Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day Animal League, et al. v. Veneman, USDA, et al. case brief

Day Animal League, et al. v. Veneman, USDA, et al. case brief 315 F.3d 297

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff organization filed a rulemaking petition with defendant Department of Agriculture, urging a change in the regulatory definition of "retail pet store." When defendant Secretary of the Department announced that he would retain the definition, the organization and others sought judicial review in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Partial summary judgment was granted to plaintiffs and defendants appealed.

FACTS: The Secretary defined "retail pet store" as any outlet where only the following animals were sold or offered for sale, at retail for use as pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and coldblooded species. 9 C.F.R. § 1.1. The effect of the regulation was to exempt breeders who sell dogs as pets from their residences. The issue was whether the regulation was valid. The district court viewed the meaning of "retail pet store" as plainly not including one who sells dogs for use as pets from his residence and held the regulation invalid. The appellate court found the Secretary's decision and policy statement declining to modify the regulation was supported with reasoning that was persuasive and faithful to the Animal Welfare Act's purpose of protecting animal welfare. Taken together, the Secretary's decision to retain the regulatory definition of "retail pet store" reflected the judgment of the agency entrusted with administering the Act to fulfill the Act's purpose as effectively as possible. Thus, the regulation was a permissible construction of the statutory term "retail pet store."

CONCLUSION: The order of the district court granting partial summary judgment to plaintiffs and declaring the regulation invalid was reversed.

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