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ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF CINCINNATI v. THE GORILLA FOUNDATION Slip Copy, 2019 WL 414971 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 1, 2019) In 1991, the plaintiff, Zoological Society of Cincinnati, transferred a western lowland Gorilla named Ndume who had been living at the Zoo to The Gorilla Foundation (TGF) in Northern California. Ndume was sent to TGF in hopes that he and another gorilla there, named Koko, would mate and produce offspring. That never happened. In 2015, the Zoo and TGF entered into a new written agreement which expressly superseded any prior agreements. The agreement provided that upon the death of Koko, Ndume was to be placed at an institution that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). TGF is not an AZA accredited institution. KoKo died and the Zoo now wants to transfer Ndume back to the zoo. TGF has not made arrangements for a transfer to be carried out. The Zoo brought this suit seeking specific enforcement of the 2015 agreement and contends that it is entitled to summary judgment in its favor. TGF argued that the agreement was illegal and unenforceable because the transfer would harm Ndume. TGF identified a number of potential risks, particularly, that Ndume has a Balantidium Coli infection. TGF contended that stress could trigger an outbreak which could be fatal. The court was unpersuaded and stated that TGF signed the 2015 agreement less than 3 years before the present dispute arose and that all of the circumstances that TGF contends makes compliance with the agreement risky existed when the agreement was negotiated. TGF also contended that the agreement is impracticable due to unreasonable (non-monetary) costs. However, the Court again stated that TGF knew these facts and circumstances when it entered into the agreement. The Court granted the Zoo's motion for summary judgment and denied TGF's request for a continuance to permit it to take discovery. The parties were ordered to confer and attempt to reach a consensus on as many aspects of the protocol for transporting Ndume to the Zoo as possible. If within 30 days of the date of the order the parties cannot reach a consensus, they will have to file a joint statement setting out any issues on which they have reached a stalemate. Case
ZooCats, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 417 Fed.Appx. 378(5th Cir. 2011) This petition followed a final order of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordering ZooCats, Inc. to cease and desist from violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and revoking ZooCats's animal exhibitor license. ZooCats argued on appeal that the Secretary erred in extending certain filing deadlines, erred in determining certain audio tapes were inadmissible evidence, and erred in determining that ZooCats did not qualify as a “research facility” under the AWA. Addressing each of these claims, the 5th Circuit held that the Administrative Law Judge had broad discretion to manage its docket to promote judicial economy, efficiency, and to protect the interests of the parties. The Sixth Circuit further found that even if the tapes were admissible, failure to admit the tapes would be a harmless error because there was substantial evidence in the record supporting the agency's determination that ZooCats wilfully violated the AWA. Finally, the 6th Circuit held ZooCats was not a research facility under the AWA because it had not researched, tested, or experimented in the almost ten years since it registered as a research facility. The 6th Circuit therefore denied Petitioner’s petition. Case
Sebek v. City of Seattle 290 P.3d 159 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012) 2012 WL 6098265 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012); 172 Wash.App. 273

Two Seattle taxpayers filed a taxpayer action lawsuit against the city of Seattle for violating Washington’s animal cruelty statute and Seattle’s animal cruelty ordinance with regard to a zoo’s elephant exhibit. After the lawsuit was dismissed by the King County Superior Court for lack of taxpayer standing, plaintiffs appealed the court’s decision. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision because the plaintiffs’ complaint alleged the zoological society, not the city, acted illegally and because the operating agreement between the city and the zoological society made it clear that the zoological society, not the city, had exclusive control over the operations of the elephant exhibit. Significantly, the appeals court found that a city’s contractual funding obligations to a zoological society that  cares and owns an animal exhibit at a zoo is not enough to allege a city violated animal cruelty laws.

