Federal Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Dziekan v. Gaynor 376 F.Supp.2d 267 (D. Ct. 2005)

The plaintiff brought civil rights action against municipality and police officer after officer shot and killed his pet dog.  Specifically, he alleged a violation of his substantive due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and the negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On the defendants' motion for summary judgment the court held that the shooting and killing of pet dog was not unreasonable seizure, and the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.

E. LEE COX AND BECKY COX, D/B/A PIXY PALS KENNEL, PETITIONERS v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, RESPONDENT 50 Agric. Dec. 14 (1991)

Lee and Becky Cox, owners of Pixy Pals Kennel, petitioned for review of a decision of the Department of Agriculture suspending their license for ninety days, imposing a $12,000 civil fine, and ordering the Coxes to cease and desist from specified violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Coxes claim that (1) the suspension violated s 558(c) of the Administrative Procedure Act because there was insufficient evidence to support the Department's finding that their violations of the Animal Welfare Act were willful; (2) they were unconstitutionally penalized for exercising their first amendment rights; and (3) the sanctions imposed on them were excessive. In affirming the USDA decision, the Eighth Circuit held that the definition of "willfulness" was not called into question; rather the Department had presented substantial evidence to demonstrate willfulness. Further, since petitioners' first amendment claim concerned the Department's "motivations," the court held that proof of motivation is a question of fact rather than law, not subject to de novo review. The sanction imposed by the Department, although severe, was not excessive given the size of petitioners' business and the severity of the violations.

Earth Island Inst. v. Evans 256 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (N.D. Cal. 2003) Plaintiff, groups seeking to protect animals, sought to enjoin implementation of a final finding of defendant, the Secretary of Commerce and his Assistant Administrator of Fisheries, that the encirclement of dolphins with purse seine nets was not having an adverse impact on dolphin stocks as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. The court granted the groups' motion for preliminary injunction, enjoined the Secretary from taking any action to allow any tuna product to be labeled as "dolphin safe" that was harvested using purse seine nets, pending final disposition of the groups' action, and defined what "dolphin safe" would continue to mean.
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. 

Earth Island Institute v. Evans 2004 WL 1774221 (N.D. Cal. 2004) (No reporter citation)

The Secretary of Commerce made a final finding that the intentional deployment on or encirclement of dolphins using purse seine nets did not have a significant adverse effect on any depleted dolphin stock in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.  Several organizations challenged that finding under the Administrative Procedures Act, and the matter came before this Court along with simultaneous motions for summary judgment from both the plaintiff and defendant.  The Court concluded that Plaintiff's met their burden of demonstrating that they are entitled to judgment, and the finding of the Secretary is set aside.

Earth Island Institute v. Hogarth 484 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2007)

This case concerns the practice of catching yellowfin tuna by encircling dolphins with purse-seine nets. The dispute centers over whether tuna sellers may label tuna as dolphin-safe if caught with such nets. An environmental group brought suit against the Secretary of Commerce after he concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that tuna purse seine fishing harmed depleted dolphin stocks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision that the action by the Secretary was arbitrary and capricious where the agency's decision-making process was influenced to some degree by foreign policy considerations rather than science alone. Further, the finding of no significant impact (FONSI) was not rationally connected to the best available scientific evidence.

Eddleman v. U.S. 729 F.Supp. 81 (D.Mont.,1989)

An action was brought against the BLM under the Federal Tort Claims Act claiming that the government was negligent in failing to inform the adopters that they would not be eligible to receive title if they intended to sell the horses to slaughter. The court dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction, characterizing the issue as one sounding in contract, based upon the PMCA, and one that therefore should be brought before the U.S. Claims Court.  

Edwards v. Shanley 666 F.3d 1289 (C.A.11 (Fla.))

Automobile driver fled scene of a traffic stop and sustained serious injuries when he was attacked by a police dog, which was allowed to continue for 5 - 7 minutes. Plaintiff brought § 1983 action, alleging that the use of the police dog constituted excessive force, and that the other officer failed to intervene and stop the attack, both of which violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Court of Appeals held that the use of the police dog to help track and initially subdue the driver was constitutional, but permitting the dog to continue to attack the driver constituted excessive force.

Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo, S.A. de C.V. v. Curry 476 F.3d 326 (5th Cir. 2007)

The issue on appeal was whether Texas' prohibition of horsemeat for human consumption was preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) or was in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause.  The court held that the statute was not preempted or in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause. 

