Monday, December 31, 2012
If you haven't had a chance to check out our museum website yet, please do. And like every other NFP out there, I'll also add the obligatory: there's still time to make a donation - or buy tickets to our Friendraiser - in order to get a charitable deduction on your taxes in a few months! :)
See you in 2013!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Read more in the HeraldOnline....
Thanks to Joan Schaffner for the heads-up on this one...
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/12/28/4509413/aspca-pays-93-million-in-landmark.html#storylink=cpy
Friday, December 21, 2012
Read more here...
And it looks like I forgot to post the other week that Costa Rica has banned hunting! My bad. Anyone checking this blog has probably read all about it by now, but in case not, here's a link to more...
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
With all the political gridlock in Washington D.C., it seems that Congress has nearly ground to a complete halt. So it was very exciting late yesterday when the U.S. Senate considered two important measures to help animals in need!
One bill allows for the adoption of retired military dogs and the other gives law enforcement more tools to crack down on dog and cockfighting.
Read more in this ASPCA blog post...
Read more in the Wall Street Journal...
Thursday, November 29, 2012
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that Hot's Kitchen claimed to have stopped selling foie gras when a ban on producing or selling it took effect in July, but was offering it as a complimentary side dish to customers who order "THE Burger."
Read more in the Chicago Tribune...
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
At any rate, I say "good" rather than "great" because while Martinez v. Robledo holds that companion animal owners may recover reasonable costs for the treatment of a wrongfully injured companion - as opposed to mere market value - the court expressly stops short of acknowledging any sentimental, intrinsic or other value. Very disappointing for a state that often leads the nation in progressive thinking in so many other regards.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
You go, Steve!
Read the story from NPR...
Credit for the heads-up on this one goes to Steve Wells at ALDF - read more in the L.A. Times Local...
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Monday, October 08, 2012
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
70-year-old Oregon farmer eaten by his hogs
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Read the rest of Bryan Christy's insightful and sobering article in National Geographic...
Thanks to blog reader, Bruce, for the heads-up on this piece. Want to add a personal note too; as terrific as National Geographic is - and has been for decades - the National Geographic Channel seems to have taken on some unfortunate, evil alter-ego. It regularly airs TV programming that makes at best dubious use of animals, including bonobos, for entertainment. NGC recently became the target of a global Facebook protest when it became known that one of planned stars for an upcoming reality show was a well-known trophy hunter. If you have FB, you can check out that page here:
NGC uninvited Ms. Bachman when it realized the public relations nightmare it had created, but I'm not aware of whether it changed any of its other programming.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Neither the jury nor the appellate court bought that argument. Law.com has the story...
Monday, September 03, 2012
26-year-old Sahar Biniaz was the victim of a pit bull attack herself when she was 14, which of course was very unfortunate and undoubtedly influenced her opinions here. Imho, however, it's also unfortunate that in the dozen years since, she hasn't been able to develop a broader perspective.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Click the link to read the decision...
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Read more in the Washington Post...
Read more in the Chicago Sun-Times...
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Monday, August 06, 2012
The change is necessary because religious slaughter “does not take new scientific knowledge into account,” the head of Estonia's Animal Welfare Bureau, Sirje Jalakas, told JTA.
Read more in The Jewish Week...
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Read the rest of the Daily News article here...
Thanks to Stephen Wells at ALDF for the heads-up!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Marty Becker via Ledy VanKavage)
Very sad and disheartening news out of Belfast, Northern Ireland yesterday. A two-year court battle over a dog that "resembled" a pit bull ended with word that the local government forged ahead and put the dog down - despite offers to re-settle the dog, named Lennox, as far away as the U.S..
You can read more about this story in the Huffington Post... not to mention scores of other articles and commentaries popping up all over the internet and blogosphere.
