Monday, December 30, 2013

Phoenix bans sale of dogs and cats in pet stores!

Phoenix, Ariz., now joins the ranks of West Hollywood, Calif.; El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; Fountain, Colo.; Coral Gables, Fla.; and 35 other U.S. and Canadian cities in banning the sale of both dogs and cats in pet stores! Woohoo!

(The "[w]oohoo" is actually from the author of the article, although I couldn't agree more.  So nice to see positive legislation moving the ball down the field, rather than having to litigate every last nasty inch.  Read the rest of the onegreenplanet article here...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century

Apologies for the absence from blogging.  Really just been swamped trying to start this museum. Between the meetings and the planning and the coordinating... reminds me of that scene from The Princess Bride:

Prince Humperdinck: [sincerely] Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped. 

Ah well. At any rate, I was moved to post tonight after reading this Pacific Standard Magazine article... well-written but unfortunately profoundly sad. Thanks to blog reader Bruce for the forward.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Big Oregon ruling!

This from HSUS Oregon state director Scott Beckstead:
IMPORTANT RULING TODAY BY THE OREGON COURT OF APPEALS: The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that the emergency aid exception to the search and seizure warrant requirement applies to animals. This is a case that originated in Douglas County, Oregon, and involved Grace, the little brown mare who became a worldwide celebrity for her will to survive after being horribly abused. Combined with the ruling in State v. Nix, which held that individual animals are crime victims just like people, I must say Oregon courts are definitely moving in the right direction.... The case is State v. Fessenden.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

West Hollywood fur ban takes effect today!

The City of West Hollywood leads the nation again!

Local merchants are outraged... yadda yadda yadda (meh, get over it!).  Read all about it in this L.A. Times article.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One Northern CA PD forges forward into the 20th century....

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that the Merced Police Dept. is changing its policy from literally allowing officers to take "severely injured" animals out back to be shot... to requiring them to bring in a vet to determine whether the animal should be treated or euthanized (by injection).

This is a step forward, of course.  But it's mind-blowing (at least to me) to be reading this 13 years into the 21st century already.  You can read the article for yourself here.  Thanks to Ledy VanKavage for the heads-up on this one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just in case you didn't catch this over the weekend...

FABULOUS editorial in the NY Times this past Sunday, by a writer who really sees the big picture. YAY!!!  Read it here...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Harbinger of change?

As someone who's actually litigated one of these awful cases, I was encouraged to see that an article of this nature appearing in Law Enforcement Today.  Not that an article is enforceable, but hopefully it is at least a sign that the culture of shoot-first-ask-later may be ready to change...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Mo' great animal welfare news! - Pigs

The Canadian Pork Council and the National Animal Care Council have agreed to phase out the use of all gestation stalls for pregnant sows in Canada by the year 2024.  Read more in today's Food Safety News...

Lots of great animal welfare news today! - Horses

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed - without opposition - a measure to protect a wild herd of horses that roam along North Carolina's Outer Banks.  The Sacramento Bee has more...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Illinois House ok's so-called puppy lemon law

Pet owners who unknowingly purchase a sick dog or cat would have new consumer protection measures on their side under a new bill that was approved by the Illinois House Monday.

Read more in this Huffington Post article...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A view from the front lines...

Apologies for the gap in blogging... been busy with putting together the Animal History Museum fundraiser and then we were invited to exhibit at WorldFest in LA...

Anywho, great article on hopefully how the tide is turning in the ag-gag saga from LA Weekly today. 

Thanks much to blog reader Bruce for the heads-up!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adam Karp does it again!

A judge has almost doubled what the city of Des Moines must pay to the owners of Rosie, a dog shot and killed by police in 2010. He added $50,000 in attorney’s costs and fees to the $51,000 the city had agreed to pay the owners. 

Read more in today's Seattle Times...

