Since the very beginning, cutting-edge lawsuits have been at the heart of ALDF’s work to protect the lives of animals. ALDF has been at the forefront for more than three decades, pushing government agencies to do their jobs to protect animals and shining a national spotlight on issues like factory farming and dissection in schools.


  • In January, a judge denied egg retailer Handsome Brook Farm’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the egg retailer violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act by selling eggs wrongly labeled as “pasture raised.” The case, brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Organic Consumers Association, and The Richman Law Group, aims to protect the rights of consumers to receive accurate information about the way their food is produced.
  • In January, the Animal Legal Defense Fund received records from the City of Livingston, California about water usage at Foster Farms, a chicken slaughterhouse and processing plant located within city limits. The Animal Legal Defense Fund with pro bono representation from BraunHagey & Borden, LLP sued the city for violating the California Public Records Act after it claimed the disclosure was not in the public interest. The records revealed that Foster Farms’ consumption of water resources remained steady or increased during the California drought.
  • In February, a judge dismissed a baseless defamation lawsuit filed by Landry’s Inc. and the Downtown Aquarium Inc. in Houston against the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The Animal Legal Defense Fund had publicly commented on the long-controversial mistreatment of four white tigers who have been housed in the Downtown Aquarium and restaurant for 12 years without adequate access to sunlight, fresh air or natural surfaces. The judge also awarded over $170,000 in attorneys’ fees and $450,000 in sanctions against Landry’s in order to discourage the filing of future lawsuits designed to suppress free speech.
  • In February, the inhumane King Kong Zoological Park in North Carolina shut down permanently after the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit alleging the zoo’s cruel treatment of animals violated North Carolina’s animal cruelty laws. North Carolina’s unique civil animal cruelty law empowers concerned members of the public to stop animal cruelty when criminal animal cruelty laws go ignored and under-enforced, as they did at the King Kong Zoo.
  • In February, the Animal Legal Defense Fund won a major victory when the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that animal advocacy organizations may be entitled to intervene and participate in enforcement actions against alleged violators of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This opportunity for citizen participation came at a crucial time, considering that a few weeks earlier, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had abruptly removed all enforcement records regarding puppy mills, research laboratories and roadside zoos from its website.
  • In June, the California Exposition and State Fairs (Cal Expo) and Regents of the University of California agreed not to host an exhibit in 2017 featuring illegally confined pregnant and nursing pigs at the California State Fair after the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of Humane ARME and the Animal Legal Defense Fund Cruelty Prevention Unit. In the exhibit, pregnant and nursing pigs are confined in cramped crates so small that pigs are unable to walk or stand comfortably.
  • In July, the U.S. District Court of Utah ruled the Utah Ag-Gag statute was unconstitutional. A landmark decision, this marked the second time that a state Ag-Gag statute was found unconstitutional. Both rulings were due to lawsuits filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Ag-Gag laws criminalize undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses that often expose serious animal cruelty and violations of environmental and safety laws.
  • In August, a California judge ordered Manning Beef, a slaughterhouse, to pay $94,500 in attorneys’ fees after Manning Beef falsely accused Los Angeles Cow Save, a group that organizes vigils for animals killed at the slaughterhouse, of trespassing. The fees were awarded after the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Law Offices of Matthew Strugar, and attorney Ryan Gordon filed an anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of Los Angeles Cow Save.
  • In August, a coalition of wildlife protection groups including the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully challenged Monterey County, California’s contract renewal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. Wildlife Services indiscriminately kills native wildlife using taxpayer dollars. A Superior Court judge ruled the renewal violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) which mandates agencies comply with an environmental-review process.
  • In November, the Animal Legal Defense Fund concluded its lawsuit against the San Antonio Zoo on behalf of Lucky the elephant. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the zoo arguing that its treatment of Lucky, an elephant living alone in a too small enclosure with little to no shelter from the sun, violated the Endangered Species Act. As a result of the lawsuit, the zoo introduced two new elephant companions for Lucky and improved the Asian elephant habitat. Elephants are highly social animals, and Lucky’s psychological health improved significantly with the introduction of her companions.