Fabrikant v. French 722 F.Supp.2d 249 (N.D.N.Y., 2010)

Plaintiff Jody Fabrikant, who had recently placed an advertisement for the adoption of puppies, was in possession of fifteen animals, including fourteen dogs and one cat. Reacting to several complaints regarding the animals’ treatment, defendants, the Ulster County SPCA and employees, executed a search warrant resulting in Fabrikant's arrest and seizure of thirteen of her fifteen animals. Plaintiff subsequently asserted that her federal constitutional rights were violated during the course of her criminal prosecution for animal cruelty. With respect to all four federal claims, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment since the existence of probable cause (e.g., video recordings and photographs of the condition of the plaintiff’s home) insulated the defendants from liability for their decisions to seize Plaintiff's animals.

Fabrikant v. French 691 F.3d 193 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 2012)

After multiple negative reports came in about the living conditions of her animals, an animal rescue organization seized many of the plaintiff-appellant's dogs; she was then charged with five counts of animal cruelty, but was later acquitted at a state trial. Subsequently, the plaintiff-appellant and her state trial attorney filed a federal civil rights suit against the animal organization and others.  After losing at the district level, on the first appeal, and on remand from the first appeal, the plaintiff-appellant appealed the case for a second time. On this appeal, the Second Circuit held that though the animal organization was a state actor, it had qualified immunity, which protected it from the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. Additionally, the court held that investigator’s had probable cause to seize the dogs, which also defeated the plaintiff-appellant’s charges. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed, but for different reasons.

Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Property Management, Inc. 78 F.Supp.2d 1028 (D.N.D. 2011) Plaintiffs bring this action against Goldmark Property Management alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The alleged discriminatory policy is a mandatory application fee, non-refundable deposit, and monthly charge that Goldmark imposes on tenants with disabilities who reside with a non-specially trained assistance animal (i.e. a companion pet). These same fees are waived for tenants with disabilities who reside with a trained assistance animal (i.e. a seeing eye dog). The FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training; therefore, Goldmark's policy implicates the FHA. Further, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a prima face case of discrimination and have presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues for trial on the questions of the necessity and reasonableness of the requested accommodation and whether Goldmark's alleged objective for the policy is permissible under the FHA and not pretextual. Therefore, Goldmark's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to Plaintiffs' claim of disparate treatment because no proof was offered of a discriminatory intent. It is denied as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact and failure to make a reasonable accommodation.
Fallini v. Hodel 783 F.2d 1343 (9th Cir. 1986)

The Wild and Free-Roaming Horse Act does not require that wild horses be prevented from straying onto private land, only that they be removed if they do stray onto private land.  

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.
Farm Sanctuary, Inc. v. Veneman 212 F.Supp.2d 280 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)

Plaintiffs Farm Sanctuary, Inc. and Michael Baur filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment holding that the Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and the United States Department of Agriculture must classify all downed livestock as adulterated pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 342(a) and an injunction prohibiting the USDA from allowing non-ambulatory animals to be used for human consumption. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint, inter alia, on the grounds that plaintiffs lack standing to sue. For the reasons discussed, the Government's motion is granted.

Faulkner v. Watt 661 F.2d 809 (9th Cir. 1981)

Reaffirms that purpose of the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) is to stabilize the livestock industry and protect the rights of sheep and cattle growers from interference and that the Secretary of the Interior may reasonably classify lands under the TGA as suitable for agriculture.

Federation of Japan Salmon Fisheries Cooperative Association v. Baldridge 679 F. Supp. 37 (1987)

Petitioners, Japanese fishing federation, fisherman's association, and environmental group, filed motions for a preliminary injunction against respondent Secretary of Commerce who entered a final decision that approved the federation for an incidental take permit under the MMPA and adopted regulations that authorized the taking of Dall's porpoise within the fishery conservation zone.

Feld Entertainment, Inc. v. A.S.P.C.A. 523 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C., 2007)

Pending before the Court is Defendant American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, et al.'s (“ASPCA”) Motion to Temporarily Stay All Proceedings. The suit arises from Feld Entertainment, Inc. (“FEI”) claim against the ASPCA and other defendants, including Tom Rider, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that defendant Tom Rider has been bribed by the organizational defendants to participate in the ESA Action against FEI in violation of federal law. The court agreed that the public interest in the ESA claim weighs in favor of granting the temporary stay.

