District of Columbia
|McNeely v. U.S.||
Defendant McNeely was convicted in a jury trial in the Superior Court of violating the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act. On appeal, t
he Court of Appeals, held that the
Act did not deprive defendant of fair warning of the proscribed conduct, as the defendant here was
required to know that he owned pit bulls in order to be convicted under the Act; and the
prosecutor's improper comment was rendered harmless by the trial court's curative instructions.
|Overview of D.C. Great Ape Laws||This is a short overview of the District of Columbia's Great Ape laws.|
|People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Dep't of Agric. & Animal & Plant Health Inspection Serv.||
The plaintiffs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sought documents from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), the entity within the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) that administers the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”). The USDA took a large amount of documents off of its website relating to AWA compliance. The USDA claimed that the removal was for the purpose of removing certain personal information and although they did not say that the removal was temporary, the agency described the removal as provisional which suggests that it is temporary in nature. The plaintiffs filed suit asking for declaratory and injunctive relief and invoking a provision known as FOIA’s reading room provision (5 U.S.C. section 552(a)(2)). The provision requires that agencies make available for public inspection in an electronic format five categories of documents. The plaintiffs allege that the agency removed (1) research facility annual reports; (2) inspection reports; (3) lists of entities licensed under the AWA; and (4) regulatory correspondence and enforcement records that had not yet received final adjudication. Category 4 and the portion of category 2 consisting of animal inventories were dismissed and not discussed in this case. Categories 1-3 appeared to be reposted by the agency which is why the district court dismissed them as moot. The appeal centers on the reposted records and the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims by the district court. Ultimately the Court held that for the reposted records featuring new redactions, the complaint was most plausibly read as requesting that USDA repost all information that those records contained before their takedown. The Court stated that the district court should proceed to the merits on remand. As to “voluntary cessation,” the Court affirmed the mootness dismissal as to the research reports but remanded for further explanation as to the inspection reports and the entity lists. If the agency unambiguously commits to continued posting of those documents, plaintiffs' claims should be dismissed as moot, without discovery, even if USDA continues to regard its postings as voluntary.
|Silver v. United States||
|The Humane Society of the United States, Plaintiff v. Amazon.com, Inc., JOHN DOE d/b/a UNDERGROUND, PITBULL BREEDERS ASSOCIATION||The Plaintiff The Humane Society of the United States filed this complaint alleging unlawful trade practices pursuant to the Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”), D.C. CODE ANN. § 28-3904. This action for statutory penalties and appropriate injunctive relief arises from Defendants’ purposeful marketing, sale, and shipment of graphic dog fighting videos and cockfighting magazines in violation of federal criminal prohibitions and District of Columbia animal welfare laws. The videos and magazines depict and/or describe actual animal cruelty, as well as animal fights staged for the purposes of: (1) producing and selling more copies of the videos for commercial gain; and (2) unlawfully promoting the criminal enterprises of dog fighting and cockfighting. In particular, the magazines contain hundreds of criminal solicitations and feature advertisements for fighting birds, fighting dogs, and other contraband that render them unlawful under the following statutory schemes: federal Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2132 et seq .; the federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 48; the D.C. Cruelty to Animals Statute, D.C. CODE ANN. §§ 22-1015(a)(1), (a)(5); the federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371; and the D.C. conspiracy law, D.C. CODE ANN. § 22-1805a(a).|