  • In October, an annual coyote killing contest was canceled after the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit alleging it was illegal under Kansas law, which criminalizes gambling enterprises. In the settlement, the contest organizer agreed to never host or organize another killing contest in Kansas ever again. He will also pay the Animal Legal Defense Fund more than $2,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • In October, the Animal Legal Defense Fund won an important appeal against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an ongoing dispute over whether the agency must provide information about hen population and living conditions that FDA collects from large factory egg farms. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, reversed a lower district court’s judgment allowing the FDA to withhold that information and sent the case back to the lower court for a trial.
  • In September, the Animal Legal Defense Fund scored a major victory for dogs suffering in puppy mills when it won its lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. As a result of the lawsuit, the department was forced to reinstate comprehensive regulations for commercial dog breeders. The rules had prohibited some of the cruelest and most inhumane practices, such as keeping mother dogs in cages with metal wirestrand flooring and never letting mother dogs outside for exercise.
  • In August, the Animaland Zoological Park in Pennsylvania permanently shut down in response to a March 2016 lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The lawsuit alleged that the zoo violated the Endangered Species Act and state wildlife laws by failing to provide adequate care for animals confined at the facility. Two bears and an endangered wolf were relocated to sanctuaries that are capable of meeting their needs.
  • In August, the Animal Legal Defense Fund secured the release of two endangered African lions to The Wild Animal Sanctuary from substandard conditions at Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa. The sanctuary placement stemmed from a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act that the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed against the facility after lions were added to the endangered species protection list.
  • In June, the Animal Legal Defense Fund settled a public records lawsuit against the City of Chicago Animal Care and Control and obtained public records about the facility’s treatment of cats and dogs.
  • In June, the Margaret Central School District declined to plan an annual fundraiser based on an inhumane activity called “donkey basketball” after the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a notice of intent to sue for violating New York’s humane education law.
  • In April, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors agreed to suspend its contract with the controversial Wildlife Services agency and perform a full Environmental Impact Report to settle a lawsuit brought under the California Environmental Quality Act by a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups that included the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The lawsuit alleged that Wildlife Services causes broad ecological destruction by recklessly slaughtering native predators using traps, snares, poison, and other devices.
  • In March, SeaWorld announced that it would phase out its captive orca program by no longer breeding or acquiring orcas. SeaWorld’s historic announcement comes months after ALDF the California Coastal Commission voted at ALDF’s request that SeaWorld San Diego must discontinue its captive orca breeding program in order to proceed with its Blue World expansion plans at that facility.
  • In February, ALDF scored a precedent-setting victory in an Endangered Species Act lawsuit on behalf of four tigers and three lemurs held in substandard captivity at Cricket Hollow Zoo, a roadside zoo in Iowa. This victory is the first time that animal advocates successfully used the Endangered Species Act to obtain a court order for the removal of captive animals from substandard conditions, and sets important precedent that isolation of social animals violates the Act.
  • In February, ALDF helped documentary filmmaker James Kleinert obtain wrongfully withheld public records from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Kleinert v.Bureau of Land Management. James is a documentary filmmaker most famous for the critically acclaimed “Wild Horses & Renegades,” which shines a spotlight on the BLM’s cruel management of wild horses on public lands in the American West. After the BLM withheld large portions of James’ law enforcement file, FOIA Advocates assisted ALDF to recover withheld records in a lawsuit against the BLM in federal court.


  • In November, the Clark County Board of County Commissioners enacted an ordinance promoted by ALDF that added significant protection and oversight for exotic animals in Clark County, Nevada, which represents the greater Las Vegas area.
  • In October, the California Coastal Commission voted at ALDF’s request that SeaWorld San Diego must discontinue its captive orca breeding program in order to proceed with its Blue World expansion plans at that facility.
  • In August, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruled that the state’s Ag-Gag law, Idaho Code sec. 18-7042, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the first time a court has declared an Ag-Gag statute unconstitutional and a landmark victory for a broad-based public interest coalition of national nonprofits, including ALDF, PETA, the ACLU of Idaho, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).
  • In July, the USDA suspended the Cricket Hollow Zoo’s license to operate and the zoo was forced to close for three weeks—facts that ALDF attorneys quickly relayed to the U.S. District Court as the Court considers ALDF’s motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against the zoo’s owners for violating the Endangered Species Act.
  • In July, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina held that the public can indeed sue private zoos for cruelty to animals under state law, reversing an August 2014 trial court’s dismissal of ALDF’s civil animal-cruelty lawsuit which exposed horrid conditions at the King Kong Zoo in Murphey, North Carolina.
  • In June, the Supreme Court of California rejected an attempt by Napa restaurant La Toque to circumvent the state’s ban on selling foie gras, the enlarged livers of force-fed ducks, agreeing with an earlier California Court of Appeal rejection of the restaurant’s claims and holding that ALDF is likely to succeed in proving that La Toque is illegally selling foie gras by “giving it away” to paying customers.
  • In June, after ALDF and landowners in Moultrie County, Illinois had strenuously opposed a plan for a 45-acre drive-through roadside zoo where paying visitors could interact with animals, the Arthur Zoo withdrew its permit application and its plan was scrapped.
  • In June, Stockton Animal Shelter reported increased adoption rates, decreased killings, increased medical care and spay/neuter after an ALDF lawsuit.
  • In May, Oregon’s new law, HB 2888, added existing animal crimes (abuse, neglect, fighting, etc) to its longstanding nuisance abatement scheme, which had already included crimes like prostitution, gambling, and illegal drug dealing. Under this bill a private citizen can take steps to stop an animal crime from occurring (“abating” the nuisance).
  • In May, the Great Bull Run announced on its website that the 2015 event was cancelled.
  • In March, the Great Bull Run agreed to never hold an event in California to settle a lawsuit brought by ALDF and PETA alleging violations of the anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law.
  • In February, ALDF settled its public nuisance lawsuit against Jim Mack’s Ice Cream to secure the release of a female black bear named Ricky from her 16-year confinement at the ice cream shop to the Colorado-based Wild Animal Sanctuary.


  • In March, a Georgia appellate court agreed with an ALDF amicus brief that the owners of a dog killed by a kennel’s negligent administration of a toxic dose of medication were not limited to the “market value” of the dog, but could instead recover the “actual value” of the dog to the family. According to the court’s opinion in that case, Barking Hound Village v. Monyak, the family spent $67,000 in veterinary and other expenses over several months in their attempt to cure the dog of acute renal failure stemming from the overdose. The kennel sought to limit the damages to the market value of the dog.
  • In December, the North Carolina Board of Agriculture has announced it will now prohibit gas chambers in the “routine euthanasia of cats and dogs”—a decision following an April 2014 petition for rulemaking on the issue that the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed with the board.
  • In July, ALDF settled a lawsuit against the organizer of the JMK Coyote Hunting Contest in Crane, Harney County, Oregon, shutting down the contest.
  • In July, OSHA fined the Miami Seaquarium $7,000 as a result of an ALDF complaint. ALDF documented worker safety violations, showing trainers in the water with a captive orca named Lolita.
  • In July, at the urging of ALDF, the Department of Transportation expanded the rule that requires airlines to report incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of certain animals during air transport to include all cats and dogs, rather than merely those who are already household pets.
  • In May, a federal judge dismissed Mayfair House, Inc.’s constitutional challenge against the City of West Hollywood’s first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of products made from animal fur within city limits. ALDF and the Humane Society of the United States filed friend of the court briefs in support of the City’s request for dismissal of the case.  ALDF successfully argued that the City has the authority to regulate to protect animal welfare without running afoul of state statutory and constitutional provisions.  A leader in animal welfare, in addition to its recent ban on the sale of fur products, the City of West Hollywood has enacted a number of local controls protecting animal welfare, including bans on the use of steel leg-hold traps, non-therapeutic declawing of cats, and the retail sale of pets within city limits.  Both ALDF and HSUS have a long history of supporting the City in its efforts to protect animal welfare.
  • In May, following a petition by ALDF,  PETA, Orca Network, and others, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a rule to grant Lolita the same status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that covers all other Southern Resident orcas—the pod that she was seized from in 1970. ALDF and PETA believe that the current confinement conditions that Lolita is subjected to are prohibited by the ESA. This action opens the door to the prospect that she could be retired from performing and transferred to a seaside sanctuary.
  • In March, after appealing an initial wholesale denial, ALDF gained access to records from the New York Police Department pertaining to the treatment of carriage horses in New York City.
  • In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) responded to a December 2013 complaint by ALDF, fining notorious zoo G.W. Exotic Animal Park over $5,000 for an incident in which a captive tiger violently attacked an employee. OSHA found that G.W. Exotics’ work environment poses risks of death or serious physical harm by exposing human employees to contact with wild animals such as tigers, lions, ligers and bears. OSHA then recommended the facility follow standards set by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
  • In February ALDF won a victory for hens and consumers by settling with Bay Area egg producer Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs, owned by Petaluma Egg Farm. As a result of the settlement, the producer will have to change its advertising and pay $44,000 to be split equally between the Sonoma Humane Society, Public Justice Foundation, and Consumer Action. More information about the settlement can be found here.
  • In January Caltrans agreed to remove bird-killing nets at a local highway project, and vowed to use safer construction methods after settling with ALDF and conservation groups.


  • In November, ALDF obtained a judgment against WCI Foxhound Training Preserve, Inc., a coyote penning operation located just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. In the judgment, the court found that WCI had illegally hosted “field trial” hunting competitions in which dogs chased, and eventually killed, live coyotes within an electrified, enclosed area. Almost immediately after the court issued its judgment, WCI informed the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that it would no longer host “field trial” competitions featuring the unlawful chasing and killing of coyotes, and on December 30, 2013, the judge entered his final order in the case.
  • In a groundbreaking end to its false advertising lawsuit against New York-based Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is celebrating the company’s decision to stop advertising its products as “humane.”
  • In July, ALDF filed the first lawsuit in the nation to challenge the constitutionality of an ag gag law. Utah’s law, which criminalizes the videotaping on factory farms, attacks activity protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments. Amy Meyer, who was the first person threatened with prosecution under such a law, is now a plaintiff in ALDF’s lawsuit.
  • In July Tyson Foods made substantial changes to its website after Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a complaint to the FTC, challenging its use of deceptive and misleading animal welfare claims.
  • In July eleven bears were removed from gladiator-style bear pits at a North Carolina roadside zoo after ALDF sent the Chief Saunooke Bear Park a letter threatening to sue for ongoing harm to the grizzlies. Thankfully, the bears now reside at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary.
  • In July ALDF’s fight against the foie gras industry moved forward when the courts agreed that foie gras is not protected as free speech under the U.S Constitution. Napa County Superior Court denied Napa-based restaurant La Toque’s anti-SLAPP motion which claimed to allow their illegal sale of force-fed foie gras products as a free speech protest. Judge Diane Price affirmed the merits of ALDF’s case and decreed that La Toque’s gifting of foie gras constitutes a sale.
  • In May, ALDF filed a joint lawsuit against the California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) for causing and allowing the deaths of migratory cliff swallows in netting under bridges at a highway widening project, in violation of federal protection laws. Governor Jerry Brown ordered an independent, top-to-bottom review of Caltrans. Furthermore, a CA-Assembly Subcommittee approved a requirement that Caltrans consult with wildlife conservation groups before proceeding with further Marin-Sonoma Narrows development.
  • In March, ALDF helped secure a felony conviction in the case of a Fraser, Michigan man. Justin Coppola (20) pleaded guilty to felony animal killing/torturing after being seen by a police offer to throw a kitten out a car window and attempt several times to run it over, before picking the kitten up and throwing it out his car window while driving. ALDF worked with local prosecutors throughout the legal proceedings.
  • In February, the Oregon Zoo paid $400,000 to buy its new baby elephant Lily and her father, Tusko. A loan breeding agreement between the Zoo and notorious abuser Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) had come to light, showing that both Lily and Tusko were legally owned by HTWT. ALDF joined in the massive public outcry by writing two letters to the Zoo’s governing entity, calling for a voided breeding agreement. Two days after ALDF’s second letter, the Zoo and HTWT performed a sale that removed any possibility of the elephants transferring to HTWT.


  • In December, a Colorado judge sentenced a 73-year old animal abuser to nine and a half years in prison for poisoning two neighbor dogs with strychnine-laced meatballs. ALDF assisted the local police department with the case and helped ensure the criminal prosecution of felony aggravated animal cruelty and witness intimidation charges.
  • In August, a North Carolina judge granted Ben the Bear permanent sanctuary at the Performing Animal Welfare Society as a result of a lawsuit against Jambbas Ranch—ALDF attorneys worked to represent the plaintiffs. Ben had languished for years on cement in a chain-link kennel–he now has the chance to live like a bear should, with plenty of space to roam, play, and forage in his new habitat.
  • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced in August that the abuse of turtles at the annual Ohio County event known as “Snapperfest,” where “contestants” demonstrate their prowess by pulling the heads of live turtles far outside of their shells, would not take place this summer.  The announcement followed an ALDF petition for rulemaking to the state which argued that a misinterpretation of Indiana law was allowing for illegal cruelty at the event.
  • In a groundbreaking decision for animal law, an Oregon appeals court ruled in favor of the state’s argument, supported by an ALDF amicus brief, that individual animals can be considered “victims” of acts of cruelty and neglect. The decision overturned the trial court’s ruling that the state was the lone “victim” in a case where a defendant was convicted of 20 separate counts of animal neglect involving 20 individual horses.
  • In June, ALDF and the Palm Springs Animal Shelter settled a lawsuit alleging extremely high euthanasia rates of adoptable animals, lack of veterinary care, and the misuse of the term, “no-kill” at the shelter. This settlement will bring the shelter up to an acceptable standard, making accurate reporting, quality care, and accountability a priority.
  • In June, ALDF finalized a settlement and court order resolving a lawsuit alleging widespread egregious animal abuse and neglect at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc., a Santa Cruz, Calif. hatchery that processed millions of birds each year destined for the chicken and duck meat industries. Following the lawsuit, which was based on an undercover video, Cal-Cruz is no longer in operation, and the former owner may no longer work with animals.
  • An outraged citizen represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Clay County, Kentucky, taking the county to task for extreme neglect of animals at the county’s shelter, neglect that violated Kentucky’s Humane Shelter Law.



  • ALDF’s nationwide push to develop a system for law enforcement officials and the public to find out when a convicted animal abuser is in their community scored a historic victory when lawmakers in Suffolk County, New York voted unanimously to create the country’s first animal abuser registry.
  • In November, ALDF filed its third lawsuit in Kentucky over deplorable shelter conditions, this time in Clay County. This so-called animal shelter — a place that should offer hope and sanctuary to animals in need — is more like a filthy prison, where many, if not most, of the dogs are housed in one large, open-air pen that does not protect them from the elements.
  • ALDF secured full and permanent custody of eight severely neglected horses after a judge ordered Robert Collier, the horses’ owner, to pay $96,000 for the cost of caring for the horses. Collier agreed to give up all rights to the horses which means they will never be returned to their abuser.
  • In June, ALDF came to the rescue of endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico who were being burned alive after the massive oil spill. With a coalition of three other environmental and animal protection organizations, ALDF filed a lawsuit that forced British Petroleum and the Coast Guard to allow animal advocates to identify and rescue the sea turtles before cleanup workers ignited fires that trapped these magnificent turtles in blazes that shot hundreds of feet into the sky.
  • In February, the City of West Hollywood, California passed an ordinance, drafted by ALDF working with local activists, effectively banning the sale of animals bred at “puppy mills.”
  • On the same day ALDF launched its Expose Animal Abusers campaign, California Senator Dean Florez announced a bill to create an animal abuser registry for the state that would require animal abusers to register in their communities.
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a California law banning the use of sick and disabled (“downed”) animals in the human food supply after ALDF and other animal protection organizations intervened in a meat industry lawsuit that sought to overturn key provisions of California’s newly upgraded law banning the use of sick and disabled animals in the food supply.
  • After more than 100 live and approximately 150 dead Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes were removed from Kenneth Lang Jr’s filthy home in 2009, ALDF provided a grant of $3,500 to allow the Dearborn Police Department to conduct necropsies on 10 of the Chihuahuas whose bodies were removed from freezers on 56-year-old Lang’s property. Kenneth Lang Jr. pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in January 2010.
  • Represented by ALDF, the United States Equine Rescue League (USERL) filed a complaint in Indiana against Robert and Rebecca Collier for the cost for caring for eight severely neglected horses. On October 12, 2010, full and permanent custody of the once-neglected horses was granted to USERL, which has been fostering and rehabilitating the horses since their rescue.


