News Archives

Summary: This page provides archives of the news items that appeared on the website's front page. The month and year of the news story is listed.

News Archives

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

January to April 2014

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

 

July 2016

  Ohio enacts changes that allow first responders to perform emergency medical services on cat or dog. The legislation (HB 187) becomes effective on August 31, 2016 according to the Ohio Legislature's website. The bill does two main things. First, it adds an exemption under Section 4741.20 of the veterinary practice code for "a first responder, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, or emergency medical technician-paramedic" who performs emergency medical services to a cat or dog. This exempts those individuals engaged in lifesaving services from the scope of veterinary practice (and the prohibition against practicing veterinary medicine without a license). Second, the bill adds Section 4765.52 to the Emergency Medical Services Chapter of the Ohio Code. This new section defines exactly what a first responder can do for a cat or dog who needs emergent care, such as opening and manually maintaining an airway, managing ventilation by mask, immobilizing fractures, and administering the naloxone hydrochloride ("Narcan") among other listed things. This section also provides immunity for civil liability resulting from emergency medical services to a dog or cat unless the act or omission constitutes willful or wanton misconduct.

  New Hampshire becomes 41st to ban sexual assault of animals. On June 24, 2016 Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 1547 into law. The law adds a new section to the anti-cruelty provisions: Section 644:8-g. This section makes engaging in sexual contact or penetration with animals for the purpose of arousal or gratification a class A misdemeanor for a first offense, becoming a class B felony for a second or subsequent offense. It also makes offering or selling an animal with the intent that it be used for that purpose a crime. Upon conviction, a court must order the offender to undergo a psychological assessment/counseling and prohibits ownership of any animal by the defendant "for a period of time deemed reasonable by the court." The vast majority of states have laws that prohibit sexual activity with animals, with the exception of Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. To view an updated table of all these laws that lists penalties and links to the actual statute, see the Comparative Table.

 Several more states enacted "hot pets in cars" laws in 2015-2016, bringing grand total to 22 states with such laws. In the past year, states including Delaware, Florida, Virginia, and Washington have either enacted new laws or changed the rescue provision of their existing laws on pets left unattended in motor vehicles. In general, these laws vary from state-to-state and either criminalize the act of leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle under conditions that pose a danger to the welfare of an animal, or allow a person who sees a "vulnerable" animal (or person) to use "reasonable force" to remove said animal. Many of these laws do not limit criminal prosecution to these laws (i.e., a person may face additional animal cruelty charges). You can see a table of all state laws on leaving pets in hot cars by visiting our Comparative Table of Laws.

 

June 2016

  Biotechnology company receives largest-ever civil fine in 50-year history of enforcement under Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc. was fined over 3.5 million dollars and lost its registration to operate as a research facility under the AWA, effectively shuttering the business by the end of the year. On May 19, 2016, the company entered into a settlement agreement (known as a "consent decision") with USDA-APHIS (the enforcer of the AWA) to resolve the issues resulting from complaints from 2012, 2014, and 2015. While the company admits no wrongdoing as part of the consent agreement, the original complaints allege failure to maintain basic standards of care on multiple occasions during those years related to the care of animals including goats. Read the USDA-APHIS' press release at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/bulletins/14a73b2.

  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service finalizes rulemaking for "near-total" trade ban in domestic commercial ivory from the African elephant. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced this new rule on June 2, 2016. The rule implements restrictions set forth in President Obama's 2013 Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The change in rules resulted from investigations that showed wildlife traffickers were exploiting loopholes in existing rules related to the ivory trade. Once illegal ivory entered the market, it was difficult to track and distinguish this from legal ivory. The new rule limits ivory to very narrow sources - ivory from pre-ESA antiques and pre-existing manufactured items (musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms containing less than 200 grams of ivory that meet other criteria) - and provides federal agents with clearer guidelines on how to identify illegal African elephant ivory. The rule goes into effect July 6, 2016. Read the full press release from FWS.

 Several more states enacted "hot pets in cars" laws in 2015-2016, bringing grand total to 22 states with such laws. In the past year, states including Delaware, Florida, Virginia, and Washington have either enacted new laws or changed the rescue provision of their existing laws on pets left unattended in motor vehicles. In general, these laws vary from state-to-state and either criminalize the act of leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle under conditions that pose a danger to the welfare of an animal, or allow a person who sees a "vulnerable" animal (or person) to use "reasonable force" to remove said animal. Many of these laws do not limit criminal prosecution to these laws (i.e., a person may face additional animal cruelty charges). You can see a table of all state laws on leaving pets in hot cars by visiting our Comparative Table of Laws.

Tragedy at Cincinnati Zoo may highlight need for states to consider further captive ape restrictions. While local officials work to determine the facts of the recent tragedy involving a small child and gorilla at a zoo in Ohio, there may be an even greater need to understand laws that allow captive ape possession by non-zoo entities in the U.S. Great Apes are complex, intelligent, and endangered creatures with special physiological and emotional needs. Several states have no laws that limit the possession of great apes by individuals or entities that may or may not be considered zoos (though federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Animal Welfare Act (AWA) may regulate possession). To see a table of laws that highlights the type of possessor with state laws that affect possession, check out our Table of Great Ape Possession Laws.

 

May 2016

  Ringling Bros. Circus set to retire elephant act after last performance in Rhode Island on May 1st. Elephants have been trained to perform in Ringling's shows for more than a century. The decision by Ringling came after years of litigation and pressure by animal welfare advocates who were concerned over the treatment of elephants by the entertainment giant. In 2011, Ringling/FEI paid a fine of $270,000 to the USDA/APHIS by agreement for violations of the Animal Welfare Act though the company admitted no wrongdoing. Ringling's parent company, Feld Entertainment, spent years locked in litigation with animal groups over alleged mistreatment of elephants and eventually received a large settlement over the legally unproven allegations. The elephants are now set to retire to Ringling's own elephant conversation center in rural, central Florida.

  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issues rule to close tiger trade "loophole." The new rule closes the exemption for "generic tigers" - tigers of unknown genetic origin or those that are hybrids of two subspecies - from certain permitting requirements. Previously, breeders and traders of these tigers did not have to obtain an interstate commerce permit or register under the Captive-bred Wildlife Registration program for these generic tigers. The Service noted that this new rule does not prevent generic tiger ownership, but hopes the rule creates "a uniform policy that applies to all tigers and will help Service law enforcement agents enforce the ESA." Tigers have experienced a severe reduction in wild numbers due to threats from Traditional Asian Medicine and habitat loss. In fact, the Service notes that "the number of captive tigers in the United States alone likely exceeds the numbers found in the wild, although the exact number is currently unknown." Read the full press release from USFWS.

 The kingdom of Swaziland proposes legislation to legalize the sale of rhino horn to combat poaching. According to The Guardian, a leaked document to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) indicated that the Swaziland's anti-poaching body wants to sell a stockpile of horn to pay for efforts to protect the country's remaining 73 white rhinos. The proposal will be formally brought before the CITES Conference of Parties in Johannesburg in September. Conservationists argue that the proposal could be ineffective because it may further stimulate illegal trade and poaching of rhinos. For more, and to read the legislation, go to The Guardian's story.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Group, Inc. agrees to end captive breeding program for killer whales (orcas). The company came to an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in mid-March to end the decades-long captive orca breeding program. The agreement came after the state regulatory body in California (the California Coastal Commission) said it would only approve expansion to the orca exhibit at the San Diego SeaWorld park if the company ended its captive breeding program. While the company took the Commission to court to argue the authority to make such a demand, it eventually agreed to end the breeding program. According to NPR, the company will also phase out its theatrical shows that feature orcas over the next three years.

 

April 2016

  SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Group, Inc. agrees to end captive breeding program for killer whales (orcas). The company came to an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in mid-March to end the decades-long captive orca breeding program. The agreement came after the state regulatory body in California (the California Coastal Commission) said it would only approve expansion to the orca exhibit at the San Diego SeaWorld park if the company ended its captive breeding program. While the company took the Commission to court to argue the authority to make such a demand, it eventually agreed to end the breeding program. According to NPR, the company will also phase out its theatrical shows that feature orcas over the next three years.

  British Government will hand over chicken farming standards over to industry in late April. The Guardian reports that ministers in the U.K. government are planning on repealing animal welfare codes related to chicken farming later this month. The new guidelines will be created by those in the chicken industry, concerning animal welfare advocates across the country. The British Poultry Council will make the new guidelines available to the public on April 27th. Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) officials indicate that the overarching animal welfare legislation will remain in place, but that "industry-led guidance" will support that legislation.

 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announces its findings for 17 petitions under the Endangered Species Act. These 17 petitions were put forth to either list or delist species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). One petition sought to list the Yellowstone Bison. However, that petition was one of six that the FWS rejected as failing to provide "substantial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted." The rejection of the petition is a blow to the Yellowstone population, as it faces a planned cull starting on February 15th. Animal advocates have filed a preliminary injunction to stop the killing and allow citizens and journalists First Amendment access to parts of the park where the cull is to occur. According to ALDF, a hearing on the matter is set for February 5th in District Court in Casper, Wyoming.

Beginning in January 2016, the FBI begins to track animal cruelty offenses. The data will be collected as part of the Uniform Crime Report National Incident-Based Reporting System, a program that collects data from law enforcement agencies around the country to provide national statistics on criminal activity. Previously, animal cruelty offenses were categorized under "other offenses," but the FBI was persuaded by decades of research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. The advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute has pushed for the categorization for over a decade and partnered with the National Sheriffs Association to provide research that supports the data collection. According to an FBI Unit Chief, animal cruelty can be "an early indicator of violent crime." To hear/read a podcast from the FBI on this proposed implementation from last January, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/thisweek/animal-cruelty-category-added-to-nibrs.mp3/view . For articles on the connection between human violence and animal cruelty, see the "Related Materials" tab on this Topical Introduction.

