Federal Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
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.

Geer v. Connecticut 16 S.Ct. 600 (1896) (overruled by Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322)

Defendant was charged with the possession of game birds, for the purpose of transporting them beyond the state, which birds had been lawfully killed within the state.   The sole issue which the case presents is, was it lawful, under the constitution of the United States (section 8, art. 1) (the Commerce Clause), for the state of Connecticut to allow the killing of birds within the state during a designated open season, to allow such birds, when so killed, to be used, to be sold, and to be bought for use, within the state, and yet to forbid their transportation beyond the state?  The Court held that, aside from the authority of the state, derived from the common ownership of game, and the trust for the benefit of its people which the state exercises in relation thereto, there is another view of the power of the state in regard to the property in game, which is equally conclusive. The right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the state of a police power to that end, which may be none the less efficiently called into play, because, by doing so, interstate commerce may be remotely and indirectly affected.  This decision was later overruled in Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322.

Georgia Aquarium v. Pritzker Case 1:13-cv-03241-AT (2015) In this case, the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied the Georgia Aquarium’s application for a permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to import 18 beluga whales from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk for public display. The Aquarium challenged the defendant National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) decision to deny a permit to import the beluga whales as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The Court found that defendant National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was correct in following the statutory mandate of the MMPA after it found that the Sakhalin-Amur stock of the whales is likely declining and is experiencing adverse impacts in addition to Russian live-capture operations. Further, some of the beluga whales destined for the import were potentially young enough to still be nursing and dependent upon their mothers.
Giaconia v. Delaware County Soc. for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4442632 (E.D.Pa.)

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

Giardiello v. Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, P.C. 261 F. Supp. 3d 86 (D. Mass. 2017) This case dealt with a condo owner and his son who lived in a condo and relied on a service dog for treatment of PTSD. The Plaintiffs filed suit against the condo trust, Board of Trustees, Board members, and others, alleging violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by not allowing the Plaintiffs to keep the dog in their condo unit. The father attempted to communicate with the Trustees about a reasonable accommodation for the service dog, but was met with silence from the Trustees. After the dog had already moved into the condo, the Board sent correspondence stating that fines would be assessed if the dog was not removed after a certain date. After complications with securing the requisite medical info, the dog was ultimately allowed to say, but fines had accrued. The Court held that 1) plaintiffs stated claim that defendants violated FHA; 2) owner was an aggrieved person under the FHA, and thus owner had standing to bring claim; 3) district court would decline to dismiss claim on exhaustion grounds; and 4) under Massachusetts law, claims against attorney and law firm were barred by the litigation privilege. Thus, the court the Court denied the Board and Trust's motion to dismiss and granted Attorney Gaines and the Law Firm's motion to dismiss.
Gibson v. Babbitt 223 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2000)

Defendant, a Native American, challenged the constitutionality of the limitation of eagle parts through the permit system to members of federally recognized tribes.  The limitation under the federal eagle permit system to federally recognized Indian tribes does not violate RFRA because the government has a compelling interest in protecting a species in demise and fulfilling pre-existing trust obligations to federally-recognized tribes in light of the limited supply of eagle parts.  For further discussion on free exercise challenges under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. 378 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004)

This is a record review case in which the Appellants, an assortment of environmental organizations, challenge six biological opinions (BiOps) issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The BiOps in question allowed for timber harvests in specified Northwest forests and also authorized incidental "takes" of the Northern spotted owl, a threatened species under the ESA.  With regard to appellants' challenge of the jeopardy analysis under the ESA, the court concluded that the jeopardy analysis conducted by the FWS in the six BiOps at issue in this case was permissible and within the agency's discretion.  However, the critical habitat analysis in the six BiOps was fatally flawed because it relied on an unlawful regulatory definition of "adverse modification."  The Court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded the case to the district court to grant summary judgment to the Petitioners on the critical habitat inquiry.

