Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging New York City's "Sourcing Law," which requires that pet shops sell only animals acquired from breeders holding a Class A license issued under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq. Plaintiffs also challenged the "Spay/Neuter Law," which requires that pet shops sterilize each animal before releasing it to a consumer. The district court dismissed the complaint. The court concluded that the AWA does not preempt the Sourcing Law and rejected plaintiffs' arguments to the contrary as meritless; under the balancing test of Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., the court concluded that the Sourcing Law does not discriminate against interstate commerce; because the Sourcing Law imposed no incidental burdens on interstate commerce, it cannot impose any that are clearly excessive in relation to its local benefits, and therefore survived scrutiny under the dormant Commerce Clause; and the Spay/Neuter Law was not preempted under New York law governing veterinary medicine, animal cruelty, or business. The court explained that the laws at issue addressed problems of significant importance to the City and its residents; it appeared that the City has enforced them for more than a year, with no apparent ill effects; and the challenged laws were not preempted by either state or federal law, and do not offend the Commerce Clause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "New York Pet Welfare Association v. New York City" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs contend that the FDA is required by 21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1) to proceed with hearings to determine whether to withdraw approval for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed, and that the FDA's denial of two citizen petitions demanding such hearings was arbitrary or capricious within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 706(2). Based on the court's survey of the text, the context, the regulations, and the background legal principles, the court concluded that Congress has not required the FDA to hold hearings whenever FDA officials have scientific concerns about the safety of animal drug usage, that the FDA retains the discretion to institute or terminate proceedings to withdraw approval of animal drugs by issuing or withdrawing notices of opportunity for hearing (NOOHs), and that the statutory mandate contained in section 360b(e)(1) applies to limit the FDA's remedial discretion by requiring withdrawal of approval of animal drugs or particular uses of such drugs only when the FDA has made a final determination, after notice and hearing, that the drug could pose a threat to human health and safety. The court also concluded that it is not arbitrary or capricious for the FDA to pursue policies intended to reduce the use of animal feed containing antibiotics through a variety of steps short of withdrawing approval for the use of antibiotics in feed via a protracted administrative process and likely litigation. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment to the contrary and remanded for further proceedings.View "NRDC v. US FDA" on Justia Law

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Fabrikant was arrested and arraigned on five counts of criminal animal cruelty, pursuant to New York Agriculture and Markets Law 353. All but two of her dogs were taken. The seized dogs were spayed or neutered and sent to live in foster homes pending conclusion of the criminal case. Fabrikant was ultimately acquitted but apparently never asked that her seized dogs be returned after the trial. She filed a pro se civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the New York SPCA, several of its employees, and some of the prospective adopters who originally alerted the SPCA about the dogs’ conditions. The complaint included federal claims for malicious prosecution and for violations of her rights to due process, the presumption of innocence, counsel, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and state-law claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Accordingly, although they acted under color of state law, the SPCA defendants were protected by qualified immunity and could not be held liable for the spaying, neutering, or fostering out of Fabrikant’s dogs. Officers had probable cause to search Fabrikant’s house and arrest her. View "Fabrikant v. French" on Justia Law