 

March 2016

  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposes rule change to remove grizzly bear population from endangered species list. According to the FWS, the "best available scientific and commercial data" indicate that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear distinct population segment (DPS) has recovered to the point where protection is no longer necessary. The bears, which were listed in 1975, have increased in numbers from a low of 136 to around 700 today. As a result, the Service is seeking public comment and input at public meetings in Wyoming and Idaho in April on the proposed rule change. Critics have expressed concern that the Service is acting too soon in removing federal protection for this DPS. The FWS Mountain-Prairie Region has developed a page that lists facts on the recovery of the species as well as information on the proposed rule change.

  Colorado city pays dog owner a $262,500 settlement for shooting of therapy dog by police officer. The settlement, obtained after mediation, marked the end of a long legal battle against Commerce City, CO and several of its officers. The incident led to public outcry on social media after a video of the shooting was posted that contradicted the officers' accounts. According to plaintiff's complaint, "Chloe" was a four-year-old mixed breed dog who acted as a service animal/therapy dog for plaintiff in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Notably, the officer who shot Chloe was tried and acquitted of aggravated animal cruelty in 2013. Chloe was initially tased inside an opened garage, and then shot five times before dying. For more on this story, see the Animal Legal Defense Fund's (ALDF) account. For more on legal trends in police shooting pets cases, check out our Topic Introduction.

 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announces its findings for 17 petitions under the Endangered Species Act. These 17 petitions were put forth to either list or delist species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). One petition sought to list the Yellowstone Bison. However, that petition was one of six that the FWS rejected as failing to provide "substantial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted." The rejection of the petition is a blow to the Yellowstone population, as it faces a planned cull starting on February 15th. Animal advocates have filed a preliminary injunction to stop the killing and allow citizens and journalists First Amendment access to parts of the park where the cull is to occur. According to ALDF, a hearing on the matter is set for February 5th in District Court in Casper, Wyoming.

Beginning in January 2016, the FBI begins to track animal cruelty offenses. The data will be collected as part of the Uniform Crime Report National Incident-Based Reporting System, a program that collects data from law enforcement agencies around the country to provide national statistics on criminal activity. Previously, animal cruelty offenses were categorized under "other offenses," but the FBI was persuaded by decades of research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. The advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute has pushed for the categorization for over a decade and partnered with the National Sheriffs Association to provide research that supports the data collection. According to an FBI Unit Chief, animal cruelty can be "an early indicator of violent crime." To hear/read a podcast from the FBI on this proposed implementation from last January, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/thisweek/animal-cruelty-category-added-to-nibrs.mp3/view . For articles on the connection between human violence and animal cruelty, see the "Related Materials" tab on this Topical Introduction.

 

February 2016

  Colorado city pays dog owner a $262,500 settlement for shooting of therapy dog by police officer. The settlement, obtained after mediation, marked the end of a long legal battle against Commerce City, CO and several of its officers. The incident led to public outcry on social media after a video of the shooting was posted that contradicted the officers' accounts. According to plaintiff's complaint, "Chloe" was a four-year-old mixed breed dog who acted as a service animal/therapy dog for plaintiff in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Notably, the officer who shot Chloe was tried and acquitted of aggravated animal cruelty in 2013. Chloe was initially tased inside an opened garage, and then shot five times before dying. For more on this story, see the Animal Legal Defense Fund's (ALDF) account. For more on legal trends in police shooting pets cases, check out our Topic Introduction.

  City of Ann Arbor, Michigan's "deer cull" challenged in court by local resident. Plaintiff Sally Daniels challenged the City of Ann Arbor's current "deer cull" of 100 deer from public parks and nature areas in the City by marksmen from APHIS. Plaintiff contends that this cull (or planned killing) of deer, a natural resource held in the public trust, violates state law (the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) and the DNR's Wildlife Conservation Order (WCO)). Ms. Daniels argues that there has been no showing under NREPA that the deer have caused damage to horticultural or agricultural crops under either act, contrary to state law. Plaintiff also states that the methods used - firearms with silencers, deer baiting, and the shooting of deer from vehicles - also violate the NREPA and/or WCO. Read the complaint filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announces its findings for 17 petitions under the Endangered Species Act. These 17 petitions were put forth to either list or delist species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). One petition sought to list the Yellowstone Bison. However, that petition was one of six that the FWS rejected as failing to provide "substantial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted." The rejection of the petition is a blow to the Yellowstone population, as it faces a planned cull starting on February 15th. Animal advocates have filed a preliminary injunction to stop the killing and allow citizens and journalists First Amendment access to parts of the park where the cull is to occur. According to ALDF, a hearing on the matter is set for February 5th in District Court in Casper, Wyoming.

Beginning in January 2016, the FBI begins to track animal cruelty offenses. The data will be collected as part of the Uniform Crime Report National Incident-Based Reporting System, a program that collects data from law enforcement agencies around the country to provide national statistics on criminal activity. Previously, animal cruelty offenses were categorized under "other offenses," but the FBI was persuaded by decades of research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. The advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute has pushed for the categorization for over a decade and partnered with the National Sheriffs Association to provide research that supports the data collection. According to an FBI Unit Chief, animal cruelty can be "an early indicator of violent crime." To hear/read a podcast from the FBI on this proposed implementation from last January, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/thisweek/animal-cruelty-category-added-to-nibrs.mp3/view . For articles on the connection between human violence and animal cruelty, see the "Related Materials" tab on this Topical Introduction.

 

January 2016

  $1.1 trillion federal omnibus spending bill reflects victory for animal welfare. H.R. 2029, now P.L. 114-133, is said to be a win for animals and their advocates alike. A final version of the legislation forbids federal funding for horse slaughter plants and inspectors in the U.S. This language, which has appeared in 9 of the last 11 appropriations bills, effectively eliminates commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. A rider that would have removed federal protections for the recovering gray wolf population was stricken from the bill as well. Other highlights include language that denies USDA funds for licensing or relicensing of Class B dealers who use "random source" dogs and criticism of the USDA for abuses of farm animals the U.S. Meat Research Center. The bill itself is a robust 887 pages when viewed as a pdf file and can be accessed on the Congress.gov website at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text

  State of Delaware launches statewide website and hotline for reporting animal cruelty and lost pets. Establishment of the new hotline was the result of published recommendations from 2013 by the Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force. Collaboration between state and local animal welfare officials indicated that a state-run animal control system would best meet the needs of the state's citizens. Residents may now call (302) 255-4646 to report potential animal cruelty, exposure to rabies, reports of stray or injured animals, or concerns about housing and care of animals. The Delaware Animal Services (DAS) will also respond to non-emergency inquiries by email at DelawareAnimalServices@state.de.us. Additionally, the new DAS website includes a lost and found pet registry with pictures and animal descriptions that can be viewed at AnimalServices.delaware.gov. For more on this innovative state program, see the article in the CapeGazette.com.

 The National Institutes for Health (NIH) retires last of federally-owned chimpanzees for biomedical research. Director Francis Collins stated that the 50 chimps held in "reserve" will now be retired. In 2013, the NIH retired 300 chimps, but retained these 50 chimps for potential future research needs. These chimps will now head to Chimp Haven, a federally-funded chimpanzee sanctuary providing care for chimpanzees used as research subjects and those who have been retired from the pet and entertainment industry. This decision coincides with the recent U.S. Fish & Wildlife ruling that both wild and captive chimpanzees will now be afforded "endangered" protection under the Endangered Species Act (previously, captive chimps were issued only "threatened" status which allowed for greater human uses of the apes). For more, read http://news.janegoodall.org/2015/11/23/nih-announces-end-to-chimpanzee-research-program/

Beginning in January 2016, the FBI begins to track animal cruelty offenses. The data will be collected as part of the Uniform Crime Report National Incident-Based Reporting System, a program that collects data from law enforcement agencies around the country to provide national statistics on criminal activity. Previously, animal cruelty offenses were categorized under "other offenses," but the FBI was persuaded by decades of research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. The advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute has pushed for the categorization for over a decade and partnered with the National Sheriffs Association to provide research that supports the data collection. According to an FBI Unit Chief, animal cruelty can be "an early indicator of violent crime." To hear/read a podcast from the FBI on this proposed implementation from last January, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/thisweek/animal-cruelty-category-added-to-nibrs.mp3/view . For articles on the connection between human violence and animal cruelty, see the "Related Materials" tab on this Topical Introduction.

 

December 2015

  The National Institutes for Health (NIH) retires last of federally-owned chimpanzees for biomedical research. Director Francis Collins stated that the 50 chimps held in "reserve" will now be retired. In 2013, the NIH retired 300 chimps, but retained these 50 chimps for potential future research needs. These chimps will now head to Chimp Haven, a federally-funded chimpanzee sanctuary providing care for chimpanzees used as research subjects and those who have been retired from the pet and entertainment industry. This decision coincides with the recent U.S. Fish & Wildlife ruling that both wild and captive chimpanzees will now be afforded "endangered" protection under the Endangered Species Act (previously, captive chimps were issued only "threatened" status which allowed for greater human uses of the apes). For more, read http://news.janegoodall.org/2015/11/23/nih-announces-end-to-chimpanzee-research-program/

 Beginning in January 2016, the FBI begins to track animal cruelty offenses. The data will be collected as part of the Uniform Crime Report National Incident-Based Reporting System, a program that collects data from law enforcement agencies around the country to provide national statistics on criminal activity. Previously, animal cruelty offenses were categorized under "other offenses," but the FBI was persuaded by decades of research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and violence against humans. The advocacy group Animal Welfare Institute has pushed for the categorization for over a decade and partnered with the National Sheriffs Association to provide research that supports the data collection. According to an FBI Unit Chief, animal cruelty can be "an early indicator of violent crime." To hear/read a podcast from the FBI on this proposed implementation from last January, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/thisweek/animal-cruelty-category-added-to-nibrs.mp3/view . For articles on the connection between human violence and animal cruelty, see the "Related Materials" tab on this Topical Introduction.

