Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wagman fights alleged hoarders in NC

From, a profile of Bruce Wagman, animal lawyer and co-author of the Animal Law casebook He says doing animal law was "the only epiphany I've ever had."

Wagman recently won an injunction against breeders in North Carolina who allegedly kept their animals in horrific conditions. The action was brought under a North Carolina law which grants a civil remedy to anyone, including non-owners. As one recent article noted, the civil remedies provision has been chipped away at since it was codified, but remains a unique tool for animal advocates. If you have Lexis or Westlaw, see William A. Reppy, Jr., Citizen Standing to Enforce Anti-Cruelty Laws by Obtaining Injunctions: The North Carolina Experience, 11 Animal L. 39 (2005). Otherwise check out this abstract.

Proposed legislation to spay/neuter "vicious" breeds

From the Pasadena Star News, a measure allowing localities to require spaying and neutering of certain breeds of dogs is gaining steam. Here's the text of the bill. Many think that breed bans, so called "canine profiling," are ineffective in stopping or reducing animal bites. One good feature of the proposed law is that jurisdictions who do regulate by breed must submit reports to the state on dog bites, which could be used to measure the effectiveness of the measure.

Dawnwatch also has a persuasive argument that this sort of law advances the interests of animals more than Denver's outright ban of pitballs:
As California kills hundreds of thousand of dogs every year in shelters, most true animal advocates would be thrilled to see compulsory spay/neuter of all breeds as long as there are any dogs dying for lack of homes. Why not start with those breeds deemed dangerous, that tend to attract those who enjoy organizing dog fights for sport? I write that as the adoptive mother of a sweet little red-nose pitbull, who is, of course, spayed. But thousands of her relatives die every year in California shelters and countless others die in organized dog fights. A ban on breeding them would be wonderful. And it is no doubt the compromise needed that will prevent a misguided over-reaching law like that in Denver, which takes loving dogs out of loving homes.

Airline safety for companion animals

Federal law requires airlines to report the loss, injury, or death of a companion animal in transit to the Secretary of Transportation and for the Secretary to publish the information. 49 U.S.C. 41721. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (registration req'd or opt out) that fewer incidents are being reported than expected but notes some ways to improve the law and its administration:

The incident reports are posted online each month, but [DOT spokesperson] Mosley said only airlines that have a reportable incident are required to file each month. Consumers also will have to scan through old reports to get a feel for which airlines have the most incidents because the government will not record cumulative totals...

Animal groups point out ... that the reports only cover pets being transported, not all animals carried by airlines. They said the reports should cover all animals, including ones bound for labs, farms or other uses.

The Animal Welfare Act authorizes the Department of Ag to regulate transportation of some animals to dealers, exhibitors, and labs, but the AWA has a history of being under-enforced. (The Twenty Eight Hour Law apparently excludes airlines.) Here's the DOT list of reports.

Cruelty charges filed against egg producer

"The first time a district attorney has charged an egg-producing corporation with cruelty to animals": the Humane Society of the United States reports that a Missouri prosecutor is charging MOARK, an egg processor and distributor, with misdemeanor cruelty. A passerby videotaped live chickens being put into a dumpster. The article does a good job of explaining the minimal legal protection afforded laying hens in the U.S.