Earlier in the month I'd posted a link to a story involving the seizure of 46 dogs from a home in Charlotte County. The Sun Herald is reporting that an individual associated with the earlier story is being charged with cruelty to animals and confinement or abandonment of animals.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Animal Welfare Information Center, a division of the USDA, has released a publication containing an annotated bibliography of legislative history for the Animal Welfare Act. Originally passed in 1966, the AWA has been amended a number of times over the past four decades. The Legislative History of the Animal Welfare Act includes documents relating to Congressional Hearings, citation from the Congressional Record, Federal Register Notices, and Public Laws.
The Sun-Sentinel reports here on the trend toward eliminating animal testing in favor of superior alternative testing methods. As noted in the article, the European Union is moving to ban animal testing for cosmetics:
Animal testing can be slow, though, and some researchers question how well an animal's response to a chemical can predict human reactions.
In addition, the public is increasingly queasy about animal testing, especially the idea of inflicting pain for products like new lipsticks or eye shadows. The movement against animal testing has been especially strong across the Atlantic, where the European Union is set to enact its ban on animal testing for cosmetics in March 2009.
In case you haven't been paying attention at all, there's a bit of a mortgage crisis underway. that has caused foreclosures rates to skyrocket. Unfortunately, as people are losing their homes, they are finding themselves forced into housing where pets may not an option. Several articles have sprung up in the past few days detailing the impact that foreclosures are having on pets - in many cases they are being taken to already overcrowded shelters. Even more disturbing are reports where homeowners simply abandon their pets when they leave.
The Daytona Beach News Journal offered a brief report here along with some tips on what homeowners facing foreclosure can do to plan for their pets. While Florida pets are undoubtedly likely to impacted in a dramatic fashion given the state's high foreclosure rates, it is a nationwide problem. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports here on the effect of increased foreclosures in Minnesota:
"I'm getting skinny horses in here that people have walked away from," said Drew Fitzpatrick, director of the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation, based in Zimmerman, Minn. It used to be that for every abandoned horse there was a story of mental illness, divorce or cancer of its owner, said Fitzpatrick. "Now it's bankruptcy and ARM foreclosure. Rural America is really starting to get punched."A similar report appeared here in the Chicago Tribune. Notably, it recognized the same phenomenon linking foreclosures to increases in the number of pets ending up in shelters:
We're seeing quite a few animals being surrendered due to economic reasons, including foreclosure," said Angie Wood, assistant executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society, which, in addition to McKenzie and Rocket, is sheltering Bailey, a foreclosure cat. "We're seeing people in bad financial situations who are moving to places where they can't have pets," she said. "There definitely has been an increase in the past six months to a year."There are stories from Massachusettes, California, and at CNN and USA Today as well. While the housing problems aren't likely to go away soon, there are steps that can be taken to keep pets. Earlier this month, the Humane Society of the United States released this list of steps to help in the search for pet-friendly housing.
Posted by Riley at 8:08 PM
Monday, January 28, 2008
A woman was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor after allegedly punching a police horse. The Tampa Tribune reports here that the woman was arrested outside a nightclub in Ybor city after she reportedly grabbed the reins of a horse named "Buddy" and punched him on the neck.
The St. Pete Times breaking news blog reports here that the 17 whooping cranes traveling from Wisconsin have arrived at Dunnellon on their way to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. The journey has been delayed on a number of occasions and has taken more than three months so far. Be sure to check out the pictures of the cranes and the ultralight aircraft leading the way.
I'd posted previously on the conviction of a Canadian company for Queen Conch smuggling through a Florida company. Now the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida issued this press release on the sentencing of two individuals from Florida in association with the conspiracy to smuggle large quantities of queen conch taken from Caribbean waters to customers throughout Canada and the United States. From the press release:
Queen conch (Strombus gigas) is a commercially valuable seafood product, that is a protected species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and is a species listed for protection since 1992 in an international treaty known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( “CITES”). The importation of queen conch, alive or dead, and its parts and derivatives, is subject to the requirements of CITES and the ESA. To engage in trade in queen conch, all imports or exports must be accompanied by a CITES export certificate from the country of origin, or a re-export permit from a country of re-export.
There's been several stories over the past few days discussing where the dogs that were the subject of Michael Vick's criminal case ended up and how they're doing in terms of rehabilitating from fighters into companion animals:
The USA Today reports on the exponential growth of the animal rights movement noting that it is impacting the life of Americans in a number of ways including "what they study in law school." In addition to quoting a number of mainstays from the animal law sphere (e.g. Bruce Favre, Bruce Friedrich), the article lists a number of fronts that have seen significant changes in recent years:
•The Humane Society says it expects 28 state legislatures this year to consider strengthening existing bans on dogfighting and cockfighting; 13 states are considering bills regulating "puppy mills," mass dog-breeding operations that keep puppies in small crates.