Gluckman v. American Airlines, Inc. 844 F.Supp. (151 S.D.N.Y., 1994)

Plaintiff sued American Airlines for emotional distress damages, inter alia , after his dog suffered a fatal heatstroke while being transported in the cargo hold of defendant's airliner (the temperature reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit in violation of the airline's cargo hold guidelines).  Plaintiff relied on the state case of Brousseau v. Rosenthal  and Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., Inc  in support of his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim.  The court observed that none of the decisions cited by plaintiff, including Corso, recognize an independent cause of action for loss of companionship, but rather, they provide a means for assessing the "intrinsic" value of the lost pet when the market value cannot be determined.  As a result, the court rejected plaintiff's claim for loss of companionship as well as pain and suffering without any prior authority that established the validity of such claims. 

Goodwin v. Crawford Cty., Georgia Slip Copy, 2019 WL 2569626 (M.D. Ga. June 21, 2019) This instant action is a motion to dismiss by Defendant Sims in a § 1983 action and state law claims by plaintiff Goodwin against several Crawford County, Georgia officials. The case started with the shooting of plaintiff's dog, allegedly by Defendant Crawford County Officer Neesmith. After the dog was shot in his driveway, plaintiff alleges that Neesmith consulted another officer named Hollis who arrived on scene. Neesmith then called Defendant Sims, who was an employee of the Crawford County Health Department. Sims explained to Neesmith by phone that Plaintiff Goodwin could be liable for the cost of a rabies shot if the dog's head was not removed and that the cost of the shot was approximately $20,000. After this call, Hollis order plaintiff to cut off his own dog's head to be tested for rabies or face criminal charges and the cost of the rabies shot. In the presence of plaintiff's wife and children, the plaintiff relented and cut off the dog's head with a knife, but was too emotionally distraught to take the dog's head to the Crawford County Health Department (Plaintiff Dakon did so). As to only Defendant Sims' motion to dismiss, this court found that her economic coercion was not arbitrary and thus did not violate plaintiff's substantive due process rights. Further, the court found that Sims did not actually coerce or force plaintiff to do the decapitation. Regarding plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress against Sims, the court found that Sims' alleged use of "financial pressure" did not amount to extreme and outrageous conduct. Instead, the court said "she did her job," which was to communicate the rabies control procedures and did not actually require plaintiff to personally decapitate his dog. Accordingly, the Court granted Sims' Motion to Dismiss.
Gordon v. Norton 322 F.3d 1213 (10th Cir. 2003)

Appellants Stephen Gordon and the Diamond G Ranch, Inc. challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's control of gray wolves introduced under the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan near the Diamond G in the Dunoir Valley of northwestern Wyoming. Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, they filed this action in federal district court alleging violations of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause and the regulations promulgated under the Endangered Species Act. The district court dismissed the takings claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the ESA claims as not yet ripe for review. This court affirmed the lower court.

Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Inc. v. Servheen 665 F.3d 1015 (C.A.9 (Mont.), 2011)

Coalition sued for a review of a United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) final rule to remove grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) threatened species list. The Court of Appeals held that there was no rational connection between data that showed a relationship between pine seed shortages, increased bear mortality, and decreased female reproductive success and FWS’ conclusion that whitebark pine declines were not likely to threaten grizzly bears. FWS could reasonably conclude that National Forest Plans and National Park Compendia (Plans) provided adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect grizzlies as recovered species. The portion of the District Court's ruling vacating the Final Rule was affirmed.

