The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Law Update is a series highlighting legal and policy developments in the rapidly emerging field of animal law.


Though Ruled Unconstitutional, Industry Continues Pushing Ag-Gag Laws: Updates in North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, and Ontario

In the first half of 2020, there were multiple developments in the realm of Ag-Gag laws — so named because they criminalize whistleblowing and undercover investigations in agricultural facilities, thus “gagging” activists and others who expose animal abuse in factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Washington Jury Awards Damages for “Intrinsic Value” and “Emotional Distress” Damages in Dog Shooting Case

In what is thought to be the largest verdict in Washington for the death of a dog, a jury has awarded $100,000 in a case involving the shooting death of Chucky, a springer spaniel whom owner Jim Anderson described as his “best friend.”
dog in hot car

New Massachusetts Law Will Protect Dogs in Hot Cars

Adding to the increase in legislation addressing the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars, Massachusetts SB2369 was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 19.
stray puppy

New Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit Created in Florida

In the latest instance of a growing trend, the Orange-Osceola state attorney in central Florida created a dedicated animal cruelty unit last month.

Appeals Court Rules U.S. Navy Sonar Use Violates Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in California has banned the U.S. Navy from using sonar that harms marine mammals.

Australian State Bans Greyhound Racing

New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, has banned greyhound racing after a government investigation found overwhelming evidence of “horrific” cruelty.

Massachusetts Farmed Animal Ballot Measure Survives Constitutional Challenge

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has allowed a ballot question addressing the confinement of farmed animals to move forward, ruling against a constitutional challenge in a unanimous decision.

Dogs Are Not Mere Property, Rules Oregon Supreme Court

The June 2016 ruling in State v. Newcomb holds that law enforcement do not need to obtain a warrant before a veterinarian can administer a routine blood test if there is probable cause to believe that an animal is being cruelly treated.

Florida Bar Animal Law Committee Gains Section Status

The profile of animal law in Florida has received a boost with the Florida Bar approving an Animal Law Section to represent the growing specialty.