•Massachusetts activists are collecting signatures to get a statewide initiative on the November ballot that would ban commercial greyhound racing by 2010. The Committee to Protect Dogs says state records show that since 2002, 728 greyhounds have been injured racing at the state's two tracks.
•Over the past three years, 330 colleges have stopped or dramatically reduced the use of eggs from hens in cramped wire crates called battery cages; retailers including Burger King, Hardee's, Carl's Jr. and Ben & Jerry's now use eggs produced by cage-free hens, Markarian says.
•More than 90 American Bar Association-approved law schools now offer courses in animal law, compared with only a handful 10 years ago. Favre compares the growing interest in animal law among incoming law students to an explosion of interest in environmental law in the 1970s.
Posted by Riley at 9:35 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Florida's ban on the sale of red eared slider turtles (mentioned previously here and here) is looking like it was a good idea. The LA Times reported on a outbreak of salmonella linked to pet turtles. Over 100 people were sickened and this was the largest reported outbreak of its kind. Salmonella is often associated with food poisoning, but 6% of infections come from turtles, which can carry the disease and do not show symptoms. Small turtles are especially likely to spread the disease because they are bred in crowded conditions and frequently given to children as pets. From the article: "Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County's public health director, said he had a simple piece of advice for parents thinking about buying a pet turtle -- don't."
News4Jax, the Gainesville Sun, and the Paltaka Daily News each reported on the arrest of a Bradford County man who is being charged with killing a Florida black bear. Black bears are a threatened species in Florida, and killing one is punishable as a third degree felony.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released proposed rules on the sale of horses in the state, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The rules would require more disclosures for "dual agents," i.e., individuals who represent both the buyer and seller in horse sales. The rules also require sales contracts to be in writing and bills of sale with certain minimum disclosures.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Back in November, I'd posted on a decision from the Ninth Circuit remanding a case back to a lower district court for further consideration. The issue on remand involved the Navy's use of sonar and the possible impact on marine life. The district court's decision came out earlier this month.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported on the decision in an article entitled "Whales in the Navy's Way." According to the article, the lower court found that the Navy's own research showed that from earlier this month on the sonar had a propensity to cause permanent injury or death to certain marine life. Additionally, the Times viewed the decision as having carefully crafted a decision balanced the testing of the sonar with the protection of marine life. Despite this balance, the Bush Administration attempted to override the court order by granting the Navy waivers, on national security grounds, from two environmental laws on which the decision was based.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which brought the suit, issued a press release on the waivers. Wayne Pacelle, the President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, also weighed in with a reaction to the events at a post at his blog, wherein he observed:
Rather than work with the plaintiffs and the court on implementing the new restrictions—rather than live up to its rhetoric of being a “good steward of the oceans”—the brass went straight to the White House, asking for an exemption from the nation’s environmental laws.
On Jan. 16, President Bush granted the extraordinary request, in full.
This was a tremendously disappointing example of the Administration acting like it is above the law.
The military must play by the rules. We should not suspend our environmental and marine mammal protection laws simply because the Navy wants it that way.
Congress should now step in, and restore a rational balance between our need to protect our country, and our need to preserve the marine life and the health of our environment.
The High Springs Herald reports here on the continuing investigation into a dog fighting event that was broken up by law enforcement in December. Officials were surprised by the size and scope of the event. When police arrived, there were more than 20 vehicles in the area that began leaving the scene. What was left behind appeared to have been set up by professionals - police found an arena, a generator for power and lighting, several large vats of water and a concession stand with uncooked meat.
Save the Chimps is an organization dedicated to providing a permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment and the pet trade. After receiving a donation from the Arcus Foundation, Save the Chimps purchased 200 acres for a permanent sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
Recently, the CBC featured Save the Chimps in an episode of its award-winning show "Cruel Camera," which can be viewed in its entirety at this link. The CBC's website also offers details on the often bleak lives of Chimps in Hollywood and includes statements from one of the main suppliers of primates to the movies indicating his belief that chimps will be a part of the movie making landscape much longer, and may be a thing of the past in a decade. In fact, the website has posted a letter (pdf) from the supplier's attorney indicating a desire to sell his remaining chimps.
Friday, January 25, 2008
First Coast News reports that authorities in St. Johns County seized nine pit bulls, two puppies, and dog fighting equipment from a home in Flagler Estates Thursday morning. One of the dogs died. According to the article, charges against the owner are being pursued:
"We are pursuing charges through the State's Attorney's Office," said St. Johns animal control director Paul Studivant. "We're looking at numerous felony charges and several misdemeanors."
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The St. Pete Times Buzz Blog posted a copy of an advertisement urging Miami-Dade residents to vote No on Question #3 in the upcoming January 29 election. The measure would allow slots at certain greyhound racing facilities. The advertisement was put out by the Miami-Dade Animal Rescue Leage and is also available via their website here.
