Dogs in Hot Cars: Massachusetts - New Jersey

Author: Simon Isham (3L) 

Post 3 of 5

This is the 3nd post in the Dogs in Hot Cars series written by 3L Simon Isham. Enjoy! 

___________________________________________________

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, both public officials and members of the general public can obtain criminal and civil immunity for saving a suffering animal, but the procedures are different for each class of individual.[1]

Police officers, firefighters, and animal control officers are entitled to enter a vehicle by any means necessary after using reasonable efforts to locate the vehicle's owner. The officers are entitled to enter for the sole purpose of assisting the animal and are not entitled to search the vehicle or seize other items found inside.[2] After removing the animal, the officer must leave a note in a conspicuous location on or in the vehicle bearing the officer's name, title, and the address of the location where the animal may be retrieved.[3] The owner may retrieve the animal only after paying all charges incurred in the animal's care.[4]

A person who is not a police officer, animal control officer, or firefighter has different rules to follow. To help, that person must:

  1. Have a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal.
  2. Determine that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit.
  3. Notify a law enforcement officer or call 911.
  4. Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[5] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. Remain with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.[6] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal out of the elements and to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.

The owner of the animal may be subject to a fine of up to $150 for a first offense, up to $300 for a second offense, and up to $500 for any subsequent offense.[7]

___________________________________________________

Michigan

Michigan currently has no law specifically making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot or cold car, nor does it allow members of the general public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal; however, a pair of bills introduced in 2016 aim to criminalize leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle in hot or cold weather.[8]

First offenders would receive a fine of up to $350 and/or up to 45 days in jail.[9] Repeat offenders would receive a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail.[10] If the negligent treatment results in serious harm to the animal, the maximum fine would be upped to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.[11] If the negligent treatment results in the death of the animal, up to a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in jail.[12]

The bills have been stalled in the state legislature’s judiciary committee for more than a year now. The judiciary committee has not made any sort of decision on either bill in that time.

___________________________________________________

Minnesota

Minnesota’s laws do not allow a member of the general public to break into a car to save a suffering dog, but they do allow people with certain jobs to do so.[13] Police officers, humane agents, "dog wardens" (a.k.a. animal control officers) or volunteer or professional firefighters may use reasonable force to enter a vehicle and retrieve a dog or cat.[14] The officer is required to use reasonable efforts to contact the owner and arrange for the animal's return home, but if the officer is unable to contact the owner, she may take the animal to a shelter.[15]

Minnesota law makes it a crime to leave a dog or cat inside a parked vehicle in a way that endangers the animal's health or safety.[16] The fine is $25.[17] This is one of the least harsh punishments for this type of behavior in the country, although the law was one of the first of its type. Additionally, the law imposes no restrictions on the owner's ability to obtain future animals.

Note: The Minnesota law only applies to dogs and cats, not to other types of animals.

___________________________________________________

Mississippi

Mississippi currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering dog or cat. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Mississippi can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although keeping an animal in a hot vehicle has not been specifically made a crime in Mississippi, carrying a dog or cat in a vehicle in a cruel or inhumane manner is a misdemeanor under the general animal cruelty statute.[18] Owners found in violation of this law may be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 6 months.[19]

Note: Missisippi’s vehicular animal cruelty statute only applies to dogs and cats, not to other types of animals.

___________________________________________________

Missouri

Missouri currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering dog or cat. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Missouri can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although keeping an animal in a hot vehicle has not been specifically made a crime in Missouri, a person who fails to provide adequate care for an animal in his custody is guilty of animal neglect under Missouri law.[20] First-time violators may face fines of up to $300 and/or up to 15 days in jail.[21] Repeat offenders may face fines of up to $500 and/or up to 6 months in jail.[22] In addition, the animal may be confiscated until the owner pays any expenses incurred for the animal’s maintenance.[23]

Note: Missouri defines “animal” as “every living vertebrate except a human being,” making it one of the broadest definitions in the country, but excluding common invertebrate pets such as  jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

___________________________________________________

Montana

Montana currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering dog or cat. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Montana can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although keeping an animal in a hot vehicle has not been specifically made a crime in Montana, carrying or confining an animal in a cruel manner constitutes animal cruelty under Montana law.[24] First-time offenders may be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year.[25] Subsequent offenses may result in a fine of up to $2,500 and/or a sentence of 2 years.[26] The owner may also be required to forfeit possession of the animal to the county.[27] The animal may returned after the owner serves his sentence and pays for the animal's incurred care, at the discretion of the court.[28]

___________________________________________________

Nebraska

Under current Nebraska law there is currently no law allowing a member of the general public to break a car window to save an ailing animal, and there is no law specifically criminalizing leaving a dog in a hot car. In fact, Nebraska’s animal cruelty laws are so vague that only “cruel neglect” is currently criminal, and it may or may not cover animals left in hot cars.

A bill introduced in 2016 to the Nebraska legislature proposes to give civil and criminal liability to members of the public who wish to help an ailing animal.[29] In order to retain the protection the bill proposes, a person must:

  1. Have a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal.[30]
  2. Determine that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit.[31]
  3. Notify a law enforcement officer or call 911.[32]
  4. Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[33] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. Place a written notice on the windshield or driver's side door of the vehicle noting the rescuer's name, telephone number or other contact information, an explanation of why forcible entry was necessary, the location of the animal, and the fact that the authorities have been notified.[34]
  6. Remain with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.[35] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal out of the elements and to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.

The bill also provides that a person who attempts to administer further medical care to an animal who seems to need it will not be civilly liable for further injury or death to that animal.[36] Unfortunately, this proposal has been indefinitely postponed for voting in the Nebraska legislature since April of 2016.[37]

Note: Nebraska’s definition of animal is “any vertebrate member of the animal kingdom,” however this definition is limited to exclude any uncaptured wild animal or livestock.[38]

___________________________________________________

Nevada

In 2017, the Nevada legislature passed a new law making it a misdemeanor to allow a dog or a cat to remain unattended in a vehicle if the heat or cold could pose a danger to the animal.[39] The new law also allows for certain officials to liberate cats and dogs from hot or cold vehicles.[40] Police officers, government employees whose primary duty is to ensure public safety, officers of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals who are authorized to make arrests, animal control officers, volunteer or professional firefighters, or members of a search and rescue organization under the supervision of a sheriff, may break into a vehicle to save a cat or dog.[41] The Nevada law is unique in that it empowers members of a search and rescue organization to take action to save an animal. The protections of this law do not apply to police dogs or dogs that are in the possession of an animal control officer, other first responder during an emergency, or dogs in the possession of a hunter.[42]

Note: The Nevada law only applies to dogs and cats, not any other type of animal.

___________________________________________________

New Hampshire

Although members of the general public in New Hampshire are not empowered to take action when they see an animal trapped in a hot or cold car, police officers or agents of a licensed humane organization may do so.[43] New Hampshire’s law is unique because it allows agents of a licensed humane organization to take action; such agents do not need to be officers of the organization, nor do they need to be authorized to make arrests, as they do in a few other states.

In addition, the New Hampshire law provides that confining “an animal in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space in which the temperature is so high or so low as to cause serious harm to the animal” is animal cruelty.[44] Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor, for which the maximum sentence is 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.[45]

Note: In New Hampshire, an animal is defined as “a domestic animal, household pet, or wild animal held in captivity,”[46] which is one of the most expansive definitions of animal in the country, since it does not exclude invertebrates.

___________________________________________________

New Jersey

New Jersey does not allow members of the general public to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal, nor does it specifically allow police officers to do so. However, the state does make it a crime to “leave the living animal or creature unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature.”[47] Those who violate this law will be fined between $500 and $2,500 and/or imprisoned for up to six months.[48] The court must also assign a sentence of 30 days of community service, and may direct that this sentence be served with an organization directed at the prevention of cruelty to animals.[49]

___________________________________________________ 

[1] M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F.

[2] M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F(b).

[3] M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F(c).

[4] Id.

[5] M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F(e).

[6] Id.

[7] M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F(g).

[8] Mich. S.B.s 0930 & 0931.

[9] Mich. S.B.s 0930 at 8.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] M.S.A. § 346.57.

[14] M.S.A. § 346.57(2).

[15] Id.

[16] M.S.A. § 346.57(1).

[17] M.S.A. § 346.57(3).

[18] M.C.A. § 97-41-5.

[19] M.C.A. § 97-41-16(2)(b)(i).

[20] M.C.A. § 578.009.

[21] V.A.M.S. § 578.009(2) & 557.011.

[22] Id.

[23] V.A.M.S. § 578.009(3) & (4).

[24] M.C.A. § 45-8-211(1)(b).

[25] M.C.A. § 45-8-211(2)(a).

[26] Id.

[27] M.C.A. § 45-8-211(2)(b).

[28] M.C.A. § 45-8-211(3)(a) & (c).

[29] N.L.B. 916 (2016).

[30] N.L.B. 916(1)(b) (2016).

[31] N.L.B. 916(1)(a) (2016).

[32] N.L.B. 916(1)(c) (2016).

[33] N.L.B. 916(1)(f) (2016).

[34] N.L.B. 916(1)(d) (2016).

[35] N.L.B. 916(1)(e) (2016).

[36] N.L.B. 916(2) (2016).

[37] NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE | Tʜᴇ ᴏꜰꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ ꜱɪᴛᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ Nᴇʙʀᴀꜱᴋᴀ Uɴɪᴄᴀᴍᴇʀᴀʟ LᴇɢɪꜱʟᴀᴛᴜʀᴇNᴇʙʀᴀꜱᴋᴀ Lᴇɢɪꜱʟᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ - Lᴇɢɪꜱʟᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ Dᴏᴄᴜᴍᴇɴᴛ, https://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=28657.

[38] N.R.S. § 28-1008(2).

[39] N.R.S. § 574.195.

[40] N.R.S. § 574.195(2).

[41] Id.

[42] N.R.S. § 574.195(2)(b)-(d).

[43] N.H.R.S. § 644:8-aa(III).

[44] N.H.R.S. § 644:8-aa(I).

[45] N.H.R.S. § 644:8-aa(II).

[46] N.H.R.S. § 644:8(II).

[47] N.J.S.A. § 4:22-17(a)(3).

[48] N.J.S.A. § 4:22-17(b)(1).

[49] N.J.S.A. § 4:22-17(e).

Dogs In Hot Cars: Hawaii - Louisiana

Author: Simon Isham (3L) 

Post 2 of 5

This is the 2nd post in the Dogs in Hot Cars series written by 3L Simon Isham. Enjoy! 

Hawaii

Hawaii currently has no law specifically making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Hawaii can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although Hawaii’s animal cruelty laws do not specifically address an animal’s need for adequate temperature regulation and ventilation, failure to provide these necessities to a pet likely meets the statutory definitions of “torment” and “torture.” “Torment” is defined as an owner’s failure “to attempt to mitigate substantial bodily injury” to the animal, and “torture” is defined as “every act, omission, or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted.”[1]

A person who torments or tortures an animal may be charged with cruelty to animals in either the first or second degree depending on whether the animal dies.[2] Animal cruelty is punishable by a fine of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.[3] Notably, If the animal does not die, Hawaii’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals; however, if the animal does die, then the owner will be restricted from owning any animal for five years.

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[4] A police officer who has probable cause to believe an animal is suffering may enter the vehicle in order to remove the animal and provide it with any necessary veterinary care.[5] The officer is required to post a notice of where the animal was taken conspicuously on the vehicle.[6]

___________________________________________________

 Idaho

Idaho currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Idaho can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Carrying an animal in a vehicle in a cruel or inhumane manner is a misdemeanor in Idaho,[7] and state police have used this law against those who leave dogs in hot cars in the past.[8] Those charged for the first time with animal cruelty can expect to face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of between $100 and $5,000.[9] Those charged with a second violation can be fined from $200 to $7,000, and/or imprisoned for up to 9 months.[10] Those charged with a third violation can be fined between $500 and $9,000, and/or imprisoned for up to one year.[11] Notably, Idaho’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals.

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[12] A police officer may take possession of the neglected animal and seek veterinary treatment for the animal, if necessary.[13] The animal’s owner will then be responsible for all costs associated with the animal’s care.[14]

Note: Representatives of the Idaho state Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Industries are entitled to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal as well, but may themselves call upon law enforcement to assist if they wish.[15]

___________________________________________________

Illinois

In Illinois, it is a felony to confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life- or health-threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold.[16] Although members of the general public may not break into a car to liberate an animal from the heat or cold, a police officer, animal control officer, or investigator from the state Department of Agriculture may do so.[17] Unlike in many states, firefighters are not specifically empowered to intervene in this way under the law.

A first-time offender may be imprisoned for up to 30 days and fined up to $1,500.[18] A repeat offender may be imprisoned for up to 180 days and fined up to $1,500.[19] Unlike in many states, Illinois pet owners are not restricted from owning or possessing future animals after violating this law.

Note: The Illinois law contains one of the broadest definitions of animal, comprising “every living creature, domestic or wild,” but not including humans.[20] This is contrary to many jurisdictions, where fish, livestock, and wildlife are not considered animals for the purposes of “hot car” laws.

___________________________________________________

Indiana

In 2017, the Indiana legislature passed a new law which grants criminal and limited civil immunity to a person who breaks into a hot car to save a suffering animal.[21] In order to qualify for these immunities, a person must follow the following procedure:

  1. The person must have a reasonable belief that the animal is in imminent danger of harm if it is not removed from the vehicle.[22]
  2. The person must determine that the doors of the vehicle are in fact locked, that no windows are rolled down, and that there is no other reasonable means of liberating the animal from the hot (or cold) car except to break the window.[23]
  3. The person must call 911 or make an attempt to contact a police officer, a firefighter, an animal control officer, or another emergency responder before attempting to enter the vehicle.[24] The Indiana law requires that the person make a reasonable attempt to contact one of the above listed emergency responders, but does not require that an emergency responder actually show up on the scene at any point. Thus, even if an emergency responder is unavailable to respond, a member of the public may still enter a vehicle to save a suffering animal.
  4. The person must use no more force than is reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[25] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. The person must remain with the animal until a law enforcement officer, firefighter, animal control officer, or other emergency responder arrives at the scene.[26] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal out of the elements and to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.

Indiana’s law is unique because although it authorizes breaking and entering into a vehicle, it also requires that the person breaking in pay to the owner or lessor of the vehicle half of the cost of repairing the vehicle.[27] The law also provides that the owner of the vehicle may waive the person’s obligation to pay.[28] The obligation to pay does not extend to police officers, firefighters, government employees whose primary job is to ensure public safety, animal control officers, veterinarians licensed in Indiana, veterinary assistants, and other emergency responders who might break into a vehicle to save an animal.[29]

Indiana’s law is also unique because it creates an immunity for the owner of the animal if the animal injures a person (for example, by biting them) during the course of its removal from the vehicle.[30]

Note: Indiana’s law only applies to dogs, cats, and other “vertebrate animals … intended to be kept as a household pet.” [31] The law specifically excludes livestock[32] and invertebrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

___________________________________________________

Iowa

Iowa currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Iowa can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although keeping an animal in a hot vehicle has not been specifically made a crime in Iowa, police are able to use the existing statutes on animal neglect[33] and animal torture[34] to cite negligent pet owners.[35] Such owners may be fined between $65 and $625 and/or serve up to 30 days in jail if the animal survives.[36] If the animal does not survive, the owner may be fined between $315 and $1,875, and imprisoned for up to one year.[37]

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[38] A police officer may take possession of the neglected animal, if necessary.[39] The animal’s owner will then be responsible for all costs associated with the animal’s care.[40] An animal that is too threatened to be returned to its owner will be euthanized.[41]

Note: Although the Iowa animal cruelty laws broadly define animals as nonhuman vertebrates, this definition is limited by excluding livestock, game animals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, pests, and "fur-bearing" animals.[42] The qualification of “fur-bearing” is not further defined in the Iowa animal cruelty laws, but is defined elsewhere in the Iowa Code to refer to animals commonly hunted or farmed for their pelts. The qualification of “vertebrates” also excludes from protection some common invertabrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

___________________________________________________

Kansas

Kansas currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Kansas can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Kansas’s animal cruelty statute defines animal cruelty as “knowingly abandoning any animal in any place without making provisions for its proper care; [] having physical custody of any animal and knowingly failing to provide such food, potable water, protection from the elements, opportunity for exercise and other care as is needed for the health or well-being of such kind of animal...”[43] A first time offender may serve one year or less in jail.[44] A repeat offender must serve a minimum sentence of five days in jail with a maximum sentence of one year, and must pay a fine between $500 and $2,500.[45] Notably, Kansas’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals — only the rights of owners convicted of intentional cruelty.[46]

 

Note: The Kansas law contains one of the broadest definitions of animal, comprising “every living vertebrate except a human being.”[47] This is contrary to many jurisdictions, where fish, livestock, and wildlife are not considered animals for the purposes of “hot car” laws. The qualification of “vertebrates” also excludes from protection some common invertabrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

___________________________________________________

Kentucky

Kentucky currently has no law on the books allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal, but that could soon change. In late 2017, a bill was introduced in the Kentucky legislature that would give civil immunity to a person who rescues a domestic animal from a hot vehicle.[48] The law will be presented for a vote during the 2018 legislative session.[49] If it passes, the bill would grant a rescuer civil immunity if they followed this procedure:

  1. Have a reasonable, good faith belief, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, that entry into the vehicle is necessary because the domestic animal is in imminent danger of physical injury if not immediately removed from the vehicle.[50]
  2. Contact a police officer, a firefighter, or call 911.[51] The Kentucky bill allows for firefighters to respond to the scene, unlike some states, but does not specifically allow for animal control officers to do so, unlike some others.
  3. Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[52] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  4. Remains with the domestic animal in a safe location, out of the elements, but reasonably close to the vehicle, until law enforcement, firefighters, or other emergency responders arrive.[53] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.
  5. If the rescuer reasonably determines that emergency conditions require leaving the scene with the minor or domestic animal, the rescuer must place written notice on the vehicle containing the rescuer's contact information, the reason entry into the vehicle was made, the location of the domestic animal, and notice that authorities have been contacted.[54] The wording of the Kentucky bill is important on this point because it places a large amount of discretion in the hands of the rescuer about whether the parties need to leave the scene, and for what reasons. The obvious reason is that the animal might need medical care for symptoms of heat stroke, but another possible reason that the bill does not foreclose is natural disasters that might make it unsafe for the parties to remain at the vehicle.

