News Briefs and Updates June 20, 2015
Decades have gone by without evidence that mandatory spay and neuter (MSN) laws have had any success. Sometimes that is still not enough to deter officials from proposing these failed ordinances. Should MSN be proposed in your area, we have compiled two handouts for your use. “Mandatory Spay Neuter – A Failure Everywhere” along with a collection of national organizations position statements opposing MSN, can be downloaded from our website http://saova.org/download.html
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US FISH AND WILDLIFE FINALIZES CHIMP RULE
June 2015. US Fish and Wildlife (FWS) in response to a 2010 petition by HSUS and Jane Goodall announced a final rule to classify all chimpanzees, both wild and captive, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rule will go into effect on September 14, 2015. Under the new designation anyone working with captive chimps in the US must apply for a permit from FWS. Organizations that want to continue working with chimpanzees will have to document that the work enhances the survival of the species and benefits chimps in the wild. That could include research that boosts habitat restoration or contributes to improved management. If anyone is actively engaged in chimpanzee research, they must apply for a permit. According to FWS Director Dan Ashe, some biomedical research with chimps may be allowed to continue if it is critical for understanding human disease.
In a press release The National Association for Biomedical Research stated, "The full impact the new FWS ruling will have on biomedical research is unclear. However, it would be unfortunate, even grave, should an infectious disease outbreak occur where human lives are at stake and a chimpanzee model could expedite development of life-saving medicines." Read the full press release at NABR: http://tinyurl.com/phe9zya
ALDF LOSES COURT BATTLE AGAINST SEAQUARIUM
The Orca Network, Animal Legal Defense Fund and others failed in their challenge against the Miami Seaquarium 's federal license renewal for the orca known as Lolita. "Only Congress, not this court, possesses the power to limit the agency's discretion and demand annual, substantive compliance with animal welfare standards," Judge Susan Black wrote for a three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit Court.
Every year, Seaquarium must renew its Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Before the expiration of its license in 2012, the ALDF sent a letter to the USDA asserting that Lolita's living conditions are inhumane, and Seaquarium's license should not be renewed. The USDA responded that it found Seaquarium in "compliance with the regulations and standards," and renewed the facility's license to keep and exhibit Lolita. It did not conduct an inspection of Lolita's living conditions based on the allegations in ALDF's letter. The ALDF sued in Miami, seeking a court order to set aside the USDA's renewal of Seaquarium's license, based on the theory that AWA animal welfare inspection laws should apply both to new licensees and license renewals.
In granting USDA summary judgment, the lower court found that the USDA complied with its license-renewal process, which requires just a certification of compliance, payment of an annual fee, and submission of an annual report detailing the number of animals exhibited in the prior year. Full story at Courthouse News Service: http://tinyurl.com/ppaqjj2
ALDF SUIT AGAINST PA DEPT OF AG MOVES FORWARD
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania allowed a lawsuit filed last summer by ALDF to move forward against the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. According to their press release, ALDF sued the Department for passing watered down regulations that gutted Pennsylvania’s historic Dog Law. ALDF and Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Petitioners requested that the court enjoin the Department from enforcing above regulations currently in 7 Pa.Code 28a.8 and 28b.1, declaring these sections to be in conflict with the Dog Law and therefore unlawful, and order the Department to revise the regulations in a manner consistent with the Dog Law.
Petitioners stated that the Dog Law prohibits Class C license holders (Commercial Kennels) from using metal strand wiring in the primary enclosure of adult dogs and requires unfettered access to an exercise area. Department regulations provide for compliance if only 50% of primary enclosure flooring meets that regulation, and allow a commercial kennel owner to be in compliance if a nursing mother is provided with daily access to an exercise area.
Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter overruled the Department’s preliminary objection to Petitioners’ standing. In her opinion Judge Leadbetter noted that before filing the suit Petitioners requested both the Department and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) review the regulations. Both the Department and the IRRC declined. Judge Leadbetter wrote, “These allegations, if proven, strongly suggest that redress through other channels is futile and thus that judicial scrutiny is required to insure that the regulations adopted by the Department conform to the law under which they were promulgated.” Opinion by Judge Leadbetter http://tinyurl.com/phxndwg
PALM BEACH COUNTY CALLS FOR END TO IMPORTING DOGS, CATS
Palm Beach County's unwanted dogs and cats are more likely to die if rescue groups keep importing animals from other counties and states, local officials warned. The county's animal shelter near West Palm Beach takes in 15,000 dogs and cats a year that are at risk of being euthanized if they aren't adopted. Finding homes for local shelter animals is made harder by well-meaning rescue groups continuing to have unwanted dogs and cats trucked and flown into Palm Beach County for adoption events, according to county officials. Some imported dogs and cats are coming from as close as Broward and Miami-Dade counties while others come from Alabama, Tennessee and even farther.
Because many rescue groups have ignored the county's request that they stop bringing in outside dogs and cats for adoption, County Mayor Shelley Vana went public with a plea to focus on helping local animals. The press conference was prompted by another local rescue group bringing in 60 dogs from outside the county for an adoption event.
"How does flying or busing in puppies from other regions help the dogs in this community?" Vana asked at a press conference from the county shelter. Vana continued, “What message is being sent to would-be adopters? What happens to those at-risk at animal care and control when those animals are flown in? The truth is often uncomfortable. Importing puppies and dogs into Palm Beach County while dogs in our own shelter die, means that some groups are simply stocking their shelves with dogs that are highly adoptable at a high fee.”
The county wants rescue groups to at least temporarily stop bringing in outside animals until the county shelter reaches a 90 percent “save rate”. So far this year, the county has an 80 percent "save rate" for dogs, while that drops to just a 39 percent for cats. Source: Sun-Sentinel
The message above was posted to Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Hawaii residents by the Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) on one of six regional read only elists.
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