The Environment News Service reports here that the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, a national nonprofit association of government workers in natural resource agencies has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The suit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. and alleges violations of the Freedom of Information Act. PEER first made its request in February 2007 seeking records about the status of efforts to prevent manatees deaths caused by boats, signs and to stop harassment of manatees by swimmers.
"Apart from a manatee carcass count, we are trying to find out whether these endangered species are dying needlessly because the safeguards that are supposed to be in place are, in fact, absent," said PEER Counsel Adam Draper, who filed the lawsuit. "For example," he said, "we have reports that speed limit and warning signs for boaters have not been replaced since the 2005 hurricanes."Common Dreams posted a similar story here.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
According to a number of articles out today, the city of Deltona has asked its attorney to research the legal status of a man owns more than fifty venomous snakes, including cobras, Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes, Gabon vipers, and Green Mambas. Although a local ordinance prohibits keeping venomous reptiles, the man has already been licensed to keep the snakes by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. For the time being, the man is being allowed to keep the snakes while city officials research the law on whether the state license preempts the local ordinance. Articles available at the Daytona Beach News Journal, WESH 2 in Orlando, and Central Florida 13.
The Animal Welfare Information Center has a blog that collects a number of interesting stories. In recent days there was a post on the slow pace of adopting alternatives to animal testing. However, today the AWIC blog posted a link (that ultimately tracks back to an article at The Scientist's blog) detailing scientist recommendations to eliminate the lethal dose 50 (LD50) test, which involves literally measuring the amount of a toxic substance required to kill 50% of an animal test population. The call for drug companies to abandon the LD50 is based on a report in an upcoming journal of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.
Wildlife officials are investigating the killing of several endangered Key Deer, according to this story at the Bradenton Herald. In one incident, the heads of three Key Deer were found on federal land. In another, a three- foot long spear was discovered protruding from in a live deer that later had to be euthanized. Killing Key Deer is a crime under the Endangered Species Act and punishable by fines or jail time or both. Key Deer can only be found in certain parts of the Florida Keys.
Tampa Bay's 10 reports that Zeus, the German Shepherd whose case was mentioned early on in this blog's life at posts here and here, may be going up for adoption. Sadly, Zeus's owner died on January 11th and his owner's widow can't keep him for financial reasons. Zeus was handed over to the Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary, which will handle his future adoption.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Lakeland Ledger reports that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be holding a meeting on January 25th in Gainesville to get public input on the proposed rules that would implement tougher enforcement standards and permitting requirements for protecting gopher tortoises. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Doyle Conner Building, Division of Plant Industry Auditorium, 1911 Southwest 34th Street. A copy of the meeting notice is available at the Florida Administrative Weekly's website.
The whooping cranes on their way from Wisconsin have been grounded again due to bad weather, according to the St. Pete Times. Previous posts on the cranes' trek are here and here. This year's trip has lasted longer than the past six migrations, which ended with the cranes arrival in December. Last year, all the birds that made it to Florida died, all but one killed by lightning and rising water from a strong February storm.
The Daytona Beach News Journal reports on the discovery and seizure of two hauls of red snapper within the past month. In one case, 51 red snapper were discovered in a secret compartment below a boats deck and in another a cooler with 126 red snapper was found on a sports fishing vessel.
According to the article, both catches exceeded state limits and included many undersized fish. The article goes on to paint a picture wherein these two cases may only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of violations of red snapper fishing restrictions. Part of the problem involves a lack of enforcement officers. Low fines and differing rules between Atlantic and Gulf Coast size restrictions that allows paper trails to be falsified also contribute to the problem.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Melbourne animal control officers seized nearly a dozen pit bulls that were reportedly suffering from neglect, according to WESH in Orlando. Authorities said they also found items associated with dogfighting, but there wasn't enough probable cause to arrest the man caring for the dogs. The man is facing fines for animal neglect.
The Orlando Sentinel writes on the horse overpopulation problem in the United States and the growing number of neglected animals being found across the country and in Florida. The article points to a pending case where 16 horses were seized from a Deland farm. While the article points to the slaughterhouse ban from last year as possibly being part of the cause, the real problem was the large number of unwanted animals. My take on the problem is that it's temporary and it would be helped by the passage of legislation that prevents the transport on horses to Mexico and Canada where slaughter is still permissible.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
A Florida angler made a surprising catch, which implicates the potential problem with releasing non-native species into the wild. The Ocala Star-Banner reports that the fisher reeled in a Pacu, which looks like a piranha, but is not dangerous. Three different FWC officials are quoted for the story.
