City of Jackson Passes Mandatory Spay, Neuter Ordinance

The city of Jackson just passed an ordinance requiring owners with pets over six-months-old to have the animal spayed or neutered, the Jackson Sun reports. The move comes as a recommendation by a special task force created by the city to address animal overpopulation and money problems of the Jackson-Madison County Humane Society — which the municipality assumed control of in 2017 and renamed the City of Jackson Animal Care — after complaints regarding the mistreatment of animals. Some organizations panned the ordinance, saying that it does not address the root of the issue and that efforts would be better focused on providing better accessibility of services and low-cost spay-neuter options. The city initially earmarked $240,000 for the new animal care center; however, city council estimates now say the actual cost will be about $1.3 million.

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Veterinarians Can Earn CE Credit at Animal Law Forum

The Tennessee Bar Association will host its annual Animal Law Forum at the Nashville Zoo on May 17. This unique opportunity, approved for five hours of CLE and also veterinary CE credit, will provide updates on trends and advancements of timely topics involving animals, while allowing participants to network and enjoy the fun and activities offered by the zoo. We will be joined by the organization's president and chief executive officer, and the zoo’s general counsel who will discuss conservation efforts and laws affecting procurement and care for zoo animals. Additional topics will include legal concerns for veterinarians, consideration of animals by judiciary, ethics, legislative updates in the area and the development and application of legal rules governing the treatment of nonhuman animals. A midday lunch is included, with additional time to explore the zoo, the recently added Expedition Peru exhibit and the new state-of-the-art veterinary sciences center. Don't miss this chance to fulfill necessary CE requirements while experiencing one of the top zoos in the nation.
When: Friday, May 17, registration at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: Nashville Zoo, 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
Cost for Veterinarians: $245 – includes zoo admission, all programming, breakfast, lunch and course material
Register: Contact TBA Animal Law Section Coordinator Jarod Word at jword@tnbar, or by phone at 615.277.3221
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Fed. Judge Orders Iowa to Pay Legal Fees in 'Ag Gag' Case

A federal judge last week awarded more than $181,000 in legal fees to lawyers who successfully fought an Iowa law that made it illegal to conduct an animal cruelty investigation by becoming an employee of the farm being investigated, The Washington Post reports. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement sued the state over the law, instilled in 2012, on grounds the state was in violation of the constitutional right to free speech because of the ban. U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner sided with the plaintiffs in the case, however, the state has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Video Draws Attention to the Controversial Act of Soring

Footage recently obtained by Animal Wellness Action — a Washington, D.C.-based organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty — shows a horse in Alabama being subjected to soring, a very painful act where the horse’s hoof and lower legs are intentionally injured to produce a high-stepping gait known as the “Big Lick.” A farrier appeared in the video driving hot nails into the tender part inside the horse's hoof, with the trauma later resulting in renal failure for the animal. Though the practice is questionably legal, and he received no punishment for the incident, U.S. Congress is currently considering House Resolution 693, known as the PAST Act, which would ban the procedure entirely. The Act, according to American Horse Publications, "would amend the Horse Protection Act to ban the use at horse shows of devices that are integral to the soring process, eliminate the failed walking horse industry system of self-policing – putting the U.S. Department of Agriculture in charge of the licensure, training and oversight of all inspectors (as recommended by the agency’s Office of Inspector General in a 2010 audit) – and increase penalties for violations."

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Appeals Court Sides With Plaintiff in Wrongful Death Case of Cat

A decision has been made in the appeals case regarding a wrongful death complaint against a veterinarian and an animal hospital where the defendants admitted to inserting a feeding tube into the cat’s trachea rather than her esophagus, causing the cat to aspirate and die. The trial court found the defendants were not liable because the cat was so ill, she likely would not have survived much longer. The Court of Appeals at Jackson reversed the decision and remanded the case for determination of damages. Here is the opinion authored by Court of Appeals Judge Andy D. Bennett.

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California Racetrack Sees 23rd Horse Death in 3 Months

A racetrack in California on Sunday saw its 23rd horse fatality in just over three months, The New York Times reports. Two horses collided at the San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita Park as they crossed a dirt surface that transitioned to turf, with one horse injuring its leg, then falling and tripping another. The horse that initially fell was later euthanized. The track had been closed since March 3 for renovations on the dirt portion because of the previous fatalities.

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PAWS Act Advances to Criminal Justice Subcommittee

HB852, dubbed the PAWS Act, is moving through the Tennessee State House and is scheduled for consideration by its Criminal Justice Subcommittee on April 3. The bill as introduced would amend TCA Title 29, Chapter 3; Title 39; Title 63, Chapter 12 and Title 66, making the first conviction of aggravated cruelty to five or more animals or a second conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals a Class C felony in lieu of the current Class E designation. The bill also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days incarceration.

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Kingsport Animal Services Raises $2 million for New Animal Shelter

The city of Kingsport moved a step closer to opening its upgraded PETWORKS adoption shelter and community dog park, raising $2 million of its $3.5 million goal, the Kingsport Times-News reports. The 17,000 square foot facility will be housed on a 3.5-acre site, with an updated examination and clinical area that meets American Animal Hospital Association standards. It will feature dedicated adoption spaces with a quiet indoor adoption counseling area, a large multipurpose room for training, humane education courses, public pet training classes and a 1.2-acre dog park. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year, with the project to be completed in 2020.

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Nashville Zoo Opens New Veterinary Sciences Center

The Nashville Zoo opened its new 23,677-square-foot HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center last week, replacing a 30-year-old facility that struggled to meet the zoo’s growth. The state-of-the-art center will feature upgraded medical equipment, remote-controlled lighting, cameras and other modern features, along with viewing windows into the animal nursery rooms to watch feedings and care of baby animals. Docents, keepers and veterinary technicians will be on hand to answer questions and explain the animal care guests are witnessing. You will have the opportunity to tour the facility at the Animal Law Section Forum on May 17.

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Tennessee Horses Test Positive for Equine Influenza

Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Doug Balthaser announced last week that some horses returning from out-of-state events have tested positive for equine influenza virus (EIV), a highly contagious sickness that is spread by contaminated stable equipment and coughing horses. Symptoms of EIV include fever, nasal discharge, cough, loss of appetite and weakness, among others. The Department of Agriculture’s C. E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory offers free EIV testing for horses, in addition to screenings for equine infectious anemia, equine herpes virus, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis.

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