Green v. Housing Authority of Clackamas County 994 F.Supp. 1253 (D. Oregon, 1998) Plaintiffs were tenants of a county housing authority and alleged that the housing authority violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, by failing to reasonably accommodate their request for a waiver of a "no pets" policy to allow for a hearing assistance animal in the rental unit to reasonably accommodate a hearing disability. The housing authority argued that the dog was not a reasonable accommodation for the tenant's specific disability because the dog was not certified as a hearing assistance animal. The court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, holding that the housing authority violated the federal statutes when it required proof from the tenants that the dog had received hearing assistance training.
Gregory v. City of Vallejo, et al. 63 F.Supp.3d 1171 (E.D. Cal. 2014) In this case, the plaintiff’s dog was shot by a police officer who was responding to the plaintiff’s call for police assistance in investigating a bank fraud matter. Upon arrival at the home, the officer entered the low-fenced front yard and two of the plaintiff’s dogs approached. The officer, the only eyewitness to the encounter, then shot and killed one of the plaintiff’s dogs. The plaintiff filed suit against the officer and municipality, and alleged, inter alia, violations of her Fourth Amendment rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of state statutes. The court held that enough factual issues were disputed to deny the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, specifically that there was a genuine dispute as to whether the killing of the dog was reasonable.
Grey v. Johansson Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1613804 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2016) This suit was filed after Grey and Johansson entered into a disagreement about who was the rightful owner of Johansson’s late wife’s horse, Navy. Grey was Johansson’s lawyer and was left responsible for caring for and handling all sales regarding her horses after her death. Grey filed suit for fraud and defamation against Johansson after he publicly referred to Grey as a “horse stealer.” Ultimately, the court held that Grey did not produce enough to evidence to establish a case for either fraud or defamation against Johanasson. Although Johanasson did call Grey a “horse stealer,” the court found that this comment was protected by judicial privilege.
Guardians v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service 2018 WL 1023104 (D. Mont. Feb. 22, 2018) Plaintiffs sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and its related entities on the grounds that they failed to comply with environmental and regulatory procedures in the administration and implementation of a federal export program that allows certain animal pelts and parts to be exported from the United States pursuant to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (“CITES”). Defendant-Intervenors intervened, and now seek to dismiss this action pursuant to Rules 12(b)(7) and 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds that the Plaintiffs have not joined and cannot join as indispensable parties certain states and Native American tribes. The court held that because the states and tribes are not “required” under Rule 19(a), dismissal is not appropriate. Accordingly, the court ordered that that Defendant-Intervenors' motion be DENIED.
H.J. Justin & Sons, Inc. v. Brown 519 F. Supp. 1383 (E.D. Cal. 1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part sub nom. H.J. Justin & Sons, Inc. v. Deukmejian, 702 F.2d 758 (9th Cir. 1983) In this case, plaintiff filed suit challenging the California Penal Code, specifically sections 653o and 653r. Plaintiff manufactured boots from the hides of animals, including the hides of the African elephant, the Indonesian python, and the Wallaby kangaroo. Section 653o and 653r of the California Penal Code prevented plaintiff from selling his boots in California because the provisions forbid the sale of products made from dead bodies, or any part of the elephant, python, or kangaroo. Plaintiff challenged these provisions arguing that the provisions were preempted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, thus making the provisions unconstitutional. The plaintiff also argued that the provisions were unconstitutional because of the burden placed on interstate commerce which violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, the court held that the provisions of the California Penal Code were not unconstitutional and dismissed plaintiff’s claim. The court looked to whether or not the provisions were expressly or impliedly preempted and determined that because the provisions were not expressly preempted the court needed to do an analysis of implied preemption. Looking to legislative history, the court found that Congress did not intend to preempt the provisions of the California Penal Code with the enactment of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Lastly, the court held that the California statue was not a burden on interstate commerce because Congress was aware of the existence of the California provisions and decided that the Endangered Species Act would not affect the California provisions. As a result, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim and held for the defendant.
Haberman v. United States 26 Cl. Ct. 1405 (1992)

The U.S. Claims Court upheld its jurisdiction over an action brought by individuals who had their Private Maintenance and Care Agreements (PMCA) revoked by the Bureau of Land Management and their adopted wild horses repossessed when the agency learned that the individuals intended to sell the horses to slaughter once they obtained full legal title to them under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.  The court found that the PMCA agreement constituted a contract between the government and the adopter, and thus that the Claims Court had jurisdiction to hear the case. Though the court noted that individual adopters would have to overcome the suggestion that they violated the terms of the PMCA by intending to sell the horses to slaughter.   

Habitat for Horses v. Salazar 745 F.Supp.2d 438 (S.D.N.Y., 2010)

Prior to October 2010, the North Piceance Herd Area served as a home to approximately 60 wild horses. The horses, however, were removed by the BLM, giving rise to this litigation. Plaintiffs assert that the BLM’s decision to remove the wild horses violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, NEPA, the Information Quality Act, and the FLPMA. The District Court concluded that, while Plaintiffs did establish irreparable harm, they were not likely to succeed on the merits.