Flint v. City of Milwaukee 552 F.Supp.2d 826 (E.D. Wis. 2008) In 2010, police obtained a warrant to search plaintiff’s residence for endangered species. While at the plaintiff’s residence, police shot and killed two Tibetan Mastiffs. Plaintiff was arrested and detained by police in an on the scene determination that she had violated Wisconsin's endangered species and mistreatment of animals law. These charges were later dropped. Plaintiff filed a section 1983 suit—asserting that defendants not only unlawfully searched her residence, seized and "slaughter[ed] ... her dogs," but that they also unlawfully detained her in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. After District Court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on her unlawful detention claim, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. District Court denied plaintiff's motion for reconsideration because she had not cited any intervening change in the law, any erroneous application of the law, or any newly discovered evidence that would compel the Court to reconsider its decision. Additionally, the District Court found the court had reviewed the unlawful detention claim using the proper legal standard.
Florida Home Builders Ass'n v. Norton 496 F.Supp.2d 1330 (M.D.Fla., 2007)

The plaintiffs charge in that the Secretary of the Interior, in contravention of statutory duty, has failed to conduct the nondiscretionary, five-year status reviews of species listed as endangered or threatened in the Federal Register. Plaintiff seeks an order declaring that Defendants have violated the Endangered Species Act and that the failure to conduct the status reviews constitutes agency action “unlawfully withheld” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Defendants argue that their failure to conduct the mandatory status reviews is not an agency action that is reviewable under the APA. Defendants therefore assert that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's suit to compel agency action to the extent that it arises under the APA. Although not addressed by Defendants and although there is little authority on the issue, Defendants' failure to comply with a mandatory duty falls within the first category of actions reviewable under the APA as an agency action, or inaction, “made reviewable by statute” because the ESA explicitly “provides a private right of action." Defendants assert that budgetary and resource constraints precluded the Secretary from fulfilling the obligation imposed by Congress. However, the court stated that defendants ". . . should take up such constraints with Congress rather than let mandatory deadlines expire with inaction."

Florida Key Deer v. Paulison 522 F.3d 1133 (C.A.11(Fla.), 2008)

FEMA, under the National Flood Insurance Program, issues insurance to promote new development in flooded areas.  Plaintiffs sought to compel FEMA to enter into ESA consultation with FWS, and once that consultation occurred, amended their complaint to challenge the sufficiency of the FWS' biological opinion and reasonable and prudent alternatives.  The Eleventh Circuit held for the plaintiffs, reasoning that FEMA had not sufficiently complied with the obligation on federal agencies to carry out their programs consistent with the conservation of endangered and threatened species.

Florida Marine Contractors v. Williams 378 F.Supp.2d 1353 (M.D. Fla., 2005)

The Florida Marine Contractors Association applied for permits to build recreational docks on Florida's inland waterways.  The permit requests were denied due to danger to the West Indian Manatees that live in the waterways.  The Florida Marine Contractors Association challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's permit denials on the basis that the Marine Mammal Protection Act does not apply to residential docks.  Summary judgment was granted in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa 582 F.Supp.2d 1141 (N.D.Iowa,2008)

Plaintiff brought civil rights action against the City of Waterloo, Iowa (City) alleging procedural and substantive due process violations after Animal Control Officers seized Plaintiff’s dog and detained the dog for one hundred days while an appeal was pending.   On Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, the United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division, found that the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause did not apply to Plaintiff’s claim, the Animal Control Officers were acting under color of state law, and that the one hundred day detention of Plaintiff’s dog was a meaningful interference with Plaintiff’s possessory interest in his dog.   The Court also found that Plaintiff’s right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment was satisfied by the post-deprivation hearing provided Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s claim that the decision to detain Plaintiff’s dog was unreasonable or arbitrary, implicated the “unreasonable seizure” provisions of the Fourth Amendment, rather than the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that even if the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment were otherwise applicable, Plaintiff would not have been entitled to relief under the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. Vilsack 2015 WL 514389 (D.D.C., 2015) The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit by plaintiffs against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that challenged the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) promulgated under the US Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The court held that plaintiff’s failed to state an injury-in-fact that was traceable to the actions of the defendants for which relief could be granted. Under NPIS, far fewer federal inspectors would be stationed along slaughter lines, and the employees themselves could conduct a preliminary screening of the carcasses before presenting the poultry to a federal inspector for a visual-only inspection. Plaintiffs contended that the revised processing procedures were inconsistent with the PPIA and would ultimately result in the production of unsafe poultry products. They sought a preliminary and permanent injunction by the court to prevent the USDA and the USDA′s Food Safety and Inspection Service from implementing NPIS.
Forest Conservation Council v. Rosboro Lumber Co. 50 F.3d 781 (C.A.9 (Or.),1995)
In this case, an environmental group filed a citizen suit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) seeking an injunction to prevent modification of the habitat of a pair of spotted owls by defendant-logging company. The United States District Court for the District of Oregon entered summary judgment for the logging company. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The Court found the issue on appeal is whether the district court correctly interpreted the ESA to foreclose citizen suits that only allege a future injury to a protected species. The Court held that the ESA's language, purpose, and structure authorize citizens to seek an injunction against an imminent threat of harm to a protected species. The proposed clear-cutting logging activity was imminent and reasonably certain to injure the owl pair by significantly impairing their essential behavioral patterns.
Forest Guardians v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 611 F.3d 692 (C.A.10 (N.M.), 2010)

