Animal Rights Groups File Lawsuit Challenging 'Ag-Gag' Law

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Equality, Center for Biological Diversity and Food Chain Workers Alliance have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ ‘ag-gag law,’ which prohibits undercover investigations at factory farms and other businesses in the state. Enacted in 2017, the law could make whistleblowers subject to steep fines for violations. Plaintiffs in the case argue that the law is unconstitutional and a violation of First Amendment rights. Named as defendants in the suit are meat providers Peco Foods, Inc. and Prayer Creek Farm.

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FBI Details Process of Civil Forfeiture for Animals that are Victims in Crimes

A recent piece by the FBI details the civil forfeiture process regarding animals that are victims of crime. The story highlights cross-agency efforts between U.S. Marshals Service, animal rescue organizations, federal agents and Department of Justice prosecutors and federal forfeiture attorneys, particularly in the case of breaking up dog fighting rings. Previously, most dogs found in fighting operations were euthanized; however, application of civil asset forfeiture laws allow the agencies to provide services while the criminal trial is underway. FBI operations involving animal seizures are conducted with animal rescue organization that are notified in advance, so they be prepared to care for the animals.

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U.S. House to Consider Additional Funding for Animal Protection Laws

Three amendments to a U.S. House appropriations bill — H.R. 3055 — would provide additional funding for enforcement of laws protecting animals, The Tennessean reports. Among the initiatives that will benefit from an increased budget is legislation introduced by Tennessee Republican senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn, known as the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2019. The act provides additional protections for Tennessee walking horses from being subject to soring, a process where chemicals or foreign objects are put on or into a horse's hooves to produce a higher gait. Voting on the appropriations bill is expected to begin today.

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Compiled & Edited Tennessee Laws Pertaining to Animals 2018

The 2018 edition of 'Compiled & Edited Tennessee Laws Pertaining to Animals' is now available for purchase. This helpful reference volume is compiled and edited by the Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee with statute editing by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at UT College of Law. Though the form still references the 2016 edition, you can use it to order the 2018 edition. 

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ARC Receives Custody of Seized Animals

The Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) last week earned custody of the nearly 200 animals seized from a breeder’s operation in Carroll and Putnam counties. ARC worked with the Sheriff’s Office in both counties to rescue the animals, which included dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas and ferrets. The animals have received treatment and vaccinations and will now be placed with rescues and shelters awaiting adoption. ARC will soon publish a list of placement partners on its Facebook page for people wishing to foster or take in the animals.

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Man Mauled by Emotional Support Dog Sues Owner, Airline

A Delta Air Lines passenger who was attacked by another traveler’s emotional support dog is now suing both the owner and the airline, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. In the complaint, Marlin Jackson alleges that the dog pinned him against the plane’s window and viciously mauled his face, necessitating 28 stitches and causing permanent injury and loss of sensation in his face. Following the attack, Delta changed its support animal policy and now requires a “confirmation of animal training” form and other documents. Jackson asks restitution for “severe physical pain and suffering,” emotional distress and mental anguish, loss of income or earning potential, and substantial medical bills. Delta did not comment on the lawsuit.

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Animal Law Forum a Success

The Tennessee Bar Association’s Animal Law Section held its most recent forum at the Nashville Zoo on May 22, garnering praise and more than doubling attendance from the previous year. Attendees enjoyed top-notch programming, explored the zoo and made a couple of new friends. Stay tuned for more exciting events to come from the section!

Dusty King, Section Chair, King & King, Jackson
Shannon Romain, Vice-chair, attorney at law, Nashville
Julie Bowling, Tennessee Farmers Insurance, Columbia
Matt Painter, LBMC, Nashville
Daina Bray, Justice For Animals, Nashville
Steve Cavezza, Mars Inc.,Franklin
Esther Roberts, Global IP Asset Management, Knoxville
Rob Simpson, Kingston Animal Hospital, Kingston
Jill Thrash, Law Offices of Jill Jensen Thrash, Chattanooga
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Healthy Dog Euthanized in Accordance With Will

A healthy dog in Virginia was euthanized to be buried with its owner in accordance with the woman’s will, NBC News reports. The dog was held by a local animal shelter until being turned over to the estate executor who carried out the decedent’s wishes with the help of a veterinarian. It was determined that the veterinarian broke no laws; however, it is not known whether the pet was laid to rest with the owner as Virginia state law prohibits interment of humans and pets at for-profit cemeteries and most private cemeteries typically oppose such requests.

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U.N. Report Shows Around 1 Million Species Face Extinction

A recent study released by the United Nations estimates that about one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, The Washington Post reports. Compiled with assistance of nearly 150 authors from 50 nations, the report contends that more life on the planet is closer to extinction than at any other point in human history. Though the study primarily underscores the staggering loss of insects and marine biology due to factors such as plastics, urban expansion and climate change, land mammals are also suffering, with even Bengal tigers facing an uncertain future

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Tennessee's Lack of Oversight for Animal-Related Business Under Fire

Following the death of a dog found severely malnourished after a five-week stay in a Johnson City training facility, the lack of oversight in the state for kennels, shelters and other animal-related businesses is coming into question, the Johnson City Press reports. While such entities run by municipalities and commercial breeders require licensing and inspection, there are currently no laws in Tennessee governing private businesses operating as training facilities or kennels. State Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, when asked by the paper said he believes the laws currently on the books are sufficient and the fact the owners were arrested is proof that they are working. The owners of the training camp in Johnson City were both charged with aggravated animal cruelty regarding the dog’s death.

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