Hansen v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 221 F.3d 1342 (8th Cir. 2000) Judie Hansen petitions for review of a final decision of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture. Because the 8th Circuit has no jurisdiction over the matter, the petition is dismissed.
Harlow v. Fitzgerald 457 US 800 (1982)

Plaintiff brought suit for damages based on his allegedly unlawful discharge from employment in Department of Air Force.  U.S. Supreme Court reviewed immunity issues and held that while presidential aides are entitled to qualified immunity, government officials performing discretionary functions are shielded only where their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights.

Hatahley v. United States 351 U.S. 173, 76 S.Ct. 745 (1956)

In the case of Hatahley v. United States, 351 U.S. 173 (1956), a group of Navajo Indians living in Utah sued the government under the Federal Torts Claim Act, to recover the confiscation and destruction of horses and burros that were kept as pets and uniquely valued to the owners. The federal agents confiscated these animals and then sold them to a glue factory. The petitioners vehemently argued that these horses had unique and sentimental value to them, and served as a means of income to yield crops. Although the government agents argued that they were authorized to engage in this taking pursuant to the Utah Abandoned Horse Slaughter Act, the trial court ruled in favor of the petitioners. The court awarded the petitioners a judgment of $100,000 based on the fair market value, consequential damages for deprivation of use, and “mental pain and suffering” of the petitioners. The decision was reversed and remanded to the District Court with instructions to assess damages with sufficient particularity.

Haviland v. Butz 543 F.2d 169 (D.C. Cir. 1976)

This case addresses whether the Secretary of Agriculture intended to include “animal acts” under the AWA. Animal acts are any performance of animals where such animals are trained to perform some behavior or action or are part of a show, performance, or exhibition. Defendant presented an animal act with dogs and ponies to paying audiences and occasionally appeared on commercial television. Defendant asserted that he did not “exhibit” animals simply by showing dogs and ponies and argued that the Secretary unconstitutionally added “animal acts” to the AWA. The court held that the inclusion of “animal acts” was authorized as“[t]he words ‘includes’ and ‘such as’ [in the AWA] point convincingly to the conclusion that the listing of types of exhibitions in the statutory text was intended to be but partial and illustrative.”

Hawaiian Crow (‘Alala) v. Lujan 906 F.Supp. 549 (D.Hawai‘i,1991)

Defendants (USFWS and rancher owners) filed a motion to dismiss the 'Alala bird and strike its name from the plaintiffs' complaint as well a motion for Rule 11 sanctions. The District Court held that, as a matter of first impression, the endangered 'Alala bird was not a 'person' within the meaning of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) citizen suit provision. However, the Court declined to impose Rule 11 sanctions on the ground that plaintiffs' counsel acted improperly in filing a complaint that named the ‘Alala  as a party, finding that there is no evidence plaintiffs named the ‘Alala for an improper purpose. Defendant's motion for a more definite statement was granted to provide greater specificity to pinpoint those areas within the essential habitat locations that may be affected.

Hawthorn Corp. v. U.S. 98 F.Supp.3d 1226 (M.D. Fla., 2015) Plaintiff's complaint was based on government employees’ duty to exercise reasonable care in the execution of their official duties. Government moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court found the action was barred by three exceptions to the Federal Torts Claims Act: the misrepresentation exception, the discretionary exception, and the interference with contracts exception. Government motion was granted.
Hemingway Home and Museum v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 2006 WL 3747343 (S.D. Fla.)

The plaintiff lived in Hemmingway's old property, a museum, with 53 polydactyl cats (cats having more than the usual number of toes). The United States Department of Agriculture investigated and said that the plaintiff needed to get an exhibitor's license to show the cats, but that was not possible unless the cats were enclosed. Plaintiff sued the government in order to avoid the $200 per cat per day fines assessed, but the court held that the government has sovereign immunity from being sued.