Appellant, Forest Guardians, contend on appeal that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated section 10(j) of the ESA by releasing captive-bred Falcons within an area not wholly separated geographically from an already-existing Falcon population. Forest Guardians aver that the FWS violated the NEPA by deciding to release the captive-bred Falcons before taking the requisite "hard look" at the environmental impact of its decision. Regarding Forest Guardians’ challenge of section 10(j) of the ESA, the court held that the FWS’s release of the captive-bred Falcons did not violate the Act. Forest Guardians’ contention that New Mexico, the location of the experimental release, already quartered an existing population was unpersuasive. The court further rejected Forest Guardian’s second contention that the FWS violated the NEPA by failing to adequately review its proposed action.

Forest Guardians v. Veneman 392 F.Supp.2d 1082 (D.Ariz.,2005)

District Court held that United States Forest Service could issue permits that allow cattle on lands near waterways where spikedace and loach minnows live, both species are listed as "threatened" species, even though this grazing could delay their recovery.

Friends of Animals v. The United States Bureau of Land Management 232 F. Supp. 3d 53 (D.D.C. 2017)

Friends of Animals, an animal welfare organization, filed suit for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Friends of Animals filed suit after the BLM started organizing a new “gather” which is a a term used for the removal of wild horses. The BLM planned to “gather” wild horses from a range in Utah and the Friends of Animals challenged the decision on three grounds: (1) the decision to gather was not grounded on any National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document such as a environmental assessment (EA); the BLM failed to honor its previous commitment to include new EAs for any new gathers; and (3) the gather violates the Wild Horses Act on the basis that the BLM failed to make a excess population determination before authorizing the gather.

The court reviewed the three claims separately and determined that Friends of Animals’ challenges to the gather were not likely to succeed and there was not a sufficient irreparable harm to warrant a preliminary injunction. First, the court found that under NEPA, an agency is able to rely on a previous EA so long as “new circumstances, new information or changes in the action or its impacts not previously analyzed [do not] result in significantly different environmental effects.” The court found that previous EAs were sufficient because they had assessed an “essentially similar” capture method. Additionally, the court determined that although BLM had previously agreed to provide new EAs for any new gathers, the BLM was not legally required to do, so the Friends of Animals argument regarding this issue would not succeed. Lastly, the court found that the BLM had not violated the Wild Horses Act because the BLM had in fact conducted an excess population determination.

Lastly, the court analyzed whether or not the gather created an irreparable harm that would warrant a preliminary injunction. The court found that there was not sufficient evidence to prove any irreparable harm. As a result, the court denied the preliminary injunction and held in favor of the BLM.

