When Can an Animal be Seized as Evidence?

horses in pasture

Seth Victor

A provocative case came out of the Oregon Supreme Court two weeks ago addressing a warrantless seizure of a horse that was used to convict the defendants of animal abuse. As Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) reports, in the consolidated cases of State v. Fessenden and State v. Dicke, the court held that an officer was acting in accordance with the exceptions to the warrant requirements when he observed a starving horse on defendants’ property and took the horse to a veterinarian for emergency medical attention. The defendants were later charged with animal abuse, but they contended that the seizure of the horse was in violation of their right to privacy, and as it was a warrantless seizure, the evidence (the horse) had to be suppressed.

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Existence Value Introduced as an Argument for Standing in ESA Lawsuit

David Cassuto

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has construed the Endangered Species Act to exclude captive populations of  the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.  This means that these endangered orcas  are deprived of the protections of the statute and can be exploited for profit by commercial operations.  A number of individuals and animal advocacy organizations including the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), on whose board I sit, brought suit in the Western District of Washington to challenge this interpretation.

To wit:

SHELBY PROIE; KAREN MUNRO;                              Case #3:11-05955-BHS
PATRICIA SYKES; ANIMAL LEGAL
DEFENSE FUND, a non-profit
corporation; and PEOPLE FOR THE
ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS,
INC., a non-profit corporation,
Plaintiffs,
v.
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES
SERVICE, ERIC C. SCHWAAB, in his
official capacity as Assistant Administrator
for Fisheries of the National Marine
Fisheries Service; and REBECCA M.
BLANK, in her official capacity as the
Acting Secretary of the United States
Department of Commerce,
Defendants.
____ _______________

Last week, ALDF amended its complaint to include a standing claim based on “existence value.”  It declared:

16. ALDF also brings this case on behalf of its members who, on information and belief, place significant and particularized value on the continued existence of Southern Resident killer whales, and whose interests in ensuring that the species continues to exist are injured by
NMFS’s decision to exclude the captive members of the population from the list of endangered species because protecting captive members of a listed species is necessary to ensure that it will not become extinct in the future and can eventually be recovered.

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ALDF Scholarships for Law Students

David Cassuto

Heads up, Law Students!

From the ALDF website:

ALDF Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships are available to second- and third-year law student members of our student chapters and will be awarded based upon demonstrated commitment to ALDF’s mission, “to advance the interests and protect the lives of animals through the legal system.” Applicants should be committed to the advancement of animal law through active involvement with their Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter while in law school and anticipated participation in the field after graduation. Meet last year’s recipients!

A secondary goal of the scholarship is to ensure the recipient’s chapter will maintain active and engaged leadership. Therefore, scholarship recipients are encouraged to act as a SALDF advisor to their chapter for up to two years after graduation; this mentorship will help ensure continuity of the chapter and contribute to its ongoing vitality.      Continue reading

New Study on Animal Protection Laws in Canada

David Cassuto

A while back, I blogged about HSUS´s useful state-by-state breakdown of animal protection laws in the U.S.   Now, I´m pleased to relay that ALDF has done a province-by-province study of the laws in Canada.  Apparently, Ontario tops the list while the Northwest Territory trails the pack.  Get the full skinny here.