 Australia criticizes Japan's "unilateral" decision to begin whaling in the Southern Ocean. According to The Guardian, Australia's environment minister, Greg Hunt, issued statements that Australia strongly opposes Japan's decision to resume whaling this summer, ignoring an international court of justice ruling that last year. The Japanese Fisheries Agency notified the International Whaling Commission that it plans a minke whale catch of 333, and is claimed by Japan to be scientifically reasonable. Party leaders in Australia are urging the Australian government to do more to stop the whaling in the sanctuary waters of the Southern Ocean. The hunt is set to resume in weeks. For more, see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/29/australia-slams-japans-decision-to-resume-antarctic-whaling

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.

 

November 2015

 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) calls off bear hunt after 295 bears shot in two days. The bear hunt, the first in 21 years in the state, was opposed by advocacy groups who unsuccessfully challenged the hunt in court. While the bear population has increased, the SunSentinel reports that a population survey has not been completed in over a decade. According to FWC Director Nick Wiley, "the hunt is a tool being used to stabilize bear subpopulation numbers." To read more about black bear management by the FWC, see the page at http://myfwc.com/bear/.

 Advocacy group Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) files class action lawsuit against "Barkworks Pups & Stuff" pet store chain from Southern California. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of purchasers of puppies who allege that Barkworks violated California consumer protection laws by selling sick puppies that were bred in "puppy mills." The complaint contends that Barkworks explicitly represented that the dogs were not from puppy mills and that each dog had been examined and treated by veterinarians. ALDF states that the retailer misrepresented the breeders as "reputable," fabricated breeder certificates, provided inaccurate breeder records and license numbers, and deceived consumers about veterinary care. For more and to read a copy of the complaint filed in the case, see http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-class-action-lawsuit-against-barkworks-pet-store-chain-for-selling-sick-puppy-mill-puppies/.

 Massachusetts state legislators propose animal abuse registry. The proposed bill (H. 1385) would establish an animal abuse registry for those previously convicted of an animal abuse crime that would be available for viewing by animal shelter staff, pet stores, and breeders. The bill aims to give these entities more information on individuals before adopting out or selling an animal. It is a crime under the proposed legislation to knowingly fail to register under act AND for a required entity to fail to check the registration information prior to offering, selling, or giving away an animal. A first conviction under the act would result in imprisonment for not less than 6 months to no more than two and one-half years, or by a fine of up to $1,000 or by both. To read the bill, see H. 1385 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.

 

October 2015

 Can monkeys seek copyright protection? According to animal activist group PETA, the answer is yes. In a recent complaint submitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, PETA and Antje Engelhardt, Ph.D., as Plaintiff's next friends, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiff Naruto, a six-year-old male member of the Macaca nigra species (also known as a crested macaque). In 2011, Naruto took a number of photographs of himself, including one that became famous as the “Monkey Selfie.” Defendants published and sold a book that contained copies of the Monkey Selfies and stated in that book that they are the copyright owners of the Monkey Selfies. PETA contends that the Monkey Selfies "resulted from a series of purposeful and voluntary actions by Naruto, unaided by Slater, resulting in original works of authorship not by Slater, but by Naruto." PETA observes that "while the claim of authorship by species other than homo sapiens may be novel" the Copyright Act is "sufficiently broad." Read the Complaint for more.

 U.S. District Court upholds permit denial for import of beluga whales by the Georgia Aquarium. The District Court for the Northern District of Georgia affirmed the denial 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 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.

 Advocacy groups petition USDA for better enforcement of Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA). In early September, non-profit advocacy groups the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Forward, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a petition to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service requesting enforcement protocols for violations and a definition of what would constitute "egregious violations." Additionally, the groups seek a change in enforcement practices that allow repeat offenders of the HMSA to receive only corrective notices. Instead, the groups hope that additional rulemaking will standardize the process and allow inspectors to shutter non-complying plants. To learn more and read the petition, go to http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-protection-groups-file-legal-petition-alleging-usda-failure-to-enforce-humane-slaughter-law.

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.

 

September 2015

  U.S. Senators introduce Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act. The CECIL Act, named in honor of the Zimbabwean lion named Cecil who was killed by an American trophy hunter in August, was introduced by Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, and Ben Cardin. The act (S. 1918) would amend the Endangered Species Act by extending the import and export restrictions to species proposed for listing as threatened or endangered under that Act. The bill was referred to committee in early August. Did you know the Fish & Wildlife Service has specialized information on "Sport-Hunted Trophies," including how hunters obtain permits for CITES and ESA listed species? Check out http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/by-activity/sport-hunted-trophies.html for more information.

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 Advocacy groups petition UDSA-APHIS to promulgate regulations under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) for the psychological well-being of primates. The petition asks USDA-APHIS "to specify ethologically appropriate standards that researchers must adhere to in order to promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates used in research." The petition, filed by groups including New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group (LPAG), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), contends that the current system, which allows each facility to develop its own “plan” for environmental enhancement, is too vague to meet accepted professional standards and makes it difficult to evaluate whether a plan actually promotes primates’ psychological well-being. The petition seeks concrete and enforceable definitions and criteria that apply to all facilities. Lack of proper environments often leads primates to develop "pathological behaviors and suffer severe stress" while in artificial confinement according to the petition.

 NOAA Fisheries opens comment period for proposed rule aimed at better protecting marine mammals in international fisheries. On August 10th, the comment period began for a new rule under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) that would require nations exporting fish to the U.S. to "demonstrate that killing or serious injury of marine mammals incidental to their fishing activities do not occur in excess of U.S. standards." The rule has a 5-year grace period during which other nations can gather data to make sure that their fisheries do not impact marine mammals at a rate above U.S. standards. NOAA has a press-release related to the proposed rule and a link to the Federal Register for public comment.

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.

August 2015

 Outrage over killing of Cecil the Lion may have ripple effect on ESA listing decision by USFWS. Many are familiar with the story last week where Cecil, a Southwest African lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) who primarily lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, was lured out of the park and killed by an American trophy hunter. Few may know the lion (Panthera leo) has been on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature - the largest and oldest global conservation organization) Red List due to a 42% reduction in numbers over the last 21 years. In 2014, the USFWS conducted a review of lions and found that listing of the African Lion as threatened was warranted. Further action now lies in USFWS' hands.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs bill allowing bobcat hunt, removing the decades-long ban on bobcat hunting in the state. Gov. Rauner signed H.B. 352, a bill that removes the prohibition against bobcat hunting that was in place since 1972. There will now be a bobcat season for hunting by gun, dog, or bow and arrow. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a recent poll showed that approximately 75% of Illinois residents opposed the hunt.

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina upholds application of "citizen standing" anti-cruelty law to private zoos. In April of 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and a local law firm giving pro bono assistance helped citizens file suit against King Kong Zoo in Murphey, North Carolina. The complaint alleged that the zoo poorly treated the animals there and confined them in exhibits that were too small for the species. Section 19A of North Carolina's cruelty laws allows citizens to seek civil injunctions against those engaging in cruel treatment of animals. Normally, state cruelty laws only allow the state to issue criminal charges. The lower court had initially dismissed the case, finding that federal law (the Animal Welfare Act) preempted the state law. The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding instead that the state law complements the federal law. Read the full case.

 New comparative table of state laws on dangerous dog laws just published! Our site has recently completed an in-depth table of laws for the 39 states that have dangerous dog codes. The table explores how each state defines a "dangerous dog," the conditions for owning such a dog, the procedure for determining whether a dog is dangerous, euthanasia provisions, and penalties owners may face. Does your state have dangerous dog laws? Find out by viewing the Table of Dangerous Dog Laws.

 

July 2015

  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announces final rule to classify all chimpanzees as "endangered." Previously, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)  implemented what came to be known as "split-listing" for chimpanzees. This meant that wild-born chimpanzees were listed as "endangered" for purposes of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection while captive-born chimpanzees were listed as "threatened." Split-listing allowed some activities involving captive-born chimps that would have been otherwise prohibited under the ESA. The FWS states that the change in status was initiated by a petition from advocacy groups including the Jane Goodall Institute in 2010. The FWS found that threats to chimpanzee populations have " . . . intensified and expanded since wild populations were listed as endangered in 1990." According to the FWS, "[p]ermits will be issued for these activities only for scientific purposes that benefit the species in the wild, or to enhance the propagation or survival of chimpanzees, including habitat restoration and research on chimpanzees in the wild that contributes to improved management and recovery." To read the FWS press release, see http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=E81DA137-BAF2-9619-3492A2972E9854D9. To read the final rule published in the Federal Register, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-06-16/pdf/2015-14232.pdf.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Florida enacts new law aimed at punishing those who portray their pets as service animals. In an effort to combat the use of fraudulent service animals, Florida now makes it a misdemeanor to "knowingly and willfully misrepresents herself or himself, through conduct or verbal or written notice, as using a service animal and being qualified to use a service animal or as a trainer of a service animal." This new section amended F. S. A. § 413.08, a law relating to the rights of an individual who has a disability, by adding paragraph (9). Violation is a misdemeanor of the second degree with a mandatory "30 hours of community service for an organization that serves individuals with disabilities" or other organization at the discretion of the court. Florida now joins approximately 17 other states with laws that explicitly make such fraudulent misrepresentation a crime. To see those laws, check out the last column of our Table of State Assistance Animal Laws.

