Court calendar

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2003:

The Constitutional Court of South Africa in November 2003
upheld the September 2001 conviction of Kalahari Raptor Center
co-director Chris Mercer for violating the Nature & Environmental
Con-servation Ordinance of 1974 by rescuing three baby caracals
instead of killing them, as mandated by the Problem Animal Control
Ordinance of 1957. Initially convicted and fined, Mercer won a
discharge and waiver of the fine on appeal to the High Court, but
was unsuccessful in seeking to overturn the 1957 law through the
Constitutional Court because the court held that he had only been
charged under the 1974 law. Publicity about the case helped to win
amendments to the Gauteng Province wildlife law, which no longer
requires that “problem” animals be killed without specific cause.

The Georgia Court of Appeals on November 14 dismissed a
defamation case filed by the Atlanta Humane Society and executive
director Bill Garrett against ex-employee and vocal critic Barbara
Harkins. Holding that “The evidence shows that Harkins’ statements
were clearly acts in furtherance of her right of free speech in
connection with an issue of public concern,” the court ordered AHS
to pay Harkins’ legal fees.

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court on November 12 rejected
the last appeal of the Fayette County SPCA against having to pay
damages of $96,000 to John Tabaj, whose dairy farm the SPCA and
Tri-County Humane Protection Inc., now defunct, raided in April
1993, seeking an allegedly stolen dog. The dog, not found,
belonged to the ex-husband of Tabaj’s daughter.

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