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Of Interest


Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes - dangerous dogs Read more...

L.A. to become largest city to ban shops from selling puppy mill pets. Read more...

Sliding Fee Scale Referral List

To add your name to this list, please contact Molly Malone.


The Star Tribune reports that an estimated 600 horses have starved to death in Minnesota over the last four years. No respite in sight. Read "Minnesota Faces an Epidemic of Starved Horses".

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that when a potentially dangerous animal declaration is used as a predicate for a dangerous animal declaration, due process requires the animal’s owner be afforded a meaningful opportunity to challenge the potentially dangerous declaration.  Sawh v. Lino Lakes, 2011 WL 2982992, Minn.App., July 25, 2011 (NO. A10-2143).  

In a published decision filed today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the disorderly conduct convictions of two animal rights activists who had engaged in public protest outside a downtown Minneapolis fur store.    
State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Isaac Siegel Peter, Appellant, Michael Christopher Lawson, Appellant.  
Filed May 3, 2011
Appellants were charged with disorderly conduct in violation of Minneapolis, Minn. Code of Ordinances § 385.90 (1991) (disorderly conduct ordinance), for protesting outside Ribnick Furs and Leather (Ribnick Fur) in downtown Minneapolis. They appeal from their convictions following a joint jury trial. Because the evidence was insufficient to convict appellants of disorderly conduct, when their statements and conduct did not rise to the level of "fighting words," and their loud chanting and yelling were "inextricably intertwined" with their political protest, which was protected by the First Amendment, we reverse the convictions. . . .
Public protest cases generally include not only speech, but some type of expressive conduct. . . . In this case, appellants’ conduct consisted of holding signs, chanting, and making comments about animal abuse. Even the conduct by appellants that was directed at individuals, consisting of shrieking and yelling through a closed window and stating that they knew where Ribnick and his mother lived and they knew his license plate number, did not constitute fighting words. No reasonable jury could have found that any of appellants’ statements constituted fighting words as that phrase has been defined.
The other complaint about appellants’ conduct involved the manner or the delivery of their speech, in which appellants were so loud and angry that they disturbed and annoyed others. But appellants yelled in their natural voices, without the use of any sound amplification equipment. Their protest occurred on a downtown Minneapolis street, during afternoon rush hour, in a mixed use neighborhood that included businesses, residences, and entertainment establishments. Loud and even boisterous conduct is protected under Minnesota law, when that conduct is "expressive and inextricably linked to [a] protected message."

Animal Cruelty Hearing in Minneapolis
A hearing officer for the city of Minneapolis will decide today whether to authorize the return of a puppy to a woman who attempted to mail the puppy to Georgia in a taped cardboard box.  What legal standard will guide the hearing officer’s determination?  What rules of evidence will guide the proceeding?
Click here for more information

"Growing Up with Animal Law: From Courtrooms to Casebooks" by Bruce Wagman

If you are an attorney who does work in the field of animal law, please consider sharing opportunities to learn more about it with a law student from one of our four area law schools.
The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) provides law student volunteers to assist on pro bono and public interest legal projects in the state of Minnesota. Its staff is always happy to help develop volunteer opportunities with community partners.
Key Points:
- Students are available to work on projects ranging from one-day events to year-long research projects.
- All projects must be supervised by a licensed attorney.
- The scope of projects includes both unpaid or low-bono direct service to low-income clients and participation in policy and community outreach activities.

If you have an animal law project you would like to discuss, please contact MJF staff attorney Sara Sommarstrom for more information. Tel. 651-962-4859 or Email

ABA Journal Article - November 2007 Issue
"Beast Practices"
High-profile cases are putting plenty of bite into the lively field of animal law
You can read the article at the following link:


- Last Updated 02/24/2014 -


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