The Northwest Florida Daily News and the WWSB 7 in Sarasota both picked up on a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release involving charges against a Bay County man who allegedly killed a black bear in Gulf County just before Christmas 2006. The man is charged with committing a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years imprisonment. “The investigation took a little longer than usual, but that’s the way these things work sometimes,” said Neal Goss, an investigator with FWC. Goss said the suspect will be transferred to the Gulf County Jail.
Tampa Bay's 10 reports here on the discovery of a bald eagle that was shot and killed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating and is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Bald eagles are no longer endangered, but it is still protected by federal law and killing one can result in a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I posted yesterday about an editorial critiquing of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's focus on promoting raccoon hunting, but at the time had not seen this article in the Lakeland Ledger with a similar theme, that refers to the current FWC as a "hook and bullet" agency. The Humane Society of the United States is supporting to conservation-minded to fill upcoming vacancies on the commission.
I'd be happy if they'd shorten their name to the Florida Wildlife Commission because (1) fish are wildlife too, aren't they? and (2) it means less typing. I guess that's what I end up referring to them as most of the time. Plus, their website uses the acronym FWC already... shouldn't it technically be FFWCCC? Just some observations...
WESH reported yesterday on the latest news regarding Seminole County officials' consideration of an anti-chaining ordinance similar to the one passed in 2005 in Orange County. Keeping a dog chained can lead to behavioral problems and can make dogs more dangerous. The story notes that since Orange County passed its Ordinance, officers have seen positive results. "I think it's working pretty well because we don't have as many complaints about chaining issues," Orange County Animal Services Officer Kimberly Duncan said. See my previous post on the issue here.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Sun Sentinel published an editorial on Tuesday that supports the Palm Beach County's attempt to reduce its massive unwanted pet population by requiring the spaying and neutering of pets. As noted in the article, 19,ooo pets are currently put to death each year because there is no possible way to shelter or adopt them all out. The Sentinel's bottom line? - "Pass this necessary tool."
Wakulla.com published this letter to the editor critiquing the Florida Wildlife Commission's position and promotion of racoon hunting. The letter from Joe Miele, vice-president with CASH, makes a number of observations worthy of consideration:
Raccoon hunting in Florida is a largely unregulated activity. For only $17 – the cost of a hunting license –hunters may kill as many of the animals as they want, all year-round. Where is the science in an unlimited slaughter such as this? Where is the sport in unleashing dogs to chase terrified raccoons up trees, only for hunters to shoot them dead from just a few yards away? Shooting a treed raccoon seems about as challenging as hitting the broad side of a barn.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission promotes raccoon hunting not because the practice has any conservation value, but because it profits from the sale of hunting licenses and the collection of excise taxes affixed to the cost of weapons, ammunition and hunting equipment. Thankfully, the outlook for the future of sport hunting is bleak, given that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service statistics show that the number of hunters throughout the country has declined by almost 11% since 1996.
Since hunters are dying or otherwise dropping out of the sport faster than new hunters can be replaced, it behooves the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to change the way it does business to ensure that its’ existence will continue for a long time to come. Instead of relying upon the revenue generated by hunting, the Commission should shift its focus and promote wildlife watching programs instead of the violence of hunting. Wildlife watching is the dominant form of wildlife-related outdoor recreation in the state, and the number of Florida residents who feed, photograph, or otherwise observe wildlife has increased by more than 15% since 1996.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration have an announcement on a third company being approved for the Dolphin SMART program, which is designed to protect wild dolphins. NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and its partners accepted the third charter operator into a new program created to help protect wild dolphins in the Keys. Key West Eco Tours officially joined the Dolphin SMART program after successfully meeting standards that promote responsible viewing of dolphins in the wild. The acronym “SMART” is a reminder of the basic principles of dolphin viewing etiquette:
- Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
- Move away slowly if the dolphins show signs of disturbance
- Always put your vessel engine in neutral when dolphins are near
- Refrain from feeding, touching or swimming with wild dolphins
- Teach others to be Dolphin SMART.
(Picture credit: NOAA)
The Orlando Sentinel's Animal Crazy blog has this post on tips for people considering pet insurance. Forbes online has a similar story here, that lists a number of tips to ponder courtesy of the American Animal Hospital Association:
- Understand the exclusions. Almost all policies exclude pre-existing conditions and some exclude hereditary conditions. Some may exclude certain conditions unique to certain breeds.
- Almost all policies have a deductible and a copay requirement. Some pay according to a set schedule of "usual and customary fees" while some pay based on the actual incurred expense. Be sure you understand how expenses will be reimbursed.
- Be sure you understand what the policy covers. Some policies (but not all) cover some preventive care, such as vaccinations, but there may be additional cost for this coverage.
- Ask whether the policy allows you to seek care from a veterinarian of your own choosing or whether you must go to a veterinarian that participates in the company's network of providers. When faced with a pet's serious illness, most people want to be able to obtain care from their regular veterinarian.