Under current Kentucky law, bystanders must contact law enforcement or animal control officers and wait for them to arrive in order to help an animal in need.[55]

___________________________________________________

Louisiana

Louisiana currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Louisiana can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Louisiana’s animal cruelty statute, among other things, prohibits carrying an animal in a vehicle in a cruel or inhumane way,[56] and “Mistreats any living animal by any act or omission whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused to or permitted upon the animal.”[57]

A first-time offender may be punished by a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.[58] A subsequent offense will come with a fine of between $5,000 and $25,000, and/or a sentence "with or without hard labor" for between one and ten years.[59] A subsequent offender will also be ordered to complete 40 hours of community service,[60] and must complete a psychological evaluation.[61] Although Louisiana’s laws do not specifically allow for the rescue of struggling animals by members of the public, they do allow for rescue by police officers,[62] and the punishments for animal cruelty are among the harshest in the nation, especially for repeat offenders. In addition, Louisiana restricts those convicted of animal cruelty from owning or possessing any animals for “a length of time deemed appropriate by the court.”[63]

___________________________________________________

[1] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1100.

[2] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 711-1108.5, 711-1109

[3] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-640, 706-660.

[4] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1109.1.

[5] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1109.1(1).

[6] Id.

[7] I.C. § 25-3505.

[8] Journal Staff, Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴅᴇᴄʟᴀʀᴇ ᴢᴇʀᴏ ᴛᴏʟᴇʀᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄʏ ʀᴇɢᴀʀᴅɪɴɢ ᴅᴏɢꜱ ʟᴇꜰᴛ ɪɴ ʜᴏᴛ ᴄᴀʀꜱ ꜰᴏʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴄᴀɴɪɴᴇ'ꜱ ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, Iᴅᴀʜᴏ Sᴛᴀᴛᴇ Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟ (2017), http://idahostatejournal.com/news/local/police-declare-zero-tolerance-policy-regarding-dogs-left-in-hot/article_df8a0cf6-742d-5e8f-9cb1-b3af1fa86842.html.

[9] I.C. § 25-3520A(1).

[10] I.C. § 25-3520A(2).

[11] I.C. § 25-3520A(3).

[12] I.C. §§ 25-3504, 25-3519.

[13] I.C. § 25-3504.

[14] I.C. § 25-3520B.

[15] I.C. § 25-3501.

[16] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1.

[17] Id.

[18] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1 and 730 ILCS 5 § 5-4.5-65.

[19] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1 and 730 ILCS 5 § 5-4.5-60.

[20] 510 ILCS 70 § 2.01.

[21] Indiana General Assembly, Hᴏᴜꜱᴇ Bɪʟʟ 1085 - Rᴇꜱᴄᴜᴇ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴꜱ Iɴᴅɪᴀɴᴀ Gᴇɴᴇʀᴀʟ Aꜱꜱᴇᴍʙʟʏ, https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1085#document-70481d70.

[22] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(1).

[23] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(2).

[24] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(3).

[25] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(4).

[26] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(5).

[27] I.C. 34-30-30-3(a).

[28] Id.

[29] I.C. 34-30-30-3(c).

[30] I.C. 34-30-30-4.

[31] I.C. 34-30-30-1(a).

[32] I.C. 34-30-30-1(a).

[33] I.C.A. § 717B.3.

[34] I.C.A. § 717B.3.A.

[35] Dog Escapes Hot Car, Owner Gets Animal Neglect Citation, ᴡʜᴏᴛᴠ.ᴄᴏᴍ (2017), http://whotv.com/2017/07/21/dog-escapes-hot-car-owner-gets-animal-neglect-citation/.

[36] I.C.A. § 717B.3.3 and I.C.A. § 903.1.

[37] Id.

[38] I.C.A. § 717B.5.

[39] I.C.A. § 717B.4.

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] I.C.A. § 717B.1.

[43] K.S.A. § 21-6412.

[44] K.S.A. § 21-6412(b)(2)(A) and K.S.A. § 21-6602(1).

[45] K.S.A. § 21-6412(b)(2)(B).

[46] K.S.A. § 21-6415.

[47] K.S.A. § 21-6411.

[48] 18 RS BR 164 (2017).

[49] Id.

[50] 18 RS BR 164(1)(a) (2017).

[51] 18 RS BR 164(1)(b) (2017).

[52] 18 RS BR 164(1)(c) (2017).

[53] 18 RS BR 164(1)(d)(1) (2017).

[54] 18 RS BR 164(1)(d)(2) (2017).

[55] KRS § 436.605.

[56] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(1)(f).

[57] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(1)(i).

[58] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(a).

[59] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(b).

[60] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(c).

[61] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(d).

[62] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.3.

[63] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(b).

Dogs In Hot Cars: Alabama-Georgia

Author: Simon Isham

Post 1 of 5.

Happy New Year everyone! This month, our JAEL Blog will feature a series written by 3L journal member Simon Isham. Simon's series dives into each states' laws regarding dogs being left in hot cars and the corresponding legal questions. The series consists of (5) blog posts running from today until the end of the month. Simon has broken up the states alphabetically and the blog posts follow ABC order. Be sure to check back weekly to read! 

Ultimately, the series will answer the following questions for each state:

  1. Can the dog be removed from the car?

    1. Is it legal in each state for a civilian to break into another person’s car in order to save a hot dog? If so, what steps must they follow? How do these steps differ among states?

    2. If not, is there anybody a civilian can call (e.g. police) who is empowered to break into the car? How do these authorized individuals differ among states?

  2. If not, can the owner be held accountable?

    1. If not, is leaving a dog in a hot car specifically made criminal in that state? If so, what is the punishment for violation? How do the punishments differ among states?

    2. If not, is there any other statute under which a person who leaves a dog in a hot car can be punished? How do the punishments differ among states?

___________________________________________________

Alabama

Alabama currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal; however, in April 2017, House Bill 524[1] proposed to change this.

Although the law was indefinitely tabled in May,[2] if it does pass, it will allow civil immunity for those who break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal (or child). The bill specifically applies to "domestic animals," so those hoping to rescue a deer or a squirrel are not be protected; however, those wishing to help dogs, cats, and other pets would be immune from criminal and civil liability[3] so long as they:

  1. Have a good faith belief that the animal is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death unless it is removed from the vehicle.[4]
  2. Determine that the vehicle is locked and that forcible entry is necessary to enable the animal to be removed from the vehicle.[5]
  3. Notify the police, an Emergency Medical Service Provider, or Animal Control of the situation.[6] The Alabama bill does not specifically authorize the fire department to respond to this type of emergency.
  4. Do not use more force than he or she reasonably believes necessary under the circumstances to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.[7] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. Wait with the animal until the emergency responder contacted in step 3 arrives at the vehicle.[8] The Alabama bill does not specifically allow, as some other states do, for the rescuer to move the animal out of the elements and away from the vehicle.
  6. Leave a note for the owner of the vehicle.[9] If the rescuer must leave the scene before the owner of the animal returns, the rescuer must leave a note including his or her name, phone number, reason the vehicle was broken into, and the location, if known, of the animal.

Note: The Alabama bill specifically excludes livestock.[10]

Note 2: This is still a proposed law and is not yet effective in Alabama.

