Court Calendar

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

PREDATORS
A jury in the native village of
Tok, Alaska, population 1,000, on July 22
ordered Friends of Animals to pay
$150,000 and wolf biologist Gordon Haber
to pay nearly $40,000 to local trapper
Eugene Johnson for releasing a wolf from a
snare in March 1997. Investigating rural
Alaskan claims that caribou were scarce due
to wolf predation, Haber found the radiocollared
wolf caught among four caribou
who previously died in snares at the same
site. Instead of releasing the wolf immediately,
Haber videotaped the scene and tried
unsuccessfully to get the Alaska Department
of Fish and Game to charge Johnson
with illegally killing the caribou. Haber
returned later and released the wolf after the
DFG refused to act. The wolf was found
three weeks later, 20 miles away, suffering
from an infected wound from the snare, and
bled to death after state and federal biologists
reportedly used a jackknife to amputate
the injured paw. Haber has worked mainly
under contract to FoA since 1993. FoA
president Priscilla Feral told A N I M A L
P E O P L E that FoA would seek to have the
verdict vacated, since as Haber pointed out,
“Tok is a trapping community, the trial was
held in Tok, and the trapper is from Tok.”
The Animal Protection Institute
on July 12 filed a motion to intervene in a
lawsuit brought in Waco, Texas, by the
Texas Farm Bureau and American Farm
Bureau Federation, seeking to prevent the
USDA from releasing to API the names and
locations of ranches in Texas and New
Mexico where USDA Wildlife Services has
deployed Compound 1080 sheep collars to
kill coyotes. API sued to get the information
in August 1999, and the USDA agreed in an
October 1999 settlement to provide it.

VEGGIE CASES
PETA lost First Amendment
cases in both Utah and New York d u r i n g
mid-July. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson
ruled on July 10 in Salt Lake City that
Eisenhower Junior High School a d m i n i strators
and Salt Lake City sheriff’s deputies
did legally have some discretion “to decide
what activities are disruptive” to school
functions, when on January 20, 1999 they
stopped a PETA protest against the presence
of a M c D o n a l d ’ s restaurant company flag
on the school pole. The flag was flown in
recognition of McDonald’s sponsorship of
classroom materials. Benson did not rule,
however, on the merits of either the decision
to halt the demonstration or PETA contention
that it should have been stopped.
Arguments in the case continue.
In New York City, Judge Victor
Marrero ruled on July 25 that the organizers
of the CowParade sidewalk sculpture exhibition
had the right to reject a design submitted
by PETA for reasons of taste. That
design attacked meat-eating. Another PETA
design, urging viewers to “buy fake
[leather] for the cow’s sake,” was accepted.
In Britain, Scotland Yard o n
July 5 agreed to pay $7,500 each to McLibel
defendants David Morris, 46, and H e l e n
Steel, 34, in settlement of a 1998 case contending
that police officers improperly provided
personal information about them to
McDonald’s Restaurants. McDonald’s
accused Morris and Steel of libeling the firm
in leaflets distributed on Earth Day 1991.
Defending themselves at a 314-day trial,
they won rulings that McDonald’s could
fairly be accused of complicity in animal
abuse, exploiting workers, and promoting a
diet that may contribute to heart disease.
Three Appellate Court judges agreed, however,
that McDonald’s was not fairly
accused of selling “poisonous” food, nor of
contributing to rainforest logging and starvation
in underdeveloped nations.

KILLING BIRDS
Finding opposite to a June 12
ruling by Federal District Judge Marsha
Pechman of Seattle, in a separate but parallel
case, U.S. District Judge Colleen
K o l l a r – K o t e l l y ruled on July 19 in Washington
D.C. that USDA Wildlife Services
may not kill resident Canada geese in
Virginia and other states without a U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service permit. That did not
stop the killing, however, as USDA Wildlife
Services obtained a USFWS permit
while the case, brought by the H u m a n e
Society of the U.S., was stil pending.
The North Carolina Court of
A p p e a l s ruled during the last week in July
that Oxford farmer John Ashton Malloy
may not hold another of the four-day pigeon
shoots he has hosted twice annually since
1987, while suing to overturn a 1999
amendment to the state anti-cruelty law
which banned hunting any vertebrate not
regulated by the state Wildlife Commission.
Each shoot killed 25,000-40,000 pigeons.

DOG LAW
The Wisconsin 3rd District
Court of Appeals on July 25 overturned a
lower court ruling that Society Insurance of
Fond du Lac, insurer of the Old Coach
Tavern in Kennan, need not pay more than
$100,000 in claims for dog-inflicted injuries
suffered on August 31, 1997 by D a k o t a
Litvinoff, then age 2. Litvinoff was mauled
on adjacent property by a German shepherd/Doberman
cross belonging to tavern
owner Phil Linehan, who had described the
dog since 1989 as the tavern mascot.
The ruling followed the February
25 Wisconsin 4th District Court of
Appeals verdict that hound owner Lyle Dix
was responsible for bites suffered by
William Fifer in August 1997, even though
Dix had loaned the dog to bear hunter Dave
Kappel and wasn’t present during the attack.
Both rulings extended dog owner
liability, while a June 7 Wisconsin 2nd
District Court of Appeals verdict upheld
the tradition that dog owners may not recover
damages beyond property value for the
wrongful death of a dog. Julie Rabideau,
of Racine, had sued police officer Thomas
Jacobi, who in March 1999 shot her Rottweiler––while
off duty––for allegedly
attacking his Chesapeake Bay retriever.
The day after the Rabideau verdict,
four Kentucky dog owners asked the
U.S. District Court in Louisville to rule on
the constitutionality of police offers shooting
their dogs, in separate incidents occurring
between July 1997 and October 1999.

FISHING
Responding to a petition filed
jointly by Greenpeace, the American
Oceans Campaign, and the Sierra Club,
U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ruled on
July 20 in Seattle that the National Marine
Fisheries Service must ban trawling for pollock,
cod, and other bottom fish in waters
within 20 nautical miles of 122 Stellar sea
lion rookeries and haulouts, as well as within
three major foraging areas in the Bering
Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Zilly held that
NMFS improperly ignored evidence associating
trawling for bottom fish with an 80%
to 90% decline in the Stellar sea lion population
since 1970.
The Zilly verdict came two days
after U.S. District Judge David Ezra o f
Honolulu reaffirmed his June 26 order that
NMFS must place an observer on every
longline fishing vessel, to protect endangered
sea turtles, monk seals, and whales.
“Unrestricted longline fishing will never
happen again in the Pacific by U.S.-based
boats,” said Ezra, “not because of this
court, but because that is what the law
requires.” Ezra also rapped the Hawaii
Longline Association for allegedly trying to
sway his verdict with a publicity campaign.

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