Nashville Committee to Consider Amendment to Ordinance Affecting Outdoor Pets

A proposed ordinance amending Chapter 8.12 of the Nashville Metropolitan Code of Laws heads to the Metro Council’s Health, Hospitals and Social Services Committee on July 3. Under current law, pregnant animals, nursing females, or animals less than six months old are not permitted to be outdoors during periods of inclement weather, including temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Bill BL2018-1201 amends the current law, defining inclement heat as 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Dogs Deserve Better, a Nashville advocacy group, is encouraging supporters of the ordinance to wear a t-shirt with a dog on it and to attend the July 3 Metro Council meeting to support the change.

read more »

Hero Pup Saves Family from House Fire

An 8-month-old pit bull is being hailed a hero after saving her family last week when a fire ignited a section of their Stockton, California, fourplex, NY Daily News reports. The owner said that the plucky pooch, Sasha, began acting unusually, making a ruckus at the back door which caused her to investigate. Once the door was opened, Sasha ran to the bedroom of her owner’s 7-month-old daughter, where she grabbed the baby by the diaper to drag her to safety. Mom, daughter and puppy were all unharmed but their home was declared uninhabitable from smoke and fire damage.

read more »

Animal Rights Group Files Petition on Behalf of Elephants

The Nonhuman Rights Project has filed a second habeas corpus petition on behalf of three elephants living in a petting zoo, according to The Connecticut Law Tribune. The filing argues the elephants — Beulah, Minnie and Karen —  are autonomous beings and have the right to bodily liberty. The organization is seeking removal of the elephants, to relocate them to a California-based sanctuary.

read more »

TBA Animal Law Section Members Complete ABA Humane Education Project Training

TBA Animal Law Section members Shannon Romain and Daina Bray recently attended a joint public service project between the American Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee and the Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (H.E.A.R.T.). The program, held on April 8 at the historic Berry Hill Community Center in Nashville, is designed to train adult volunteers to have conversations about animal and environmental welfare with 4th and 5th-grade students in classroom and group settings. The goal of the H.E.A.R.T is to help students develop critical thinking skills and encourage animal and environmental compassion through nonjudgmental dialogues about real-world experiences. Bray was instrumental in bringing the program to Nashville, which included one-day training for Davidson County attorneys and youth counselors from various local organizations. Stay tuned for details on next year’s training program.

read more »

Oregon Lawsuit Argues Animals Have the Right to Sue Their Abusers

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a legal advocacy organization for animals, has filed a negligence suit in Oregon on behalf of a horse named Justice according to a press release from the organization. Justice was allegedly denied adequate food and shelter for months, leaving him “debilitated and emaciated,” suffering from lice, a prolapsed penis from frostbite and a bacterial skin infection known as rain rot when he was rescued in March 2017.
The complaint contends that Oregon Legislature has declared that animals “are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear,” and as such, are beneficiaries of Oregon welfare laws and are victims when the laws are violated. Justice’s abuser pled guilty to criminal animal neglect in 2017, agreeing to pay restitution only for the cost of Justice’s care prior to July 2017, however, the lawsuit seeks damages for Justice’s care since this date and going forward. Any funds awarded to Justice through the lawsuit would be placed in a legal trust established to pay for his care.
read more »

3 Charged in Connection to Raid of Bellevue PetSmart

Criminal charges have been filed against three people involved in the recent raid of the Bellevue PetSmart The Tennessean reports. Two men and a woman, employees of the store on Sawyer Brown Road in Bellevue, were cited by Metro Animal Care and Control for cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor for a first offense.
The charges stem from a raid of the store on March 29, where Metro police and the Metro Nashville Public Health Department uncovered and confiscated several sick and injured animals. Authorities were tipped off by members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who received undercover videos of injured animals from an employee of the store. A court date has not yet been set in this case.
read more »

Next Week: Animal Law Forum 2018

The 2018 Animal Law Forum is just a short week away! This year’s forum will be held in beautiful Montgomery Bell State Park, which offers an array of activities such as biking, boating, fishing, golfing and hiking. Don’t miss this opportunity to fulfill necessary CLE obligations while networking with colleagues in the scenic spring backdrop. Here’s the key info:
• When: Friday, May 11, Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., CDT
• Where: Montgomery Bell State Park, 1000 Hotel Avenue, Burns, TN 37029
read more »

Bellevue PetSmart Raided, Animals Confiscated After Video and Photos Surface

Authorities raided a Bellevue PetSmart last week after a video and photos surfaced showing sick and injured animals allegedly not being cared for properly reports The Tennessean. The Metro Nashville Public Health Department with assistance from Metro police carried out the sweep, which took place in the morning hours at One Bellevue Place after a search warrant was issued earlier that day. Health Department spokesman Brian Todd said Metro Animal Care and Control received a video and photos showing inadequate care for animals at the business. "We confiscated any injured or sick animals and have requested veterinary records as well as their policies on animal care," Todd said. "Based on that, we will work with Metro police and the (Davidson County) District Attorney's Office to determine whether charges will be filed."
According to a statement from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the incidents were documented by a store employee and reported to PETA, who in turn provided law enforcement with the photos and videos of managers "repeatedly refusing to provide sick, injured and dying animals with veterinary care in order to keep costs down so that they would receive bonuses." 
“We are always committed to putting the needs of the pets in our care first," a statement from Petsmart said. "We empower our store associates to do what’s right for all pets, which includes instruction to have any sick animal immediately seen by a veterinarian if needed. There is no adverse effect on a store team that takes every step possible to care for pets. ... Additionally, we are investigating the validity of the video, given some of the footage is several years old.” So far no arrests have been made.
read more »

Ban on Slaughtering Horses for Meat Renewed in Congress

A ban on slaughtering horses for meat has been renewed after a group of bipartisan animal lovers in Congress included it in a massive spending bill that President Trump signed last week reports USA Today. Supporters of the legislation point to a 2012 poll conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the ASPCA animal rights group that showed 80 percent of Americans opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.
“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that must end,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, a bipartisan group of more than 100 members of Congress. 
A temporary ban on horse slaughter was set to expire last week until the Animal Protection Caucus convinced congressional leaders to insert it at the last-minute onto page 129 of a sweeping 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion spending bill that Congress passed late last week. The House Rules Committee had earlier refused to allow a separate vote on the provision. “Our American values support the protection of these animals; our federal policies should continue to reflect that,” the caucus wrote in a December letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.
The Humane Society of the United States, which has endorsed the bill, estimates that more than 100,000 horses are bought at auctions by people who transport them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. "Slaughter is a brutal and terrifying end for horses, and it is not humane," the society says in a statement on its website. "Horses are shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest in crowded trucks. They are often seriously injured or killed in transit."
The American Veterinary Medical Association, however, does not support the ban, citing concerns over what will happen to unwanted horses if they cannot be sold for meat. "Removing slaughter as a humane option will leave many horses with nowhere to go and no one to care for them," the association says on its website. "There will likely be an acute rise in abuse, neglect, and abandonment with corresponding negative impacts on horse welfare."
The renewed ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. will continue at least until Oct. 1, when the just-passed funding bill expires.
read more »

Noteworthy Legislation Affecting Animal Law

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will consider SB2556, which allows a tenant to be criminally convicted if the tenant pretends to have a disability-related need for an assistance animal to obtain an exception from a lease policy that prohibits pets, allowing the landlord to hold the tenant in breach of the rental agreement. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee-passed amendment can be viewed here. The amendment as passed in the House, HB2439, can be viewed here.
read more »