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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