January 2017 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.
Logan’s Law Passes in Michigan
Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley signed into law House Bills 4353 and 4355, two of the four bills in the legislative package collectively known as “Logan’s Law.” The new amendatory acts, which passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support, allow Michigan animal shelters to deny adoptions under certain circumstances and to consider prior criminal history before adoption. Although HB 4353 and HB 4355 may not stop all potential abusers from obtaining an animal, their passage is an important first step in protecting shelter animals and ensuring they are placed in safe, loving homes. Read more on Logan’s Law and what it means for companion animals.
Alaska Considers Animals in Custody Cases
With the adoption of an amendment to its divorce law, Alaska has become the first state to empower judges to take into account the “well-being of the animal” in custody disputes involving nonhuman family members. The bipartisan HB 147, which was signed by Gov. Bill Walker in October 2016 and became effective Jan. 17, 2017, is the first law in the nation to expressly require courts to address the interests of companion animals when deciding how to assign ownership in divorce and dissolution proceedings. It is also the first to explicitly allow joint ownership of a companion animal. Learn more about this groundbreaking change.
Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment to USDA on Foie Gras
On Dec. 14, 2016, a federal judge granted summary judgment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a lawsuit brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, the Animal Protection and Rescue League and three individuals to compel the agency to declare foie gras a diseased product unsuitable for human consumption, thereby removing it from the food supply. Read on for all the details of this story.