___________________________________________________

Alaska

Alaska currently has no law specifically making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot (or cold!) car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public—to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Alaska can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Alaska's animal cruelty statutes establish a minimum standard of care for animals, including a requirement that the owner provide "an environment compatible with protecting and maintaining the good health and safety of the animal."[11] An owner who fails to provide such an environment can be convicted of animal cruelty, which is a Class C felony, and can be restricted from owning any animals for a period of 10 years.[12]

___________________________________________________

Arizona

Arizona's animal protection laws were updated in May of 2017 to allow for members of the general public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal (or a child).[13] The law specifically applies to "domestic animals," so those hoping to rescue a deer or a squirrel are not be protected; however, those wishing to help dogs, cats, and other pets[14] will be immune from criminal and civil liability so long as they:

  1. Have a good faith belief that the animal is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death unless it is removed from the vehicle.[15]
  2. Determine that the motor vehicle is locked and unattended, and that there is no reasonable manner in which the person can remove the animal from the vehicle besides breaking in.[16]
  3. Notify the police, an Emergency Medical Service Provider, or Animal Control of the situation.[17] The Arizona law does not specifically authorize the fire department to respond to this type of emergency.
  4. Do not use more force than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.[18] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. Wait with the animal until the emergency responder contacted in step 3 arrives at the vehicle.[19] The Arizona law does not specifically allow, as some other states do, for the rescuer to move the animal out of the elements and away from the vehicle.

___________________________________________________

Arkansas

Arkansas currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Arkansas can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Alaska's animal cruelty statutes make it crime for a person to carry "in or upon any motorized vehicle or boat an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner."[20] A person found guilty of this offense faces a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in prison, and must undergo psychiatric evaluation and counseling.[21]

Notably, Aranksas’ animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals.

___________________________________________________

California

Prior to January, 2017, only police officers and animal control officers were permitted to "use all steps reasonably necessary to remove an animal from a motor vehicle" when the animal was in danger from a specific threat, such as heat, cold, lack of food, or lack of adequate ventilation.[22] Those officers were required to take the animal to an animal shelter or animal hospital for safekeeping and/or treatment, and to leave a note for the owner stating where the animal could be claimed.[23] The owner could only claim the animal after the owner paid all charges associated with the animal's treatment and care.[24]

As of this year, the above requirements were modified to allow members of the general public to break into a vehicle without civil or criminal liability so long as the following actions are taken, in this order:

  1. The person must reasonably believe that immediate action is necessary to prevent harm to the animal.[25] Although not specifically required by the statute for members of the general public, the would-be rescuer should make a reasonable effort to locate the animal's owner first if the animal does not appear to be suffering. This step is required of police and other emergency responders.
  2. The person must determine that the doors of the vehicle are in fact locked, that no windows are rolled down, and that there is no other reasonable means of liberating the animal from the hot (or cold) car except to break the window.[26]
  3. The person must contact law enforcement, the fire department, animal control, or 911 dispatch prior to breaking into the vehicle.[27]
  4. The person must use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.[28] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. The person must wait with the animal in a safe location until emergency responders arrive.[29] This location may be just outside the vehicle, in the rescuer's vehicle, under the shade of a tree or inside of a nearby building. When choosing a location to wait with the animal, the rescuer should consider places with a view of the owner's vehicle and the arrival of emergency responders.
  6. When law enforcement, the fire department, animal control, or other emergency responders arrive at the scene, the rescuer must immediately turn the animal over to them. [30]

Note: The California law specifically excludes livestock if the animals are in a vehicle that is specifically designed for the transportation of livestock.[31]

___________________________________________________

Colorado

Earlier this year, the Colorado legislature passed a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal without criminal or civil liability. In order to take advantage of the immunity offered under the law, the following requirements must be satisfied:

  1. The animal must be a cat or a dog.[32] Other pets, such as ferrets or parakeets, as well as livestock animals, are not protected under this law.
  2. The vehicle cannot be a law enforcement vehicle.[33] Even police K-9's can be forgotten or neglected in hot cars. Since 2012, animal rights group PETA has kept track of deaths and injuries of working dogs left in unattended vehicles. Last year, it announced that this number was increasing.[34] Still, in order to take advantage of the immunity the Colorado law offers, would-be rescuers should make certain that the vehicle is not a marked or unmarked police car.
  3. The person must have a reasonable belief that the animal is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.[35]
  4. The person must determine that the vehicle is locked and that forcible entry is necessary.[36]
  5. The person must make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or operator of the vehicle, and must write down the color, make, model, license plate number and location of the vehicle.[37]
  6. The person must contact local police, the fire department, animal control, or a 911 operator prior to forcibly entering the vehicle.[38] The person must obey all orders from law enforcement personnel, even if those orders are to refrain from entering the vehicle until the police arrive.
  7. The person must not use more force than he or she reasonably believes necessary to enter the vehicle and remove the animal.[39]
  8. The person must remain with the animal "reasonably close to the vehicle" until the emergency responder arrives.[40] The Colorado law does not specifically allow, as some other states do, for the rescuer to move the animal out of the elements.
  9. If the person must leave the scene before the owner of the vehicle returns, or before the emergency responder arrives, the person must place a note on the windshield of the vehicle including his or her name, contact information, and the name and contact information of the location to which the person took the animal. The person must also contact the emergency responder service contacted in step 6 and inform them of his or her name, contact information, that he or she is leaving the scene, and the location to which he or she is taking the animal.[41] This law, unlike those of many states, allows for the possibility that the animal is in critical condition and requires immediate medical attention that a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician is not trained to provide to an animal. Therefore, after leaving a note on the windshield of the owner's car and updating the en-route emergency responder to the situation, the rescuer is authorized to bypass the usual protocol and transport the suffering animal to a veterinary facility.

Note: The Colorado Law only applies to cats and dogs, and specifically does not include livestock.[42]

___________________________________________________

Connecticut

Connecticut currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Connecticut can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. In Connecticut, a person is guilty of animal cruelty if he "fails to provide it with proper food, drink or protection from the weather."[43] Animal cruelty is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.[44]

Notably, Connecticut’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals.

___________________________________________________

Delaware

In Delaware, it is a felony to leave an animal in a car that is so hot or cold that the temperature might cause injury to the animal.[45] Although members of the general public may not break into a car to liberate an animal from the heat or cold, a police officer, firefighter, or animal control officer may do so.[46] After attempting to contact the owner, the officer must leave a note bearing his name, contact information, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed.[47] The officer can then take the animal to a veterinary facility.[48]

If the animal lives, the owner's first offense of this kind is punishable by a warning.[49] Punishment of any subsequent offenses depends on whether the animal lives or dies. If the animal lives, the owner will be prohibited from owning any animal for five years and will face a fine of $1,000.[50] If the animal dies, the owner will be prohibited from owning any animal for 15 years and a fine of $5,000.[51]

Note: The Delaware law specifically excludes livestock if the animals are in a vehicle that is specifically designed for the transportation of livestock.[52] Fish, mollusks, and crustaceans being transported in any type of vehicle are also excluded.[53]

___________________________________________________

Florida

In early 2016, the Florida legislature passed a law granting immunity from civil liability to persons who break into vehicles to save suffering animals. The law specifically applies to "domestic animals," so those hoping to rescue a deer or a squirrel are not be protected.[54] Those wishing to help dogs, cats, and other domesticated household pets must:

  1. Have a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon the known circumstances, that entry into the motor vehicle is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm.[55]
  2. Determine that the motor vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the animal to be removed.[56]
  3. Call 911 and notify police dispatch of the situation.[57] Unlike most other "good Samaritan" laws, Florida's statute allows a person to break into a car before calling the police, so long as they do so immediately after removing the animal. The Florida statute only specifically addresses informing law enforcement, and does not weigh in on whether calling a firefighter or animal control would suffice.
  4. Use no more force to enter the motor vehicle and remove the vulnerable person or domestic animal than is necessary.[58] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. Remain with the animal in a safe location, in reasonable proximity to the motor vehicle, until police arrive.[59] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal out of the elements and to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.

Note: The Florida law specifically excludes livestock.[60]

___________________________________________________

Georgia

Georgia currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Georgia can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Georgia’s animal cruelty statute makes it a crime to fail “to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions, or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal's size, species, breed, age, and physical condition.”[61] If the neglect was accidental and this is the owner’s first offense, the owner may be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to one year.[62] If the neglect was intentional or the owner has one prior unintentional offense, the owner may be fined up to $15,000 and imprisoned between one and five years.[63] If the owner has prior intentional offenses, the owner may be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned between one and ten years.[64] The increasing punishments for repeat offenders make Georgia’s animal cruelty statute among the most severe in the nation. Notably, Georgia’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals.

Note: The Georgia statute does not include fish or “any pest that might be exterminated or removed from a business, residence, or other structure.”[65] The Georgia statute does not provide clarity on animals, such as mice, that can sometimes fall into the category of “pets” and sometimes into the category of “pests,” depending on context. This problem does not exist with goldfish, for example, because the statute categorically excludes “fish.”

___________________________________________________

 

[1] Alabama House Bill 524 (2017).

[2] Oᴘᴇɴ Sᴛᴀᴛᴇꜱ, https://openstates.org/al/bills/2017rs/HB524/ (last visited Sep 12, 2017).

[3] Alabama H.B. 524 at § 1(a)(1).

[4] See supra at § 1(b)(1).

[5] See supra at § 1(b)(2).

[6] See supra at § 1(b)(3).