- Talk to your veterinarian. Vets don't sell insurance, but chances are they are familiar with various policies and can provide guidance.
Posted by Riley at 7:33 AM
The Washington Post has an article here and an interesting transcript from reporter Rick Weiss (or possibly his clone) on the FDA's approval of the sale of meat from cloned animals. The USDA has asked producers to keep the cloned meat off the market because of consumer concerns.
There's also additional commentary on the FDA's decision thats worth reading at posts here and here courtesy of Critter News and here courtesy of the the Animal Blawg. Also, Food Karma Alert, which I started reading recently, has a post on the decision here and a post linking to a petition drive opposing the decision here.
Finally, be sure to check out Canada's Globe and Mail's report on the decision entitled Clone Appetit.
Posted by Riley at 7:16 AM
Monday, January 14, 2008
One of the most frequent e-mails I get is from people who are interested in getting more involved in animal law, but are unsure how to go about it. While I have a host of advice tidbits that I'll put up here at some point, one good idea is to attend conferences like Taking Action for Animals. The 2008 conference is scheduled for July 19-21 in Arlington, Virginia. Here's the blurb on what TAFA is about:
Taking Action for Animals is an annual conference and trade show that brings together seasoned animal activists as well as those just beginning their journey into the world of animal protection. Dozens of innovative and talented presenters provide the latest ideas and tactics needed in order to take action for animals. Taking Action for Animals is also an incredible opportunity to meet hundreds of other animal advocates who share a vision of a better world for all of us, both people and animals alike.
Posted by Riley at 11:25 PM
How Appealing posts on a decision from the Ninth Circuit involving feral pigs on Santa Cruz Island. The Appellants, which included In Defense of Animals, sued defendants including the National Park Service and Nature Conservancy in an attempt to modify a plan to eradicate feral pigs from environmentally sensitive lands. During the pendency of the case however, NPS went ahead with the eradication and killed all the pigs on the island. The appellate court ruled that elimination of all the pigs rendered the case moot.
Posted by Riley at 11:14 PM
The San Francisco Chronicle had an interesting article earlier this week dealing with liability in the Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. The story notes that the law normally views the keeping of wild animals like tigers as an inherently dangerous practice, like hauling dynamite or storing uranium. The legal doctrine of strict liability punishes a dangerous animal's keeper for any damages caused by the animal regardless of the circumstances. However, as the article notes, there are always exceptions to the rule. The article addresses a number of permutations on how a lawsuit might play out.
As an aside, the case of first impression in Florida on strict liability for animal attacks was Isaacs v. Powell, 267 So.2d 864 (Fla. 2d DCA 1972). While the facts of the case involved a chimpanzee, the court mentioned tigers in zoos in a quote from Prosser on torts:
(Liability) has been thought to rest on the basis of negligence in keeping the animal at all; but this does not coincide with the modern analysis of negligence as conduct which is unreasonable in view of the risk, since it may not be an unreasonable thing to keep a tiger in a zoo. It is rather an instance of the strict responsibility placed upon those who, even with proper care, expose the community to the risk of a very dangerous thing. While one or two jurisdictions insist that there is no liability without some negligence in keeping the animal, by far the greater number impose strict liability.'
Posted by Riley at 9:38 PM
The Tallahassee Democrat ran a story today about Gary Michael Hilton, the man who was arrested in connection with the death of a Georgia hiker. Hilton has also been named the prime suspect in the killing of a resident of Crawfordville, Florida. The article mentions a 2004 incident where Hilton was apparently seen beating a dog in the park. From the story:
An Atlanta man named William Brent told DeKalb County, Ga., police he had witnessed Hilton beating a dog in the park. On Aug. 10, 2004, Brent, 37, said he wrote down Hilton's tag number and then started walking home with his wife and two dogs.
Hilton got into his white Chevrolet Astro van, drove it toward them and abruptly slammed on the brakes. Hilton took Brent's picture and told him he was going to call the police on him. Brent told Hilton to go ahead and call the police.
Brent said he thought the incident was over, but then Hilton turned his van around and started driving behind the man's wife. She started running through the neighborhood, screaming, "Someone call the police on your cell phone. Someone is trying to run me over," according to the report.
Brent later told police he did not want to press charges because he already had a court date with Hilton about a dog getting beaten.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
One of the limitations of posting on Florida animal law issues is that there are a host of other stories out there, where the link between either Florida or the law is tenuous. Fortunately, there are a number of other places covering these items. One of my favorite blogs, and one you should check out, is run by the folks over at Critter News. In just the past few days they've had great posts on everything from the Supreme Court of India's ban on bullfighting to Greenpeace's attempt to drive whalers out of Antarctic waters.