Bipartisan bill aimed at phasing out cosmetics testing on animals introduced in U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 2858, known as the Humane Cosmetics Act, was introduced in June by Representatives McSally, Beyer, Cardenas, and Heck. The bill would make it unlawful for any entity, whether private or governmental, to conduct or contract for cosmetic animal testing that occurs in the United States and affects interstate commerce. Violation would incur a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 per violation. The prohibition would be phased in, with a ban on cosmetics animal testing one year after the date of enactment, and three years after enactment for the sale of such products. The last action was on June 23rd, where the bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. To read the text of the bill, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114hr2858ih/pdf/BILLS-114hr2858ih.pdf.

 Petition to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to reclassify all gray wolves in the conterminous U.S. to "threatened" denied. In what seems like a strange twist, several advocacy groups petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to reclassify most gray wolves from "endangered" to "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in an effort to provide a compromise in wolf protection. Currently, wolves are federally-listed as "endangered" in some states, but receive only limited state protections in other Western states. The petitioners claim that an overall federal listing of "threatened" would allow nuisance wolves to be killed by ranchers and livestock owners while providing protection in other situations for the species. The FWS stated, however, that the petition "does not present substantial information indicating that reclassification may be warranted." Read the press release issued by FWS at http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=44A9716B-F81B-D743-762450C1DF388540.

June 2015

Harvard Primate Research Center at Harvard Medical School closes. The center, located about 25 miles west of Boston, closed at the end of May in accordance with a decision made two years ago, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The center came under scrutiny when it was assessed a large fine by USDA-APHIS for deaths and inadequate care of several monkeys used in research. The Harvard medical school dean stated in a Boston Globe article that the closing was unrelated to the reported animal welfare concerns and the center offers no further explanation on its website. However, the Globe article exposes what it terms a "fundamental breakdown of basic procedures" in the investigation of the incidents. The center has been in the process of relocating approximately 2,000 monkeys. Read the Boston Globe article at https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/28/closing-harvard-primate-center-leaves-legacy-discovery-controversy/Ax8wW1NfiIeqaFMbPDBYcI/story.html

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons People's Republic of China announces a phase-out of processing and sale of ivory during symbolic ivory crush. For the first time, China has committed to phase-out the country's legal ivory industry. Ivory trade threatens the existence of endangered elephants, which are killed by the thousands to keep up with demand. China is said to be the largest market for trafficked ivory. According to the Guardian, more than 22,000 elephants are killed each year just for their ivory. The symbolic crushing of confiscated ivory products is said to demonstrate a commitment to combat trade in illegal wildlife products. Read the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's statement on China's ivory crush at http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=A190D148-B0C8-1B97-336341BA7D6B6562 and the Guardian article at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/29/china-agrees-to-phase-out-its-ivory-industry-to-combat-elephant-poaching

Federal lawmakers introduce the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act aimed at preventing horseslaughter. The SAFE Act (H.R. 1094) would prevent the establishment of horse slaughter facilities within the US and curtail the export of horses for slaughter in other countries. The measure was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), over 140,000 American horses were shipped and slaughtered for human consumption in other countries like Canada and Mexico last year. To learn about the legal controversy surrounding horse slaughter, see our Topical Introduction.

 Proposed Alaska bill would give companion animals special consideration in the state. HB 147 adds new language to laws concerning the care and impoundment of animals (AS § 03.55.110 - 130). In particular, the bill would require owners of animals seized for suspected cruelty or neglect pay for the cost of care. The bill also amends the domestic violence laws allowing pets to be included in domestic violence orders. Significantly, the bill amends the divorce and marriage dissolution statutes to require consideration of "the well-being of the animal" that is jointly owned. Read the bill at http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/29?Root=HB%20147#tab1_4.

 

May 2015

More state propose animal abuser registries. Proponents argue that animal abuser registries provide a resource for animal shelters and law enforcement to identify past abusers who are trying to adopt new animals. Similar to sex offender registries, animal abuser registries would make information on past animal cruelty convictions available to law enforcement/animal control or even the general public. Some states prohibit animal ownership for a certain period of time following animal cruelty convictions (Maine and Oregon among others), but often there is no way to distribute this information to animal shelters. Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas are considering such bills (Virginia and West Virginia's bills died in committee). For more, see National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) page on animal abuse registry legislation at http://www.navs.org/news/new-state-animal-abuser-registries-proposed-in-2015 .

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons NOAA Fisheries seeks public comment on proposal to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The humpback whale is currently listed as "endangered" under the ESA throughout its entire range. The species has made a population recovery over the course of 40+ years since commercial whaling ended and the whale was listed as endangered in 1970. The proposed reclassification would allow 10 of the 14 DPS to be removed from the ESA list. However, the species would still receive protection under the MMPA. Read the Press Release at the NOAA Fisheries page with information on how to submit and electronic comment on the proposed rule: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2015/04/20_04_humpbacks.html

Federal lawmakers introduce the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act aimed at preventing horseslaughter. The SAFE Act (H.R. 1094) would prevent the establishment of horse slaughter facilities within the US and curtail the export of horses for slaughter in other countries. The measure was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), over 140,000 American horses were shipped and slaughtered for human consumption in other countries like Canada and Mexico last year. To learn about the legal controversy surrounding horse slaughter, see our Topical Introduction.

 Proposed Alaska bill would give companion animals special consideration in the state. HB 147 adds new language to laws concerning the care and impoundment of animals (AS § 03.55.110 - 130). In particular, the bill would require owners of animals seized for suspected cruelty or neglect pay for the cost of care. The bill also amends the domestic violence laws allowing pets to be included in domestic violence orders. Significantly, the bill amends the divorce and marriage dissolution statutes to require consideration of "the well-being of the animal" that is jointly owned. Read the bill at http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/29?Root=HB%20147#tab1_4.

 

April 2015

 U.S. District Court Judge rules that sonar and underwater explosions off the Southern California Coast pose greater threat to marine mammals than federal government asserted. U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway found that the National Marine Fisheries Service was incorrect in stating that the Navy's training would have "negligible impacts" on marine mammals like whales, dolphins, and sea lions. NMFS violated multiple provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it agreed with the Navy's plan. Plaintiffs and advocates in the case contend that such activities result in harmful impacts on marine creatures that include temporary and permanent hearing loss, disruption in behavior, and habitat abandonment.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Utah's police academy implements training program to teach cadets better methods to handle dog encounters. The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council approved a plan in March that begins a pilot program to run through June. This course will train future officers on how interpret dog behavior, deal with aggressive dogs, and employ methods of non-lethal force in police-dog situations. Supporters of such programs indicate they are necessary to deal with the rise in the shooting of dogs by police officers, including one recent incident where a dog was shot in the owner's backyard during a search for a missing child according to KSL.com. The POST webpage provides a link to the training materials at http://cops.igpa.uillinois.edu/resources/police-dog-encounters. Notably, Colorado became the first state in 2013 to enact a comprehensive law known as the Dog Protection Act to reduce the number of dogs shot by police.

Virginia enacts law aimed at stopping roadside pet sales sourced from puppy mills. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed SB 1001 on March 27th, adding a new section § 3.2-6508.1 to the state code. The bill makes it "unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter, lease, or display for a commercial purpose any dog or cat on or in any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or recreation area; flea market or other outdoor market; or commercial parking lot, regardless of whether such act is authorized by the landowner." The section does not apply to the display of cats or dogs for adoption by public or private animal shelters, county fairs or 4-H exhibitions, the sale or trade of dogs for farming activities, or a prearranged sale between a dog breeder and a specific individual purchaser that is not a re-occurring event.

 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers finalizes plant to kill thousands of seabirds. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers finalized a plan on March 20 to kill around 26,000 double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island in the Columbia River. The plan involves a lethal take of both adult birds (11,000) and unborn chicks (around 15,000) to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Read the plan at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Portals/24/docs/announcements/EIS/feis_dcco_2015_02_06.pdf. To learn more about legal issues facing double-crested cormorants, read our Detailed Discussion.

 

March 2015

Arizona state House votes to create separate section of laws for abuse of livestock animals. HB 2429 prohibits a person from "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing injury or undue suffering, including depriving of necessary sustenance or cruelly beating, injuring or mutilating livestock or poultry." The measure now goes to the Senate. Other states previously enacted livestock cruelty laws including Iowa and Wyoming. Read the Arizona bill at http://azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=HB2429&Session_ID=114.

 By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Lolita, the sole member of the Southern Resident killer whale DPS held in captivity, may be released under proposed federal rule. Prompted by a petition submitted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation (PETA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) completed a status review and now propose to amend the regulatory language of the Endangered Species Act. Previously, the regulatory language excluded captive members of the Southern Resident killer whale DPS, which was limited to Lolita. Lolita has been held for 35 years with no other member of her species in a tank smaller than minimum federal standards require at the Miami Seaquarium. The proposed rule is now open for public comment until March 28th at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/01/27/2014-01506/listing-endangered-or-threatened-species-proposed-amendment-to-the-endangered-species-act-listing-of.  Additionally, NOAA Fisheries also published an FAQ page on the agency's 12-month finding for Lolita.