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Salzer v. King Kong Zoo 773 S.E.2d 548 (N.C. Ct. App. July 7, 2015) 242 N.C. App. 120, 2015 WL 4081841 (N.C. Ct. App. July 7, 2015) The Plaintiffs appeal from an order granting dismissal of their complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In 2014, Plaintiffs filed a civil suit under North Carolina's anti-cruelty "citizen suit" provision, N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A–1, against King Kong Zoo. Plaintiffs contended that the zoo kept animals in "grossly substandard" conditions. King Kong Zoo is an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) licensed exhibitor of wild and domestic animals. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that the applicable law here is the AWA and “N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A–1 ... has no application to licensed zoo operations.” On appeal, this Court found in a matter of first impression that the AWA does not expressly preempt claims under N.C. Gen.Stat. § 19A. Instead, the AWA "empowers Section 19A to work in conjunction with the AWA." The Court also found no conflict of law that would preclude bringing the action. The matter was reversed and remanded to the Cherokee County District Court for determination consistent with this opinion. Case
Rowley v. City of New Bedford 333 F.Supp.3d 30 (D. Mass. Sept. 25, 2018) 2018 WL 4600647 (D. Mass. Sept. 25, 2018) This opinion concerns the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts' motion to dismiss plaintiff Rowley's (formerly plaintiff "Friends of Ruth & Emily, Inc.") citizen suit for injunction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Plaintiffs allege that two Asian Elephants, Ruth and Emily, were mistreated by the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford by chaining their legs, housing them in inadequate facilities, failing to provide proper socialization, and failing to provide adequate veterinary care, which gives rise to a "taking" under Section 9 of the ESA. Rowley claims that she is a member of the zoological society there and visits the elephants on a "near daily basis," resulting in “an aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual relationship with Ruth and Emily over the years.” The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts asked both parties to brief on the issue of standing for the instant action. The court first noted that the ESA expressly authorizes citizen suits for injunctive relief. To survive a motion to dismiss, Rowley must, through facts, clearly demonstrate standing, and then the court must analyze those facts under a multi-pronged approach. To begin, the court distinguished cases that established the proper "animal nexus" for injury in fact with those that did not meet that finding. Here, Rowley's complaint established injury in fact because she lives in New Bedford, is a member of the Zoo's Zoological Society, and observes the elephants on a near daily basis. Rowley alleges that the maltreatment of Ruth and Emily injures this ability because she observes their ongoing suffering while in substandard captivity. The court was not persuaded by New Bedford's claim that Rowley has not established injury in fact because she has no specialized training in wildlife or animal welfare. In fact, this claim ignored precedent from this very circuit that "aesthetic injury" can be established by viewing animals in inhumane conditions. In addition, the court rejected New Bedford's "nonexistent requirement into the injury in fact analysis" that Rowley must have observed or will observe Asian elephants in their native habitats. As a result, the court found Rowley properly established injury in fact. As to the next requirement of causation, the court found that Rowley sufficiently alleged that the Zoo's actions caused the harm complained of for purposes of surviving a motion to dismiss. Finally, as to redressability, the court found that Rowley's request for a declaratory judgment as to the Zoo's treatment of Ruth and Emily, and an injunction prohibiting the Zoo from euthanizing the elephants met this prong. New Bedford's contention that Rowley's further suggestion of moving the elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee impaired her redressability argument because Rowley did not propose how the cost of relocation would be funded was also rejected. At this stage, the court does not need to determine whether this solution is necessary or feasible. The District Court ultimately held that Rowley demonstrated sufficient standing to pursue her claims. Hence, New Bedford's motion to dismiss was denied. Case
Reece v. Edmonton (City) 335 DLR (4th) 600; 513 AR 199; [2011] CarswellAlta 1349; 530 WAC 199 This case dealt with the procedure the applicants used to get their claim heard by the court. The respondent City holds a licence under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. W‑10 to operate a zoo, which houses a lone Asian elephant named Lucy. The appellants commenced this action by originating notice for an order. The chambers judge concluded that the proceedings were an abuse of process because a private litigant cannot seek a declaration that the respondent is in breach of a penal provision in a statute, namely that the elephant was kept in distress because of health concerns. Alternatively, he concluded that the application should have been brought by way of statement of claim, not originating notice. Further, the chambers judge concluded that the appellants had no private interest standing, and that there were barriers to them being awarded public interest standing. On appeal, the parties raised two issues: (1) whether the chambers judge erred in denying the appellants standing to seek a declaration; and (2) whether the chambers judge erred in concluding that the proceedings were an abuse of process. This court held that the chambers judge came to the correct conclusion that these proceedings are an abuse of process. APPEAL DISMISSED. Case
