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Displaying 1 - 10 of 27
Titlesort descending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
AFADA habeas corpus Cecilia EXPTE. NRO. P-72.254/15 “Abogados y Funcionarios de defensa Animal” (AFADA) brought a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Cecilia, a 30 year old chimpanzee that lived in the Mendoza Zoo alleging that the chimpanzee had been illegitimately and arbitrarily deprived of her right to ambulatory freedom and right to have a dignified life on the part of authorities of the Zoo of the City of Mendoza, Argentina. The court granted habeas corpus to Cecilia, ruling that Cecilia was a living being with rights and instructing defendants to immediately free her and to relocate her to the Great Ape Project Sanctuary in Brazil. Until this moment, only humans illegally detained had been granted this writ. Case
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Olympic Game Farm, Inc. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 2191876 (W.D. Wash. May 21, 2019) This case has to do with the mistreatment and unsafe captivity of numerous animals kept at a roadside zoo in Sequim, Washington called Olympic Game Farm (OGF). The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) alleged that OGF’s failure to abide by the Federal Endangered Species Act, as well as alleged violations of Washington State animal cruelty laws created a public nuisance. OGF admitted one of the allegations, specifically, that they are not accredited but possess or display Roosevelt Elk. That was an admitted violation of Washington law which makes it unlawful for a non-accredited facility to possess such a species. That single admission supported ALDF’s public nuisance claim in addition to all of the other alleged state violations. The court stated that ALDF met the "low bar" of standing in a public nuisance context. Accordingly, OGF’s Motion to Dismiss was denied. Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Perdue --- F.3d ----, 2017 WL 4320804 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 29, 2017) 2017 WL 4320804, (D.C. Cir. 2017) The Secretary of Agriculture is directed by the Animal Welfare Act to promulgate regulations governing minimum animal housing and care standards and to issue licenses for animal exhibitionists only if they adhere to these standards. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Department of Agriculture for renewing Tom and Pamela Sellner's Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa despite multiple violations of the animal welfare requirements set forth in the Act. In fact, the USDA had filed an administrative complaint against the Sellners and commenced a formal investigation in 2015 According to the court, the USDA has established a "bifurcated" approach to licensing, where initial applicants must comply with regulations and pass an agency compliance inspection, while license renewal applicants must only pay a fee and agree to continue to comply with regulations. After the District Court's dismissal of the case, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part but remanded back to the District Court the question whether the USDA's reliance on self-certification was an arbitrary and capricious action with instructions to get further explanation from the agency. As stated by the court, "On remand, the agency must, at a minimum, explain how its reliance on the self-certification scheme in this allegedly “smoking gun” case did not constitute arbitrary and capricious action." Case
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack Slip Copy, 2017 WL 627379 (D.D.C., 2017)

In this case, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sought to intervene on a proceeding dealing with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a family owned-zoo in Iowa for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA was seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act against the Iowa zoo and the ALDF sought to intervene because it has long criticized the zoo's care and handling of its animals. The ALDF was prevented from intervening by the administrative law judge (ALJ) that was presiding over the matter. The ALJ did not allow the ALDF to intervene in the matter on the basis that the “ALDF’s stated interests were beyond the scope of the proceeding.” The ALDF filed suit challenging this decision according to Section 555(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows “interested persons” to participate in agency proceedings “so far as the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” The court found that the ALDF should have been allowed to intervene in the proceeding according to 555(b) because the ALDF’s "demonstrated interest in the welfare of the zoo's animals falls squarely within the scope of the USDA enforcement proceeding.” The court also found that there was no evidence to suggest that having ALDF intervene would "impede the orderly conduct of the public business permits.” As a result, the court held in favor of the ALDF’s motion for summary judgment and remanded the case back the case back to USDA for further consideration of ALDF's motion to Intervene. 

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Animal Protection Institute of America v. Mosbacher 799 F.Supp 173 (D.C. 1992)

Wildlife protection organizations, including the API, brought action against Secretary of Commerce to challenge permits for importing false killer whales and belugas for public display. Zoo association and aquarium seeking the whales intervened.  The District Court the whale watchers had standing and the permits were not abuse of discretion.