Another state legislator proposes a controversial "ag gag" bill. Wisconsin's Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby is reportedly planning to introduce a measure similar to one enacted in Missouri that demands anyone with video evidence of animal abuse take it to the police almost immediately. Critics contend such a law would cut short further abuse investigations. Read more by going to the Wisconsin State Journal article. To examine current ag gag and animal research interference laws, see our table of laws.

  Ohio passes law to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. In late December, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 177, allowing courts to include companion animals (cats and dogs) in orders of protection. The court may include within a protection order "a term requiring that the respondent not remove, damage, hide, harm, or dispose of any companion animal owned or possessed by the person to be protected by the order . . ." Ohio now joins 27 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have such laws. Want to see a list of all the states?

 

February 2015

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Ontario, Canada government issues enhanced standards of care for marine mammals that effectively bans the keeping of killer whales in captivity. Dr. David Rosen, a well-respected Vancouver-based marine biologist led a team of scientists to issue The University of British Columbia Report on Standards of Care for Marine Mammals in Captivity. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services states that the new standards "are to be among the highest in the world" and provide for an inventory of current marine mammals in the province as well as minimum space requirements. To read the standards, see http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/AnimalWelfare/MarineMammalsinCaptivity/UBC_report.html. For more on killer whales/orcas in captivity, check out the Topical Introduction.

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Maine State Representative will sponsor bill to ban sale of cats and dogs at pet stores. The legislation (which does not appear issued yet on Rep. Kimberly Monaghan, D-Cape Elizabeth's webpage) is said to be entitled, "“An Act To Prohibit the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores" according to the Portland Press Herald. If the measure is proposed and passed, it would be the first state law of its kind in the U.S. (several municipal ordinances include such restrictions). The aim is to prevent the sale of dogs and cats bred in "puppy mills" - large-scale breeding operations that disregard animal welfare concerns - to the four pet stores in Maine engaged in selling pets. Critics of the proposed legislation cite concerns about the impact on in-house hobby breeders as well as issues of limiting individual freedom. For more, read the Press Herald article. Want to know more about state laws regulating large-scale breeders? See our Table of Laws.

UPDATE: NIH defends experiments on baby monkeys, saying investigations and protocols "are sufficient in addressing the concerns raised." Last December, Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-CA, Dina Titus, D-NV, Sam Farr, D-CA and Eliot Engel, D-NY wrote a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins requesting a Bioethics Consultation for the experiments. Since 1983, these maternal deprivation experiments, where half of the experimental population of baby monkeys are reportedly subjected to fear, stress, and pain-inducing tests while separated from their mothers, have been conducted with funding approved through 2017. The congressional representatives question the "ethical and scientific justification" for the experiments in addition to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. Last week, three scientists, a congresswoman, and an activist spoke on Capitol Hill about the plight of these monkeys, as described in this NPR blog by one of the scientists. To read the latest NIH response as well as the original letters from the congressional representatives, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/air/statement_012615.htm.

Ohio passes law to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. In late December, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 177, allowing courts to include companion animals (cats and dogs) in orders of protection. The court may include within a protection order "a term requiring that the respondent not remove, damage, hide, harm, or dispose of any companion animal owned or possessed by the person to be protected by the order . . ." Ohio now joins 27 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have such laws. Want to see a list of all the states?

 

January 2015

New York appellate court rules it is "inappropriate" to grant legal rights to nonhuman primates. On December 18th, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department of New York held that a chimpanzee does not meet the standard of a "legal person" in suit by Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP). The NhRP tried to petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus for a chimpanzee held in insolation by respondents. The court held it that was "inappropriate" to give chimps legal rights since they cannot bear any legal responsibility or legal duty. Read the full case. The documents filed in the entire court case can also be accessed here.

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons UPDATE: Media coverage of Argentina court case for "Sandra" the orangutan may be misleading. News reports initially characterized the court case as a "writ of habeas corpus" for the orangutan held in an Argentinian zoo. However, after analyzing a translated version of the judicial opinion, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) indicates the court may actually lack the power to issue such a writ. In the case, Lawyers for Argentina's Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued that Sandra, an orangutan who was held in a Buenos Aires zoo for 20 years, was being illegally detained and filed a writ of habeas corpus. To read the NhRP's analysis, see http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/2015/01/12/sandra-the-plot-thickens/.

Members of Congress write to NIH director, challenging validity of experiments on baby monkeys. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-CA, Dina Titus, D-NV, Sam Farr, D-CA and Eliot Engel, D-NY wrote a letter on December 22nd to NIH Director Francis Collins requesting a Bioethics Consultation for the experiments. Since 1983, these maternal deprivation experiments, where half of the experimental population of baby macaques are reportedly subjected to fear, stress, and pain-inducing tests while separated from their mothers, have been conducted with funding approved through 2017. The congressional representatives question the "ethical and scientific justification" for the experiments in addition to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. To read the letter, see http://news.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/NIH%20letter.pdf.

Ohio passes law to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. In late December, Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 177, allowing courts to include companion animals (cats and dogs) in orders of protection. The court may include within a protection order "a term requiring that the respondent not remove, damage, hide, harm, or dispose of any companion animal owned or possessed by the person to be protected by the order . . ." Ohio now joins 27 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have such laws. Want to see a list of all the states?

 

December 2014

Gov. Christie of New Jersey vetoes gestation crate ban despite bipartisan legislative support. The bill (S.998) would have outlawed the use of sow gestation crates, metal enclosures that do not allow pregnant sows to freely move or turn around. Christie vetoed a near-identical bill in 2013 that also had bipartisan support. Christie claims the bill was a "political movement masquerading as substantive policy" and that such determinations should be up to the New Jersey Board of Agriculture. Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa (the nation's largest pork-producing state and home of the Iowa presidential caucuses) applauded the veto. Notably, several states have already enacted such gestation crate bans, including a constitutional amendment in Florida, Colorado (beginning in 2018), and Michigan, among others.

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons NOAA Fisheries proposes critical habitat for the threatened Arctic ringed seal. In 2012, four subspecies of the Arctic ringed seal were declared "threatened" in Alaskan waters under the federal Endangered Species Act. NOAA Fisheries now proposes a critical habitat area for the seals that encompasses the northern Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. The area "includes habitat features essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species," and is required under the ESA. Scientists cite late ice formation in the fall and earlier breakup of ice in the spring, which threatens the breeding and whelping process for these mammals. The proposed critical-habitat designation is now up for the required 90-day public comment. To read the news release on the issue and learn more about the proposed designation, see http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2014/arcticringedseal120214.htm.

ALDF files lawsuit against Florida county for approving primate breeding facility. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed suit against Hendry County on behalf of local residents. The ALDF contends that the county violated state law when it approved the monkey breeding facility behind closed doors in violation of the state's "Sunshine Law," which requires that state and local governments hold open public meetings for important concerns. The ALDF contends that the facility will be breeding up to 3,200 long-tailed macaques, a species linked with prior outbreaks of infectious disease such as Ebola, Herpes B, tuberculosis, and parasites. To read the ALDF's press release and obtain more information, see http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-sues-florida-county-for-secretly-approving-african-monkey-breeding-facility/.

India imposes ban on importation of cosmetics tested on animals. India has become the first country in south Asia to ban the importation of cosmetics tested on animal subjects. The country passed a regulation banning the testing of cosmetics on animals in the country approximately five months ago, according to The Times of India. India now joins the European Union (EU) and Israel in also banning the importation of animal-tested cosmetics. Advocates credit both the "Be Cruelty Free" campaign and minister leaders in government in achieving the dual ban. To read more, see the article at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-bans-import-of-cosmetics-tested-on-animals/articleshow/44814398.cms.

 

November 2014

Election Day is here - read about the animal ballot measures! Among the issues include amendments in Alabama and Mississippi proposing hunting and fishing as guaranteed "rights" in each state. Michigan voters consider two wolf hunting measures. Both of these measures are considered "veto referendums" to overturn laws that would allow wolf hunts. The current laws were enacted despite a statewide referendum passed by voters to eliminate wolf hunting. Maine Question 1 again asks voters to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt or pursue bear, the use of bait to hunt or attract bear. Read these and other ballot measures from the past 15 years at our Table of Ballot Measures.

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposes "threatened" listing for the African Lion. U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Director Ashe stated that the lion faces "serious threats to its long-term survival." An analysis by the agency determined that lions face the threat of extinction in the foreseeable future, a criterion for listing a species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Among the factors leading to decline of the species are habitat loss, loss of prey species, and human-lion conflicts. Lions are said to now only occupy 22% of their historic range. The proposed listing is now open for public comment for 90 days at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025. To read the FWS news release on the issue and learn more about the proposed listing, see https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/african_lion.html.

 Madison, Wisconsin seeks to implement ordinances that 'destigmatize' pit bulls. According to the Badger Herald, Adl. John Strasser of District 14 said the new rules are the result of collaboration between local humane societies, shelter veterinarians, and the HSUS. As part of a broader package aimed at enhanced animal welfare, the proposal prohibits residential breeding of dogs (with exception of service animals and competition breeding), which includes pit bulls. If an owner violates the breeding laws or lets his or her dog run at large, Dane County Animal Services can order that the animal be spayed or neutered. Overall, the hope is to end the bias against pit bull-type dogs and increase animal welfare. This may be in stark contrast to the number of cities and counties that ban possession of the breed outright through breed-specific legislation (BSL). To learn more about local BSL, see the Overview.

India imposes ban on importation of cosmetics tested on animals. India has become the first country in south Asia to ban the importation of cosmetics tested on animal subjects. The country passed a regulation banning the testing of cosmetics on animals in the country approximately five months ago, according to the The Times of India. India now joins the European Union (EU) and Israel in also banning the importation of animal-tested cosmetics. Advocates credit both the "Be Cruelty Free" campaign and minister leaders in government in achieving the dual ban. To read more, see the article at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-bans-import-of-cosmetics-tested-on-animals/articleshow/44814398.cms.