Friends of Animals v. Ashe 808 F.3d 900 (D.C. Cir. 2015) Friends of Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, filed suit against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("the Service") in 2013, after the Service issued no initial or final determinations for 39 species of sturgeon the organization petitioned as endangered or threatened. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the Service must make a determination within 90 days for an initial determination or 12 months for a final determination after a petition is received from an interested party. However, there is also a provision in the ESA that the plaintiff must give the Service 60-days notice before filing suit. The District Court held that Friends of Animals did not give the Service adequate notice before filing suit and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, this court agreed, finding that Friends of Animals "did not wait until after the issuance of the positive initial determinations to provide 60 days' notice of the allegedly overdue final determinations." In dicta, the Court noted that "[t]he Service's approach may not be the most efficient," but the deadlines are mandatory in the statutes. Thus, its suit to compel the final determination on the listings was barred and the judgment of the District Court was affirmed.
Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt 961 F.3d 1197 (D.C. Cir. 2020) Appellants consisting of conversation organizations and a safari guide challenged a series of actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) governing imports of sport-hunted animal trophies from Africa. The Appellants challenged certain findings that the Service made allowing animal trophies to be imported. The Court had reviewed a similar set of findings in another case and concluded that they were legislative rules illegally issued without notice and comment. FWS subsequently withdrew all its findings that were issued without notice and comment including the ones that were challenged by the Appellants in a subsequent memorandum. The Appellants still desired to contest the withdrawn findings. The Appellants alleged that it was illegal for the FWS to abandon its prior findings without engaging in APA informal rulemaking and that it was illegal for the FWS to announce its intent to the make the necessary findings through informal adjudications in the future. The Appellant’s claims fell into three categories: (1) challenges to the 2017 Zimbabwe findings that sport-hunting of elephants would enhance the survival of the species; (2) challenges to the memorandum by the FWS withdrawing their prior findings; and (3) challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intends to making findings on a case-by-case basis when considering individual permit applications. The Court found that since the FWS had withdrew the 2017 findings, they no longer caused the appellants any injury which made any challenges to them moot. The Appellants attempted to argue that the flaws in the 2017 Zimbabwe elephant finding were capable of repetition yet would evade review. The Court rejected this argument. As for the second challenges regarding the memorandum’s withdrawal of its prior findings, the Court found that the withdrawal caused no injury to the Appellants. The Court rejected the challenges to the memorandum’s announcement that the FWS intended to make findings on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately the Court affirmed the district court’s judgment.
Friends of Animals v. Clay 811 F.3d 94 (2d Cir. 2016) Friends of Animals (“FOA”) appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granting summary judgment in favor of defendants-appellees William Clay in his official capacity as a Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture-APHIS and the FWS. FOA challenged FWS's issuance of a “depredation permit” to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorizing the emergency “take” of migratory birds that threaten to interfere with aircraft at JFK Airport. FOA argues that FWS's own regulations unambiguously prohibit it from issuing such a permit and that the permit should therefore be set aside as the product of agency action that was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The District Court granted summary judgment for defendant FWS. On appeal, this court affirmed that ruling. FOA pointed out that the "emergency take" regulation at 50 C.F.R. § 21.41 does not authorize FWS to issue a permit that allows the emergency take of a migratory bird irrespective of its species, but instead requires a "species-specific" inquiry. However, this court disagreed, finding that "§ 21.41 does not place Port Authority officials in the untenable position of having to choose between violating federal law and deliberately ignoring serious threats to human safety." Further, the court found the specific requirements in § 21.41 concern only applicants seeking a permit and not the FWS itself. In this situation, the court found the 2014 permit's emergency-take provision satisfied § 21.41. The District Court's order was affirmed.
Friends of Animals v. Jewell 115 F. Supp. 3d 107 (D.D.C. 2015) Friends of Animals (FOA) filed a citizen petition under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to get the Department of Interior to determine whether the spider tortoise and flat-tail tortoise were endangered species. After waiting two years for an answer, FOA filed suit, arguing the Department’s silence had caused the group various injuries. The district court, however, found the supposed harms did not rise to the level of “concrete and particularized” injuries in fact, and granted the Department's motion to dismiss FOA's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Friends of Animals v. Salazar 670 F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C., 2009)

Friends of Animals (“FOA”) filed a Complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the ESA and APA seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. At issue is the petition FOA filed with the FWS in January 2008 to list thirteen species of foreign macaws, parrots and cockatoos as threatened or endangered due to the caged pet bird trade. In July 2009, FWS placed on public inspection at the Federal Register its 90-Day Finding for the Thirteen Species and also moved to dismiss FOA's lawsuit as moot. While the Court held that FOA's substantive claims must be dismissed, it considered FOA's argument that an award of fees and costs is appropriate here because its suit served as the “catalyst” for FWS's subsequent remedial actions. The Court allowed FOA to file a motion for fees and costs and defendants to respond to such motion.

Friends of Animals v. Salazar 690 F.Supp.2d 1162 (D.D.C.,2010)

Friends of Animals (FOA), an animal advocacy group, brought an action against the Secretary of the Interior, et al, (Defendants) under the Endangered Species Act seeking declaratory and injunctive relief by claiming that the Secretary failed to make statutory 90-day and 12-month findings related to the petition to have 13 species of birds listed as threatened or endangered. The Court found that FOA's claim that Defendants failed to make a 90-day finding on its endangered-species petition was moot, and its claim that Defendants failed to meet the 12-month deadline provided by the ESA had to be dismissed due to FOA's failure to provide Defendants with proper notice. The Court did find, however, that FOA's lawsuit was the catalyst prompting Defendants to ultimately issue a 90-day finding as required. Thus, the Court here considers FOA's motion for attorneys' fees and costs. The Court held that FOA could recover fees for work on the notice letter, complaint, and petition for fees to the extent it related to the claim that prompted the 90-day finding. However, the court reduced the amount of time spent on the complaint by fifty percent.

