equal Protection Clause; 4) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel, did not violate First Amendment; 5) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel did not violate Equal Protection Clause; and 6) Idaho statute prohibiting a person from entering a private agricultural production facility and, without express consent from the facility owner, making audio or video recordings of the conduct of an agricultural production facility's operations violated First Amendment. Affirmed in part; reversed in part.
McGraw v. R and R Investments, Ltd. 877 So.2d 886 (Fl. 2004)

Plaintiff was injured when she was thrown from defendant's horse.  The Circuit Court granted summary judgment for defendant and plaintiff appealed.  The District Court of Appeals held that, as a matter of first impression, the defendant's failure to provide the statutorily required notice warning of its non-liability for injuries resulting from an inherent risks of equine activities disqualified the defendant from statutory immunity from civil liability for the injuries.  Reversed and remanded.

City of Boston v. Erickson 877 N.E.2d 542 (Mass.2007)

This very short case concerns the disposition of defendant Heidi Erickson's six animals (four living and two dead) that were seized in connection with an animal cruelty case against her. After Erickson was convicted, the city withdrew its challenge to the return of the living animals and proceeded only as to the deceased ones. A single justice denied the city's petition for relief, on the condition that Erickson demonstrate “that she has made arrangements for [t]he prompt and proper disposal [of the deceased animals], which disposal also is in compliance with health codes.” Erickson challenged this order, arguing that it interfered with her property rights by requiring her to discard or destroy the deceased animals. However, this court found no abuse of discretion, where it interpreted the justice's order to mean that she must comply with all applicable health codes rather than forfeit her deceased animals.

Anderson v. State (Unpublished) 877 N.E.2d 1250 (Ind. App. 2007)

After shooting a pet dog to prevent harm to Defendant's own dog, Defendant challenges his animal cruelty conviction.  Defendant argues that since he was attempting to kill the dog, he did not intend to torture or mutilate the dog within the meaning of the statute.  The court affirms his conviction, reasoning that the evidentiary record below supported his conviction.

New York City Friends of Ferrets v. City of New York 876 F. Supp. 529 (S.D.N.Y. 1995)

New York City Friends of Ferrets, an unincorporated association of individuals in New York City who own or wish to own ferrets as household pets, bring this action challenging the legality of the City of New York's prohibition against the keeping of ferrets within the City limits and the requirement that in any case where a ferret is reported to have bitten a human being, the ferret be immediately surrendered to the New York City Department of Health and humanely destroyed in order to conduct a rabies examination.  The district court granted the city's summary judgment motion, and dismissed the ferret owners' equal protection claim. The court found a rational relationship between the city's ferret ban and its legitimate interest in protecting human safety.

State v. Witham 876 A.2d 40 (Maine 2005)

A man ran over his girlfriend's cat after having a fight with his girlfriend.  The trial court found the man guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals.  The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court, holding the aggravated cruelty to animals statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

Andrus v. L.A.D. 875 So.2d 124 (La.App. 5 Cir., 2004)

Patron sued dog owner for damages after an alleged attack.  The Court of Appeals, in reversing a finding for the patron, held that the patron did not establish that the dog posed an unreasonable risk of harm, which precluded a strict liability finding, and, that patron did not prove that the dog owner was negligent.  Reversed.

People v. Curcio 874 N.Y.S.2d 723 (N.Y.City Crim.Ct.,2008)

In this New York case, Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), a class A misdemeanor. The charge resulted from allegedly refusing to provide medical care for his dog, Sophie, for a prominent mass protruding from her rear end. This Court held that the statute constitutional as applied, the complaint facially sufficient, and that the interests of justice do not warrant dismissal. Defendant argued that the Information charges Defendant with failure to provide medical care for a dog, and that A.M.L. § 353 should not be read to cover this situation. However, the Court found that the complaint raises an “omission or neglect” permitting unjustifiable pain or suffering, which is facially sufficient.