 

October 2014

  Federal wolf protections are reinstated for wolves in Wyoming after court decision. In 2012, a rule transferred management of the gray wolf in Wyoming from federal control to state control. Plaintiffs challenged the FWS' decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in Wyoming. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and maintained that the decision was arbitrary and capricious because Wyoming's regulatory mechanisms were inadequate to protect the species, the level of genetic exchange shown in the record did not warrant delisting, and the gray wolf was endangered within a significant portion of its range. The court concluded that it was arbitrary and capricious for the Service to rely on the state's nonbinding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves when the availability of that specific numerical buffer was such a critical aspect of the delisting decision. The Court therefore granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in part, denied it in part, and remanded the matter back to the agency. Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell, CV 12-1833 (ABJ), 2014 WL 4714847 (D.D.C. Sept. 23, 2014). For more on the change the status of the wolf, see the Topical Introduction.

Voters this November consider several animal law issues. Among the issues include amendments in Alabama and Mississippi proposing hunting and fishing as guaranteed "rights" in each state. Michigan voters consider two wolf hunting measures. Both of these measures are considered "veto referendums" to overturn laws that would allow wolf hunts. The current laws were enacted despite a statewide referendum passed by voters to eliminate wolf hunting. Maine Question 1 again asks voters to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt or pursue bear, the use of bait to hunt or attract bear. Read these and other ballot measures from the past 15 years at our Table of Ballot Measures

By Just chaos [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Congress considers the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, S. 1406/H.R. 1518. This bill would create more enforcement by the USDA and enhance penalties to prevent the practice of "soring." Soring is an illegal practice where trainers use chemicals, sharp objects, and other methods to inflict pain to encourage horses to exaggerate the "high-stepping" for which Tennessee Walking Horses are known. Currently, the Horse Practice Act outlaws this cruel method of training. According to a publication by the American Veterinary Medical Assocation (AVMA), "[s]oring is so common that many trainers and owners believe they must use it just to be competitive." Read the AVMA's statement at https://www.avma.org/Advocacy/National/Congress/Documents/IB__PAST_Act_30Aug2013.pdf.

  USDA-APHIS finalizes rules under Animal Welfare Act for foreign breeders importing puppies into the U.S. The new rules are aimed at curbing the stream of too young and often sick puppies coming from non-U.S. breeders. Beginning in 90 days, breeders from countries that regularly import dogs to the U.S., such as Mexico, China, and Eastern Europe, must comply with requirements that the puppies are at least six months old, vaccinated, and in good overall health. To read the press release with a link to the new rules see, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/newsroom/news?1dmy&urile=wcm%3apath%3a%2FAPHIS_Content_Library%2FSA_Newsroom%2FSA_News%2FSA_By_Date%2FSA_2014%2FSA_08%2FCT_health_requirements_importred_dogs

 

September 2014

  Will federal legislation curb the "tiger selfie" trend? Last year, Congress introduced the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (S.1381), which would ban private ownership and breeding of big cats such as lions, leopards, and tigers. Animal advocates have raised concerns over the recent social media trend of individuals taking pictures with tigers and other large cats. Most of these pictures come from roadside exhibitors and even local carnivals where the animals are privately owned and housed under substandard conditions. Animal advocates hope that the Act as well as state laws that ban private ownership of large felines may stem the tiger selfie trend. In fact, Gov. Cuomo of New York recently signed a law that prohibits physical contact between members of the public and big cats from traveling animal exhibits and shows to stop such photos (A05407). For more on other state exotic pet laws, see the Topical Introduction.

  Missouri "Right to Farm" amendment passed in early August faces recount. Amendment 1 was passed by Missourians on August 5th by a margin so narrow the Secretary of State announced a recount was necessary. The controversial amendment to the state's bill of rights in the constitution provides, "the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri." Critics contend that this broad language would make it difficult to challenge multinationally-owned industrial farms and their potential ill-effects on animal welfare, human health, and the environment. Read the proposed language at http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2014ballot/HJRNos117.pdf.

 Oregon Supreme Court upholds Court of Appeals' decision that animals can be "victims" too. The decision in State v. Nix, --- P.3d ----, 2014 WL 3867789 (Or.2014), where the defendant was convicted of multiple counts of animal neglect for starving 20 or so goats and horses on his property, was affirmed by Oregon's highest court. Nix argued that animals were personal property under state law and thus could not be counted as separate "victims" for purposes of the animal cruelty law. The court disagreed, finding that precedent and "a careful evaluation of the legislature's intentions as expressed in statutory enactments," as opposed to mere public policy, based the decision. 

  USDA-APHIS finalizes rules under Animal Welfare Act for foreign breeders importing puppies into the U.S. The new rules are aimed at curbing the stream of too young and often sick puppies coming from non-U.S. breeders. Beginning in 90 days, breeders from countries that regularly import dogs to the U.S., such as Mexico, China, and Eastern Europe, must comply with requirements that the puppies are at least six months old, vaccinated, and in good overall health. To read the press release with a link to the new rules see, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/newsroom/news?1dmy&urile=wcm%3apath%3a%2FAPHIS_Content_Library%2FSA_Newsroom%2FSA_News%2FSA_By_Date%2FSA_2014%2FSA_08%2FCT_health_requirements_importred_dogs

August 2014

Welcome to the new and improved Animal Legal & Historical Center website! Over the past few months, we have moved our entire website to a new platform with enhanced features. We hope this helps our readers find materials more efficiently through our new navigation in the purple bar at the top. With this, you can narrow your results by both state and topic or even by species. Feel free to take a tour of our new site and let us know if you encounter any difficulties at animallaw@law.msu.edu. To learn more about navigating the site, see the First Time User or Researcher buttons to the right.

Senate action will help stop trade of captive primates in U.S. The Captive Primate Safety Act was passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in late July. This amendment to the Lacey Act adds nonhuman primates to the definition of "prohibited wildlife species" for purposes of the prohibition against the sale or purchase of such species in interstate or foreign commerce. Read the bill at https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/1463

Massachusetts House pushes forth bill to increase animal abuse penalties and mandate cruelty reporting by veterinarians. HB 4328 would increase the maximum penalty for intentional animal cruelty from 5 years imprisonment to 7 years and the fine from $2500 to $5000. The bill also mandates that veterinarians who observe suspected animal cruelty report this to law enforcement. Read the bill at https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H4328/History. See other states that allow or require reporting by veterinarians.

First person gets charged under new Rhode Island law on leaving a dog in a hot vehicle. According to a Rhode Island news channel, a man left his dog in a parked car where temperatures reached 124 degrees after an hour. The new law, signed in early July, makes leaving an animal in parked vehicle under extreme conditions a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. Find out how many states have such laws at our Table of Laws.

More states add laws that allow pets in domestic violence protection orders. In 2013 and 2014, several states added provisions that allow companion animals to be included in protection orders for domestic violence. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Virginia were among those states. To view a list of the current states, go here.

January to April 2014

Federal legislators introduce four new amendments to the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4315, 4316, 4317, and 4318 aim to create better transparency in the process of listing and studying endangered species. HR 4318 also limits the amount that can be charged in attorney fees for citizen suits. However, critics contend the bills focus more on listing new species rather than protecting habitat and give too much power to states in management.

 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that police can enter homes without a warrant to render emergency aid to animals. Massachusetts joins 13 other states that allow emergency aid to animals as an exception to the warrant requirement according to the Boston Herald. In 2013, Oregon's Court of Appeals ruled that that the emergency aid exception extends to nonhuman animals when law enforcement officers have an objectively reasonable belief that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals which are imminently threatened.

Australia will resume live exports of sheep and cattle to Egypt after an industry-wide hiatus. Live exports were stopped amid animal welfare concerns at Egyptian abattoirs. Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce stated that says Australia and Egypt have agreed to implement the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS). Live export is the transport of live farm animals to other countries for slaughter, some of which have few animal welfare regulations.

On March 14th, South Dakota Governor Daugaard signed SB 46 into law. This now gives South Dakota a felony penalty under the state's animal cruelty law. Previously, SD was the only state left without a felony cruelty provision. Idaho enacted a felony provision in 2012 and North Dakota enacted one in 2013. Read the enrolled bill at http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/SB46ENR.pdf.

USDA-APHIS announces an on-line complaint form for Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations. The AWA is a federal is a federal law that covers animals used in research, exhibition, transportation, and animals sold by dealers. The act establishes minimum standards of care for animals covered under the act. It also requires these animal dealers or exhibitors to be licensed and submit to periodic inspections by the USDA's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services (APHIS). Some examples of animal owners that would fall under the AWA include large scale commercial dog breeders that sell to pet stores or other dog brokers, owners of traveling exotic animal exhibitions, and university animal research facilities. To view the on-line form, see http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare.

 

December 2013

Organization files first-ever lawsuit seeking 'bodily liberty' on behalf of captive chimpazee in New York . The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, demanding that a chimp named "Tommy" be released from private captivity to a sanctuary that is part of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA). Tommy is said to be held captive in a cage located in a shed that stands on a used trailer lot. More suits on behalf of other captive chimps in the state are said to follow. The supporting affidavits offer support from scientists around the world that chimpanzees are self-aware and autonomous and should therefore be recognized as legal "persons." To find out more about the NhRP, see http://www.nonhumanrights.org/ .