[7] See supra at § 1(b)(5).

[8] See supra at § 1(b)(4).

[9] See supra at § 1(c).

[10] See supra at § 1(a)(1).

[11] A.S. § 03.55.100(a)(2).

[12] A.S. § 11.61.140(h).

[13] A.R.S. § 12-558.02.

[14] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(C).

[15] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(A)(1).

[16] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(A)(2).

[17] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(A)(3).

[18] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(A)(4).

[19] A.R.S. § 12-558.02(A)(5).

[20] A.C.A. § 5-62-103(6).

[21] A.C.A. § 5-62-103.

[22] California Assembly Bill No. 797 (2016).

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(B).

[26] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(A).

[27] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(C).

[28] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(E).

[29] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(D).

[30] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(b)(2)(F).

[31] Cal. Pen. Code § 597.7(f).

[32] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(1)(a).

[33] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(a).

[34] Kevin Johnson, Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ K-9ꜱ ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴀꜱɪɴɢʟʏ ᴅʏɪɴɢ ɪɴ ʜᴏᴛ ᴄᴀʀꜱ, USA Today (2016), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/10/05/police-k-9-dogs-deaths-hot-cars/91475906/ (last visited Sep 12, 2017).

[35] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(b).

[36] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(c).

[37] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(d).

[38] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(e).

[39] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(f).

[40] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(g)(I).

[41] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4(2)(g).

[42] C.R.S.A. § 13-21-108.4.

[43] C.G.S.A. § 53-247(a).

[44] C.G.S.A. § 53-247(c).

[45] Del.C. 11, § 1325(b)(6).

[46] Id.

[47] Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Del.C. 11, § 1325(g).

[50] Del.C. 11, § 1325(c).

[51] Del.C. 11, § 1325(d).

[52] Del.C. 11, § 1325(b)(6).

[53] Del.C. 11, § 1325(a)(2).

[54] F.S.A. § 768.139(1)(a).

[55] F.S.A. § 768.139(2)(b).

[56] F.S.A. § 768.139(2)(a).

[57] F.S.A. § 768.139(2)(c).

[58] F.S.A. § 768.139(2)(d).

[59] F.S.A. § 768.139(2)(e).

[60] F.S.A. § 768.139(1)(a).

[61] Ga. Code Ann., § 16-12-4(b)(2).

[62] Ga. Code Ann., § 16-12-4(c) and 17-10-3(a)(1).

[63] Ga. Code Ann., § 16-12-4(e).

[64] Id.

[65] Ga. Code Ann., § 16-12-4(a)(1) and (16-12-4(d)(5).

 

What is art?

What is Art?

By: Sarah Ortkiese

On September 25, 2017, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, New York issued a statement on an upcoming art exhibition, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.”[1] The Guggenheim statement included, “Out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has decided against showing the art works of the Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), Theater of the World (1993), and A Case Study of Transference (1994).”[2]  These three pieces in questions received backlash from the community in a form of an online petition containing about 750,000 signatures citing that the pieces depicted animal cruelty.[3] The pieces all display animals conforming to human desires, no matter the potential harm that may be done to them.

The first piece in question, Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), is a seven-minute video showing pit bulls tethered to a non-motorized treadmill, facing each other, in an attempt to get the dogs to engage with one another.[4] The pit bulls will never reach one another as the treadmill and the tethering prevented the dogs from moving forward; instead the pit bulls ended up exhausting themselves due to the strenuous activity of running at something they will never catch.[5]

The second piece removed from the collection was Theater of the World (1993).[6] Theater of the World (1993) consists of a clear dome perched on table.[7] The dome is well lit and contains reptiles and insects, such as snakes, lizards and crickets, to name a few.[8] The insects and reptiles are left to battle each other during the course of the exhibit, and it is acknowledged that not all of those put into the dome at the beginning of the exhibit will survive until the end.[9]

The third and final piece removed from “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” was A Case Study of Transference 1994).[10] This piece depicts two pigs covered in Chinese and Roman characters.[11] This piece is a video, similar to the Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), but instead of showing animals attempting to fight one another, A Case Study of Transference (1994) shows a boar and a sow mating before spectators.[12]

The backlash from the community on these three controversial pieces in the collection extended beyond the online petition, various groups, such as People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Kennel Club spoke out in condemnation of these pieces.[13] PETA supported the removal of the three artworks as they are animal cruelty instead of art, but PETA also stressed the fact that removing these pieces might be the awareness Chinese artists need to no longer use animals in such a cruel way.[14] The American Kennel Club outlined that in no such circumstances is Dog fighting art, in reference to Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), and went onto denounce animal cruelty as a form of art.[15] Many citizens took to social media, such as Twitter, to sound off against the Guggenheim Museum for supporting and wanting to display what they believed to be depictions of animal cruelty. Those in support of the Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), took the stance that dogs used in the video are by nature aggressive and the acts that the dogs are performing in the video does not amount to animal abuse.[16]

“Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” was displayed in Canada in 2007, and it too decided to remove animals from the Theater of the World (1993).[17] The artist of the piece, Huang Yong Ping, expressed disappointment in Canada’s decision to remove the animals stating that, “They completely ignored the concept. . .citing so-called ‘animal rights’ that violently interfere with the rights of an art work to be freely exhibited in a museum.”[18] Another artist expressed in reference to the decision that the Guggenheim made, that it is wrong that a museum cannot use its free speech.[19] But are depictions of animal cruelty protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? According to the Supreme Court Case, United States v. Stevens, depictions of animal cruelty are unprotected speech by the First Amendment.[20] The case analyzed 18 U.S.C. § 48, which banned the creation, sale, possession or depiction of animal cruelty, the statute did not address any underlying acts of animal cruelty that went into the creation of the video.[21] During the course of analyzing the constitutionality of the statue, the Supreme Court held, that depictions of animal cruelty were not one of the areas of speech traditionally protected by the First Amendment, and that there is not historical evidence showing that depictions of animal cruelty should be added to the list of protected speech.[22] Unprotected by the First Amendment means that there can be limitations on the speech as long as those limitations meet certain criteria outlined by the Supreme Court.[23] For example, In United States v. Stevens, the statute 18 U.S.C. § 48 was declared overbroad by the Supreme Court meaning that the law had the effect of reaching beyond its targeted conduct.[24]

Should anything categorized as “art” be protected by the First Amendment as an expression of free speech? Or should the “art” be broken down into what the piece is truly depicting, such as cruelty to animals, and banned? If acts such as mentioned above are included in the definition of “art” do we still want to call it “art” or does it become something more or less because we are allowing in depictions of cruel acts? Do we as a society want the art world to be taken advantage of as a place to create and distribute disturbing pieces on the grounds that is an expression of free speech? It is a situation that came to light this past fall at the Guggenheim Museum, and showed the deep divide amongst artists and patrons alike.

[1] Statement Regarding Works in “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World”, Guggenheim, https://www.guggenheim.org/press-release/works-in-art-and-china-after-1989-theater-of-the-world (last visited Nov.1, 2017)

[2] Statement Regarding Works in “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World”, Guggenheim, https://www.guggenheim.org/press-release/works-in-art-and-china-after-1989-theater-of-the-world (last visited Nov.1, 2017)

[3] Art and China After 1989 at the Guggenheim – disturbing and disorienting, Financial Times, https://www.ft.com/content/919bbdc6-b02d-11e7-8076-0a4bdda92ca2 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017); Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[4] Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017); Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[5] Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[6] Statement Regarding Works in “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World”, Guggenheim, https://www.guggenheim.org/press-release/works-in-art-and-china-after-1989-theater-of-the-world (last visited Nov.1, 2017)

[7] Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[8] Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)  

[9] Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[10] Statement Regarding Works in “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World”, Guggenheim, https://www.guggenheim.org/press-release/works-in-art-and-china-after-1989-theater-of-the-world (last visited Nov.1, 2017)

[11] Art or animal cruelty? Guggenheim pulls display of live reptiles fighting for survival. Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/27/art-or-animal-cruelty-guggenheim-pulls-display-of-live-reptiles-fighting-for-survival/?utm_term=.e87d350bdea4 (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)   

[12] Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)

[13] Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017); and

[14] Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)

[15] Why the Guggenheim’s Controversial Dog Video Is Even More Disturbing Thank You Think, ArtNet, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/so-whats-really-going-on-with-that-disturbing-dog-video-at-the-guggenheim-1100417 (last visited Nov. 10, 2017)

[16] Why the Guggenheim’s Controversial Dog Video Is Even More Disturbing Thank You Think, ArtNet, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/so-whats-really-going-on-with-that-disturbing-dog-video-at-the-guggenheim-1100417 (last visited Nov. 10, 2017)

[17] Why the Guggenheim’s Controversial Dog Video Is Even More Disturbing Thank You Think, ArtNet, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/so-whats-really-going-on-with-that-disturbing-dog-video-at-the-guggenheim-1100417 (last visited Nov. 10, 2017)

[18] Why the Guggenheim’s Controversial Dog Video Is Even More Disturbing Thank You Think, ArtNet, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/so-whats-really-going-on-with-that-disturbing-dog-video-at-the-guggenheim-1100417 (last visited Nov. 10, 2017)

[19]  Guggenheim Museum Is Criticized for Pulling Animal Artworks, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/arts/design/guggenheim-art-and-china-after-1989-animal-welfare.html (last visited Nov. 1, 2017)  

[20] United States v. Stevens, 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010), 1580

[21] United States v. Stevens, 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010), 1579

[22] United States v. Stevens, 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010), 1580

[23] Art Law Library: Protected and Unprotected Speech, National Coalition Against Censorship, http://ncac.org/resource/art-law-library-protected-and-unprotected-speech (last visited Nov. 15, 2017)

[24] United States v. Stevens, 130 S.Ct. 1577 (2010)

The Controversy of “Sue and Settle” Gone For Now, But For Good?

