Volume 26, Issue 2 (2020)


Sloane M. Hawes, Devrim Ikizler, Katy Loughney, Aurora Temple Barnes, Justin F. Marceau, Philip Tedeschi, Kevin N. Morris, A Quantitative Study of Denver’s Breed-Specific Legislation

In August of 1989, the City and County of Denver, Colorado enacted legislation that prohibits the presence of all ‘pit bulltype dogs’ (PBTDs) within the city limits. In Denver, PBTDs are defined as: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or Staffordshire bull terrier. In the thirty years the ‘pit bull ban’ has been in place, the City and County of Denver and its animal control agency, Denver Animal Protection, have committed substantial resources to removing PBTDs from the community, including patrolling communities and responding to complaints made by neighbors, conducting thorough breed evaluations of suspected PBTDs, and kenneling PBTDs found in the city limits. This Social-Environmental-Economic Impact Assessment (SEEIA) examines how the City and County of Denver’s Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) policy has impacted the economic and social systems of the Denver community.

An economic assessment of BSL identified that the City and County of Denver has spent at least $5.8 million on enforcing the legislation, with additional economic analyses estimating BSL resulted in approximately $107 million in lost direct and indirect economic activity related to lost pet care revenue. BSL in the City and County of Denver resulted in an extended length of stay for PBTDs in the care of animal shelters and also places undue strain on transfer partnerships with shelters in surrounding communities. An estimated $1 million has been spent by shelters in surrounding communities to care for the PBTDs that are transferred as a result of BSL. An assessment of the social impacts of BSL determined that the removal of a single breed is inconsistent with the documented benefits of increasing opportunities for pet-keeping in the community. Furthermore, the disproportionate enforcement of BSL in underserved communities and communities of color perpetuates historic trends of discrimination and marginalization in the United States and negatively impacts social cohesion of these communities.

Despite some of the more negative impacts of the legislation, there appear to be a number of social factors that have sustained Denver’s pit bull ban. While in the minority of opinions, 19.4% of Denver residents who participated in an online study about BSL (n = 252) said that the City and County of Denver’s breed ban positively impacted their perception of Denver and 24.6% of Denver residents said that the breed ban makes them feel safer. This perceived increase in sense of safety, even if only reported for a minority percentage of Denver residents, may continue to serve as the primary reason for policymakers to continue the ban in the present day.

The breed ban’s prioritization of human public safety at the expense of the welfare of a specific type of dog, particularly without a substantial impact on the former, represents a diversion from the components that contribute to a humane community. In conclusion, we recommend alternatives to BSL that will address the root causes of the issue of dangerous dogs, including: building the City and County of Denver’s capacity to support residents in caring for their pets by identifying and expanding the pet-support infrastructure such as affordable and accessibly veterinary and behavior services, implementing robust nonbreed-specific Dangerous Dog laws that include opportunities for early pet education and intervention with at-risk individuals and implementing evidence-based interventions for challenges to social cohesion and interpersonal and interspecies violence.


Erin Sutherland & Adrienne Craig, Oversight of Animal Raising Claims on Product Packaging: A Review of Jurisdiction and Challenges to Label Claims

This Article discusses federal and state oversight of label claims found on meat, poultry, egg, and dairy packaging and mechanisms for challenging misleading or false label claims. Part I introduces why label claims are so critical to animal welfare interests and discusses how false labeling and false advertising exacerbate the problem. Part II discusses the federal regulatory structure over animal-raising claims made on these products. Part III of this Article discusses state causes of action under consumer protection statutes. Part IV discusses the successes and failures public interest groups have had in challenging label claims and attempting to reform the system under which they are regulated. The Article concludes by offering advantages and disadvantages of each forum.


Danielle Duffield, Reputation, Regulatory Capture, and Reform: The Case of New Zealand’s Bobby Calves

In 2015, two animal rights organizations in New Zealand released undercover footage exposing widespread cruelty to some of the country’s most vulnerable, and invisible, farm animals: young male calves born into the dairy industry. The footage shocked the New Zealand public. In order to put pressure on the government to adopt meaningful reforms for the protection of these animals, an animal rights organization, Save Animals From Exploitation, placed advertisements in The Guardian highlighting the cruelty in the New Zealand dairy industry. The resulting publicity led to an unprecedented response from the regulating agency, the Ministry for Primary Industries, which swiftly promulgated new regulations governing the treatment of young calves in New Zealand.