Federal appeals court grants temporary injunction to halt horse slaughter. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Agriculture from inspecting plants in New Mexico and Missouri that were slated to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption. The injunction came after a federal judge in Albuquerque dismissed a lawsuit filed by the United States Humane Society and other animal protection groups seeking to stop the New Mexico plant from opening, alleging National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) violations. To follow case news submitted by plaintiffs in the case, see Front Range Equine Rescue's site .

West Virginia agencies collaborate to address problems posed by lack of state exotic animal regulations. The Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, and the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health have joined to create legislation to present to lawmakers in January 2014. The legislation would ban the private possession of certain species of animals with exceptions including circuses and licensed research facilities. Reports also indicate the measures would include the creation of a Dangerous Wild Animal Control Board, similar to Ohio's recent dangerous wild animal legislation. Notably, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a law passed in 2012 ( SB 477 ) that would have restricted exotic animal possession. 

New petition drive in Michigan threatens efforts to allow voters the ability to repeal Michigan's wolf hunting law. A group calling itself "Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management" filed the petition with the Board of State Canvassers in early December. If the group collects sufficient signatures, this citizen-initiated bill will head directly to the state legislature. Because this measure includes appropriations, it would circumvent any voter referendum on the wolf hunting issue. Members of the group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" previously initiated a petition drive to repeal the wolf-hunting law that spurred the Republican-led Michigan Legislature to give the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) authority to designate game species. This anti-wolf hunting group has now created a second petition-drive in response to that law. To see actual harvest numbers in the state's wolf hunt, see the DNR's page .

World Trade Organization (WTO) panel finds EU restrictions on the import of seal products are justified under  free trade exception for measures "necessary to protect public morals." This may be one of the first applications of the "public morals" exception for animals. The panel addressed challenges by countries including Norway and Canada that the EU Seal Regime prohibiting the importation and marketing of most seal products unfairly favors European Communities. While the WTO did find that the EU Seal Regime was a valid exercise of the "public morals" exception to free trade, there were issues with treatment of imported versus domestic seal products. To read the WTO Dispute Settlement (DS401) see http://www.wto.org/english/tratop

 

November 2013

 Ohio seeks to join 25 other states that allow pets in domestic violence protection orders. H.B. 243 would amend the state's existing domestic violence protection order law to allow a judge to "include within the scope of a protection order issued under this section any companion animal that is in the complainant's or alleged victim's residence and may issue additional orders as it considers appropriate for the protection of the companion animal." 

Ohio's proposed "Goddard's Law" seeks to strengthen the state's anti-cruelty measures. This proposed law ( H.B. 274 ) was named for a popular weather anchor and animal advocate. The law would go one step further than the " Nitro's Law " amendments passed earlier this year. Goddard's Law would make it a felony of the 5th degree to cause “serious physical harm,” defined to mean “physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death" on the first offense. The law applies only to companion animals (as defined in the proposed law) and excludes livestock.

U.K. moves toward ban on all wild animals in traveling circuses. Initially, a report commission by Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) recommended that the ban should include large species such as big cats and elephants, but not other wild animals such as raccoons, camels, or snakes. The government responded that the legislatively recognized term "wild animals" should not be subdivided based on species. As a result, all wild animals will be banned by the end of March, 2015. Read the House of Commons response on the ban.

Supporters of a ban on pig gestation crates in NJ renew efforts after veto of S.1921 by Gov. Christie (R.). The original measure was passed by both the house and senate with overwhelming support. It was then vetoed by the Governor in June. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)  has launched a campaign to educate NJ voters on the issue. The bill has a number of exceptions, including medical research, veterinary procedures, farm and 4-H exhibitions, and transportation, among others.

U.S. District Court for Nevada approves settlement with Dept. of Justice in discrimination case involving residents with assistance animals . The $167,000 settlement was reached in a case with a housing complex in Reno, NV. Tenants alleged that the housing complex discriminated against residents with disabilities who used assistance animals. According to the DOJ press release , the complex required pet fees for assistance animals, required assistance animals to be licensed or certified, and barred uncertified service dogs. This action was brought under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which requires person with disabilities to be given equal opportunity to enjoy their homes through "reasonable accommodations" that include assistance animals.

 

October 2013

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources effectively outlaws the rehabilitation of many species of orphaned or injured wildlife. According to the Montgomery Advertiser , the agency will stop issuing permits for the rehabilitation of raccoons, skunks, opossums, foxes, coyotes, feral pigs or bats. The assistant chief of wildlife was quoted as saying there is "no biological reason to rehabilitate these animals" and anyone finding an orphaned animal should leave it in the wild. Humane organizations should euthanize any animals they receive. The state outlaws the possession of wild animals without a permit through Ala. Code 1975 § 9-2-13 and Ala.Code 1975 § 9-11-320 to 328.

The City of West Hollywood enacts another progressive animal ordinance banning the commercial display of exotic animals. The measure protects the public from the dangers associated with displaying exotic animals and also protects the animals themselves from cruel and inhumane treatment, according to the city. The ban includes acts such as circuses, trade shows, parades or races. Among the exemptions to the ordinance include veterinarians, educational activities sanctioned by the Association of Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuary Association, and films with permits where the American Humane Association monitors animal welfare. Read more at http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=23&recordid=2290 . Also, discover West Hollywood's other animal ordinances , which include a cat "declaw ban" and ban on most fur sales.

The Supreme Court of Connecticut hears argument on "whether [a horse] belongs to a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious." After a two-year old boy was bitten on the face by a horse causing permanent scarring, his parents sued the horse's owner. The lower court granted defendant-owners' motion for summary judgment, concluding that defendants owed no duty because plaintiffs failed to show that this horse had a tendency to bite people. On appeal, plaintiffs contended that Connecticut law allows for a negligence cause of action based on proof of the natural propensities of the species. The appellate court reversed the summary judgment order and sent the case back to trial court. In late September, the horse's owner appealed the decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court. This is a first-of-its-kind determination for a court in the U.S. To read more, see http://bigstory.ap.org/article/conn-court-weighs-if-horses-are-innately-vicious .

Horse slaughter at new plants in New Mexico and Iowa and now Missouri temporarily halted after federal district court grants temporary restraining order (TRO). According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) , a District Court judge has issued a TRO to halt inspection at a Missouri horse slaughter plant. This is in addition to plants located in Roswell, NM and Sigourney, IA. Previously, federal law prohibited the use of federal funds for the ante-mortem inspection of equines slated to be slaughtered for human consumption. When this law expired without congressional renewal, FSIS was required to inspect these plants. Read the FSIS statement at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/horses/Const_Update_062813.pdf . Read the District Court of New Mexico's order granting the TRO at http://www.frontrangeequinerescue.org/documents/slaughter.aug2,%20decision.pdf .

Animal welfare organizations and individuals file suit claiming Utah's new "ag gag" law violates constitutional guarantees. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, CounterPunch magazine and five individuals filed suit in US District Court against Governor Gary R. Herbert and Utah Attorney General John Swallow claiming that Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112 violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. In essence, the suit claims "[t]he law creates the crime of 'agricultural operation interference' in an effort to impair the public debate about animal welfare, food safety, and labor issues on modern industrial farms."

 

September 2013

 Two victories for animal advocates in the fight against foie gras production. Foie gras is a food product made from the fattened livers of geese or ducks as the result of the forced feeding of these animals. Animal advocacy organization Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) voluntarily dropped its lawsuit against Hudson Valley Foie Gras after the company removed any reference to the word "humane" from its website. The ALDF initially sued Hudson Valley Foie Gras arguing that the company violated the Lanham Act and California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws by claiming to be “the Humane Choice” while still engaging in the unnatural force-feeding of ducks. Additionally, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the California ban on the sale of foie gras in the state ( Cal. Health & Safety Code § 25980, et seq.) . The court rejected claims that the law restrains free trade.

Horse slaughter at new plants in New Mexico and Iowa temporarily halted after federal district court grants temporary restraining order (TRO). The court has also now imposed a bond on the animal advocate plaintiffs of $500,000 to keep the ban in effect. The plants, located in Roswell, NM and Sigourney, IA were scheduled to be the first plants to open after the "ban" on horse slaughter expired. Previously, Section 794 of Pub. L. 109-97 prohibited the use of federal funds for the ante-mortem inspection of equines slated to be slaughtered for human consumption. This lack of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) mark of inspection effectively prohibited the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. When this law expired without congressional renewal, FSIS was required to inspect these plants. Read the FSIS statement at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/horses/Const_Update_062813.pdf . Read the District Court of New Mexico's order granting the TRO at http://www.frontrangeequinerescue.org/documents/slaughter.aug2,%20decision.pdf .

NOAA Fisheries denies Georgia Aquarium's permit to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for display. The decision was based on requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). NOAA Fisheries concluded that the application did not meet several of the MMPA permit criteria, including whether the importation would have a significant adverse impact on the Sakhalin-Amur beluga whale stock and the fact five of the whales were were potentially still nursing and not yet independent. To read NOAA Fisheries Decision Memo on the denial, see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/georgia_aquarium_belugas.htm .

Colorado's "Dog Protection Act," requiring law enforcement to undergo training to prevent unnecessary shooting of dogs in line of duty, becomes law. C.R.S.A. § 29-5-112 aims to assist in training officers to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible. The statute creates a dog protection task force—consisting of veterinarians, officers, animal behavior specialists, animal welfare experts and animal control officers—to develop minimum training curricula that local law enforcement must follow. In addition, local law enforcement agencies are required to develop a training program.

Animal welfare organizations and individuals file suit claiming Utah's new "ag gag" law violates constitutional guarantees. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, CounterPunch magazine and five individuals filed suit in US District Court against Governor Gary R. Herbert and Utah Attorney General John Swallow claiming that Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112 violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. In essence, the suit claims "[t]he law creates the crime of 'agricultural operation interference' in an effort to impair the public debate about animal welfare, food safety, and labor issues on modern industrial farms."

