Category: Animals

Professor Luna Teaches Animal Liability at George Washington University

Professor Luna with her evening class

Yesterday, I co-taught my torts class with leading authority Luna Turley, Professor of Animal Welfare (PAW). Professor Luna has spent her life working on animal liability questions and taught both my day and evening classes on the common law rules governing dogs and other animals. Continue reading “Professor Luna Teaches Animal Liability at George Washington University”

Roughing the Protester? Activist Tackled by Rams Players Files Police Report and Threatens Lawsuit

YouTube screenshot

The 24-9 blowout of the Rams by the 49ers captured a number of missed tackles and plays by the Rams. However, one successful tackle occurred on the sideline when a protester wearing a shirt reading “righttorescue.com” and carrying a smoke flare jumped a security fence and ran down the field. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (with the help of fellow linebacker Takkarist McKinley) forced the protester to the ground. Now, the activist with Direct Action Everywhere has filed a police report and is threatening legal action. However, not only is another court likely to find that there was no right to rescue in a case involving the theft of pigs by animal activists, this activist is likely to establish that the players had a right to tackle.

Continue reading “Roughing the Protester? Activist Tackled by Rams Players Files Police Report and Threatens Lawsuit”

“No One is Allowed to Touch Her!”: Child Bitten By Pet Monkey in Halloween House of Horrors

We had just finished discussing animal liability in my torts class when a bizarre case from Halloween surfaced involving the girlfriend of Texas special teams coach Jeff Banks.  The account involves a stripper known as Pole Assassin, a monkey used in her act, and a wandering child at the house of horror she created for Halloween . . .  and they say my torts exams are unrealistic. Continue reading ““No One is Allowed to Touch Her!”: Child Bitten By Pet Monkey in Halloween House of Horrors”

Animal Rights Groups Sue The NIH Over Censorship

There is an interesting lawsuit filed in Washington against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over censorship.  The lawsuit was brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund after the government blocked comments on opposing animal testing on the agencies’ social media sites. The lawsuit has ample support in the case law. Notably, it also comes at a time when the Administration and many Democratic leaders, like President Joe Biden, have called on private companies to engage in massive censorship programs on social media.  The lawsuit was filed in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Collins, No. 1:21-cv-02380 (D.D.C.).

Continue reading “Animal Rights Groups Sue The NIH Over Censorship”

Australian Council Was Concerned Over People Getting Covid When Visiting Dog Shelter . . . So They Killed The Dogs

As many of you know, I am a fanatical dog lover so this story sent me into a high orbit. In Australia, the Bourke Shire Council in the northwestern part of the state of New South Wales was concerned that people might get or spread Covid when visiting an animal center for dogs.  Various solutions would seem to come to mind from virtual viewings to proof of Covid tests.  Instead, the council killed the dogs and declared the problem solved.

Continue reading “Australian Council Was Concerned Over People Getting Covid When Visiting Dog Shelter . . . So They Killed The Dogs”

Pennsylvania Woman Killed By Roommate’s Three Pit Bulls

We have previously discussed animal liability in torts. There is a tragedy in Pennsylvania which could present difficult questions for such cases after Rhoda Wagner, 60, was killed by three pit bulls. She was watching the dogs for her roommate. If litigated, the state’s nuanced dog liability laws would come into effect.

Continue reading “Pennsylvania Woman Killed By Roommate’s Three Pit Bulls”

Not in Front of the Shih Tzu: Professors Call for Hate Speech Protections to be Extended to Animals (Updated)

Two professors at the University of Sheffield have published a piece in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies to extend hate speech protections to animals to deal with hateful “speciesist” remarks. Drs. Josh Milburn and Alasdair Cochrane insist that such protections will help achieve a “more benign human–animal relations within society.”  The need for speech criminalization is based on the view that “some animals do seem to have their social confidence eroded because of their awareness of the risk of violence.”

 

Continue reading “Not in Front of the Shih Tzu: Professors Call for Hate Speech Protections to be Extended to Animals (Updated)”

Want Lower Car Insurance? Get Some Wolves, According to a Recent Study

I am admittedly a long advocate for protecting wolf populations as well as other wildlife severely displaced or reduced by development or hunting. However, there now appears a type of environmental dividend for those looking for a reason to support wolf reintroduction programs: lower accidents and insurance rates. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that car accidents with deer decreased dramatically after the re-introduction of wolves. Continue reading “Want Lower Car Insurance? Get Some Wolves, According to a Recent Study”

Houston Man Arrested As Police Continue Search For Missing Tiger

A story in Houston has everything you would want in a legal controversy: a murder, a mysterious figure known only as “D”, a missing Bengal tiger named India and even Carole Baskin of Tiger King fame.

That is the situation facing the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office after picking up Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, after a bizarre incident involving a wayward tiger.  For Cuevas, there is no good option. To quote that other Victor Hugo “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned!” Continue reading “Houston Man Arrested As Police Continue Search For Missing Tiger”

Bad Bet: Who Can Gamblers Sue For Losing Money On A Doped Horse?

This Carriage does it Justice: My New and Bizarre Typewriter

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It had been a while since my latest purchase of strange technology pieces, the most recent being a telephone having both a rotary dial and a touch-tone pad. But the need and a very compelling price demanded this latest foray–a 1950’s (?) vintage Royal typewriter with a massive, twenty-inch-wide carriage.

There is no escapement from this 39 pound lexi-beast; cf. at 7 pounds a Remington Personal-Riter manual typewriter. It can in only one and a half lines compose the entirety of the Preamble to the United States Constitution, and still have room for two invocations of The Quick Brown Fox to complete the second line.

Continue reading “This Carriage does it Justice: My New and Bizarre Typewriter”

Major Liability? Biden’s Dog Bites Another Employee After Returning From Delaware Seclusion

Courtesy White House

I previously wrote about the historical and legal perspectives of a biting incident involving one of the presidential pets, Major.  Both Biden German Shepherds (Major and Champ) were previously whisked out of town.  They were then quietly brought back.  Now Major has bitten another person who reportedly required medical attention. In the prior column, I noted that under tort law a dog is afforded (at most) “one free bite” before strict liability applies. Major could now be treated as a known vicious animal for liability purposes.

Continue reading “Major Liability? Biden’s Dog Bites Another Employee After Returning From Delaware Seclusion”

“Major” Liability or One Free Bite? Biden Sends Dogs Back to Delaware After Biting Incident

Courtesy White House (Major)

The Biden German Shepherds have been sent back to Delaware after “Major” was involved in a “biting incident” with a White House security officer. Assuming the incident was a dog-bites-guard rather than a guard-bites-dog incident, the question is whether this is a “Major” liability concern. If nothing else, it allows me to talk about two of my favorite subjects: dogs and torts. Continue reading ““Major” Liability or One Free Bite? Biden Sends Dogs Back to Delaware After Biting Incident”

“Stand Up For Justice”: PETA Denounces Animal Insults As “Supremacist” and “Speciesist”

We have previously discussed curious campaigns by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) like seeking to change the expression “bring home the bacon” with “bring homes the bagels.”  Now the animal rights group appears to be tapping into the movement for speech curtailment and regulation by declaring the use of animals to be “supremacist” and “speciesist.” Thus, it calls for the end of the use of pig, chicken, pig, rat, snake and other terms as pejorative terms to “stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language.”

Continue reading ““Stand Up For Justice”: PETA Denounces Animal Insults As “Supremacist” and “Speciesist””

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks