December 2016 Animal Law Update
Animal Law Update is a monthly feature designed to keep our law student and legal professional network informed about the latest in animal law news.
Montreal’s Breed-Discriminatory By-Law
On Dec. 1, 2016, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling that had temporarily suspended new provisions of Montreal’s animal control by-law banning “pit bull-type dogs.” The suspension order was the result of a lawsuit filed by the Montreal SPCA against the city shortly after the ban went into effect on Oct. 3, 2016. The SPCA argued that the breed-specific provisions in the by-law ran counter “to article 898.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which grants animals the status of sentient beings.” The organization also charged that the definition of “pit bull” in the new by-law is too vague. Read on for the details in this developing case.
What is a Companion Worth
Last month, the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that had relied on a strict property analysis in restricting damages to fair market value in a case that involved the serious injury of a companion dog. Ruling that “substantial justice was not done,” the appellate court remanded the case back to the Toledo Municipal Court, instructing it to recalculate the damages to reflect the fact “that pets do not have the same characteristics as other forms of personal property, such as a table or sofa which is disposable and replaceable at our convenience.” Learn more about the latest case on intrinsic value.
A Battleground for Wolves in Michigan
Great Lakes gray wolves are still protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but their status has been challenged multiple times. On Nov. 23, 2016, the State of Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, also known as Public Act 281, which would have allowed wolves in Michigan to be hunted if they are ever removed from the federal ESA list. The decision was the result of a lawsuit brought by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), which challenged the state Natural Resources Commission’s authority to classify gray wolves as a “game species.” Read more about attempts to legalize wolf hunts in Michigan.
Upholding California’s Ban on Hens’ Extreme Confinement
On Nov. 17, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging California’s ban on the sale of shell eggs obtained from sources that do not comply with its animal care standards. The standards were set by Proposition 2, or the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, passed in 2008, which prohibits the confinement of farmed animals in spaces so small they cannot turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. Most egg-laying hens cannot do that in “battery cages,” the cramped and tiny cages that have become industry standard and are outlawed by the new law. Learn about this latest challenge to Proposition 2.
Wins for Animal Protection in the 2016 Election
While much of the nation’s focus has been riveted on the outcome of the recent presidential election, voters in a handful of states also decided important ballot measures related to animal protection last week. Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, Oklahoma voters rejected the dangerous State Question 777 and Oregonians approved the Wildlife Trafficking Prevention Act. Read on to learn more about each win and how the Animal Legal Defense Fund will fight for animal protection no matter the political climate.