Friends of Animals v. Salazar 626 F.Supp.2d 102 (D.D.C.,2009) Plaintiffs brought an action against the Department of Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of Interior (“Defendants”) alleging that Defendants unlawfully promulgated a rule (the “Rule”) under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) exempting three endangered antelope species from the import, take and other prohibitions under the ESA.   On the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, the United States District Court, District of Columbia granted Defendants’ motion in part and denied Defendants’ motion in part, finding Plaintiffs lack representational standing with respect to wild antelope and antelope in captivity, but have organizational standing under Section 10(c) of the ESA.   The Court granted Plaintiffs motion with respect to their Section 10(c) claim, finding that the promulgated rule violates Section 10(c) of the ESA.
Friends of Animals v. United States Bureau of Land Management 548 F. Supp. 3d 39 (D.D.C. 2021) This case involves a motion for a preliminary injunction by the group Friends of Animals to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from gathering and removing excess horses inside and adjacent to the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area (“Onaqui Mountain HMA”) to reduce the number of horses to the low end of the appropriate management level (“AML”). The BLM contends such an accelerated removal is necessary because of the historic drought that has gripped the American West. The court first examined the language and legislative history of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WHA), noting that the overarching goal of the act is provide balance between the horses and ecological impact on the lands. The WLA requires the Secretary to strike this balance by setting appropriate management levels and deciding on how to deal with excess animals. In addition, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is also implicated with decisions to gather horses which is done primarily through the Environmental Assessment (EA) process. The court denied the motion for preliminary injunction finding the advocacy organizations were unlikely to succeed on merits.
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.
Friends of Blackwater v. Salazar 691 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2012)

In 1985, after scientists had found only 10 living squirrels, the Virginia northern flying squirrel was listed as endangered under the ESA. In 2006, after scientists had captured 1,063 squirrels, the FWS went through the procedure to delist the squirrel. Friends of Blackwater filed a complaint against the Secretary of Interior in district court, challenging the Secretary's rule to delist the squirrel. Subsequently, the Secretary of Interior appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment. The D.C. circuit court of appeals reversed the district court's decision, holding that the Secretary's determination the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel was no longer endangered was neither arbitrary and capricious nor in violation of the Act.

Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack 844 F.3d 1230, 1235 (10th Cir. 2017)

Between 2006 and 2011, Congress prevented commercial equine slaughter by prohibiting the use of funds for inspection of equine slaughterhouses.  In 2012, Congress lifted the ban on funding and the Food Safety Inspection Service  (FSIS) , which is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), issued grants of inspection to two commercial equine slaughter facilities: Valley Meat Company, LLC and Responsible Transportation, LLC. Plaintiffs, Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, and several other individuals and organizations (collectively, “Front Range”) sued officials of the USDA (“Federal Defendants”). Plaintiffs were seeking a declaration that the grants of inspection violated the National Environmental Policy Act and requested that the court set aside the grants of inspection.  The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico,  granted Front Range's motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), which prohibited the Federal Defendants from sending inspectors to the equine slaughterhouses  or providing equine inspection services to them. The district court also ordered Front Range to post injunction bonds for Valley Meat and for Responsible Transportation and denied Front Range's request for a permanent injunction. Front Range appealed but the appeal was dismissed as moot. However, Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation then filed a motion in the district court to recover the injunction bonds. The motion was denied. Valley Meat then appealed the denial of damages on the injunction bond.  The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth affirmed the district court and held that Valley Meat was not entitled to recover. The Appeals Court reasoned that even if Valley Meat suffered damages, it cannot recover against the bond unless it first showed wrongful enjoinment. Valley Meat failed to do so and therefore could not collect damages.