United States v. Wallen 874 F.3d 620 (9th Cir. 2017) Defendant appeals his conviction for unlawfully killing three grizzly bears in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The killing of the bears occurred on May 27, 2014 at defendant's residence in Ferndale, Montana ("bear country" as the court described). In the morning, defendant discovered bears had killed over half of his chickens maintained in a coop. Later that evening, the bears returned, heading toward the coop. Defendant's children, who were playing outside at the time, headed inside and defendant proceeded to scare the bears away with his truck. Later that night, the bears returned and were shot by defendant. According to testimony by enforcement officers, defendant gave two different accounts of what happened that night. Ultimately, defendant was charged for killing the bears in violation of the ESA and convicted by a magistrate judge after raising an unsuccessful self-defense argument. On appeal, defendant argued: (1) he should have been tried by a jury; (2) the magistrate judge did not correctly identify the elements of his offense, and that error was not harmless; and (3) the case should be remanded for a trial by jury in the interest of justice. With regard to (1), that he was entitled to a jury trial because the offense was serious, rather than petty, the appellate court rejected the argument. The possibility of a five-year probation term and $15,000 restitution did not transform the crime, which had a maximum 6-month imprisonment, into a serious offense. On the second and third arguments, the court agreed that magistrate erroneously relied on a self-defense provision from a federal assault case that required the "good faith belief" to be objectively reasonable. The court held that the "good faith" requirement for § 1540(b)(3) should be based on a defendant's subjective state of mind. Then, the ultimate question becomes whether that subjective good faith belief was reasonably held in good faith. Said the Court, "[u]nder the Endangered Species Act, the reasonableness of a belief that an endangered animal posed a threat is likewise strong evidence of whether the defendant actually held that belief in good faith." As a result, the appellate court found the error by the magistrate in rejecting defendant's self-defense claim was not harmless. As to whether defendant is entitled to a jury trial on remand, the court found that the outcome of the prior proceedings conducted by a magistrate do not constitute a showing of bias or partiality. Thus, he is not entitled to trial by jury. The conviction was vacated and proceedings remanded.
Sinclair v. Okata 874 F. Supp. 1051 (D.Alaska,1994)

Defendants are able to present a genuine question of fact regarding whether they were on notice of their dog's vicious propensity given their characterization of the four prior biting incidents as "behavioral responses common to all dogs."  Defendants' expert concluded that each time, Anchor's responses were "natural" or instinctive.  Plaintiffs offer no evidence, through expert testimony or otherwise, to refute the opinion of defendants' expert. 

McNeely v. U.S. 874 A.2d 371 (D.C. App. 2005) Defendant McNeely was convicted in a jury trial in the Superior Court of violating the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act.  On appeal, t he Court of Appeals, held that the Act did not deprive defendant of fair warning of the proscribed conduct, as the defendant here was required to know that he owned pit bulls in order to be convicted under the Act; and the prosecutor's improper comment was rendered harmless by the trial court's curative instructions.
Lieberman v. Powers 873 N.E.2d 803 (Mass.App.Ct., 2007)

In this Massachusetts case, Noah Lieberman sustained injuries when he was scratched and bitten by a cat while visiting a “cat lounge” at the Sheldon branch animal shelter, which was operated by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). Plaintiff alleged that his injuries resulted from the defendants' negligent design and maintenance of the cat lounge. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk reversed the lower court's grant of summary judgment for defendants. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence, in the form of expert opinion, that an ordinarily prudent person in the circumstances of this case-which include the defendants' knowledge regarding the behavior (and potential for aggression) of cats-would have taken additional steps to ensure the safety of visitors to the cat lounge. At the very least, the defendants should have foreseen that the small size of the room, as well as the set-up (one food bowl, one litter box, two perches) and unsupervised operation of the cat lounge was such that it was more likely than not to increase stress in cats, which in turn made it more likely than not that the cats would behave aggressively.

