Network Firm News

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO ANIMAL RIGHTS ATTORNEY ENJOINS ILLEGAL EUTHANIZATION
Bruce Wagman (of the San Francisco office of the firm formerly known as Morgenstein & Jubelirer) with the assistance of east-coast based attorneys at his firm, halted an eastern State’s illegal euthanization of dogs and cats in an east coast State.

Bruce brought the case on behalf of two plaintiffs — a former state representative who introduced Georgia's Humane Euthanasia Act (the law at issue) in 1990, and a woman whose dog had been illegally gassed in one of the chambers, against the Georgia Department of Agriculture. (Chesley Morton v. GA Dept. of Agriculture — 34512-0001)

Chesley Morton, the former state representative, testified that he introduced the law with the intention of providing the most humane death possible for dogs and cats who must be killed in Georgia shelters. Because of the tragedy of companion overpopulation and society's inability to address the problem, the Humane Euthanasia Act mandates injection with barbiturates as the exclusive means of euthanasia, with very limited exceptions.

Despite this clear mandate, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals provided extensive evidence that the Georgia Department of Agriculture had not only failed to ever enforce the law, but that the Department had approved and encouraged the use of gas chambers, which produce a horrible and prolonged death.

The legal team (working with PETA counsel) developed a case that included affidavits of former animal control officers who described in horrible detail the experience that thousands of dogs and cats go through every year in Georgia shelters. Extensive evidence was presented and cross-examination was conducted of the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, the head of the Animal Protection Section, and a shelter director who regularly violated the law — but who had been told she could do so by the Department of Agriculture.

After an extensive hearing and argument, Judge Wright issued an injunction for plaintiffs.

Bruce Wagman said, "This is a day all [of us] can be proud to [do] big things for the innocent animals with whom we share this planet."
 

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