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: S.Res. 296: A resolution designating the week beginning on October 13, 2013, as "National Wildlife Refuge Week". November 13, 2013 A resolution designating the week beginning on October 13, 2013, as "National Wildlife Refuge Week".
- Bill Introduced: S. 1650: A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to exempt certain Alaska Native articles from prohibitions against sale of items containing nonedible migratory bird parts, and for other purposes. November 4, 2013 A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to exempt certain Alaska Native articles from prohibitions against sale of items containing nonedible migratory bird parts, and for other purposes.
- Bill Introduced: S. 1634: Hunter and Farmer Protection Act of 2013 October 30, 2013 A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to provide certain exemptions relating to the taking of migratory game birds.
- 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.
- Autopsy shows baby died from dog-bite wounds - Columbus Dispatch December 12, 2013 Autopsy shows baby died from dog-bite woundsColumbus DispatchHome · News · Crime and Safety; Autopsy shows baby died from dog-bite wounds. Autopsy shows baby died from dog-bite wounds. Related Items. Family dogs kill baby on West Side.
- Huddersfield man on dog-bite charges - Huddersfield Examiner December 12, 2013 Huddersfield ExaminerHuddersfield man on dog-bite chargesHuddersfield ExaminerA man has appeared in court charged with owning a dog which was dangerously out of control. Craig Grange, 22, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield, also faces a second
- Barrow man hospitalised after dog bite - NW Evening Mail December 11, 2013 Barrow man hospitalised after dog biteNW Evening MailBarrow man hospitalised after dog bite. Last updated at 12:51, Wednesday, 11 December 2013. A BARROW man needed hospital treatment after being bitten by a dog. The elderly man was left with two
- Barrow man needed hospital treatment after dog bite - NW Evening Mail December 11, 2013 Barrow man needed hospital treatment after dog biteNW Evening MailBarrow man needed hospital treatment after dog bite. Last updated at 12:49, Wednesday, 11 December 2013. A BARROW man needed hospital treatment after being bitten by a dog. The elderly
- Dog Bite Announces New Album 'Tranquillizers' Out Jan 2014 And Streams New ... - Contactmusic.com December 11, 2013 Contactmusic.comDog Bite Announces New Album 'Tranquillizers' Out Jan 2014 And Streams New ...Contactmusic.comIn a release inspired by the smooth rhythms of the region's past, Atlanta-based Dog Bite offers more music medicine in the form
- Shut Down New York's Carriage Horse Industry! December 12, 2013 In New York City, the horse-carriage industry is causing great suffering for horses and putting people's lives in danger.
- The Consequences of a Mauling December 11, 2013 Megan Hopper-Rebegea Heading to Romania as a Peace Corps volunteer I read about and was warned several times about the packs of stray street dogs, known in Romania as câine vagabond. At least one Peace Corps volunteer was bitten each year and
- Bleating Hearts: the Hidden World of Animal Suffering December 11, 2013 The Animal Book Club is thrilled to review Mark Hawthorne's brand new book Bleating Hearts: the Hidden World of Animal Suffering which hit shelves November 29th and is available as a paperback, a Nook book, or Kindle.
- House Natural Resources Committee to Hold Hearing on Department of the Interior's 2011 Endangered Species Act Settlements December 10, 2013 On Thursday, December 12, 2013, the House Natural Resources Committee (Committee) will hold a full committee oversight hearing (pdf) titled "ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State
- Cruelty to Donkeys, Fleecing of Taxpayers December 10, 2013 There is more fallout today from the Michigan wolf hunt scandal, in which lawmakers and state officials spread fabricated stories about wolf incidents, even as most of the depredation on livestock occurred at one farm that left cattle carcasses