Hernandez-Gotay v. United States 985 F.3d 71 (1st Cir. Jan. 14, 2021) Plaintiffs filed suit to enjoin the enforcement and challenge the constitutionality of Section 12616 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Section 12616”), which bans the “sponsor[ship]” and “exhibit[ion]” of cockfighting matches in Puerto Rico. The district court upheld Section 12616 as a valid exercise of Congress's Commerce Clause power. On appeal here, the court first determined whether the plaintiffs had sufficient standing to challenge the law. It concluded that plaintiff Ángel Manuel Ortiz-Díaz, the owner of two cockfighting venues and a breeder and owner of more than 200 gamecocks, has standing to challenge Section 12616. Ortiz faces a credible threat of prosecution under Section 12616 because he regularly sponsors and exhibits cockfighting matches. Finding standing, the court considered plaintiffs' claim that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting Section 12616. The court found that cockfighting is an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce and Congress passing Section 12616 was a legitimate exercise of Commerce Clause power. Finally, plaintiffs contend that Section 12616 infringes on their First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. In rejecting this argument, the court held that plaintiffs failed to identify the necessary "expressive element" in cockfighting activities that would render it subject to First Amendment protections and, even if they made such a showing, Section 12616 is a permissible restraint on such speech. Finally, nothing in Section 12616 infringes on the associational right to assemble since it does not prevent individuals from gathering to express their views on cockfighting. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
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.
Hill v. Norton 275 F.3d 98 (D.C. Cir. 2001)

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act ("MBTA"), 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712 (2000), extends protection to all birds covered by four migratory bird treaties, which, in relevant part, define migratory birds to include the family Anatidae (which includes the mute swan).  Under the authority, delegated by Congress the Secretary of the Interior has published lists of protected migratory birds.  The instant case arose when appellant Joyce Hill filed a law suit pro se in District Court claiming that the Secretary's regulation violated the MBTA in excluding mute swans from the List of Migratory Birds promulgated at 50 C.F.R. § 10.13 (2000). The District Court rejected Hill's claim and granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary.  In reversing the the District Court's decision, the court found that the Secretary pointed to nothing in the statute, applicable treaties, or administrative record that justified the exclusion of mute swans from the List of Migratory Birds.  It also ordered the Secretary's List of Migratory Birds, codified at 50 C.F.R. § 10.13, insofar as the list excludes mute swans, to be vacated.  This case more or less set the stage for the revisions to the MBTA in 2004 by Congress's passing of the MBTRA.

