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Big Cats of Serenity Springs v. Rhodes
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
843 F.3d 853 (2016)
Big Cats of Serenity Springs (Big Cats) (plaintiff) was a licensed wild-animal exhibitor subject to the Animal Welfare Act’s (AWA’s) care and sanitation standards. The Department of Agriculture’s (defendant) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) implemented the AWA. After a routine warrantless inspection of a Big Cats facility and two follow-up visits, APHIS inspectors issued citations for substandard care of two injured tiger cubs and directed Big Cats to transport the cubs for medical care. The following morning, after Big Cats’ director did not respond to phone calls, three APHIS agents (defendants) enlisted local sheriff’s deputies to break into the Big Cats facility by lying that APHIS had a court order to seize the cubs. The APHIS agents left after learning that the cubs were at a veterinary clinic. Big Cats sued various agents of the federal government, bringing a Bivens claim and a civil suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court denied the government’s motion to dismiss, and the government filed an interlocutory appeal.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Tymkovich, C.J.)
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