Too bad Lennox had no idea how many people cared about him. He spent the last two years of his life in a cramped cage at a pound. The photos circulating on that are just too depressing to share, although my guess is that anyone who is reading this blog knows exactly what those pictures look like without having to actually see them. Irish authorities claimed that the dog was too unpredictable and dangerous to be placed in any society. Advocates would argue that anyone stuffed into a cage for two years would be in a pretty unpredictable and sour mood - but those empathetic arguments fell on deaf ears. Officials even refused to let Lennox's owner be present at the euthanasia - telling her instead that they would mail her the ashes.
Mail her the ashes? Seriously? Why stop there? Maybe burn down a homeless shelter or blind a few orphans on the way to the post office. The human capacity for cruelty really amazes me sometimes.
So what's the take-away here? My entire professional career has been focused on trying to avoid all of the moral, touchy-feely approaches (even tho my heart is screaming "how would YOU like to be stuffed into a cage?!" as much as the next person) because I know they never work on the sorts of people that controlled Lennox's fate. Sadly, none of the well-reasoned legal arguments or practical alternatives didn't either. Now there are calls to boycott tourism in Northern Ireland. Can't hurt to try, but it seems like a longshot to affect future cases and certainly does nothing for Lennox or his family now.
So what's left? What works? I don't know. I doubt anyone knows (or, to borrow from a Keith Urban song, we'd all be doing it right now). Whenever I use this blog space to vent I try to end on at least something of an uplifting note, but there just really isn't one here. We have to keep asking ourselves the question "what will work?" and pushing for an answer - for all of the Lennoxes out there - not to mention for all of us whose hearts and minds are forever scarred with the memory of every failure.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Bottom line: the Congress doesn't have power to impose an individual mandate under its power to regulate interstate commerce... but the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax!
Here's the link to a USA Today article... and the actual decision!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Read more from ALDF's website....
Friday, June 15, 2012
The fight for same-sex marriage rights in Illinois took an unprecedented turn Thursday as Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez conceded that the state's ban on gay marriage violates the Illinois Constitution, essentially agreeing with a pair of lawsuits her office was expected to oppose.Even the Lamba Legal attorney was surprised! Read more in today's Trib...
Monday, June 04, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
At any rate, as most of you already know, there was a particularly narrow-minded appellate ruling in Maryland late last month concerning pit bulls. Basically said that victims of a PB attack no longer had to show that the owner knew the dog was dangerous, only that it was at least part PB. Worse still, it would hold landlords liable (basically discouraging LLs from ever renting to a PB owner).
Well, some advocates don't want to wait until the next regular session of the Maryland legislature to eventually look at the issue, they are asking Md. lawmakers to do something about it now. Thanks to Ledy for the heads-up on this article in The Baltimore Sun...
Friday, April 27, 2012
Read more on this Maryland attorney's webpage...
Thanks to Richard Bruce Rosenthal and Joan Schaffner for the heads-up on this disappointing decision...
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Read more in the Christian Science Monitor...
Saturday, April 21, 2012
April 20, 2012
In a precedent-setting case, a Colorado judge awarded a Denver woman $65,000 for the death of her 18-month old dog Ruthie, who was struck by a car after a cleaning service accidentally let her out. The cleaners left the dying dog under the dining room table.
The dog's owner, Robin Lohre, sued the company, Posh Maids, in Denver County District Court, alleging negligence and emotional distress. She said she specifically told the cleaners not to let Ruthie out, and to use the back door so the dog couldn't escape.
After Ruthie was hit by the car, Lohre said the cleaners did not contact her or seek emergency veterinary care. They claimed that at the time they left, the dog was alive and "whimpering a little."
Courts have typically viewed pets like furniture — they're worth their replacement value, which the case of Ruthie, a mixed breed, would have been negligible.
Last month, Judge Eric Elliff awarded Lohre $65,000, which Lohre's attorneys believe is the most for the death of a pet in state history.
"The ruling sets a damages precedent that animals are worth more than their replacement value," said Jennifer Edwards, the founder of The Animal Law Center, who represented Lohre. "When we lose a pet, we do suffer emotional distress and heartache, just as we would with any other member of our families."
