Court Calendar

From: Animal People, March 1999:

Judge Barbara Kluka of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, in early February dismissed a felony charge of illegal possession of an electric weapon filed against Vegan Street electronic information service founder Marla Rose, of Chicago, at an anti-rodeo protest in October 1998. The “weapon,” displayed as a demonstration prop, was a cattle prod identical to those typically used to jolt bulls as they leave the chutes during bull-riding events. Wrote observer John Beske in a World Wide Web posting, “If Rose had been found guilty, the case might have set forth a spate of restrictions against electric cattle prods, possibly turning Wisconsin dairy farmers and hardware store owners into sudden felons, and likely banning the use of electric prods in rodeos and circuses. So in once sense Ms. Rose’s victory is a sort of defeat: it absolved the very device she was trying to denounce.” But Rose was upbeat. “We were able to demonstrate,” she said, “that police officers and prosecutors consider electric cattle prods to be dangerous weapons.”

Hilma Ruby, 61, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and Patricia Dodson, 49, of Royal Oak, Michigan, were on February 22 fined $23,000 apiece and sentenced to serve six months each in jail for their part in releasing 1,540 mink from the Eberts Fur Farm near Chatham, Ontario, on March 30, 1997. About 500 of the mink froze to death, were hit by cars, or killed each other in fights soon after the release. Fur farmer Tom McClellanclaimed the raid cost him $500,000. Ruby and Dodson pleaded guilty more than a year after co-defendants Robyn Weiner and Alan Hoffmanplea-bargained fines and community service. A fifth defendant, Gary Yourofsky, is due for trial in March.

Texas District Judge John Marshall on February 5 reaffirmed his August and October rulings that pigeon shoots formerly held by the Dallas Gun Club are illegal because the conditions under which the birds are held and released are inhumane. Texas law permits captive bird shoots, but Marshall has repeatedly ruled that the birds must be have a fair chance at escape. Dallas Gun Club president Russ Meyer said the club would appeal again. Attorney Don Feare, representing pigeon shoot opponents, responded that further appeals are welcome because they will help lead toward an ultimate ban on such events. Feare is also president of the Wildflight Rescue Foundation. (See related article)

A peregrine falcon seen killing a starling in midair on February 12 validated the Fund for Animals’ claim that a starling poisoning program scheduled by USDA Wildlife Services under contract to Jefferson County, Kentucky, might put peregrine falcons and other federally protected raptors at risk. The Fund filed for an injunction against the planned poisoning on January 29. Jefferson County put the poisoning on hold, at least until fall, several days after the falcon appeared.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, of Washington D.C., on February 12 ruled that USDA Wildlife Services sharpshooters may not kill deer for Iowa City without meeting National Environmental Policy Act requirements to produce an environmental assessment of the program, publicize and distribute the assessment in order to receive public comment, and provide an adequate comment period. The USDA gunners had already killed 22 deer in two days when stopped by a temporary injunction on January 22, obtained by joint petition from the Fund for Animals, Animal Protection Institute, Friends of Animals, Humane Society of the U.S., and University of Iowa Animal Rights Coalition.