Animal & Dog Law
Animal law is the body of law surrounding pet ownership, wildlife, animals used in the entertainment industry and animals raised for food and research. Animal law is a combination of various areas of law, such as tort, criminal, contract and constitutional law. Important issues in animal law include animal cruelty, companion animal concerns, animal breeding and animal estate planning.
Animal protection laws, known as anti-cruelty laws, regulate the abuse of animals. The Animal Welfare Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate the use of animals in research settings, circuses and zoos. Additionally, every state criminalizes the commission of inhumane acts against animals. In many states, violation of these laws is treated as a felony. Animal cruelty laws address a wide variety of issues, including owner neglect, pet mills or "farms" and animal laboratory testing. The Humane Society of the United States works to shield animals from mistreatment by actively investigating potential abusers. Another prominent animal rights organization is the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which seeks to protect abused animals through the legal system. The ALDF brings a number of lawsuits each year in an effort to eliminate animal cruelty.
Companion animals are all animals kept as pets or for recreational purposes. Companion animals include dogs, cats, horses and birds. Legal issues surrounding companion animals often involve owner liability for injuries, property damage or excessive noise. Most states have enacted statutes that hold a pet owner liable for all personal injuries and property damage inflicted by their animals. Some states limit liability to instances where the owner knew or had reason to know that their pet was dangerous or volatile. In cases of extreme negligence, or when injuries are especially severe, the state may impose criminal penalties on the animal's owner or caretaker. Pet owners may be able to defend claims against them if they can prove that the victim provoked the pet, the victim was trespassing or breaking the law, or that the victim knowingly undertook the risk of injury. Many states have enacted laws that provide remedies to those who complain of excessive noise from neighboring animals, specifically dogs. In states that do not address this issue directly, general nuisance laws may be used to obtain relief. Other legal issues involving companion animals include landlord-tenant disputes and "no pets" policies, vaccination requirements and wrongful death actions brought by owners for the loss of a pet.
The Animal Welfare Act, as well as individual state laws, regulate animal breeding. Such laws may restrict the breeding of particular types of animals, or ban the ownership of certain animals altogether. These animals are typically considered "vicious" creatures that pose serious risks to the community. By limiting the number of animals that may be bred, breeding laws also seek to reduce the number of homeless and neglected pets.
Animal Estate Planning
A relatively modern issue in Animal Law is animal estate planning. Pet owners are increasingly seeking legal guidance to establish trusts for their animals. Pet trusts provide for the care of an animal in the event of the owner's disability or death. In a traditional pet trust, the beneficiary of the trust is given detailed instructions for the proper care of the pet and may access the trust to pay for the pet's expenses. Traditional pet trusts give pet owners assurance that their animals will be cared for according to their specific wishes.
- Bill Introduced: H.R. 4098: Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2013 February 25, 2014 To amend the Horse Protection Act to provide increased protection for horses participating in shows, exhibitions, or sales, and for other purposes.
- Bill Introduced: S. 1865: Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act December 18, 2013 A bill to amend the prices set for Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps and make limited waivers of stamp requirements for certain users.
- Bill Introduced: H.Res. 433: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the practice of using gas chambers to euthanize stray cats and dogs. December 4, 2013 Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the practice of using gas chambers to euthanize stray cats and dogs.
- Bill Introduced: S. 3386: Limitations on Interrogation Techniques Act of 2008 July 30, 2008 A bill to prohibit the use of certain interrogation techniques and for other purposes.
- Bill Introduced: H.R. 5890: Citizen and Community Preparedness Act of 2008 April 23, 2008 To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish the Community Preparedness Division of the Department of Homeland Security and the Citizen Corps Program, and for other purposes.
- Dog Bite - BlackburnNews.com March 8, 2014 BlackburnNews.comDog BiteBlackburnNews.comLambton Public Health is looking for the owner of a dog that bit a nine-year-old boy Thursday night in the area of Turner and Trudeau Dr. in Sarnia's south end. Public Health says the boy was walking
- Dog Bite Law in Massachusetts - Sippican Week March 7, 2014 Dog Bite Law in MassachusettsSippican WeekDid you know Dog Bite injuries fall under "strict liability" laws in Massachusetts?Simply, provided that the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog, the homeowner is responsible for the
- Attack prompts dog law discussion - 3News NZ March 7, 2014 Attack prompts dog law discussion3News NZZac Moaveni, the lead doctor treating Sakurako, says they deal about once a month with a child who needs surgery for a dog bite injury. He said children needed adults to protect them and adults should think
- Ohio's Exotic Animal Law, with Insurance Component, Survives Federal Lawsuit - Insurance Journal March 6, 2014 Ohio's Exotic Animal Law, with Insurance Component, Survives Federal LawsuitInsurance JournalA federal appeals court has upheld Ohio's restrictions on exotic animals, rejecting a challenge by owners who had claimed the law was too stringent
- Sirens: Child Hospitalized After Dog Bite; Stolen Snowmobile; Would-Be ... - Centralia Chronicle March 6, 2014 Sirens: Child Hospitalized After Dog Bite; Stolen Snowmobile; Would-Be ...Centralia ChronicleSirens: Child Hospitalized After Dog Bite; Stolen Snowmobile; Would-Be Shoplifters Thwarted. Story · Commenting. Print: Create a hardcopy of this page;
- Close Encounters Between Cops and Canines March 5, 2014 Nearly every week there are media reports of police officers shooting dogs while responding to calls, and some of these incidents go viral once captured by a mobile device or an officer's dashboard camera. These events are polarizing for
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Revised Recovery Plan for the Pallid Sturgeon March 5, 2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced the availability of a revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), a species that is found in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins, has been described as having
- Can California regulate egg production under the Commerce Clause? March 5, 2014 Seth Victor Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of California, asking the federal court to overturn a 2010 California law requiring the same standards for in-state chickens be applied to
- Alaska Urges National Marine Fisheries Service to Delist Subpopulation of Humpback Whales March 4, 2014 On February 26, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game petitioned (pdf) the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to remove the Central North Pacific subpopulation of humpback whales from the federal list of endangered or threatened species. In a
- Recent Court Case is a Reminder for Owners of Insured Horses March 4, 2014 The importance of complying with an insurance policy's notice requirements has become especially newsworthy thanks to Julie Fershtman's courtroom victory last year in an equine insurance coverage lawsuit in an Illinois federal court. In that case, a