Edwards said she presented evidence of damages including therapy bills for Lohre and her daughter and lost business income. "My client was extraordinarily devastated by the loss of Ruthie," she said, adding that she hopes the decision will change the way courts value pets. "The court system needs to get more in line with the way people feel about their animals," she said.
The ruling comes on the heels of a Texas case, when Fort Worth's 2nd Court of Appeals in November reinterpreted a 120-year-old precedent from the Texas Supreme Court that plaintiffs could recover only an animal's market value.
"Dogs are unconditionally devoted to their owners," the three judge panel found. "Today, we interpret timeworn supreme court law in light of subsequent supreme court law to acknowledge that the special value of man's best friend should be protected."
The case, Medlen v. Stickland, began in 2009 when the Medlen's dog, Avery, escaped and was picked up by animal control. Jeremy Medlen went to the shelter to get the dog, but did not have enough money to pay the fee.
He was told he could come back in a few days, and that a "hold for owner" tag would be placed on Avery's cage, notifying employees that the dog was not to be euthanized. Despite the tag, shelter employee Carla Stickland put the dog on the list to be put down, and Avery was killed the following day.
The Medlens sued for negligence, seeking damages for Avery's sentimental or intrinsic value because he had little or no market value and was irreplaceable.
Represented by Randall Turner of Bailey & Galyen, they argued that the Texas Supreme Court has repeatedly held that where personal property like a family photograph has little or no market value, damages can be awarded based on intrinsic or sentimental value. Therefore, the Medlens argued, they should be able to recover the intrinsic value of their dog.
Opposing counsel R. Paul Boudloche of Mason & Boudloche argued intrinsic value only applies to heirlooms or property that takes a long time to replace, like a tree. "According to Strickland's position, intrinsic damages could be awarded for a sentimental photograph of a family and its dog, but not for the dog itself," the judges wrote. "We find little reason in this argument and do not believe that it reflects the attachment owners have to their beloved family pets."
In remanding the case, the panel concluded, "Because of the special position pets hold in their family, we see no reason why existing law should not be interpreted to allow recovery in the loss of a pet at least to the same extent as any other personal property."
Contact Jenna Greene at email@example.com.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Read more in The Olympian...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
...story in the Chicago Tribune (including a WGN video clip of an interview with the victim dog's family)
Monday, April 16, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
Good luck, Bryan!
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Read more in the Chicago Tribune...
Friday, April 06, 2012
Scott's coated its seed in an insecticide known to be toxic to fish and birds and that is not approved for use in bird food. The company has proposed paying a fine of at least $4 million. More from the Mother Nature Network...Thanks to my friend, Jim M., for the heads-up on this!
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Just found out about an essay contest Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan are running on "Our Hen House" (which if you are not familiar with, it's very good and you ought to go give it a look-see anyway...). The point of the contest is to provide a platform to counter a recent NYT essay contest on why it's ethical to eat meat. Find out more at: Calling All Herbivores: Tell Us Why It's Unethical to Eat Meat: A Contest. Winner gets a tote bag (well, and the satisfaction of winning, of course) - good luck!
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Way to go, Rebekah!
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Anywho... just saw this morning in the ISBA Digest e-clips that the state supreme court granted a petition for leave to appeal in this matter yesterday:
Toftoy v. Rosenwinkel, No. 113569, 2nd Dist.
This case presents question as to whether Farm Nuisance Act (Act) provides defendants-cattle farmers with immunity from plaintiffs' lawsuit alleging that defendant's cattle farm was nuisance due to excessive flies that emanated from said farm. Appellate Court found that although defendants had commenced farming operations prior to plaintiffs moving into vacant home, immunity conferred under Act did not apply since at time defendants had purchased their property individuals were living in nearby home on land eventually deeded to plaintiffs, and fact that plaintiffs subsequently demolished said home and built new home on same location did not cause defendant's cattle operation to become nuisance so as to trigger immunity provisions of said Act. (Dissent filed.)
Friday, March 16, 2012
Monday, March 05, 2012
On Friday, Iowa became the first state in the country to enact a law criminalizing activists who go undercover to report animal abuse. For some reason, most of the coverage on this new law was today. Read more in the Los Angeles Times or the Chicago Tribune.
Meanwhile, as the Sioux City Journal reports, activists remain undeterred...
Friday, February 24, 2012
Members of the legislature in Ontario, Canada are pushing to end the ban on pit bulls. Read more in the Toronto Star...
And back stateside, legislators in Maryland pass a gay marriage bill. (Again, not directly related to animal law, but you know I view this as a good sign...) Read more in this L.A. Times article...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
On a somewhat related note, the AVMA says that the human-animal bond will be emphasized at its 2013 convention. You can read more about that conference in JAVMA News. (Speaking from personal experience, no matter what vets say at their conferences, I'll wait for the AVMA to put its money where its mouth is... and stop defending (and trivializing) all vet mal suits on the grounds that animals have no market value and therefore - even if the vet did something wrong - they don't owe much or anything to the family of harmed animal.)
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Hunters take aim at an animal rights group's video droneAn animal rights group's inventive plan to use a remote-controlled spycraft to record the acti
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Read the rest of Mark Bittman's editorial in the New York Times...
Monday, February 13, 2012
Pet advocates are fighting like cats and dogs to stop a deficit-slashing proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that aims to save $23 million by ending reimbursements to animal shelters for the cost of keeping strays alive.
Read more in the San Jose Mercury News...
Hanna berates Ohio legislators on exotic pet laws
Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna criticized Ohio lawmakers Thursday for not yet passing a bill to regulate exotic animals, months after authorities shot dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other wild creatures let loose by their suicidal owner.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Send us your best photo of a heartfelt moment between a person and their animal companion - we'll post the entries on our photo wall and then on Monday our viewers will vote on a winner!
*The winning picture will be featured in our Tuesday, February 14th post - and DISPLAYED IN THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF OUR "HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND" EXHIBIT!* (Once the museum opens, of course.)
Please send all photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fine print: by sending a photo, you agree that the Animal History Museum may use and display it. We will not sell, exchange or otherwise give your photo to any other person or entity. One entry per person please. Contest closes Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:00pm. Any obscene or inappropriate photos will be deleted. We reserve the right to add extra rules if we forgot anything...
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, had accused the chain of aquatic theme parks of violating the rights of whales under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States.
Here's the rest of the Reuters article...
For a more detailed analysis of PETA's suit, as well as alternative approaches to gaining legal rights for non-humans, please check out noted animal law attorney Steve Wise's efforts at www.nonhumanrightsproject.org.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Read more in the Toledo Blade...
(And congrats to my friend and lobbyist extraordinaire, Ledy VanKavage, and everyone else who has worked relentlessly to see this ban overturned!)
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
CBS News reports...
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Read more in this Business Wire press release...
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Thankfully, it looks like that is about to change. A measure is expected to be on its way to the Governor's desk soon that would outlaw breed discrimination in the state. A huge shout-out to Ledy VanKavage and everyone else who has worked so tirelessly to get this done!
Read more in The Columbus Dispatch...
Saturday, January 28, 2012
A down-on-his-luck soap-opera actor took his own life this week after he was forced to put his beloved dog to sleep under pressure from his Upper West Side condo and became wracked by grief, pals said.
The New York Post has more...
I wasn't going to blog about this initially because, well, it was just so disturbing to read that I (as I imagine many others did too) pushed it away. But after several people brought it to my attention, I changed my mind. Pushing it away does not change anything.
The likely outcome here is that nothing will happen to these condo neighbors. At best, Nick's parents or siblings (if he has any and assuming they are alive and actually maintained a close relation to him) might have an attenuated claim of some sort for emotional distress (and assuming NY law doesn't have a contemporaneous injury requirement, which many states do). One colleague suggested that perhaps karma will find the complaining neighbors. I wouldn't be opposed to that, but I wouldn't peg any hopes on that, either. Many people behave terribly towards each other all the time; they never lose sleep over it and nothing bad happens to them as a result of it.
We can't make the condo neighbors be better human beings. But we can push harder for laws that will constrain or criminalize their bullying behavior to the point where this outcome can be avoided. We can push harder for education to teach people not to arbitrarily fear based on immutable traits. And we can make it clear through our own better conduct that the time for that sort of garbage has passed. RIP Nick and Rocco.
Friday, January 27, 2012
But I wanted to give a big shout-out to friends, former clients and fellow animal lovers, Jim and Kris Noyes, who recently started their own new business and website. Congrats! You can check it all out at: www.goforthandfish.com. They're also on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck, guys!
According to Steven Wise:
"Over the objections of both PETA and SeaWorld, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey T. Miller granted a request by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to appear as an amicus curiae, or "Friend of the Court," in the case PETA filed on behalf of five orcas against SeaWorld. The NhRP had not sought to appear as an amicus on behalf of either PETA or SeaWorld, but solely to assist the Court in understanding certain issues that were raised within the context of this litigation and to further the interests of the orcas."
See the full press release at nonhumanrights.org
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I completely forgot to post about the web launch for the newest incarnation of my animal-related career. Here's Monday's announcement:
Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues:
It is with great pleasure that we announce plans for the Animal History Museum! It will be the first brick-and-mortar museum to focus on the always complex, but historically marginalized, relationship between humans, (non-human) animals and society in general. As described in our mission statement , the museum's "purpose is to serve and educate the public through the creation of a museum in Los Angeles County, California, for the collection, preservation and exploration of the history, culture, science and law relating to the relationship between human and non-human animals; by presenting exhibitions, lectures and other activities that are consistent with, and supportive of, the museum's educational goals and purpose."
Today is our social media launch! Check us out at:
If you like what you see, please take a minute to like the page, and/or follow us on Twitter! Most importantly, please re-post and re-tweet on your accounts to help us get the word out as widely as possible! Thank you!!!
NPR explains why...
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Read this extremely thoughtful, unapologetic look at what some may try to paint as an "isolated incident" in the Huffington Post...
Monday, January 23, 2012
Read more in this Associated Press article picked up by The Washington Post...
Friday, January 20, 2012
It's one thing for a dog to be man's best friend. But a growing number of baby boomers are taking puppy love to a whole new level. Some parents, anxiously awaiting the day when they become grandparents, are showering affection on their children's pets. They're known as grandpuppies.
CBS This Morning reports...
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
During the Jan. 12 visit, officers found far more than the 75 animals the group was licensed to house, and a followup visit was scheduled for Jan. 17."Between that time and our followup visit, that Sunday afternoon, they left town," said John Keisler, acting manager at Long Beach Animal Care Services.
According to The Commercial Appeal, the two women arrested now face more than 100 charges of aggravated animal cruelty and bonds of $100,000 each...
(Interestingly, the founder of frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry was released on just $60,000 bail after allegedly attacking a homeless man with a tire iron...)
Saturday, January 14, 2012
One side is peaceful. The other, decidedly, is not. Both can feel the weight of the law and the sting of being called a terrorist.
The Sacramento Bee has the rest of this thoughtful article...
Friday, January 13, 2012
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Angel's Gate is back in the news, but it's probably not enjoying the spotlight this time. After receiving a tip from a job applicant, PETA sent in one of its undercover volunteers and turned over its secret video to prosecutors.
The hospice is now facing multiple cruelty charges. Sounds terrible at first blush, but it seems that the issue centers around whether some of the animals are in such bad shape that, according to PETA, they should be humanely euthanized instead.
NPR has more on this morality-laden controversy...
Friday, January 06, 2012
Dr. Ernest Rogers is joining the NJSPCA as its first ever "forensic veterinarian." The Associated Press has the story...
Thursday, January 05, 2012
The suit, filed on behalf of "Elena Zakharova for herself and as representative of her dog, Umka," contends the petite Brussels Griffon should be recognized as a living being instead of property, as state law currently contends.