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Great Apes and the Law
Maps of State Laws
In August 2012, the Animal Legal & Historical Center celebrated its 10th anniversary. Over the years, with the help of many individuals, we've added thousands of files that are accessed across the globe. We believe this site is the largest legal website devoted to animal issues in the world. Unsurprisingly, the website's most sought after materials relate to the many issues that dogs provide our society.
Our peak usage day (Monday) has well over 6,000 unique visitors. Yet unlike a physical library, we are unable to have casual conversations with our users. So to gain feedback, please share your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us about your use of the site. What could we add to the site? How could the site be easier to use? Any and all thoughts and comments are welcome. Since Michigan State University College of Law is very generous with its financial support of this site, your feedback helps ensure this site's growth and presence for the next ten years. Thank you!
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. To read the 90-day petition, click here. To learn more about Lolita and other orcas, see the Captive Orcas Topic Area.
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. To learn more see the Pets and Disaster Planning Topic Area.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, --- So.3d ----, 2013 WL 1774638 (La.App. 1 Cir. 4/25/13).The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with others, filed a petition for injunctive relief and a writ of mandamus against the Louisiana DWF for permitting the exhibit of a real tiger ("Tony") at a truck stop owned by Michael Sandlin. After ADLF and others sued alleging that the permit violated Louisiana law, the trial court issued a judgment granting the preliminary and permanent injunction ordering DFW to revoke the permit. On appeal here, the court found that, based on factual findings, there was no error in the trial court's legal conclusion that Michael Sandlin did not meet the legal requirements for a Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadruped permit, and that permanent injunctive relief, enjoining DWF from issuing Michael Sandlin future permits for Tony, was warranted.
Parker v. Obert's Legacy Dairy, LCC, --- N.E.2d ----, 2013 WL 1820364 (In. Ct. App.). A neighboring landowner brought a nuisance claim against a dairy farm when the dairy farm decided to expand its operations; the dairy farm, however, used Indiana’s Right to Farm Act as an affirmative defense. Agreeing with the dairy farm, the trial court granted the dairy farm’s motion for summary judgment. Upon appeal, the appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.
State v. Peterson, --- P.3d ----, 2013 WL 2156837 (Wa. Ct. App.). Defendant appeals six counts of first degree animal cruelty charges. On appeal, the defendant argued that (1) the statute she was convicted under, RCW 16.52.205(6), was unconstitutionally vague; that (2) starvation and dehydration were not alternative means of committing first degree animal cruelty and that (3) there was no substantial evidence supporting the horses suffered from dehydration. The defendant also argued that the Snohomish Superior court had no authority to order her to reimburse the county for caring for her horses. The appeals court, however, held that RCW 16.52.205(6) was not unconstitutionally vague; that starvation and dehydration were alternative means to commit first degree animal cruelty, but there was substantial evidence to support the horses suffered from dehydration; and that the superior court had authority to order the defendant to pay restitution to the county.
Dog Case of the Month
While court notes mere ownership of certain breeds of dog not criminalized, evidence here was sufficient to uphold defendant's conviction for keeping mischievous animal. People v. Flores, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2013 WL 1944000 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.). Defendant Flores appeals his conviction under Penal Code section 399 for allowing a " mischievous animal" owned by him to cause serious injury to another person. In this case, defendant's pit bull dog, "Blue,"attacked defendant's almost 90-year old neighbor on his own property causing deep injuries to his leg. While defendant suggested that he acted with "ordinary care" by keeping the dog tethered and chained outside on the day of the incident, the court found the evidence showed Blue had broken free in the past and had "massive strength." Leaving a dog with a history of unprovoked attacks chained next to a public sidewalk in a residential neighborhood supported the jury's conclusion that defendant did not act as reasonably careful person would in the same situation. As to the serious bodily injury claim, the court noted that although the law does not define the term, there was substantial medical evidence to support the jury's determination.
Look here for common dog and animal law questions.
Maps and Comparative Tables of Laws
You can find collections of state laws by topic through maps or comparative tables of laws. The maps link to the text of the laws, while the tables present the information in organized columns. See the Map Page for available maps of state laws or select a topic below:
The month of June means the beginning of summer in the United States and, for some, that means packing up the automobile and taking a road trip. Yet, did you know that in Denver, Colorado, if you travel with a pit bull through the city’s limits, you must obtain a valid transport permit from the city’s manager? Aside from road trips, warmer weather, at least in some parts of the States, also means more dog owners taking their dogs for more walks, which could lead to a situation where the owner wishes to meet some friends at a restaurant for a meal. While in the past, the owner would have to take his or her dog home before meeting up with his or her friends, an ordinance, like Nashville, TN, may allow the owner to bring his or her dog to a restaurant’s outdoor dining area – if certain conditions are met and if the restaurant has obtained a permit. Lastly, in some parts of the U.S., summer may also mean the presence of more feral cat colonies, but know that an ordinance, like Santa Cruz County, CA, may prohibit a person from taking care of a colony unless the person signs an agreement with animal control.
For more information on these interesting laws, be sure to check back monthly.
The cases and statutes on this site are reprinted from Westlaw and are used with permission of Thomson Reuters. If you wish to access additional animal law content available through Westlaw, you may do so by visiting www.westlaw.com.
SITE DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the authors of the materials. Neither the College of Law nor Michigan State University endorses any of the opinions expressed on this site. Just as neither institution would be considered to endorse a view because the institution included in its library a book which contained a distinct viewpoint, likewise neither institution has adopted any position on the animal issues discussed on this site. The site is provided as an electronic library containing materials expressing a diversity of opinions.