Frost v. City of Sioux City, Iowa Slip Copy, 2017 WL 4126986 (N.D. Iowa, 2017) In this case, the City of Sioux City had adopted a local ordinance that made it "unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the City ... any pit bull." The ordinance goes on further to define pit bulls based on appearance and certain listed characteristics. Plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it: (1) is unconstitutionally vague; (2) violates their rights under the equal protection clause; and (3) violates their rights under the due process clause, both in substance and procedure. Here, the district court found that the due process and equal protection claims survived the defendant's motion to dismiss, but found that the ordinance was not facially unconstitutionally vague. As a result, defendants' Motion to Dismiss was DENIED in part and GRANTED in part. Plaintiffs' claim that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague was DISMISSED, and plaintiffs may proceed with their remaining equal protection clause and due process clause claims.
Frost v. Sioux City, Iowa 920 F.3d 1158 (8th Cir. 2019) Plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of a ban making it “unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the City of Sioux City, Iowa, any pit bull.” Two of the original plaintiffs stipulated to dismissal because they moved out of Sioux City and did not anticipate that they would face enforcement under the ordinance. The remaining plaintiff Myers admitted in deposition that she does not currently own a dog nor does she currently reside in Sioux City, but that, in the near future, she intends to adopt a pit bull dog and take the dog to visit friends and family in Sioux City. Based on these facts, the district court, sua sponte, dismissed Myers' claims due to lack of standing. On review of that dismissal here, the appellate court first noted that, to show standing, Myers must have suffered an injury in fact. While the conduct of defendant Sioux City caused Myers injury in the past when they seized her two dogs, she must now face "a real and immediate threat" of similar injury in the future. Her intention to one day adopt a dog and take it to Sioux City does not suffice, according to the court. The declaratory judgment plaintiff seeks cannot redress a past injury. The court also found no abuse of discretion in not holding an evidentiary hearing on the dismissal prior to its sua sponte ruling. The judgment was affirmed.
Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools 137 S.Ct. 743 (U.S., 2017)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers federal funds to States in exchange for “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to children with certain disabilities. The Act also establishes formal administrative procedures for resolving disputes between parents and schools. When trained service dog, Wonder, attempted to join Plaintiff E.F. in kindergarten, officials at Ezra Eby Elementary School refused. Plaintiff E.F. is a child with severe cerebral palsy; Wonder assists her with various daily life activities. E.F.'s parents, Plaintiffs Stacy and Brent Fry, removed E.F. from the school and filed a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Plaintiffs claimed that the exclusion of E.F.'s service dog violated her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. OCR agreed, and school officials invited E.F. to return to the school. Yet, the Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court against the Defendants, Ezra Eby's local and regional school districts, and the principal, (collectively, the school districts). In the federal suit, Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants violated Title II and § 504 and sought declaratory and monetary relief. The Defendant school districts filed a motion to dismiss. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the motion. The Plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where the District Court's motion to dismiss was affirmed. Certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court of the United States vacated and remanded. The Supreme Court held that, on remand, the Appeals Court should: (1) establish whether (or to what extent) the plaintiff parents invoked the IDEA's dispute resolution process before bringing this suit; and (2) decide whether Plaintiffs' actions reveal that the gravamen of their complaint is indeed the denial of FAPE. The court reasoned that Exhaustion of the IDEA's administrative procedures is unnecessary where the gravamen of the Plaintiffs' suit is something other than the denial of the IDEA's core guarantee of a FAPE.

Fuller v. Vines 36 F3d 65 (9th Cir. 1994)

Motion for leave to amend § 1983 civil rights complaint to add claims that police officer violated Fourth Amendment by shooting pet dog and by pointing gun at one plaintiff was denied and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered summary judgment in favor of police officers and city. Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that: (1) killing of pet dog stated Fourth Amendment violation, but (2) no seizure of plaintiff occurred when police pointed gun.

Fund for Animals v. Hall 777 F.Supp.2d 92 (D.D.C.,2011)

Environmental organization sued United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), alleging it failed to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements when it opened and expanded hunting in national wildlife refuges. The District Court held that FWS's environmental assessments (EA) adequately identified and measured the cumulative impact of hunting in the refuge system. Therefore, FWS's finding of no significant impact (FONSI) was not arbitrary and capricious.