Hines v. Pardue --- F.Supp.3d -------, 2023 WL 5254673 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2023) Plaintiff and veterinarian Ronald S. Hines brings this action to challenge a Texas law that mandates a veterinarian conduct a physical examination of an animal before practicing veterinary medicine on the grounds that the law violates his First Amendment right to free speech. Plaintiff, who was unable to maintain a veterinary practice in person due to medical issues, began providing veterinary advice to animal owners via a website without first examining their animals. Plaintiff was disciplined by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for doing this, and was fined $500 and sentenced to a year of probation. Plaintiff then sued the members of the Board on two separate occasions, with the second appeal being remanded by the Fifth Circuit with instructions to determine whether the requirement for a physical examination before issuing veterinary advice regulates speech incidentally to the regulation of non-expressive professional conduct, or is a regulation of non-expressive conduct. Here, the district court first examined multiple instances of plaintiff providing veterinary advice to animal owners via the internet. Next, the court asserts that plaintiff has standing to pursue his claims against the board. Lastly, the court examines plaintiff’s First Amendment argument. Plaintiff argues that his email exchanges with animal owners constitutes speech, and the court agrees that this is speech and that the Examination Requirement regulates this speech. However, the court finds that this regulation of plaintiff’s speech is content neutral, because the requirement for a physical examination of the animals before issuing advice applies neutrally to all forms of veterinary care and veterinary speech regardless of content. Therefore, the court held that defendants may enforce the Examination Requirement without violating plaintiff’s free speech rights.
Hines v. Quillivan 982 F.3d 266 (5th Cir. 2020) This case asks whether a veterinarian in Texas has a right to engage in telemedicine for a pet he has not physically examined. The plaintiff challenged Texas' physical-examination requirement that prohibits veterinarians from offering individualized advice to pet owners unless the vet previously examined the animal. Dr. Ronald Hines, a licensed veterinarian in Texas, stopped practicing in-person veterinary medicine in 2002 due to his age and other ailments. He then transitioned to a practice based remotely through the Internet. In 2012, the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (the Board) investigated Hines and found he had violated state law. The Board ordered him to cease providing veterinary advice electronically without first physically examining the animal. In 2013, Dr. Hines filed suit against the Board members claiming that the physical-examination requirement violated his First Amendment, equal-protection, and substantive-due-process rights. The district court then granted the motion to dismiss by the Board and the Court of Appeals found Hines failed to state a claim on appeal. Since that 2015 opinion, Texas revised its medical doctor laws, allowing them to engage in telemedicine, but did not do the same for veterinary practice laws. In addition to that change, a United States Supreme Court held that statements made by medical doctors could now be deemed "professional speech" (the "NIFLA" case). As a result of these changes, Hines brought the present suit arguing that the changes in Texas' telemedicine laws and the NIFLA case enabled him to pursue a new equal-protection claim and First Amendment claim. With regard to his protected speech claim, this Court found that subsequent caselaw does entitle Hines' claim to greater judicial scrutiny than his previous case allowed. Thus, remand to the district court to make the initial evaluation of whether Hines' conduct or speech is being regulated is required. On the equal-protection argument, the court found that Hines presents an argument slightly different than his previous one. In essence, Hines argued in the prior appeal that the he physical-examination requirement treated veterinarians engaging in telemedicine differently than other veterinarians. Here, Hines argues that changes to the medical doctor licensing laws treats medical doctors differently than veterinarians in the state with respect to telemedicine. Using a rational-basis review, the court held that it is rational to distinguish between human and animal medicine because of the differences in training, schooling, and overall practice of the professions. The court found the state's proffered reason that animals cannot communicate their symptoms as humans can ordinarily was a persuasive rational basis (although both Hines and the Dissent note that some humans like infants are unable to speak similar to animals and yet are allowed to be treated via telemedicine). The court found the services provided by both professions are not interchangeable and thus, the physical-examination requirement is not a protectionist measure for medical doctors. Ultimately, the court left it to the Texas legislature to expand any telemedicine changes to the veterinary practice code. The action was affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.
Hoctor v. Dept of Agriculture 82 F.3d 165 (7th Cir. 1996)

A dealer raised exotic animals (mainly big cats), and USDA ordered that the dangerous ones be fenced, with fencing being a minimum of eight-feet high.   However, the animal housing standard only required that the fencing be sturdy enough to prevent the animals from escaping.   The eight-foot rule established by USDA was considered arbitrary, and it did not have to be followed.    

Hoffmann v. Marion County, Tex. 592 F. App'x 256 (5th Cir. 2014) Plaintiffs operated a derelict-animal “sanctuary” on their ten-acre property in Marion County, Texas, where they held over one hundred exotic animals, including six tigers, several leopards, and a puma. Plaintiffs were arrested and charged with animal cruelty and forfeited the animals. Afterward, plaintiffs sued many of those involved in the events under a cornucopia of legal theories, all of which the district court eventually rejected. On appeal, plaintiffs argued Marion County and the individual defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by illegally searching their property and seizing the animals. The court held, however, that government officials may enter the open fields without a warrant, as the defendants did here, because “an open field is neither a house nor an effect, and, therefore, the government's intrusion upon the open fields is not one of those unreasonable searches proscribed by the text of the Fourth Amendment.” One plaintiff further alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; however, the court dismissed this claim because the plaintiff failed to allege how he was excluded from a government benefit or effective service as a result of not having an interpreter during the investigation or arrest. The other claims were either dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, not being properly appealed, or not stating a proper cause of action. The district court’s grant of summary judgment was therefore affirmed.
Hoog-Watson v. Guadalupe County, Tex 591 F.3d 431 (Tex., 2009)

In this Texas case, Hoog-Watson asserted that a search and seizure of her home violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Texas tort law, and sought both monetary and injunctive relief against county officials. On appeal, this Court found that Hoog-Watson presented sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether the the requisite prior criminal proceeding took place, thereby precluding summary judgment. As to County Attorney Murray-Kolb's claim of prosecutorial immunity, this court found that because Murray-Kolb partipated in the search and seizure, an investigative function normally performed by the police, she is protected only by qualified immunity.

