Thursday, December 13, 2007

ALDF settles hoarding lawsuit

Congratulations to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for settling its suit against Raleigh animal hoarder Janie Conyers! The settlement provides, among other things, for the release of more than 100 dogs from the cramped, filthy conditions they suffered and bars Conyers from owning more dogs in the future. Read more on ALDF's website.

If this all sounds familiar, that may be because last spring ALDF won an even bigger victory in North Carolina. That's when that state's Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment ordering the removal of more than 350 abused and neglected dogs from the home of Robert and Barbara Woodley in Sanford, N.C.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

City pays $27,000 to man who says cop shot his dog
Tribune staff report
September 23, 2007

City officials have agreed to pay $27,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a West Side man who said police shot and killed his dog last year while chasing a suspect.Calvin Hale alleged that a police officer ran into his yard in the 5200 block of West Race Avenue and stumbled on his 10-year-old Akita, Lady.The officer shot the dog and continued the chase, Hale said in a lawsuit filed in February in Cook County Circuit Court.

"I think Lady, at the end of the day, was worth more than $27,000 to him, but there are practical benefits to resolving the litigation," Hale's attorney, Amy Breyer, said Friday.City officials acknowledged the settlement, but declined to comment further on Friday. They admit no wrongdoing in the settlement, which was reached Wednesday.

The incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2006. Hale said his dog had no history of biting or bad behavior.

Breyer said she hoped the settlement would put the city and others on notice that "you can't do what happened here without there being any repercussions."Breyer is one of a small number of lawyers who specialize in animal-related cases and sometimes seek to expand the reach of animal law.Lawsuits over injuries to animals have begun to be taken more seriously, Breyer said.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Monday, August 06, 2007

7th Circuit shuts last horseslaughter plant in U.S.

In a decisive victory for animal advocates, the Seventh Circuit closed the Cavel horseslaughter plant in Illinois permanently when it upheld a recent amendment to the Illinois Illinois Horse Meat Act, 225 ILCS 635 et seq., that resulted in the highly controversial horse slaughter ban. The ban made it unlawful for any person in the state to either slaughter, 635/1.5(a), or import, export, sell, buy, give away, hold or accept “any horse meat if that person knows or should know that the horse meat will be used for human consumption.” 635/1.5(b).

In Cavel International, Inc., v. Madigan, 500 F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2007), the Seventh Circuit found that the ban was not discriminatory against interstate commerce, Id. at 555, only interfered minimally with foreign commerce, Id. at 558, and had a rational basis. Id. at 557. The court dismissed Cavel’s suit with prejudice. Id. at 559. Cavel is apparently appealing this decision.

Notably, the opinion was written by Judge Posner, an outspoken – and even published – critic on the subject of animal rights. See e.g., (debate with Peter Singer) and "Animal Rights: Legal, Philosophical, and Pragmatic Perspectives," in Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions 51, Martha C. Nussbaum and Cass R. Sunstein, eds. (2004). Nonetheless, beyond finding that “[s]tates have a legitimate interest in prolonging the lives of animals that their population happens to like” he mused in dicta that a state “is also permitted to take one step at a time on a road toward the humane treatment of our fellow animals.” Id. at 557.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Resident's suit says cops shot his dog during chase

February 22, 2007


A West Side man who says police shot and killed his dog last year while chasing a suspect filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city and two police officers.Calvin Hale, 68, alleges that he was in his back yard in the 5200 block of West Race Avenue when a police officer ran into the yard and stumbled on his 10-year-old Akita, Lady."The next I know, I heard a shot, and she started to holler," Hale said Wednesday. "I told [the police officer] `You shot my dog,' and he just kept running."The incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2006, Hale said.Hale said his dog had no history of biting or bad behavior.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages of more than $50,000.City officials declined to comment Wednesday.

Hale's attorney, Amy Breyer of Chicago, is one of a small number of lawyers who specialize in animal-related cases and sometimes seek to expand the reach of animal law.Breyer said police could not shoot a child in the yard without justification and "my feeling is it's not acceptable with non-human family members" either.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Animal Rights Activist Awarded $251K in Euthanasia Case


February 14, 2007, 8:41 PM EST

A federal jury awarded an East End animal rights' activist a $251,000 judgment Wednesday in a case that also compelled Southampton town to re-examine its euthanasia policy for stray cats and dogs.

Patricia Lynch said the town unfairly ended her work as a volunteer at its animal shelter after she used a radio show and newspaper column to speak out against putting the animals to sleep. The end of her work at the shelter, her attorney argued in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, made it impossible for her to continue rescuing the animals and place them in local homes.

"For seven years I have been trying to save the lives of adoptable animals who were euthanized," an excited Lynch said Wednesday after the verdict. "Today was a vindication of that work."

Southampton's attorney, Jeltje DeJong of Smithtown, had argued before U.S. Judge Arthur D. Spatt that because Lynch was a volunteer, the town had no legal obligation to retain her at the shelter. DeJong and town officials could not be reached for comment after the verdict.

But Spatt found that just like other municipal volunteers, such as volunteer firemen, Lynch did have First Amendment rights to free speech and due process. Two days after filing her case against the town in September 2005, Lynch said, she was forced to give up her work at the shelter.

Before her suit against the town, the shelter had no formal policy on the disposal of dogs. Since 2000, it had put about 200 dogs to sleep, town officials said.

Lynch said that since the filing of her suit the town has sharply reduced that rate by retraining kennel workers to more carefully evaluate if a dog can be saved.

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Texas Appellate Court Rules Against Slaughterhouses

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently relied on a 1949 Texas law in holding that the two horse slaughterhouses located in Texas may not continue slaughtering horses for human consumption. The law makes it an offense to “sell, offer for sale, or exhibit for sale horsemeat as food for human consumption.” The law also prohibits transferring the meat to a person one knows or should know intends to use the meat for one of the prohibited activities. Since the ruling, numerous airliners including American Airlines and Delta Airlines have refused to continue shipping horsemeat from the Texas slaughterhouses to Europe or Japan where the meat is sold. This places a burden on slaughterhouse owners Beltex Corporation and Dallas Crown, Inc., who plan to continue slaughtering horses until their rehearing before the Fifth Circuit is resolved. Meanwhile, the only other slaughterhouse in the nation, located in DeKalb, Illinois, is also coming under pressure. Owned by Cavel International, the slaughterhouse burned down in 2002 and was reopened in 2004. Since then, it has failed to meet DeKalb District sanitary standards and has been fined at least $25,000. Currently, the District has put the fines into escrow pending Cavel’s development of a new refining system, but many hope to see the operation permanently shut down.

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