The Controversy of “Sue and Settle” Gone For Now, But For Good?

By: Seth Todd

Scott Pruitt is not a well-liked man in the environmental community, and especially was not their first choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency whenever President Trump took office. We recently learned why. Scott Pruitt dropped a bombshell on the environmental community recently, announcing, “The days of regulation through litigation are over. We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.”[1] While Scott Pruitt seems to be putting an end to “sue and settle” could it eventually make a comeback?

Pruitt is attempting to change the way that the EPA handles lawsuits, laying out guidelines for how the suits will be conducted and how they will be released to the public for transparency.[2] This ends the tradition that was occurring, of so called “friendship” suits, where the EPA would not defend itself in lawsuits and essentially acquiesce to the desire of whichever environmental group filed suit. [3] By settling with the group, the change that they sued to implement would essentially become law through a consent decree. [4]

Those that opposed the practice of sue and settle claimed that it was a way for politicians to make law, without any of the accountability. Instead of writing the laws themselves, outside environmental groups were being allowed to dictate the law. If the general public complained, the members of Congress could simply point to the consent decrees and claim there was nothing they could have done. [5] It was also an effective way to remove oversight from the executive branch, while possibly binding their successors. [6]

While many people rallied against the policy of “sue and settle”, many environmental groups acted as if it never existed. In defending the practice, the Sierra Club looked to clarify the practice stating that to, “understand the lies behind the false concept of “sue and settle,” one must understand the two main types of negotiated settlements in environmental law: decision-forcing settlements and substantive settlements.” [7] The statement went on to differentiate between settlements that forced Congress to take action on missed deadlines (decision-forcing) and settlements that effectively created law (substantive settlements). [8] The Sierra Club claimed that the end of the “sue and settle” was an attempt to try and restrain environmental groups from filing suit, proclaiming, “If Pruitt thinks that by frivolously litigating deadline cases, he will deter the Sierra Club or other citizen groups from holding him accountable in court, he should think again: We will not be deterred.”[9]

                  Groups are both sides are very passionate when it comes to where they stand on the issue of “sue and settle”. Some view it as a shady backroom way of creating new law, while others view it as an effect way to get Congress to do their jobs. Lucky for both of these groups, we have the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA gives agencies and Congress a set of requirements to follow whenever new regulations are created. Typically, notice agency is required to give public notice of the rulemaking procedure, by posting it in the Federal Register.[10] The notice must include the date the rule is effective, the authority under which it was created, and the substance of the rule.

                  After the agency has given notice, a public review period is started that can last anywhere from 30 days to a year. The public review period can also be reopened if the agency believes longer was needed to hear all public comments. The agency is then required to consider all of the comments in crafting the final rule that will eventually go into effect.[11] By allowing public comment, interested parties are allowed to directly take part in the rulemaking effort. All of the rules created are judicially reviewable, which gives groups an avenue to challenge any rule they believe to be unlawful.[12]

                  If the government began following the standards set in the APA, it would seem to appease both sides of this debate. The APA requirements allow for transparency and public comment, which appeases those that believe “sue and settle” was a shady way of enacting new law. The public comment period and ability for judicial review should satisfy those who believed “sue and settle” was an effective way to get Congress to simply do their jobs. While it may not guarantee environmental groups complete success as they seemed to enjoy under “sue and settle”, it provides a more transparent way to actively effect change.

                  A point to watch going forward is how this will actually play out. Yes, Pruitt pointed out that environmental groups were using “sue and settle” to their advantage, but it remains to be seen the effect it will have on industry groups. Effectively “sue and settle” is only a bad way to create policy if you are on the other side of the aisle. Under the Obama administration “sue and settle” was used to strengthen environmental protections in a time where a Republican controlled Congress fought every move he made. Under the Trump administration does ending “sue and settle” mean it is gone for good? Or, given the inability to effectively push through any real policy in the current Congress, does “sue and settle” revive itself later on down the road? Industry groups could start using the tactic to hold President Trump to his campaign promises. The pro-coal groups could start filing suits in order to repeal stricter laws that were put in place during the Obama administration. Will Scott Pruitt valiantly defend those cases, in front of the same industries that helped push him into the head EPA administrator?

                  While “sue and settle” may be ending, there is still effective ways to create change through following the APA requirements that are mandated under federal law. Transparency will increase through the use of the guidelines, and realistically environmental groups will not be able to guide policy as much as they previously had in the “sue and settle” era.  The question remains, after frustratingly being unable to enact new regulations to reduce the laws governing industries such as coal, does the Trump administration bring back a version of “sue and settle” that favors polluters? 

 

[1] Administrator Pruitt Issues Directive to End EPA "Sue & Settle", Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/administrator-pruitt-issues-directive-end-epa-sue-settle (last updated October 16, 2017).

[2] Id.

[3]Phil Golberg, Christopher Appel, Victor Shwartz, The Liability Engine that Could Not: Why the Decades-Long Litigation Pursuit of Natural Resource Suppliers Should Grind to a Halt,  12 J.L. Econ. & Pol'y 70 (2016).

[4] Id.

[5] Andrew Grossman, Regulation Through Sham Litigation: The Sue and Settle Phenomenon, The Heritage Foundation (Feb. 25, 2017), http://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/report/regulation-through-sham-litigation-the-sue-and-settle-phenomenon.

[6] Id.

[7]Pat Gallagher, Scott Pruitt and the Myth of “Sue and Settle”, Sierra Club (October 18, 2017), http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/scott-pruitt-and-myth-settle-and-sue. 

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] The Administrative Procedure Act (APA), EPIC.org, https://epic.org/open_gov/Administrative-Procedure-Act.html (last visited Oct. 26, 2017).  

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

Better Ingredients, Better Food [Security]: A Conversation with a Brandeis Alum about Global Food Production and the Debate Between GMOs and Organic Foods

Better Ingredients, Better Food [Security]: 

A Conversation with a Brandeis Alum about Global Food Production and the Debate Between GMOs and Organic Foods

By: Anesha Blakey

Earlier this month, Brandeis School of Law alumnus, Marshall L. Matz, was honored by the University of Louisville as the 2017 Law Alumni Fellow.[1] After celebrating this honor at the 2017 Wilson Wyatt Alumni Awards luncheon and banquet dinner, Mr. Matz kindly took the time to visit with students, staff, and faculty at his alma mater. I had the pleasure of attending this speaking engagement, during which Mr. Matz elaborated on his illustrious and varied career path.

Originally hailing from Connecticut, Mr. Matz began his legal career in South Dakota after graduating from Brandeis in 1971.[2] Although South Dakota seemed like an unlikely starting place, Mr. Matz’s 40+ year-long career has taken him all over the United States and numerous countries around the world. In addition to private practice, Mr. Matz has also worked in various government positions, including the opportunity to serve as the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Obama for America presidential campaign.[3]

As a result of his dedication to food research and agriculture law, many students and faculty concentrated their questions in response to Mr. Matz’s most recent opinion article, entitled “The Missing Link in Global Food Security.”[4] In this article, Mr. Matz provides a wealth of information related to global food production by detailing the findings provided in the 2018 Senate Agriculture Appropriations Report and the World Food Program’s 2017 report on World Food Assistance.[5] One such staggering statistic noted in the 2018 Senate Agriculture Appropriations Report provides that “global food production will have to increase by 60 percent to meet the needs of 9 billion people forecast for 2050.”[6] As a result of such facts, questions and conversation generated by attendees turned to the debate between GMOs and organic food.

Before delving into the details of how the GMO vs. organic food debate plays into global food security, some additional information may be helpful. The term “GMO” is an acronym for genetically modified organisms.[7] GMOs are also referred to as “GE,” which means genetically engineered.[8] Contrastingly, organic foods are foods that “do not contain any hormones, antibiotics, sweeteners, food colors, or flavorings” that do not naturally exist in the food.[9] By definition alone, organic foods may seem healthier. However, that is not necessarily true, nor is it the overwhelming general consensus from consumers.[10] According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of adults said that “organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown produce, while 41 percent said there’s no difference.”[11] Thus, although it is clear that there is a distinction between the production of GMOs and organic foods, both methods of food production have similarities that may result in an answer to global food security.  