This Article analyzes the impact of the regulatory reforms introduced. It then uses the reforms as a case study to determine the principal drivers of animal law reform in New Zealand. The Article argues that the most influential force that shaped the Ministry’s response to the undercover investigations was a desire, prompted by The Guardian advertisements, to protect New Zealand’s international reputation as an ethical producer of animal products. The Article then explores the implications of these findings for the future of animal welfare activism and reform in New Zealand.


Bianka Atlas, Joining the Herd: A Case for Closing New Zealand’s Domestic Ivory Market

This Article examines the evidence supporting the implementation of a domestic ivory trade ban in New Zealand, with the aim of informing policymakers and compelling the New Zealand government to act to establish a legal and policy framework. There is widespread support for the closure of domestic ivory markets worldwide, and this Article seeks to persuade New Zealand to join this groundswell.



Mary Walsh, Feeding Fido: The Case for Restitution in Ohio Animal Cruelty Convictions

This Note reviews Ohio animal cruelty convictions and makes an argument that restitution should be paid in those cases to the caretakers of the seized animals. First, this Note walks through the changing status of animals under the law from strictly property to the first anti-cruelty statutes imposed in Ohio. There is further discussion of what restitution means in cases like anti-cruelty and why it matters. The discussion then turns to why the current allowed financial sanctions are not enough to pay the fees required in housing and taking care of seized animals. Several cases in Ohio where restitution was ordered, or the order was reversed, are laid out to show the impact that cost and restitution have on the organizations that care for these animals. The Note concludes with a recommendation to the Ohio Supreme Court to make sure that restitution is ordered and upheld, as appellate courts in Ohio have a history of overturning trial court orders of restitution.


Emerald Sheay, People Who Hurt Animals Don’t Stop With Animals: The Use of Cross-Checking Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse Registries in New Jersey to Protect the Vulnerable

This Note explores the link between domestic violence and animal abuse and argues that due to such a link, New Jersey should enact a publicly searchable, cross-checking animal abuse registry and a domestic violence registry. Numerous studies confirm the connection between domestic violence and animal abuse. By examining the scope and history of these abuses, and exploring the status of registries in various states, this Note aims to explain the problems these issues pose to our society. Enacting these registries in New Jersey could keep law enforcement aware of illegal activity, reveal child abuse, and prevent the online selling of animals by puppy mills and animal fighting rings. The public has an interest and need for domestic violence and animal abuse registries, but these registries either do not exist in many states or are not publicly searchable. Additionally, current registries provide no mechanism for crossreferencing, so a person listed in a domestic violence registry, but not an animal abuse registry, can obtain a pet despite the correlation between domestic violence and animal cruelty. Cross-checking registries in New Jersey would serve to increase these benefits and further protect potential victims of either type of abuse. Registries continue to gain momentum into the twenty-first century; the analysis in this Note serves to provide valuable insight into how they can be used fairly to protect the vulnerable.



Patricia Estrella, 2019 Federal Legislative Review

The 116th Congress was historic for many reasons, and one of those reasons was major legislative progress for animals. In 2019, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act passed,criminalizing the underlying cruelty acts in animal crushing videos. Furthermore, Congress ended the sale of healthy wild horses and burros for slaughter and committed to giving financial rewards for tips on international wildlife trafficking. Additionally, many more bills were introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate, such as the Courthouse Dog Act and the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act. While it is still unclear whether all the bills introduced to protect animals will become law, it is clear that there is increasing public concern for animal welfare.


Diego A. Gutiérrez & Benjamin L. Cregger, 2019 State Legislative Review

This Review examines the significant changes and additions to different states’ laws throughout 2019. Among those significantly affected by these changes are farm animals, wildlife, and companion animals. ‘Ag-Gag’ and ‘Right to Farm’ bills began to flourish, but opponents have seen success in challenging their constitutionality. Wild animals found protection in fur and trapping bans, in addition to bans on killing contests. Companion animals continue to gain legal and physical protection through strengthened cruelty laws. These are a few of the many bills, regulations, and laws that impacted animals in 2019. Although some protections and regulations have seen cuts and restrictions, 2019 was a year of growth and development in all areas of the law concerning animals.


Daryane Couto, 2019 Foreign and International Legislative Review

This Review offers a review of foreign and international animal protection legislation enacted or proposed in the year 2019. Included are propositions by categorically international actors, such as CITES and the UN, for regulating international wildlife trade and drafting a high-seas conservation treaty. Additionally, this Review reports how some countries, such as Slovakia, Colombia, and the United Kingdom, are finally putting an end to cruel, archaic animal practices. Finally, the recognition of animal sentience in the Australian Capital Territory, and legislation that closes the gap in Canada’s Criminal Code, are addressed. Together, these changes in foreign and international animal law present a circumscribed picture of efforts made to better the position of animals around the world.