  • ALDF helped launch the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, which develops and provides essential programs and services for law students under the guidance of experienced animal law professors and ALDF attorneys.
  • ALDF won a tremendous victory in securing permanent custody of seven horses rescued from Michael, Judy, and Gayle Keating, the abusive North Carolina owners who allowed them to starve nearly to death, in the case of ALDF v. Keating.
  • When two Kentucky county shelters failed to provide basic, humane conditions for stray dogs and cats, ALDF filed concurrent lawsuits in each county. Both Robertson and Estill County agreed to oversee critical improvements for homeless animals in their shelters. The new shelters now provide a higher standard of care and a superior home for the animals, and adequate veterinary care is a guarantee.
  • After Max the kitten was kicked down a flight of stairs by Dustin Teahon of Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, ALDF assisted County Attorney Tiffany Wasserburger with the daunting legal challenge of preventing Max from being returned to his abuser’s home. Ultimately, Teahon was sentenced to jail, and the judge allowed Max to be adopted into a new, loving home.
  • A 2007 report from the National Research Council called for a sustained, well-funded effort that moves away from using live animals to test the toxicity of industrial chemicals and pesticides. ALDF teamed with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School and the Environmental Law Institute to actively support the changes recommended in the NRC’s report and developed symposia to explore non-animal toxicity tests.
  • On October 6, the United States Supreme Court directly addressed the issue of animal cruelty for the first time in more than fifteen years. ALDF submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case of U.S. v. Stevens, urging the Court to uphold the law and recognize that the prevention of cruelty to animals is a compelling government interest.
  • The American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Animal Law Committee honored ALDF Founder Joyce Tischler with the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award.
  • Shortly after ALDF ranked New Brunswick as one of the “best places to be an animal abuser” in Canada, the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly unanimously approved a new law that strengthened laws protecting animals, making New Brunswick’s maximum fine the highest for this offense in Canada.
  • ALDF’s Pamela Frasch was appointed the nation’s first-ever dean in the field of animal law. Robert Klonoff, Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School, created the only dean-level position in the nation to head up the law school’s animal law program.
  • When a young pit bull named Sierra was at risk of being returned to the man who beat her regularly and even shut her head in a sliding glass door, ALDF attorneys placed a lien on the dog for the cost of helping her recover from her multiple fractures so that she could be permanently adopted into a new, loving home.