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ASSOCIACAO SANTUARIO DE ELEFANTES BRASIL 1001993-45.2019.8.11.0024 This case from Brazil concerns the elephant named "Ramba." Ramba is a former circus elephant who spent more than 30 years at circuses in Chile and Argentina. On October 18, 2019, she arrived at Santuário de Elefantes do Brasil (Brazil Elephants Sanctuary) after a 73 hour trip all the way from Chile. Before Ramba was transferred, Judge Leonísio Salles de Abreu Junior, from the 1st Civil Court at Chapada dos Guimarães, the region where the sanctuary is located in Mato Grosso , Brazil, made a ruling changing her status from a mere "good." The judge prohibited the local Government from charging the sanctuary R$ 50.000 (approximately US $ 13.00) in a tax on movement of goods finding that Ramba is not a thing, and is not a subject to importation good tax. According to an article at https://www.ambientesecom.net/2019/10/24/groundbreaking-decision-of-brazilian-judge-for-captive-elephant, the judge said further, "Her position, far from being a commodity (as she was in the life of exploitation to what she was submitted to by her former owners), is now that of a guest, who seeks for a new destination on the margins of what human evil has already caused her." Attached case is in Portuguese. Case
Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo 387 P.3d 690 (Wash. Jan. 12, 2017) 2017 WL 121589, 187 Wash. 2d 509, 92846-1, 2017 WL 121589, at *1–11 (Wash. Jan. 12, 2017)

To address the Zoo's growing size and complexity, Defendant Woodland Park Zoo Society (WPZS) entered into an “Operations and Management Agreement” (Agreement) with the City of Seattle. The Agreement gave WPZS exclusive rights and responsibilities regarding many areas such as the care, sale, and purchase of the Zoo's animals. The Agreement also contained several provisions addressing public oversight of the Zoo.  Plaintiff Alyne Fortgang requested several categories of records, all pertaining to the Zoo's elephants. She filed the request under the Public Records Act (PRA), which requires every government agency to make records available for public inspection and copying.  The Zoo's director of Communications and Public Affairs responded to Fortgang's request by asserting that the PRA did not apply because WPZS was a private company. Fortgang filed a lawsuit and alleged that WPZS violated the PRA by refusing to disclose certain records. The trial court granted WPZS's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action on the ground that WPZS was not an agency subject to PRA disclosure requirements. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the Court of Appeals and held that the Telford test was the proper analytical framework for evaluating the private entity’s disclosure requirement. The Supreme Court reasoned that under the Telford analysis, WPZS was not the functional equivalent of a government agency. The court stated that although the second Telford factor was inconclusive, all the other factors weighed against PRA coverage: (1) WPZS did not perform an inherently governmental function by operating the Zoo; (2) the City did not exercise sufficient control over the Zoo's daily operations to implicate PRA concerns; (3) WPZS was created solely by private individuals and not  government action and (4) because operating a zoo is not a nondelegable, “core” government function, the case did not involve the privatization of fundamentally public services. The Court of Appeals' decision was affirmed.

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Hill v. Coggins 867 F.3d 499 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 1003 (2018) 2017 WL 3471259 (4th Cir. Aug. 14, 2017) 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. Case
In Defense of Animals v. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 785 F.Supp. 100 (N.D. Ohio, 1991)

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

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Jones v. Beame 380 N.E.2d 277 (N.Y. 1978) 45 N.Y.2d 402, 408 N.Y.S.2d 449 (N.Y. 1978)

In this New York case, the plaintiffs, organizations concerned with the treatment of animals in the New York City zoos, sought injunctive and declaratory relief against city officials who were charged with operating the zoos. Due to a citywide fiscal crisis, the City had to make “Draconian” choices with its human and animal charges, according to the court. In granting a motion to dismiss, this court declined to accept the responsibility for matters that it found to be administrative in nature.

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