Pometti, Hugo c/ Provincia de Mendoza s/ acción de amparo Id SAIJ: FA17190000 This is an action of protection or "accion de amparo” filed by Hugo Edgardo Pometti against the Province of Mendoza in The Court of Associated Judicial Management No. 2 of Mendoza. The Petitioner sought to stop the transfer of the chimpanzee Cecilia to the sanctuary located in Brazil and to keep her in the Zoo of Mendoza in order to preserve the natural and cultural heritage and the biological diversity. The petitioner also requested a precautionary action to not transfer the chimpanzee until decision on the the action of amparo was issued. Case
PETA v. Tri-State Zoological Park --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 7185560 (D. Md. Dec. 26, 2019) PETA brought this action against defendants Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland, Inc., Animal Park, Care & Rescue, Inc., and Robert Candy (collectively, “Tri-State”). Prior to this lawsuit, Tri-State was home to two lemurs, five tigers, and two lions which are all protected under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). More than half of the protected species housed at Tri-State died. PETA alleged violations of the ESA. PETA contended that the animals were subjected to harm and harassment and that Tri-State committed a “take” as defined by the ESA as a result of unsanitary living conditions, poor diets, and inadequate shelter and enrichment. The district court found that PETA had standing to bring suit. The court also found that each of the respective animals had been subjected to a take under the ESA. The court ultimately held that it would enter a separate order declaring that the Defendants violated the ESA by unlawfully taking the remaining big cats and maintaining possession of them. The Court permanently enjoined the Defendants from ever owning or possessing any endangered or threatened species and terminated the Defendants’ ownership and possessory rights to the animals. The Defendants’ motion to stay was denied. Case
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, INC., Plaintiff, v. WILDLIFE IN NEED AND WILDLIFE IN DEED, INC. --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 4448481 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 3, 2020) Wildlife in Need and Wildlife in Deed, Inc. ("WIN") is a zoo located in Charlestown, Indiana owned by Timothy Stark and Melissa Lane that houses exotic and endangered animals, including Big Cats like lions, tigers, and hybrids. WIN exhibits Big Cats to the public through hands-on encounters called “Tiger Baby Playtime” so Stark routinely declaws Big Cat cubs in his possession so he can handle them easier, not for any medical reason. Stark admitted to declawing "about a dozen cubs" in 2016 alone. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. ("PETA") filed this lawsuit against Stark and Lane and their WIN zoo alleging that the defendants harassed and wounded Big Cats in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, this case asks whether certain animal exhibitors have "taken" various species of Big Cats by declawing them and prematurely separating them from their mothers to use in hands-on, public interactions. By granting PETA's motion for Partial Summary Judgment, this court concludes that such conduct constitutes a "taking" and thus violates the ESA. The court noted that PETA's motion for preliminary injunction was granted in 2017, restraining defendant from declawing any Big Cats absent a medical necessity supported by a veterinarian's opinion. Then, on February 12, 2018, the court preliminarily enjoined the WIN Defendants from declawing their Big Cats, prematurely separating Big Cat Cubs from their mothers, and using Cubs in Tiger Baby Playtime. The court previously concluded that declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA at the preliminary injunction stage, and now found "there is no good reason to disturb that conclusion." Thus, the court again concludes the WIN Defendants' declawing constitutes a “taking” under the ESA: it “harasses” Big Cats by creating a likelihood of significantly disrupting normal behavioral patterns; it “harms” Big Cats by actually injuring them; and it “wounds” Big Cats by inflicting a physical injury. In addition to granting the permanent injunction, the court also directed PETA to file a motion to appoint a special master and identify a reputable wildlife sanctuary for the animals housed at WIN. Case
Pedersen v. Benson 255 F.2d 524 (C.A.D.C. 1958) 103 U.S.App.D.C. 115

In the matter of Pedersen v. Benson , an importer had a permit to import five giraffes from Kenya, three of which were sold and released to public zoos after the requisite quarantine period.  The other two were bought by ‘Africa USA,’ but not released.  One of them had a heart attack and died.  Plaintiff’s filed suit to have the other one they purchased released.  The permits, issued by APHIS, were issued under the further understanding that all the giraffes would be consigned to an approved zoological park (Africa USA is a privately-owned zoo).  The Court found no basis to uphold the government’s claim that a government officer may impose an ad hoc system of licensure upon any citizen, or upon any one group, i.e. private zoos, as opposed to another.  Here, the importation was specifically permitted for all five animals, and any one animal was just as much a potential carrier of hoof and mouth disease as this particular giraffe.  Therefore, this matter was dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim. 

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