Sturgeon v. Frost 872 F.3d 927 (9th Cir. 2017) In this case, Sturgeon sought to use his hovercraft in a National Preserve to reach moose hunting grounds. Sturgeon brought action against the National Park Service (NPS), challenging NPS’s enforcement of a regulation banning operation of hovercrafts on a river that partially fell within a federal preservation area in Alaska. Alaskan law permits the use of hovercraft, NPS regulations do not; Sturgeon argued that Park Service regulations did not apply because the river was owned by the State of Alaska. Sturgeon sought both declaratory and injunctive relief preventing the Park Service from enforcing its hovercraft ban. On remand, the Court of Appeals held that regulation preventing use of hovercraft in federally managed conservation areas applied to the river in the National Preserve. While the hovercraft ban excludes "non-federally owned lands and waters" within National Park System boundaries, this court found that the waterways at issue in this case were within navigable public lands based on established precedent. The district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants was affirmed.
Park Pet Shop, Inc. v. City of Chicago 872 F.3d 495 (7th Cir. 2017) Local pet stores and breeders brought an action against the validity of a city ordinance limiting the sources from which they may obtain dogs, cats, and rabbits for resale. They stake their claim on the grounds that the ordinance goes beyond Chicago’s home-rule powers under the Illinois Constitution and violates the implied limits on the state power imposed by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Petitioners appeal the district court’s dismissal of case for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Illinois Constitution allows Chicago to regulate animal control and welfare concurrently with the state so long as no state statute specifically limits the municipality. Further, the court reject the argument that the ordinance discriminates against interstate commerce. The court of appeals affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit for failure to state a claim.
Toledo v. Tellings 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007)

In this Ohio case, the defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court, Lucas County, of violating the Toledo city ordinance that limited ownership to only one pit bull per household. On appeal by the City, the Supreme Court found the state and the city have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens against unsafe conditions caused by pit bulls. The evidence presented in the trial court supports the conclusion that pit bulls pose a serious danger to the safety of citizens. The statutes and the city ordinance are rationally related to serve the legitimate interests of protecting Ohio and Toledo citizens.

Gerofsky v. Passaic County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 870 A.2d 704 (N.J. 2005)

The President of the New Jersey SPCA brought an action to have several county SPCA certificates of authority revoked.  The county SPCAs brought a counterclaim alleging the revocation was beyond the state SPCA's statutory authority.  The trial court revoked one county's certificate of authority, but the Court of Appeals held the revocation was an abuse of discretion.

In re Searight's Estate 87 Ohio App. 417 (1950) This Ohio case dealt with a deceased testator's will that bequeathed his dog to a certain person, including $1000 to be used for the care of the dog. The issues in this case were whether the testamentary bequest for the care of the dog was valid in Ohio as a proper subject of a "honorary trust," whether the bequest violated the rule against perpetuities, and whether the bequest was subject to the inheritance tax laws of Ohio. Ohio's Ninth District Court of Appeals held: 1) the testator's purpose was not capricious or illegal, and that such gift, whether designated as an 'honorary trust' or a gift with a power which is valid when exercised, is lawful; 2) such a bequest does not, by the terms of the will, violate the rule against perpetuities; and 3) a succession tax based on the amount of money expended for the care of the dog cannot lawfully be imposed, since the money is not property passing for the use of a "person, institution or corporation."
Wolff v. State 87 N.E.3d 528 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017) This Indiana case addresses the status of animals seized in conjunction with a criminal animal cruelty case. Specifically, the appeal addresses whether the trial court erred in granting a local animal rescue the authority to determine disposition of the seized animals. The animals were seized after county authorities received complaints of animal cruelty and neglect on defendant's property in late 2016. As a result of the charges, five horses, two mules, and two miniature donkeys were impounded and placed with a local animal rescue. Following this, the state filed a notice with the court that estimated costs of continuing care for the impounded animals. About a month later, the state filed an Amended Motion to Determine Forfeiture/Disposition of Animals, requesting the trial court issue an order terminating defendant's ownership rights in the animals. Alternatively, the state requested that defendant could seek to have his posted bond money apportioned to cover the costs associated with the animals' care. The court ultimately entered an order that allowed the rescue agency full authority to determine disposition of the animals after defendant failed to respond. In his current appeal of this order, defendant first claims that the trial court erred in giving the animal rescue such authority because defendant paid $20,000 in bail. The appellate court found that this money was used to secure defendant's release from jail and he did not request that the jail bond be used for the care of the animals. The court found that the legislature clearly intended the bail and bond funds are used for "separate and distinct purposes," so there was no way for the trial court to automatically apply this money to the animal care costs. Defendant had to affirmatively exercise his rights concerning the disposition of the animals pending trial, which he failed to do. As to defendant's other issue concerning an investigation and report by a state veterinarian, the appellate court found defendant waived this issue prior to appeal. The decision was affirmed.
Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Jacques 869 A.2d 679 (Conn. 2005)