Posted by Riley at 8:52 PM
The Charlotte Sun Herald ran this story a few days ago about a family that purchased a puppy as a gift for Christmas from a pet store, paying more than $1000. Unfortunately, the puppy ended up dying of what is believed to be Parvo, a virus (pictured at right) that attacks the lining of the intestines. The article quotes the family's attorney and discusses the possible application of Florida's animal sales law to situations where people end up with a sick animal.
Kudos go to the family, who are moving forward and volunteering with the Sarasota County Humane Society. When the timing is right, they say they will adopt their next dog.
The Palm Beach Post published this opinion urging the passage of the spay an neuter ordinance. Apparently, one of the objections to the ordinance is coming from so-called "hobby breeders," or people who breed one or two litters per year, producing no more than 20 kittens or puppies. I agree with the article's dismissive view of the hobby breeder concern. Greater regulation of low scale breeders can only help at eliminating unwanted animals.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Ocala.com reports on investigations by the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Agriculture into bacterial infections in birds that tested positive for psittacosis at several pet stores nationwide. See this previous post for more info.
The New York Times published a story on Friday regarding the shipment of horses to Mexico and Canada after the last slaughterhouse in the United States has been closed (see previous posts on the horse meat ban here and here). While the story tends to take the view that this is an unintended consequence of the ban, it seems to me that it is rather an inescapable, but hopefully self-correcting problem. The article indicates that the price for horses has dropped precipitously. (Sadly, part of the anecdotal evidence of this price drop is reflected in the story's reference to an individual who shot 28 of his horses after they failed to fetch any bids at auction). Therefore, at some point it will not be cost effective to ship horses long distances in return for the price paid for their meat.
“It’s a step closer to the long-term goal of banning slaughter in North America,” said Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States. “There are fewer horses slaughtered.” As a longer term solution, the article also mentions pending federal legislation that would forbid the sale and transport of horses for human consumption, thereby banning the export market.
Friday, January 11, 2008
We're rapidly approaching that time of the year when legislators will be flooding into Tallahassee for the 2008 legislative session. In addition to the bestiality bill I mentioned in this post, there's a bill pending that would strengthen Florida's pet sales law. Senate Bill 444 would redefine the term "pet dealer" to eliminate any ambiguity over the number of pets that needed to be sold before a person would qualify and need to comply with the law. The proposed change would also provide rule making authority and increased enforcement powers to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It also provides for administrative fines of up to $10, 000 for violations.
Posted by Riley at 10:46 PM
If you haven't seen Lewis & Clerk Law School's National Center for Animal Law's website before, it's well worth your time. L&C is, of course, the publisher of the premier legal journal on animal law issues, the Animal Law Review.
While you're there, be sure to check out this page, which provides numerous links to all kinds of animal law resources on the web... Of course, that leads to the ulterior motive of this post, i.e., to point out that Florida Animal Law is now one of the six animal law blogs listed!
Posted by Riley at 10:20 PM
The Sun-Sentinel reports here on the latest draft of the Palm Beach animal ordinance update. Plans for a more stringent set of requirements have been scaled back after the county received negative feedback. The original ordinance made spaying and neutering pets mandatory. The new version says pet owners who desire not to sterilize their pet can do so if they sign county documents promising that the dog or cat will not be bred, and so long as they have paid the usual annual $75 fee for a vaccination tag that pets must wear.
Previous posts on the ordinance are here, here, and here.
The Case Western Reserve School of Medicine has announced that it is ending its practice of teaching cardiology students by operating on live dogs, according to the New York Times. Case Western is the last medical school in the U.S. to use the method. The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine says that of the 126 American medical schools, only 11 still sacrifice animals for teaching.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
A Canadian company has been fined after illegally trafficking of meat from the endangered Caribbean Queen conch. According to an article at the Environment News Service, investigators determined that in January of 2005, Pacific Marine Union unlawfully exported two shipments of Queen conch to Caribbean Conch, Inc. of Hialeah, Florida. The investigation involved law enforcement agencies in both the United States and Canada. Endangered species , like the Queen conch, are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, and protected under the laws of both countries.
The Sun Sentinel reports on the Broward County Commission's decision to have the Humane Society of the United States' animal services consulting arm review local animal shelters. An investigation last summer uncovered food shortages, animal carcasses rotting in maggot-infested bags, and workers taking valuable dogs for their own profit. Over 20,000 animals are taken in annually at its shelters in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, or more than 380 animals a week.
Forbes reports on the EU ban on battery cages for egg-laying hens. The ban is set to go into effect no later than 2012, and the European Commission pointed to a new study that shows the ban will benefit animal welfare benefits without significantly harming farmers' incomes. Some leading supermarket chains in Britain announced last week they were planning to phase out sales of eggs from battery hens before the ban. The Telegraph reports here on the UK supermarkets' moves toward cage free options.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Over thirty people were arrested following a raid of a suspected cockfight in Dade County, as reported by the Miami Herald. In addition to the arrests, police discovered thirty to forty live roosters in a pen at the ring and two recently killed roosters. "You could tell they had been alive recently. Fresh blood on their sides and necks,'' said Miami-Dade Sgt. George Llambes, of the organized crimes bureau. When the police arrived suspects scattered, but according to the article most were caught easily because they were retired, older men.