GMOs were introduced into the food supply in the 1990s.[12] However, it was not until 2000 that the United States Department of Agriculture banned GMOs from certified organic acres.[13] As a result of its implementation, the ban seemingly gave rise to the GMO vs. organic food debate, which has promulgated a further discussion centered on labeling.

Outside the United States, GMOs are banned as food ingredients, particularly throughout Europe.[14] In fact, at least 64 countries, including many developed nations, require labeling of GMOs.[15] In the United States, however, it was not until recently that Congress passed a law requiring a GMO labeling bill.[16] As a result, prior to 2016 many individual states took it upon themselves to educate their citizens about labeling the ingredients in their food. “In 2013, Connecticut and Maine passed GE labeling laws” and in 2014, 35 bills were introduced throughout 20 states.[17] Now, after passage of the labeling bill, GMO ingredients will be available via a QR code, which consumers may scan to learn more information about the ingredients.[18]

For lack of a better phrase or term, GMOs get a bad label. However, for the sake of global food security, it’s time to reinvent the negative stereotype and find commonalities between GMOs and organic food. Scientifically, genetic engineering is an extension of a DNA process.[19] In the past, however, genetic engineering has resulted in “superweeds,” which are crops that developed an immunity to certain herbicides and thus, result in the use of an abundance of chemicals on crops that negatively affect the environment. As such, we must change the debate from GMOs vs. organic foods and instead, educate consumers on good vs. bad GMOs.[20] In fact, genetic engineering can be a “powerful tool that can help us farm responsibly and sustainably by minimizing damage to the environment and prioritizing the health of both people and animals – the precise goals of organic farming.”[21] Thus, the agricultural solution to solving global food security may be the organic GMO.[22] With this type of food production, genetic engineering does not have to result in superweeds that negatively affect the environment. On the contrary, crops may be genetically engineered to adhere to agriculturally challenged environments, while preserving the natural and organic elements of the crop.[23]

Another aspect of global food security that could benefit from the organic GMO solution involves reducing food loss and waste. As you may have read in last week’s blog post, America is the world’s biggest culprit when it comes to food waste, discarding “$160 billion worth of produce annually.”[24] The blog post goes on to provide the astonishing comparison that with all of that food wasted, 41 million Americans suffer from hunger.[25] On a global scale, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports “that one third of food produced for human consumption [] – approximately 2.9 trillion pounds per year – is lost or wasted,” resulting in almost 800 million people suffering from hunger around the world.[26] Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency adds that massive amounts of food waste, including the 133 billion pounds of food supply wasted annually in the United States, “produces methane, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.”[27] However, the production of organic GMOs would result in less bruising and browning of crops, which would likely lead to a reduction in the significant number of unaesthetically pleasing food that is unnecessarily discarded.[28]

For some, labeling may be an issue. However, for everyone, global food security may be a problem in the not-so-distant future. So, whether your diet strictly consists of organic food only, or if you prefer to purchase foods with a non-GMO label, or quite frankly, even if you think GMOs add a little something extra to your favorite dish, the truth is that the future of global food security requires a new attitude about methods of food production. Thus, instead of continuing to draw lines in the sand and labels in the grocery aisles, let’s rewrite the narrative, educate ourselves on various forms of genetic engineering, and reap the benefits of organic GMOs for our health and our environment.

[1] Law Alumni Fellow to Visit the Law School, Brandeis L. Intranet, http://louisville.edu/law/intranet/events/law-alumni-fellow-to-visit-the-law-school (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[2] Marshall L. Matz, OFW Law, https://www.ofwlaw.com/attorneys/marshall-l-matz/ (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[3] Erica Walsh, Alumni Association Honors Outstanding Graduates, UofLNews.com (Oct. 5, 2017), http://uoflnews.com/post/uofltoday/alumni-association-honors-outstanding-graduates/.

[4] Marshall Matz, Opinion: The Missing Link in Global Food Security, Agri-Pulse (July 27, 2017, 9:45 AM), https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/9639-opinion-the-missing-link-in-global-food-security.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Organic vs Genetically Modified Foods, Morgellons Aid, https://morgellonsaid.wordpress.com/diet-nutrition-2/organic-vs-genetically-modified-foods/ (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Brian Barth, GMO vs. Organic, The Growler (Feb. 27, 2017), https://growlermag.com/gmo-vs-organic/.

[11] Robert Preidt, How Americans Feel About Organic and Genetically Modified Foods, CBSNews.com (Dec. 2, 2016, 4:27 PM), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/organic-genetically-modified-non-gmo-food/.

[12] GMO Education, Inst. for Resp. Tech., http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education/ (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[13] Ferris Jabr, Organic GMOs Could Be the Future of Food – If We Let Them, Wired (Oct.7, 2017, 12:00 AM), https://www.wired.com/2015/10/organic-gmos-could-be-the-future-of-food-if-we-let-them/.

[14] GMO Education, supra note 12,

[15] Labeling Around the World, Just Label It, http://www.justlabelit.org/right-to-know-center/labeling-around-the-world/ (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[16] Dan Charles, Congress Just Passed a GMO Labeling Bill. Nobody’s Super Happy About It, NPR (July 14, 2016, 5:34 PM), http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/07/14/486060866/congress-just-passed-a-gmo-labeling-bill-nobodys-super-happy-about-it.

[17] GE Food Labeling: States Take Action, Ctr. for Food Safety (June 10, 2014), http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/fact-sheets/3067/ge-food-labeling-states-take-action#showJoin.

[18] Charles, supra note 16.

[19] Jabr, supra note 13.

[20] Barth, supra note 10.

[21] Jabr, supra note 13.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Adam Chandler, Why Americans Lead the World in Food Waste, The Atlantic (July 15, 2016), https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513/.

[25] Hunger & Poverty in America, Food Res. & Action Ctr, http://frac.org/hunger-poverty-america (last visited Oct. 25, 2017).

[26] Kate Hall, How GMOs Help Us Reduce Food Waste & Its Environmental Impact, Forbes.com (Nov. 18, 2016, 9:25 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/11/18/gmos-help-reduce-food-waste/#4900e4c43bce.

[27] Id.

[28] Id.

Cultural Perspectives: French Environmental Initiatives that America Should Take Note Of

Cultural Perspectives: French Environmental Initiatives that America Should Take Note Of

By: Madison Mantz

At the beginning of the Summer, I ventured across the pond to the rural city of Privas, France, located in the heart of the French Alps. My sister is currently teaching English there, so I decided to go and visit her. There were some things that I expected on this trip… for example, the winding hillsides and vineyards were captivating, as expected… the language barrier was rough, as expected (I got yelled at by Train Security and had not a single clue what they were asking of me)… and it was full of adventure, as expected (long story short, but Megan convinced me to hitch hike). Something I was not expecting, however, was the extent of environmental awareness embedded in the French culture. I gleaned this from the fact that every individual I encountered was waste conscious; from the types of energy efficient cars they drove to the types of all-natural food they consumed. This sparked my interest to learn what large-scale green initiatives have encouraged this societal mindset. I discovered three unique legislative enactments that I think the US should consider replicating: the Green Roof decree, Government funded monetary incentives, and a Waste Management Law.

One thing that can definitely be said of the French is that they like their Independence. Within the realm of energy, this fact forces them to be creative since their land produces little oil and gas.[1] Instead of being reliant on Middle Eastern Countries, they have turned primarily to utilizing Nuclear energy and other alternative energy sources.[2] One such alternative source of energy is harnessing solar energy through panels on commercial buildings. Although you might be thinking that this isn’t very novel, they actually gave this idea the force of law. In March 2015, the French Parliament passed a decree, requiring “all rooftops on new buildings to be either partially covered in plants or solar panels”.[3] Utilizing these “green roofs” as they are called, decreases the amount of energy needed to heat the building in the winter, cool it in the summer and it has the added benefit of retaining rainwater. Collecting rainwater lowers the problem of runoffs and promotes biodiversity, as birds have a place to nest in an otherwise busy, urban area.[4] Not too long ago, I observed the Solar Eclipse from the rooftop of Louisville’s Fiscal Court Building and I remember looking around and observing all the plain, vacant, surrounding roofs. It’s hard to imagine preferring an ordinary roof after learning about all of the pleasant environmental effects that accompany the “green roofing” movement. This is one trend that US cities should definitely keep on their radar.