  • Thanks to the concerted efforts of ALDF and two dozen other animal protection organizations, two hundred dogs, along with fifty cats, were freed from appalling conditions at the All Creatures Great and Small “no kill” shelter in North Carolina. In this urgent situation for hundreds of suffering dogs, ALDF’s exhaustive research provided the basis for the civil complaint that allowed the State Department of Agriculture to seize the facility’s animals and shut it down forever.
  • In August, ALDF filed lawsuits in Kentucky against Estill and Robertson Counties for neglecting their homeless animals, despite their legal requirement to provide basic humane care.
  • ALDF released the first-ever Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings report and the third annual State Animal Protection Laws Rankings report, ranking the animal protection laws of every state and province based on their relative strength and general comprehensiveness.
  • After the district attorney enlisted ALDF’s expert recommendations, two men were sentenced last April to jail time, mental health evaluations, and prohibitions on contact with animals after torturing their roommate’s 7-week old kitten, White Socks.
  • Thanks to a new law written by ALDF, criminals convicted of dogfighting in the state of Virginia will face even tougher legal penalties. The new law gives prosecutors the power to go after dogfighting operations as organized criminal enterprises, providing advantages such as tougher sentences, larger fines and forfeiture of assets – key legal tools in combating organized dogfighting rings.
  • In May, the deputy county attorney in Platte County, Nebraska, requested ALDF’s assistance with a case against the owner of Puddles, a 13-year-old Bichon Frise who had suffered such severe neglect that he had to be euthanized. Taking a hands-on approach, ALDF was in the courtroom, outlining key portions of the State’s closing argument which led to the conviction of Puddles’ neglectful owner.
  • When Denver reinstituted an ordinance banning pit bull ownership within the city limits and unfairly punished dogs who never acted in an aggressive manner, ALDF took a firm stand against breed specific legislation. ALDF filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the case of Sonya Dias, et al. v. The City and County of Denver, Colorado, et al. The case was brought by plaintiffs, owners of pit bulls, who were faced with moving out of Denver or risk the seizure and killing of their beloved dogs by local authorities.
  • After the swift rescue of more than 100 neglected and suffering dogs from a North Carolina hoarder in December, 2007, four individuals came forward claiming they owned some of the dogs ALDF rescued from this hoarding situation. Testing new legal theories, ALDF sued the four individuals for permanent custody of the rescued dogs. As a result, ALDF was awarded permanent custody and all of the dogs are now living in new, loving homes.
  • ALDF called on Kentucky’s legislature to push for comprehensive changes in its laws protecting horses and other animal; the Bluegrass State ranked dead last in the nation for animal protection laws in 2008.
  • When Lucky, Jacks and Pepper were seized in Linn County, Oregon, due to severe neglect, the Animal Legal Defense Fund jumped in, concluding the pre-conviction civil forfeiture case, which ensured that the horses went immediately to loving foster homes rather than back to their abusive owners.
  • In the November 4th election, Californians voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 2, a historic measure endorsed by ALDF and hundreds of animal protection organizations, veterinarians, environmental groups, and family farmers. The measure will ban some of farming’s cruelest confinement practices, including veal crates for baby calves, gestation crates for pregnant sows, and battery cages for egg-laying hens.
  • The Animal Legal Defense Fund dismissed its lawsuit against Corcpork, Inc. (ALDF v. Corcpork) California’s largest industrial pig farming operation, after the facility agreed to close, effectively stopping the abusive practice of confining thousands of female pigs in crates so tiny that they could not even turn around.
  • Country music icon Willie Nelson joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s fight to end the intensive confinement of dairy calves by endorsing our “Free Baby Mendes” campaign. Willie, along with over 30,000 other individuals, signed on his support to end the factory farming practice of housing newborn calves in crates so small they can’t turn around or lie down naturally—the conditions that instigated our lawsuit ALDF v. Mendes.


  • In the wake of Michael Vick’s arrest, ALDF proposes model laws to Virginia and Georgia legislatures that would strengthen prosecutors’ abilities to go after dogfighters.
  • Final victory for hundreds of rescued dogs when the North Carolina Supreme Court upholds ALDF’s win against hoarders Robert and Barbara Woodley.
  • ALDF launches petition drive against Land O’ Lakes and Challenge Dairy.
  • ALDF refiles lawsuit against California pig farm Corcpork,Inc., just weeks before world’s larges pork producer, Smithfield Foods, announces gestation crate phase out.
  • A swift settlement in October 2007 protected severely neglected toy poodles and birds seized from AKC champion breeder Janie Conyers.