This N.Y. Times story isn't technically law related, but it qualifies as blogworthy because it cites to a study by my alma mater, the University of Florida, and it contains a number of interesting facts linking companion animals to good health:
But dogs appear to be far more than four-legged health care workers. Over the years, data on the larger role dogs play in health has trickled out from various corners of the world. One Japanese study found pet owners made 30 percent fewer visits to doctors. A Melbourne study of 6,000 people showed that owners of dogs and other pets had lower cholesterol, blood pressure and heart attack risk compared with people who didn’t have pets. Obviously, the better health of pet owners could be explained by a variety of factors, but many experts believe companion animals improve health at least in part by lowering stress.
Posted by Riley at 9:58 PM
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
It's shaping up to be a light posting day with multiple depositions and other accompanying tasks. However, it would be remiss not to point out this must read article at the Wall Street Journal on the market and condition of horses in the United States. A large portion of the article focuses on Florida and includes quotes like this from Morgan Silver (mentioned previously in this post), head of the Horse Protection Association of Florida: "A horse is a luxury item," she says, bristling. "You have no business owning them if you can't pay for them. Are we going to give tax breaks to yacht owners, too?"
Monday, January 7, 2008
The News-Press reports here on a proposal for a gopher tortoise mitigation bank in Lee County. As noted in a previous post, this summer the state ended a policy that allowed developers to entomb threatened gopher tortoises while building. Any gopher tortoise jeopardized by development must now be relocated to a new location.
The Orlando Sentinel reports here on a growing commitment to including wildlife corridors in new road construction. The corridors range from "simple devices such as wildlife tunnels under roads to lush land bridges that take critters safely over busy interstate highways." The article comments on a 2004 study that found that barrier walls along a section of U.S. Highway 441 in Alachua County, which guide smaller animals into culverts that cross under the road, cut roadkill by 93 percent.
Posted by Riley at 10:21 PM
Sunday, January 6, 2008
As reported in a number of media outlets, including this story at the Lakeland Ledger, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to declare as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe to eat. Many consumer groups and some members of Congress are vehemently opposed to cloned foods reaching grocery shelves. Other reports are available from Earth Times, the Wall Street Journal, and UPI.
Posted by Riley at 10:04 PM
I'd previously posted this blurb on the migration of endangered whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida. The cranes are back underway, but have been temporarily grounded again in Georgia according to this article at Ocala.com. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a shorter report here.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
The Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Political Pulse Blog has this post that begins with the intro "Florida Republican lawmakers are ready to support charities in the Panhandle by blowing some birds out of the air." According to the post, there are apparently three separate events planned.
First, U.S. Representative Jeff Miller is hosting something called the "2008 Congressional Quail Hunt." A $3000 platinum donation "Entitles you to 4 hunters Friday & 4 Hunters Saturday and 8 Dinner Tickets." Second, Florida Representative's Marti Coley and Ray Sansom are affiliating themselves with a quail hunt in Chipola. Finally, Representative Don Brown is holding "Don Brown's Duck Hunt," which features a "Duck Shoot at El Rancho Lodge" starting Feb. 22 before moving on to a "Continental Pheasant Shoot" and quail hunt at the Hard Labor Lodge. Brown’s website features a painting of ducks with bullet holes around them.
The Orlando Sentinel reports here on the federal court's dismissal of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit to keep the U.S. Department of the Interior from accepting a compact reached in November between the Seminole Indian tribe and Governor Crist. A separate case is still pending in the Florida Supreme Court, which will likely have the final say on Governor Crist's authority to negotiate the compact. Previous posts on the slots cases are available here.
Bird sales at certain central Florida pet stores have been put on hold after discovering a bacterial infection avian chlamydiosis in some birds. Avian chlamydiosis, or psittacosis, can be passed to humans through bird droppings. Stories here and here.
I'd previously posted here about the passage of legislation banning the sale of red eared slider turtles. The Sun-Sentinel published an article today on the hope that the new legislation will end any further contamination of native turtle species. People would purchase the red eared slider turtles and end up releasing them into the wild. The article begins with this quote from an astute 9th grader:
The ban makes sense to Jonah Bader, 14, a Parkland ninth-grader who has owned one of the turtles for four years.
"They don't really make good pets," said Bader, who aspires to a career in herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles. "But red-eared sliders were the cheapest turtles you could buy as a baby, about $10. But when they get bigger, people release them into the wild."