Hopson v. Kreps 622 F.2d 1375 (9th Cir. 1980)

Action brought on behalf of Alaskan Eskimos which challenged the validity of the Department of Commerce regulations adopted pursuant to IWC Act. Plaintiffs claim is the the Commission exceeded its jurisdiction under the Convention when it eliminated the native subsistence exemption for Alaskan Eskimos. The Court reverses and remands the districts courts dismissal of the action.

Horton v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 559 Fed.Appx. 527 (6th Cir. 2014) Petitioner sold dogs and puppies without an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) dealer license. An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found the Petitioner violated the AWA and issued a cease and desist order to prevent further violations of the Act and ordered Petitioner to pay $14,430 in civil penalties. Both Petitioner and Respondent, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), appealed the ALJ's decision to a judicial officer (“JO”), acting for the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, who increased the civil penalties amount from $14,430 to $191,200. Petitioner appealed this decision, alleging that (1) the ALJ and JO erred by failing to determine the willfulness of his actions, and (2) the JO improperly applied the Department's criteria for assessing civil penalties. The 6th Circuit found that since the AWA did not contain a willfulness requirement, the JO's failure to make a willfulness determination was not an abuse of discretion. Further, the 6th Circuit held that the JO's factual findings regarding Petitioner's dog sales were supported by substantial evidence. Lastly, the 6th Circuit held the size of the civil penalty assessed against Petitioner was warranted by law. The court denied the petition for review and affirmed the Secretary's Decision and Order.
Hughes v. Oklahoma 99 S.Ct. 1727 (1979)

The Oklahoma statute at issue prohibited transporting or shipping outside the State for sale natural minnows seined or procured from waters within the State. Appellant, who held a Texas license to operate a commercial minnow business in Texas, was charged with violating the Oklahoma statute by transporting from Oklahoma to Texas a load of natural minnows purchased from a minnow dealer licensed to do business in Oklahoma.  In overruling Geer v. Connecticut, the Court held that the Oklahoma statute on its face discriminated against interstate commerce by forbidding the transportation of natural minnows out of the State for purposes of sale, and thus overtly blocking the flow of interstate commerce at the State's border.

Hulsizer v. Labor Day Committee, Inc. 734 A.2d 848 (Pa.,1999)
This Pennsylvania case involves an appeal by allowance from orders of Superior Court which affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County and imposed counsel fees and costs upon the appellants, Clayton Hulsizer and the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Hulsizer, an agent of the PSPCA, filed this action in equity seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the appellee, Labor Day Committee, Inc., for their role in conducting an annual pigeon shoot. Hulsizer sought to have appellee enjoined from holding the shoot, alleging that it violates the cruelty to animals statute. At issue is whether Hulsizer has standing to bring an enforcement action in Schuylkill County. This court found no inconsistency in reading Section 501 and the HSPOEA (Humane Society Police Officer Enforcement Act) together as statutes that are in pari materia. Since the HSPOEA does not limit the jurisdiction of humane society police officers by requiring them to apply separately to the courts of common pleas in every county in Pennsylvania, the officer had standing to bring an enforcement action. The lower court's orders were reversed.
Humane Soc'y of the United States v. Nat'l Institutes of Health Slip Copy, No. 21-CV-00121-LKG, 2022 WL 17619232 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2022) Plaintiff animal welfare advocates sued the National Institute of Health (NIH) for failing to transfer all chimpanzees housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a retirement sanctuary known as “Chimp Haven." According to plaintiffs, transfer is required under the federal Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act (“CHIMP Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 283m, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In 2015, NIH officially announced that it would cease biomedical research on chimpanzees and establish a working group to transfer all 288 surplus chimpanzees owned by NIH to Chimp Haven. In 2019, the NIH announced that not all chimpanzees would be transferred to Chimp Haven because 44 of those individuals were too frail for transfer due to medical conditions. After cross-motions for summary judgment, this court considers whether transfer is legally required. On appeal, Plaintiffs contend that the plain language of the CHIMP Act requires the transfer of all chimps and the court owes no deference to agency interpretation. In contrast, the Government argues that the decision is consistent with the CHIMP Act because the plain language of the act only requires that surplus chimpanzees offered by NIH be "accepted" into CHIMP Haven. The court found that the plain and unambiguous language, and use of the word "shall," in the CHIMP Act requires the NIH to transfer ALL chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary system. In addition, the legislative history of the CHIMP Act reinforces that reading of the statute. While the court recognized NIH's concern toward the frailest chimpanzees, the proper avenue is within the legislative branch. Notably, the court was unsure as to the proper remedy in this particular matter (e.g., whether a remand or vacatur is more appropriate). As a result, Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment was granted and the Government's cross motion was denied as was the motion to dismiss. The court directed the parties to file a joint status report report with views on the relief Plaintiff seeks and how the matter should proceed in light of the instant opinion.
Humane Soc. of Rochester and Monroe County for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. v. Lyng 633 F.Supp. 480 (W.D.N.Y.,1986)