An environmental nonprofit organization sought an injunction to prevent a housing development from being constructed.  The nonprofit organization claimed the development was in violation of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act because it would destroy the habitat of an endangered rattlesnake.  The trial court held the development was lawful and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Coroneos v. Montgomery County 869 A.2d 410 (Md. 2005)

Pursuant to a warrant, the police seized all un-cared for animals owned by a reptile distributor.   The distributor was told he could appeal the seizure, but must prepay the costs of boarding and caring for the animals pending the appeal.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor fo the county and the Court of Special Appeals reversed, holding the owner was not required by the county code to prepay the costs of care as a condition for an appeal.         

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke 868 F.3d 1054 (9th Cir. 2017) In this case, the Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society (collectively “CBD”) challenged the determination of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle (“desert eagle”) is not a distinct population segment (“DPS”) eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act. There are two requirements for DPS status: (1) the discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species to which it belongs, and (2) the significance of the population segment to the species to which it belongs. Here, the parties agreed that the desert eagle population is discrete, but they disputed whether the population is significant. CBD argued that if FWS found that a population segment satisfies any of the four listed significance factors, it is required to conclude that the population segment is significant. The court held that FWS did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in concluding that the desert eagle did not satisfy significance requirement for being a DPS, even though it found that the desert eagle satisfied the persistence requirement and one significance factors. The district court's grant of summary judgment to FWS was affirmed.
Moore v. Myers 868 A.2d 954 (Md. 2005)

A twelve-year-old girl was running away from her neighbor's pit bull when she was struck by a car.  The girl's mother brought claims on behalf of her daughter and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the neighbors on all counts and submitted the question of the driver's negligence to the jury.  The Court of Appeals reversed in part holding questions of the dog owner's violation of county law, whether the fifteen year old son owed a duty to protect the girl from the dog, and whether actions by the son breached his duty to protect were all questions for the jury. 

ARFF, Inc. v. Siegel 867 So.2d 451 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004)

Resort developer and president of an animal performance company received an injunction against an animal rights group limiting their ability to both picket the resort and distribute pamphlets claiming that the big cats were abused.  Appellate court reversed, finding that the picketing regulations burdened more speech than necessary and that the restriction on distributing pamphlets was a prior restraint not justified by a compelling state interest.

Kennedy v. Byas 867 So.2d 1195 (D. Fla. 2004)

Plaintiff filed for a Writ of Certiorari requesting that his case be transfered from circuit court to county court.  He was seeking damages for emotional distress, following alleged veterinary malpractice by the defendant.  The Court held that Florida would not consider pets to be part of an actual family, that damages for emotional distress will not be permitted, and therefore the plaintiff did not have sufficient damages to met the circuit court jurisdictional amount.   Petition denied..