And here are some excerpts from a transcript that should hopefully go down in history as an animal law classic:

(Background: On Jan. 29, 2013, the Wrights accepted an Offer of Judgment for $51,000.  Defendants continued to haggle over certain points and filed a brief.)

On Apr. 1, 2013, United States District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington James Robart asked for oral argument. He began by asking defense counsel to respond to four issues: (1) that the Wrights failed to comply with a condition precedent (i.e., not dismissing the officers before judgment was entered); (2) the lodestar multiplier for the exceptional result; (3) the impact solicited donations have, if any, on the motion for fees; and (4) that the officers were not subject to a criminal charge.

On the first issue, the court said: "It seems to me that this is your language. You wrote it, and it doesn't put any temporal dimension to it. And now you are saying he is in violation of something that doesn't exist."

On the second issue: "And I believe that a limited lodestar addition is appropriate. And, therefore, I am ordering 1.3 times the $38,000 number, for total fees and costs, inclusive of everything, of $50,162.78."

On the third issue: "I don't believe that the solicitation of public donations makes any difference in this. Counsel's argument under the Corder case ignores the fact that what the court said was, 'non-settling defendant is entitled to offset attorney's fees owed by the amount already paid by settling defendants.' That is a double recovery rule, and that is not the situation we have here, where people wish to contribute to a fund to finance litigation in support of the principles that they believe in, namely, don't shoot dogs."

On the fourth issue: "It is not uncommon in this court for a person who brings a 1983 claim against the police to simultaneously file an investigation charge and ask the police accountability board to investigate and then use that as evidence in their 1983 action. That happens all the time. And so I don't think I follow your argument on this. ... You challenged that as unconstitutional and got slapped down immediately. But what other mechanism does someone have when they believe that the police are not enforcing the law, they are operating above the law? And now you say, well, when they did that, that is completely outside the bounds of a claim against them."

On the issue of Mr. Karp's fee: "I have considered the question of hourly rates. And I was unimpressed with the claim that Mr. Karp ought to get paid the same as someone who is working for the City. I would suggest that Ms. Ragonesi is probably underpaid, most likely on a billing rate arrangement that is between her law firm and her client."

And defense counsel's argument in briefing that the Wrights failed in their "unsupported, unnecessary, and unsuccessful private criminal persecution against Officers Graddon and Wieland" drew this: "Persecutions, you know, let's go back in history here. The treatment of the Jews by the Pharoahs in Ancient Egypt, that was a persecution. What Nazi Germany did in the Third Reich, that is a persecution. The expulsion of the Acadian people out of Nova Scotia, that is considered a persecution. The treatment of the Aborigines in early Australia, that is a persecution. Ethnic cleansing is a persecution. When someone seeks to believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are attempting to bring these people to justice, that is not a persecution. If you read the word in the in the dictionary, it stands for a systematic attack based on a belief. What belief did the police have? I read your stuff carefully. The front page uses the words 'overreaching,' 'unjustified,' 'artificially inflated,' 'outrageous,' 'unsupported,' 'unnecessary,' 'unsuccessful,' and 'persecution.' Counsel, that is just terrible writing. It shows a lack of civility. And I am surprised at you, and I am disappointed. That is not how you conduct yourself around here. I mean, what are you trying to accomplish with those words?"

In conclusion, the court awarded $50,162.78 in fees and costs to be paid in fifteen days of his ruling. Within two days, the Wrights were then to dismiss the officers. 

On Apr. 15, 2013, the Washington Cities Insurance Authority paid $101,162.78.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Art Night & Auction!

The Animal History Museum is holding its big spring event on May 17th - "Art Night & Auction!"  Sip champagne and nibble on appetizers, wander the indoor/outdoor space of a private gallery in North Hollywood, plus bid on some wonderful art - including a custom "pet portrait" of your favorite companion by the whimsical and fabulous Rebecca Fischer!