 

August 2013

Animal welfare organizations and individuals file suit claiming Utah's new "ag gag" law violates constitutional guarantees. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, CounterPunch magazine and five individuals filed suit in US District Court against Governor Gary R. Herbert and Utah Attorney General John Swallow claiming that Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112 violates the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. In essence, the suit claims "[t]he law creates the crime of 'agricultural operation interference' in an effort to impair the public debate about animal welfare, food safety, and labor issues on modern industrial farms."

Colorado's "Dog Protection Act," requiring law enforcement to undergo training to prevent unnecessary shooting of dogs in line of duty, becomes law. C.R.S.A. § 29-5-112 aims to assist in training officers to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible. The statute creates a dog protection task force—consisting of veterinarians, officers, animal behavior specialists, animal welfare experts and animal control officers—to develop minimum training curricula that local law enforcement must follow. In addition, local law enforcement agencies are required to develop a training program.

Iowa Court of Appeals does not find that defendant who intentionally kills 7-month old Boston Terrier puppy with baseball bat acted with requisite "depraved intent." In State v. Meerdink , --N.W.2d --, 2013 WL 3457628 (Iowa Ct. App. 2013), defendant was convicted of animal torture under 717B.3A(1) . Defendant appealed the district court's decision, arguing that the evidence shown was insufficient to support a finding he acted “with a depraved or sadistic intent,” as stated by the Iowa statute. The appeals court examined dictionary definitions to conclude that there was insufficient evidence to show that the defendant met the depraved intent standard. Additionally, the appeals court also concluded the district court erred in not defining “depraved intent” as used in the statute. The case was therefore reversed and remanded back to district court for dismissal.

New Mexico plant receives permit from USDA as 6-year ban on horse slaughter for human consumption ends. The plant, located in Roswell, NM, becomes the first plant granted a permit in the US since the 2007 ban expired. Section 794 of Pub. L. 109-97 prohibited the use of federal funds for the ante-mortem inspection of equines slated to be slaughtered for human consumption. This lack of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) mark of inspection effectively prohibited the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. When this law expired without congressional renewal, FSIS was required to inspect these plants. Read the FSIS statement at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/horses/Const_Update_062813.pdf .

India bans the use of animal testing in cosmetics. According to the Times of India, the Bureau of Indian Standards ratified the removal of requirements for animal tests from India's cosmetics standard. Instead, the county now moves toward alternative tests that do not involve invasive animal testing. See http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-29/flora-fauna/40271084_1_humane-society-international-animal-testing-cruelty-free 

 

July 2013

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, the US Fish & Wildlife Service moved to list all chimpanzees including captive-born chimps as endangered. Under current listing, wild chimps are listed as "endangered," while captive chimps are listed as "threatened." The new rule would make all chimpanzees endangered, regardless of their status. If this proposed rule is finalized, a permit would be required to take all chimpanzees into and out of the United States. Read the FWS Press Release .

Gray wolf no longer protected as endangered or threatened species. On June 7th, the Fish & Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the list of endangered and threatened species. The Service cites the "successful recovery efforts" as the reason for removing federal protection for the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) and Great Lakes populations. Public comment is being accepted on the rule change through September 11, 2013 with more information at http://www.fws.gov/graywolfrecovery062013.html .

New York Senate passes animal abuse registry bill. This bill ( S2305A ) requires each violator of "Buster's Law" (sections 351 or 353-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law) to register his or her name and address with the division of criminal justice services. Criminal justice services must maintain this information in an electronic format available to entities such as breeders, pet stores, law enforcement, humane societies, as well as the public.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces 90-day finding on petition to list the Miami Seaquarium orca named "Lolita" under the Endangered Species Act. In January, several animal advocacy groups filed a petition with NMFS to include Lolita in the ESA listing of Southern Resident killer whales. The agency found the biological information met the ESA criteria for listing. The agency is currently conducting a status review and seeking public input for the Southern Resident killer whale population, and will also decide whether to include Lolita.

With the heat wave that's hit the western U.S., some may wonder about laws that prohibit leaving pets in vehicles. Only 14 states have laws that specifically prohibit this conduct (though general anti-cruelty laws may still cover certain circumstances).

 

June 2013

Nevada Governor signs bill prohibiting local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances with dog breed restrictions. AB 110  will amend NRS 202.500, the law that sets forth conditions under which a dog can be deemed vicious or dangerous. The bill states that a dog may not be found dangerous "based solely on the breed of the dog" and that a local authority cannot "adopt or enforce an ordinance or regulation that deems a dog dangerous or vicious based solely on the breed of the dog."

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces 90-day finding on petition to list the Miami Seaquarium orca named "Lolita" under the Endangered Species Act. In January, several animal advocacy groups filed a petition with NMFS to include Lolita in the ESA listing of Southern Resident killer whales. The agency found the biological information met the ESA criteria for listing. The agency is currently conducting a status review and seeking public input for the Southern Resident killer whale population, and will also decide whether to include Lolita.

New Jersey Senate passes bill aimed at prohibiting "gestation crates" for pigs. This bill, S-1921 , would amend the cruelty code by adding the offense of cruel confinement of gestating pigs, a disorderly persons offense. Violation would be punishable by a fine of $250 - $1,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment. Each gestating sow that is cruelly confined is regarded as a separate offense under the bill. If approved, New Jersey joins other states such as Arizona , California , Maine , Michigan , and Rhode Island  with such measures.

Ohio House unanimously passes "Nitro's Law," a bill establishing stricter penalties in animal cruelty cases. Nitro's law ( HB 90 ) was named for a dog who died along with many other dogs after being starved and neglected at a dog training facility. The owner was eventually given only probation for misdemeanor charges. The proposed law allows prosecutors to charge owners, managers, or employees of a dog kennels who fail to provide basic care with a 5th degree felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Do you know how pets are protected when disaster strikes? In the wake of recent natural disasters, many people begin to wonder how displacement from their homes would affect their pets. Some states have created plans that help address such issues as evacuation with pets, relocation, and temporary sheltering.

 

May 2013

European Union Court denies Inuit group's attempt at overturning ban on importation of seal products. The EU banned the importation of any seal products in 2010. The General Court of the EU rejected the application from the Inuit group that claimed the ban had an Inuit exception. This exception, the court found, is focused on subsistence hunting by Inuit communities, rather than large-scale marketing of seal products. To read the press release from the Court, see http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2013-04/cp130055en.pdf

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allows Wisconsin hunter to bring endangered black rhino "trophy" back to U.S. The Service granted the importation permit to a hunter who killed the rhino in 2009 in Namibia. The black rhino has been listed as a critically endangered species under federal law and a CITES Appendix-1 species for over 30 years. The hunter donated significant funds to the Namibian government, which the Service states is used to fund conservation efforts. To read the USFWS statement on why it allowed the permit, see http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/black-rhino-import-permit.html .

Michigan legislature proposes animal abuser registry. HB 4535 would require anyone 18 years of age or older convicted of an animal abuse offense to register within 5 calendar days following release from incarceration or from the date of sentencing. The only existing animal abuse registries occur on the local level, with the first in Suffolk County, New York , then in Rockland County, New York, and finally in Albany County, New York . The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has cataloged a history of such measures, available at http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1231 .

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has 10 days to decide fate of latest "ag gag" bill. The bill, SB 1248, makes it a crime for those who film footage or photograph episodes of animal abuse to fail to bring that footage to law enforcement within 48 hours. Critics of the bill claim that the measure is aimed at silencing whistle blowers and undercover investigations in the livestock industry.

Proposal by NIH committee recommends all but 50 of 350 chimpanzees used in federal research be retired. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils Working Group proposal will go the NIH director after the 60-day period for public comment . The report also calls for cuts in grants to study chimps in laboratories and a restriction on breeding them for research. Retired chimps would be sent to a national sanctuary, Chimp Haven, in northwest Louisiana.

  

April 2013

ALDF loses federal challenge seeking rules against force-fed foie gras. Plaintiffs ALDF and others petitioned the USDA and FSIS to promulgate regulations condemning force-fed foie gras as an adulterated food product under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. FSIS refused to do so. The Court ruled that such a decision falls under the USDA's discretion by law. The Defendant's motion was granted and the case was dismissed with prejudice.

Lawmakers urge the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service to take the wolf off endangered species list. In a letter signed by 66 Republicans and 6 Democrats from both the House and Senate, lawmakers argued that endangered species protections for the gray wolf are making it difficult for ranchers and farmers to protect livestock. Despite the FWS determination that the species still needs protection, these elected officials argue that the wolf should be removed from the federal list. To read this letter, click here .

Florida SB 504 proposes multiple charges for multiple animal cruelty violations. Under the bill, a person who commits multiple acts of animal cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty against an animal may be charged with a separate offense for each such act. The bill also expands the definition of “racketeering activity" to include animal fighting.

Nevada legislature puts forth bill to stop animal sales at "swap meets." Assembly Bill 246  would prohibit the sale or other transfer of ownership of a live animal at a swap meet. Animal advocates who support the bill argue that swap meets are inappropriate places to sell live animals. The meets often contain underage puppies crowded in small cages.

Proposal by NIH committee recommends all but 50 of 350 chimpanzees used in federal research be retired. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils Working Group proposal will go the NIH director after the 60-day period for public comment . The report also calls for cuts in grants to study chimps in laboratories and a restriction on breeding them for research. Retired chimps would be sent to a national sanctuary, Chimp Haven, in northwest Louisiana.