Hill v. Coggins 867 F.3d 499 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 1003 (2018) In 2013, Plaintiffs visited Defendants' zoo, the Cherokee Bear Zoo, in North Carolina where they observed four bears advertised as grizzly bears in what appeared to Plaintiffs as substandard conditions. As a result, Plaintiffs filed a citizen suit in federal district court alleging the Zoo's practice of keeping the bears was a taking of a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In essence, Plaintiffs contend the Zoo's conduct was a form of harassment under the ESA, and so they sought injunctive relief. After denying the Zoo's motions for summary judgment, the district court held a bench trial where the court ruled against Plaintiffs on the issue of the Zoo's liability under the ESA. The manner in which the bears were kept did not constitute a taking for purposes of the ESA. On appeal to the Fourth Circuit, this Court first found Plaintiffs established Article III standing for an aesthetic injury. Second, the Court agreed with the district court that evidence showed these bears were grizzly bears. While the Defendant-Zoo's veterinarian testified at trial that they are European brown bears, the collective evidence including expert testimony, veterinary records, USDA reports, and the Zoo's own advertising justified the lower court's conclusion that the bears are threatened grizzly bears. As to the unlawful taking under the ESA, the Fourth Circuit vacated the lower court's holding and remanded the case to district court. The legal analysis used by the court was incorrect because the court did not first determine whether the Zoo's practices were "generally accepted" before it applied the exclusion from the definition of harassment. The lower court based its conclusion on the fact that the Zoo met applicable minimum standards under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and did not explore whether these standards were "generally accepted." Affirmed in part, vacated and remanded.
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 867 A.2d 1147 (N.J. 2005)