More information about the event is on our webpage.  If you're too excited and feel the urge to skip straight to buying tickets (and by all means, don't resist the urge!), tickets are available on Eventbrite.  Even if you're not going to be in California, please considering supporting the Animal History Museum.  A gift in any amount is always welcome; and since AHM is a registered 501(c)(3), all donations, ticket sales and art purchases are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Proposed Conn bill would allow some animals representatives in court

Some Connecticut lawmakers are proposing a measure to allow animal advocates to act on behalf of an animal in court.  At the moment the legislation seems to be limited to Department of Ag vets, but it includes both civil and criminal proceedings, including animal cruelty cases, so at least that's a start.
Read more in the Norwich Bulletin.  If anyone happens to get a hold of the actual bill, please let me know if it applies to more than just ag vets!

Way to go, Adam Karp!

Animal law attorney extraordinaire Adam Karp has just pushed the boundary further - again!  The Seattle Times is reporting that he has recently reached a $51,000 settlement for a couple whose Newfoundland was shot and killed by Des Moines, Washington police after it escaped from the family's yard.

The Seattle Times has the story... congrats, Adam!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


It’s been a long and rather divisive journey, but at last, the European Union will prohibit the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics, effective March 11. The ban will affect all toiletries and beauty products, from makeup to soap to toothpaste, according to PR Newswire.

Read more in this Time report...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama, gun control, scapegoats (and other animals...)

Anyone else hear President Obama's address this morning? 

I thought Biden's committee came back with some good suggestions (although admittedly I fall into that liberal camp which would like to see much greater restrictions).  I was glad to see that the President appears ready to push forward on a number of proposals concerning background checks, limiting magazine rounds to ten and so forth.  And I realize that unfortunately he is going to get a huge pushback from all sorts of gun interests; not just the NRA but (as with livestock, research and other animal-related issues) from any groups who potentially could lose money by any tightening of regulations, no matter how many more people would benefit from those protections.

So far so good.  But - and if you follow this blog this is a familiar refrain - the President's remarks left something to be desired.  I understand he needs to take the public position that he believes in the individual rights to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment.  Yet, in his obvious effort to appeal to the American public and build a coalition of support to enact these gun reforms... as he tried to paint a picture of all of the types of law-abiding citizens who use guns and how all of these groups agree reform is necessary... he spoke approvingly of hunters and sportsmen.

Now yes, I am aware that hunting is largely a legal activity.  And I further realize that even people who advocate for animal rights don't necessarily believe that a non-human animal's worth should be on par with a human animal's worth.  But did he really have to throw all non-humans under the bus like that?  The reality is, that no matter how legal it might be, hunting is just as horrifying to the hunted no matter who they are.  And it is likewise de-sensitivizing to the hunters.

During his first term, Mr. Obama extended the immigration status of illegal alien students but stopped short of providing a path to citizenship.  He stopped fighting DOMA but wouldn't actually support LGBT rights until Joe Biden inadvertently forced the President's hand by being a much more stand-up guy.  These straddling, contorted positions become much more understandable when viewed thru the lens of my-biggest-concern-is-getting-reelected.  I understand that.  Everyone is protective of their job. 

But he doesn't have to worry about re-election anymore.  Mr. Obama, please get out there and LEAD.  Everyone - human and non-human alike - is counting on you.  Please don't throw one under a bus for the other.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Lawsuit filed to stop National Park Service from killing deer in DC-area park

A lawsuit is underway to stop the National Park Service from killing hundreds of White-tailed Deer in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC. Such killing in Rock Creek Park would be unprecedented; no outside interference with native flora or fauna has been allowed since the park was established 120 years ago.  The deer herd is healthy and even the National Park Service’s own study fails to show that the deer currently are harming the park’s native plants.  Moreover, to the extent the deer population may threaten future harm, fencing and immunocontraception are less expensive and more humane alternatives to managing the population.

Read more about the litigation on the plaintiff attorneys' Wildlife and Environment Blog...