Court decided that the type of branding mandated by Secretary of Agriculture constitutes cruelty to animals because other less painful and equally effective alternatives exist and therefore freed dairy farmers to use other branding methods like freeze branding.

Humane Soc. of the U.S. v. Hodel 840 F.2d 45 (C.A.D.C.,1988)

In this appeal, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) challenged a series of actions by the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow hunting on some of America's national wildlife refuges. The District Court held that HSUS failed to satisfy the Supreme Court's requirements for associational standing because the 'recreational' interest of Society members was not germane to the group's self-described mission of insuring the humane treatment of animals and other wildlife. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court's finding that the Humane Society had no standing to challenge the hunt openings, and remanded the action to allow HSUS to pursue its challenge to the introduction of hunting. This Court did affirm the district court's finding on the merits that the Wildlife Service complied with NEPA when it permitted hunting at the Chincoteague preserve. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Bryson 924 F.Supp.2d 1228 (D.Or., 2013)

In order to manage sea lion predation of salmonids at the Bonneville Dam, the NMFS decided to authorize agencies from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to lethally remove sea lions that were not protected by the ESA when efforts to deter their feeding on salmonids failed. The Humane Society of the United States, Wild Fish Conservancy, Bethanie O'Driscoll, and Andrea Kozil disagreed and sued the NMFS; the agencies of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho intervened. Finding that the NMFS’s authorizations did not conflict with the MMPA’s protection of Stella Sea Lions, that the NMFS complied with the National Environmental Protection Act, and that the NMFS did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it issued the authorizations, the district court granted the NMFS’s and the state agencies’ cross motion for summary judgment. The case was therefore dismissed.

Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Dirk Kempthorne 527 F.3d 181 (D.C. Cir., 2008)

The Humane Society of the United States sought an injunction to prevent the lethal depredation of gray wolves. The district court granted the injunction but, while the case was on appeal, the United States Department of the Interior removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List.  After the gray wolf was removed from the Endangered Species List, all parties agreed that the delisting of the gray wolf rendered the appeal moot.  The Court of Appeals vacated the district court's ruling.

Humane Soc. of U.S. v. Kempthorne 579 F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C., 2008) Environmental groups brought challenge under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against a Rule promulgated by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designating a particular geographic group of gray wolves as a “distinct population segment” (DPS) and removing the particular group from the endangered species list. The United States District Court, District of Columbia, held that the ESA is ambiguous with respect to whether the ESA permits FWS to use the DPS tool to remove ESA protections from a healthy sub-population of a listed species, and that the FWS rule was not entitled to Chevron deference, because the plain meaning of the statute is silent and/or ambiguous as to the particular issue at hand and there is no permissible agency construction to which the Court could defer.   Lastly, the Court found that vacatur of the FWS Rule prior to remand was appropriate, because of the FWS’ failure to explain how its interpretation of the ESA comported with the policy objectives of the ESA, and because vacatur would result in very little to no confusion or inefficiency.

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