The Sacramento Bee has an editorial urging Congress to step up to the plate and address some of the bloated corporate subsidies included in the current version of the Farm Bill. It ends with this observation:
Reforming the farm bill should be one area where Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree. The reform coalition includes fiscal hawks, environmentalists, small farmers, supporters of fair trade and more than 300 editorial boards across the country.
All want a bill that rewards innovation, resource protection and a more healthful U.S. diet, while limiting the waste and abuse of past farm bills.
Pelosi and Reid could still move the farm bill in this direction. But to do so, they will have to show more courage than they did in 2007.
Friday, January 4, 2008
On January 1st, new rules from the Florida Wildlife Commission went into effect that govern the ownership of exotic animals. The FWC's notice detailing the changes(pdf) is available here. Some of the requirements are described here at Wakulla.com. Many of the requirements deal with Class I wildlife, which includes the animals that pose a significant danger to people. Anyone who possesses a Class I wildlife permit, with certain exceptions, must have a minimum of 5 acres of property. Additionally, facilities housing Class I captive wildlife cannot be in areas zoned solely for residential use.
Additionally, there are new requirements for people who keep six "reptiles of concern." As reported in the Sun-Sentinel, the Florida Wildlife Commission hopes the rules will help them keep track of on Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, African rocky pythons, amethystine or scrub pythons, green anacondas and Nile monitor lizards. The new rules require permits, fees, and microchipping for identification.
More information on permits is available here at FWC's website.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Tampa Bay Online reports here on the introduction of a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would make bestiality a felony in Florida. While general animal cruelty statutes might be applicable, Florida does not currently have a law addressing bestiality. Representative Frank Peterman crafted the original bill and Senator Nan Rich filed an identical bill based on Peterman's request. According to the article, the idea for the bestiality bill was brought to the legislators at the request of the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society.
Information, including the text of the Senate Bill (SB 744) is available here. The house bill (HB 119) information is available here.
Reuters reports on a settlement in a lawsuit involving consumers who purchased Diamond Pet Foods in 2005. The food was recalled because some of the recalled products contained toxins that injured dogs. People who reside in a number of states, including Florida, may be entitled to a refund, or coverage of costs if a dog was injured. More information on the settlement, including contact information and instructions, is available at www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com.
The Nature Conservancy released a report (pdf) showing that the numbers of Florida scrub jays are in decline, even on preserves designed to protect the birds. The Lakeland Ledger has an article on the report here. The scrub jay is the only species of bird found exclusively in Florida. The birds have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1987, when they were declared a threatened species. One of the perceived causes for the decline in numbers deal with the lack of controlled burns that keep the jays' habitat suitable.
WINK News reports on the seizure of forty-six dogs from a home in Charlotte County. According to the article, animal control officials said the dogs were found living in complete filth and were covered in feces, urine and fleas. No word yet on whether charges will be brought.
Three dogs had to be euthanized because of their condition. The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, which took in the dogs, is asking for bedding, toys, food, and donations, as well as volunteers.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
In a year certain to be dominated by politics, there's a blog that started last month worth adding to the reader. I'd mentioned it in passing in an earlier post and added it to the Blogroll, but if you haven't had the chance, be sure to check out the Humane Society Legislative Fund's new blog Animals & Politics being run by HSLF's president Michael Markarian. In the brief time it's been up and running, I've learned more about the various presidential candidates' stands on animal issues than I could have hoped to with hours of independent research. For the Dems, there have been detailed posts on Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and John Edwards. On the Republican side, here are links to posts on Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, as well as a post from today on the entire GOP field.
Posted by Riley at 9:10 PM
Twenty-six horses were removed last week from a DeLand farm after a complaint was made to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Local6.com reports that the owner does not currently face criminal charges, but the sheriff's office is still investigating.
Morgan Silver from the Horse Protection Association of Florida is quoted in the article about the conditions where the horses were being kept: "The stalls are very deep with urine and feces and it is obvious that many of the horses have not been out of the stalls in a long time and it is a pretty bad situation. . . . It is a shame. There is no reason for this to have to happen."
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The Lakeland Ledger reported here on a large fish kill that occurred over the weekend at Lake Shipp. Although there was apparently some thought that a chemical spill might be responsible, the Orlando Sentinel reported further here attributing the deaths to low oxygen levels.
After nearly going extinct in the early 1980s, green sea turtles are slowly recovering populations in key breeding grounds, according to this article at the Washington Post. The turtles have been exploited for centuries for meat and shells. Because the turtles spend the majority of their lives at sea, true population numbers are difficult to calculate. The positive assessment of the turtles recovery comes after a collaborative effort by scientists in Japan, Hawaii, Australia, Costa Rica and Florida on counting egg-laying females that return to nesting sites. This news release from the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. further details the scientists' efforts and the turtles successes.