  • In the case of Cat Champion Corp. v. Jean Marie Primrose, handled by ALDF and involving 11 neglected cats, the Oregon Court of Appeals becomes the first court in the U.S. ever to state that a fiduciary can be appointed on behalf of an animal owner to determine what is in the best interest of her and her pets and to grant a limited protective order allowing an animal protection organization to be the fiduciary making that determination.
  • Chimpanzees Sable, Cody, and Angel head for retirement at sanctuaries as a result of a settlement in ALDF’s year-long lawsuit against their “trainer,” Sid Yost. The suit alleges that Yost (who denies the allegations despite shocking eyewitness testimony; Statement of Settlement) subjects them to violent beatings in order to force them to perform for Hollywood appearances.


  • ALDF goes to court against North Carolina animal hoarders Barbara and Robert Woodley; ALDF is granted a permanent injunction against the Woodleys in the largest civil animal cruelty case in history and given custody of their 325 dogs, pending appeals.


  • ALDF holds the Future of animal Law Conference at Yale Law School, exploring how U.S. law is evolving to reflect Americans’ changing attitudes about animals.


  • ALDF works with activists in Texas and Colorado to halt the killing of thousands of prairie dogs.


  • ALDF drafts stronger anti-cruelty legislation for West Virginia, Wyoming, Washington, and Alaska. Since the start of the Zero Tolerance for cruelty campaign, the number of states with felony anti-cruelty laws climbs from 7 to more than 40.


  • ALDF and the Fund for Animals sue the federal government to halt a plan to remove hundreds of wild horses from their rangeland.


  • A groundbreaking ballot initiative to outlaw cruel “gestation crates” for pigs in factory farms is drafted by ALDF counsel. The initiative becomes law in 2002.
  • ALDF drafts legislation making Oregon the first state to legally recognize the link between violence to animals and humans.


  • ALDF helps draft the “T-Bo bill” making Tennessee the first state to allow human guardians to sue for emotional distress damages when their companion animals are wrongfully killed. The bill is later signed into law.


  • ALDF wins a landmark victory in the “Barney” case, establishing the right of animal advocates to challenge federal agencies regarding the treatment of animals under the Animal Welfare Act.


  • ALDF sues the Missouri Conservation Commission over a proposed river otter trapping season. ALDF defeats a plan to trap river otters in Idaho.


  • ALDF and the Great Ape Project team up to form the Great Ape Legal Project, a campaign to win legal rights for great apes, including the right to life, liberty, and freedom from torture.


  • ALDF sues the USDA for its failure to protect primates in research facilities and roadside zoos under the Animal Welfare Act.


  • ALDF helps defeat legislation that would have sent 148 Air Force “space chimps” to a research facility.
  • ALDF drafts the “Kittles Bill,” which passes into law as Oregon’s felony anti-cruelty law and provides a model for other states to improve their laws. District Attorney Joshua  Marquis describes it as the toughest animal cruelty law in the United States at the time of its passage.


  • ALDF successfully sues the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Academy of Sciences for excluding animal advocates from a committee revising NIH standards for treatment of animals used in research.


  • ALDF launches the Zero Tolerance for Cruelty campaign.


  • An ALDF lawsuit forces the University of Vermont to make the records of its animal care and use committee available to the public.


  • ALDF sues the USDA after the agency fails to set adequate standards to protect primates and dogs in research laboratories.


  • ALDF sues the federal government for failure to protect rats and mice under the Animal Welfare Act.
  • ALDF challenges the composition of the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Board, which had been controlled by hunting, fishing, and trapping interests.


  • An ALDF lawsuit stops annual bear hunts in California.


  • ALDF sues to halt the patenting of genetically altered animals.


  • ALDF goes to court to stop trophy hunting of California mountain lions.


  • ALDF attorneys block a USDA plan to brand dairy cows on the face with hot irons.


  • ALDF challenges the use of barbaric steel-jawed leghold traps in New York.


  • ALDF stops a research dealer from importing 71,500 monkeys for use in laboratory experiments.


  • ALDF successfully halts a U.S. Navy plan to kill more than 5,000 wild burros.

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