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

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign v. Perdue 865 F.3d 691 (D.C. Cir. 2017) This case involves a challenge by plaintiff-wild horse preservationists under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to a proposed management plan issued for wild horse territory (WHT) by the Forest Service (FS). Plaintiffs argue that the revision, which changed the borders by removing a middle section so that it was not a contiguous territory, was arbitrary and capricious. After the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment for the Forest Service, plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, FS contends that the unified territory was based on a cartographic error in the 1980s; in essence, FS argues that the 2013 change merely corrects an "administrative error" and returns management to the correct WHT boundary from 1975. However, this Court held that FS' decision to eliminate the middle section of the WHT was arbitrary and capricious because the plan failed to explain the change in policy. Further, FS did not adequately consider whether an Environmental Impact Statement was required under NEPA regarding this change. The Court was unconvinced by the FS's attempts to "shrug off" the inclusion of the Middle Section as an "administrative error" and stated that there is no "oops" exception for federal agencies. There were decades of data that relied on the "error" along with formal published plans that supported management activities and population studies. The court was unwilling to allow the FS to correct a past error by committing a new legal error: "[I]n administrative law, as elsewhere, two wrongs do not make a right." The court noted that FS may change its policies in the future, provided it reasonably supports those changes. Additionally, the Court found the FS' "Finding of No Significant Impact" in the environmental analysis was a "head-in-the-sand" approach that ignored real consequences of the boundary changes. Accordingly, this Court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in part and directed the district court to remand to the Service for further consideration.
Humane Society of United States v. Zinke 865 F.3d 585 (D.C. Cir. 2017) Subspecies of the taxonomic species “gray wolf” were declared endangered by the federal government between 1966 and 1976. When the numbers of the wolves started rebounding, the federal government reclassified the gray wolf from its regional listings (Mexican wolf, Texas wolf, Timber Wolf, etc.) into a single species listing divided into two groups: Minnesota gray wolves and the gray wolf. The government determined that the Minnesota gray wolf had recovered to a point of only being threatened. The gray wolf remained endangered. In 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service (“The Service”) subdivided the gray wolf listing into an Eastern, Western, and a Southwestern segment. The Minnesota gray wolf and any gray wolf that existed in the Northeast region were included in the Eastern segment. The wolves in the Eastern and Western segments were listed as threatened by the Service rather than endangered. The wolves in the Southwestern segment were listed as endangered. In that same year, two district courts struck down the Rule’s attempted designation of those three population segments. The first one was a district court in Oregon which ruled that “by downlisting the species based solely on the viability of a small population within that segment, the Service was effectively ignoring the species’ status in its full range, as the Endangered Species Act requires.” Then a second district court in Vermont held that the Service designated and downlisted the Eastern segment of gray wolves impermissibly. Specifically, the Court stated that the Service should not have lumped the Northeast region into the Eastern region without first checking to see if there were any gray wolfs in the Northeast region. In 2007, the Service enacted a new rule which created a Western Great Lakes gray wolf population segment and at the same time removed that segment from the Endangered Species Act’s protections. A district court again vacated the rule. The Solicitor of the Department of the Interior issued a memorandum in 2008 that concluded that the Service has the statutory authority to identify a segment and then delist it. In 2009 the Service republished the 2007 rule without notice and comment. As result of this the rule was challenged and vacated after the Service acknowledged that it impermissibly enacted the rule without notice and comment. As a result of all of this, the status of the gray wolves remained in 2009 what it had been in 1978. In 2011, the Service issued a final rule that revised the boundaries of the Minnesota gray wolf population to include the wolves in all or portions of eight other states. The Service then delisted the segment. The Service used the solicitor’s opinion to back up its authority to delist the segment. The Humane Society filed suit alleging that the 2011 Rule violated both the Endangered Species Act and the APA. The District court vacated the 2011 Rule holding that the Service does not have the authority to designate a segment only to delist it. On appeal, the Court identified the main issue in this case as “whether the Endangered Species Act permits the Service to carve out of an already-listed species a distinct population segment for the purpose of delisting that segment and withdrawing it from the Act’s aegis.” The Court concluded that the Service’s interpretation of the statue allowing them to designate a distinct population segment within a listed species is reasonable. The statutory language expressly contemplates new designations and determinations that would require a revising of the listing. “The Service permissibly concluded that the Endangered Species Act allows the identification of a distinct population segment within an already-listed species, and further allows the assignment of a different conservation status to that segment if the statutory criteria for uplisting, downlisting, or delisting are met.” Although the Service had legal authority to act as it did, it did not properly assess the impact that extraction of the segment of gray wolves would have on the legal status of the remaining listed species. “[T]he Service's disregard of the remnant's status would turn that sparing segment process into a backdoor route to the de facto delisting of already-listed species, in open defiance of the Endangered Species Act's specifically enumerated requirements for delisting.” The Court found that although the Service’s interpretation of the word “range” was reasonable, the Service’s conclusion about the threat to the gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes segment was arbitrary and capricious. The service’s analysis wrongly omitted all consideration of lost historical range. The Court also held that the absence of conservation plans for gray wolves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana does not render the Service’s decision to delist the Western Great Lakes gray wolves arbitrary and capricious. The Court further found no improper political influence in this case. Due to the three major short comings: (i) the Service failing to address the effect on the remnant population of carving out the Western Great Lakes segment; (ii) the Service misapplied the Service’s own discreetness and significance tests; and (iii) the Service ignored the implications of historical range loss, the Court ultimately decided that vacating the 2011 rule was appropriate and, therefore, affirmed the district court’s ruling.
Earth Island Institute v. Brown 865 F. Supp. 1364 (1994)

Plaintiffs sought to prevent the Secretary of Commerce from allowing the American Tunaboat Association ("ATA") to continue killing northeastern offshore spotted dolphins that had been listed as depleted.  Defendants argued that such killings were permissible under the ATA's permit, and that the MMPA provisions relied on by the plaintiffs were irrelevant to the dispute.  The court concluded that Congress did not intend to allow the continued taking of dolphin species or stock, once the Secretary had determined that their population level was depleted. 

Pepper v. Triplet 864 So.2d 181 (La. 2004)

Neighbor sued dog owner for injuries resulting from dog bite.  Supreme Court held that a plaintiff must show that, first, that the injuries could have been prevented by the dog owner and that the plaintiff did not provoke the dog to attack, second, that the dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm, and third, that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care.  Plaintiff did not accomplish this.  Reversed. (Extensive history of state dog bit law.)

Minter-Smith v. Florida 864 So. 2d 1141 (Fla. 2003)

Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog engage in dogfighting and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) statute under which appellant was convicted was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant was in violation of the statute that was not unconstitutional on ground that it was ex post facto as applied to defendant; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible. Affirmed.

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