“Bribery”…, “encouragement”…, whichever way you slice it, this next initiative involves the French government actually paying people to be more energy efficient. As a disclosure, I am not actually a proponent of replicating this in America because I think that considering the host of problems we are currently facing, it is not the best use of tax-dollars. However, it is a unique, radical program that is interesting to know about. In September 2017, France’s Environment and Energy Minister Nicolas Hulot, submitted a proposal for the 2018 budget that includes an allotment of subsidies and incentives for car owners to switch to vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions, as well as for home owners to transition to renewable energy heating systems.[5] One of the provisions provides “all car owners who switch to an electric vehicle will receive a 2,500 euro switching incentive on top of a 6,000 euro subsidy if the measure is approved”.[6] This may seem like a pretty radical method to employ but decreasing their carbon footprint is something the French clearly prioritize. Plus, when you tax your citizens for enjoying the commodity of television (yes, this is a thing), you are sure to find the revenue for such an incentive.

Lastly, in 2016, France implemented a Waste Management Law that bans supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate to charity or food banks.[7] Apparently the latter part of this law refers to the fact that some stores were locking their binned food in warehouses prior to collection, as well as dousing food with bleach in order to deter foragers from dumpster diving.[8] Under this law, supermarkets will have to enter into contracts with charities or face penalties of €3,750.[9] Now, America is no stranger to food waste, in fact, studies suggest that America leads the world, throwing away a staggering “60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually”.[10] Pair this statistic with the alarming fact that 41 million Americans suffer from hunger annually and you realize that there is a grave problem with our societal priorities. Speaking of food priorities, one that has contributed to this waste is our focus on aesthetic food.[11] Just the other day, I heard someone talking about what a great deal they got on fruit from the “ugly food” section at Kroger. I had no idea such a section existed, but after thinking about it, I realized I too am guilty of being the occasional food snob, steering clear of the ones with minor dents and bruises. With this in mind, that we are actively wasting such a needed product, I think laws compelling food donation should be paramount. America must not only take note of this law, but there should be reforms to replicate it. Without this kind of enforcement, as is seen in America where donating is voluntary, stores will continue to toss and too many people will continue to go hungry.

These are just a few of the many unique measures the French government has adopted to build a more self-sufficient, sustainable infrastructure. They have instilled these values in their citizens in an effort to become a full circle society; one that consumes, but also one that replenishes their resources to combat this consumption. In America, a country that prides itself on opportunity and advancement, it only makes sense to follow suit.

[1] John Palfreman, “Why the French like Nuclear Energy”, Frontline, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html (last visited Oct. 16, 2017).

[2] Id.

[3]France Decrees New Rooftops Must Be Covered in Plants or Solar Panels”, The Guardian, (March 19, 2015) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/20/france-decrees-new-rooftops-must-be-covered-in-plants-or-solar-panels.

[4] Id.

[5]France plans new incentives to phase out polluting vehicles, Reuters (Sep. 18, 2017)”, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-autos-tax/france-plans-new-incentives-to-phase-out-polluting-vehicles-idUSKCN1BT0PZ.

[6] Id.

[7] Angelique Chrisafis, “French Law Forbids Food Waste by Supermarkets”, The Guardian (Feb. 4, 2016), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/french-law-forbids-food-waste-by-supermarkets

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Adam Chandler, “Why Americans Lead the World in Food Waste”, The Atlantic (Jul. 15, 2016), https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513/.

[11] Suzanne Goldenberg, “Half of US Food Produce is Thrown Away, New Research Suggests”, The Guardian (Jul. 13, 2016), https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/13/us-food-waste-ugly-fruit-vegetables-perfect?CMP=share_btn_tw.

 

What’s the Buzz?: The push to save the bees from extinction

What’s the Buzz?: The push to save the bees from extinction. 

By: Sarah Ortkiese

            The heat is sweltering as you sit outside waiting for the sun sink in the horizon and the temperature to start to cool down. While you’re waiting, you reach over for an ice-cold soda, only to hear an angry buzz emitting from the soda can right before you are to take a drink. Peaking inside you see a bee trapped. Frustrated, you simply set the can aside and wait for the trapped bee to find its way out.

            This was a familiar situation for me growing up in Kentucky. Whether it was the exact scenario described above or simply some uninvited bar-b-q guests in the form of a swarm of bees in the summer time; bees were ever present in my day to day life. Today, we might encounter them walking to class, work, or at lunch and probably even wished they disappear at times. But what would happen if the bees disappeared? Would we simply be able to work in the garden without running the risk of getting stung? Or would we even have a garden to work in? These are the questions we are now facing.  

            The threat of the disappearing bees even inspired thriller screen writer M. Night Shyamalan. In 2008, he wrote a movie called The Happening.[1] This movie opening innocently enough with a science teacher lecturing his class, but turns sinister as a mysterious disease breaks out.[2] What was at the crux of the storyline? The bees disappearing. In the opening minutes of the movie, you discover that the bees have mysteriously disappeared from the planet, and from that disappearance starts a downward spiral for the human race.[3]While the movie is simply a work of fiction, and a dramatization seemingly based on the disappearance of the bees, the question remains, what will happen to the human race if the bees disappear? To figure out that answer, which is currently being debated, we have to look at what it is exactly that the bee does for our communities.

 

The importance of the bee extends past the pollinating of flowers in personal gardens that is most commonly attributed to the bee. In the United States alone, the honey bee accounts for the pollination of one-third of the diet.[4] Monetarily that means that the honey bee accounts for $17 billion of pollination in the agricultural market.[5] Outside of the food industry, bees support the local ecosystem of their habitat through pollination of the native plant species, which in turn helps with erosion and water control in the area.[6]

 

The decline in the bee population over the past two and a half decades has been described as a “severe decline. . .with no evident prospect of a natural reversal.”[7] The drastic nature of the decline prompted the President in 2014 to create a task force whose purpose was to assess the situation of native bees and why their numbers have started to decline in such a rapid state.[8] The reasons behind the disappearance were listed by the White House Task Force as:

 

-       “habitat loss…;

-       poor nutrition…;

-       pests and disease;

-       pesticides and other environmental toxins; and

-       migratory stress from long distance transport.”[9]

 

An additional study conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, looked at the native bee populations of North America and Hawaii.[10] The Center for Biological Diversity discovered that 52% of the native bee populations are declining and even more are at the risk of being destroyed.[11] In 2016, seven species of bees were named to the endangered species list by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.[12] These were the first ever bees named to the endangered species list and are not the last.[13] In March of 2017, the rusty pathed bumblebee was added to the endangered species list.[14]

 

The Endangered Species Act allows for the protection of animals and their habitats in an effort to rehabilitate their numbers.[15] To be classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, a species must be “in danger of extinction throughout all or a specific portion of its range.”[16]The species, once added to the Endangered Species List, is automatically protected from “harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping capture, or collecting,” and any agency action is scrutinized to make sure that it will not negatively impact the habitat of the endangered species nor the actual species itself.[17] The goal for placing the seven species of bees of the Endangered Species List is to allow for their current habitats to be preserved from any further harm in hopes that it will allow for their numbers to being to stabilize and hopefully rise.[18]

 

The next time I decided to sit and enjoy a coffee or lunch outside in between classes and a bee decides to fly around my table, I will appreciate all that the bee does for the agricultural market and my local ecosystem. Even though I may decide to move inside to enjoy my lunch.

 

[1] The Happening (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 2008).

[2] The Happening (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 2008).

[3] The Happening (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 2008).

[4] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).

[5] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).

[6] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).

[7] Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief, Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et. all. (2017), NRDC, www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/suit-filed0by-nrdc-to-protect-rusty-patched-bumblebee-20170214.pdf

[8] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).

[9] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).

[10] Pollinators in Peril, Biological Diversity, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/native_pollinators/pdfs/Pollinators_in_Peril.pdf (last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[11] Pollinators in Peril, Biological Diversity, http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/native_pollinators/pdfs/Pollinators_in_Peril.pdf (last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[12] Christine Dell’Amore, For the First Time, Bees Declared Endangered in the U.S., National Geographic, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/bees-endangered-species-hawaii-yellow-faced0/ (Last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[13]Michael Greshko, First Bumblebee Officially Listed As Endangered, National Geographic, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/bumblebees-endangered-extinction-united-states/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2017); Christine Dell’Amore, For the First Time, Bees Declared Endangered in the U.S., National Geographic, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/bees-endangered-species-hawaii-yellow-faced0/ (Last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[14] Michael Greshko, First Bumblebee Officially Listed As Endangered, National Geographic, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/bumblebees-endangered-extinction-united-states/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[15] Endangered Species Act (ESA), NOAA, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[16] Endangered Species Act (ESA), NOAA, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2017)

[17] Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief, Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et. all. (2017), NRDC, www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/suit-filed0by-nrdc-to-protect-rusty-patched-bumblebee-20170214.pdf (pg. 16-17)

[18] See,  Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief, Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et. all. (2017), NRDC, www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/suit-filed0by-nrdc-to-protect-rusty-patched-bumblebee-20170214.pdf ; U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-16-220, Bee Health (2016).