Fund for Animals v. Kempthorne 538 F.3d 124 (C.A.2 (N.Y.),2008)

The Fund for Animals and others brought an action challenging public resource depredation order (PRDO) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning a species of migratory bird known as the double-crested cormorant. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment, finding that the depredation order did not violate MBTA because the Order restricts the species, locations, and means by which takings could occur, thereby restricting the discretion exercised by third parties acting under the Order. Further, the depredation order did not conflict with international treaties (specifically the Mexico Convention) because the Treaty only mandates a close season only for game birds, which the parties agree do not include cormorants. Finally, the agency's adoption of the order was not arbitrary and capricious and complied with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Hogan 428 F.3d 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2005)

The Fund for Animals petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list as endangered the trumpeter swans living in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  The Fish and Wildlife Service denied the petition without giving a good explanation why, so the Fund for Animals sued.  The court found that because the Fish and Wildlife Service had subsequently provided a letter finding that the swans were not "markedly separated from other populations" and were part of the Rocky Mountain population, which was growing in numbers, the FWS had provided a sufficient explanation and the case against it was therefore moot. 

Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Kempthorne 472 F.3d 872 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

A government agency was killing mute swans, because of their impact on the environment, and the plaintiffs sued, alleging that this action violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (that implements international treaties the United States has with Canada and Mexico). The Court found that the government agency may kill mute swans because the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act, implemented in 2004, modified the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to allow for the killing of non-native birds. Mute swans are non-native to the United States because they were brought over from Europe.

Fund for Animals, Inc. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management 460 F.3d 13 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

The Bureau of Land Management has responsibility for managing the numbers of horses and burros under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The Bureau issued a memorandum detailing how it was going to remove excess horses and burros from public land, and acted on that memorandum by removing some horses from public lands.  Several non-profit groups sued, and the court found that it could not judge the memo because the Bureau had not made any final agency action and because the memo was only to be in force for a temporary time. Additionally, because the Bureau was simply acting according to its mandate under the Act, the court found for the Bureau.

Gaetjens v. City of Loves Park 4 F.4th 487 (7th Cir. 2021), reh'g denied (Aug. 12, 2021) Plaintiff Gaetjens filed a § 1983 action against city, county, and various local government officials alleging that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated after officials entered and condemned her home and seized her 37 cats. Plaintiff was in the hospital at the time. Gaetjens lived in Loves Park, Illinois and bred cats in her home. On December 4, 2014, she visited her doctor and was told to go to the hospital because of high blood pressure. Later that day, the doctor could not locate Gaetjens, so she phoned Rosalie Eads (Gaetjens' neighbor who was listed as her emergency contact) to ask for help finding her. Eads called Gaetjens and knocked on her front door but got no response. The next day the neighbor could still not locate Gaetjens so Eads phoned the police from concern that Gaetjens might be experiencing a medical emergency. When police arrived, they asked Eads for Gaetjens key and entered the house. Intense odors of feces, urine, and a possibly decomposing body forced police back out of the home. The police called the fire department so that the home could be entered with breathing devices. While police did not find Gaetjens, they did find 37 cats. The house was ultimately condemned and animal control were able to impound the cats (except for four that died during or after impoundment). As it turns out, Gaetjens was at the hospital during this whole process. After learning of the impoundment, Gaetjens filed the instant action. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. On appeal here, the Seventh Circuit considered whether the warrantless entry into Gaetjens home was reasonable based on exigent circumstances. Relying on a recent SCOTUS case that found absence from regular church service or a repeated failure to answer a phone call supported an emergency exception for a warrant, the Court noted that the "litany of concerning circumstances" in the case at bar "more than provided" a reasonable basis for entry. As to Plaintiff's challenge to the condemnation, the court also found it too was supported by the expertise of officials at the scene. As to the confiscation of the cats, the court noted that previous cases support the warrantless seizure of animals when officials reasonably believe the animals to be in imminent danger. The court found the imminent danger to be plain due to condemnation order on the house from noxious fumes. While the use of the "cat grabber" did lead to an unfortunate death of one cat, the overall seizure tactics were necessary and reasonable. Thus, the Court affirmed the judgment of the district court.
Gallick v. Barto 828 F.Supp. 1168 (M.D.Pa.,1993)

In this Pennsylvania case, the parents of a 7-month old child sued the landlords of tenants who owned a ferret that bit the child on the face causing injury. The court stated that the resolution of this motion for summary judgment depended first on whether the ferret is deemed a wild animal. In ruling that the ferret is indeed a wild animal, the court noted that ferrets have been known to return to a feral state upon escaping and people have kept ferrets as house pets only in recent years. In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that a landlord out of possession is not liable for injuries caused by animals kept by tenants when the tenant has exclusive control of the premises except where the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. The court found that since a ferret is a wild animal, the landlords were aware of the presence of the ferret, and plaintiffs may be able to prove that the landlords had the ability to exercise control over the premises prior to the incident, the landlords may be held liable under a theory of negligence. The motion for summary judgment was denied.

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