Animal Protection Institute of America v. Hodel

860 F.2d 920 (1988)

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Animal Protection Institute of America v. Hodel

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
860 F.2d 920 (1988)

Facts

In 1971, Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (the WHA), which authorized the removal of excess wild horses and burros from public lands for private care under humane conditions. Pursuant to the act, the United States Secretary of the Interior and its officials (the secretary) (defendant) instituted and were responsible for a program in which individuals could adopt the equids. Years later, Congress amended the WHA and limited the number of animals an individual could adopt to four, unless the secretary issued a written finding that the individual was qualified and could assure humane treatment. The secretary eventually instituted a program in which applicants could waive the fees associated with adoption on the condition of undergoing a one-year waiting period to receive title. The Animal Protection Institute of America (the API) (plaintiff) brought suit against the secretary, alleging that it was using the fee-waiver program to knowingly pass title to adopters who intended to use the animals for commercial purposes, which violated Congress’s intent in passing the WHA. The district court granted the API injunctive relief and held that the secretary could not transfer title if it knew the adopter intended to use the wild animals commercially. The secretary appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Choy, J.)

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