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Attorney at Law


We did it!

On January 12, 2008, the House of Delegates of the Louisiana State Bar Association passed a Resolution to create the first Animal Law Section of the LSBA!

Louisiana State Bar Association Members: Please visit www.animallawla.org to join the Section.

Thanks for your support!

Ariel K. DiGiulio

June 23, 2008

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide if the Navy is doing enough to protect WHALES from the effects of its sonar testing.

Environmentalists successfully sued the Pentagon over the practice in March, forcing major changes in the Navy's annual offshore training exercises.

A federal judge ruled it was "constitutionally suspect" for President Bush to issue a national security exemption so no environmental impact assessment was carried out.

One of the environmental organizations that sued the Defense Department said it had expected the Supreme Court decision and was ready to fight on.

"It's clear both that high intensity military sonar can injure and kill whales, dolphins, and other marine life and that the Navy can reduce the risk of this harm by commonsense safeguards without compromising our military readiness," said Joel Reynolds of the National Resources Defense Council.

"These have been the unanimous conclusions of every court that has considered this issue, even after President Bush in January sought unsuccessfully to intervene on the Navy's behalf," he said.

The Navy says the courts are protecting sea creatures rather than people. The Justice Department had asked the high court to revisit the federal appeals court ruling against the government.

The restrictions imposed by the court, said the Justice Department, could hamper military readiness in a time of war because sonar technology is used to detect increasingly sophisticated enemy submarines.

"In ordering additional mitigation to reduce the risk to marine mammals, the order shifts the risk to sailors and Marines," Navy spokesman Capt. Scott Gureck said in March.

The waters of southern California are home to dozens of species of whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, nine of them endangered or threatened. Federal courts have cited scientific studies and the Navy's conclusions that high levels of sonar can cause hearing loss and disorientation in the animals.

The sonar sounds like a "ping, ping" noise, and it can be reduced as necessary, officers said.

But environmentalists say the sonar can hurt whales farther than 1,000 meters away.

The appeals court cited studies that whales have stranded themselves and died kilometers away from sites where the Navy used sonar, said Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

It's "not just a question of a couple of hundred yards," he said.

The defense council, which filed the original lawsuit against the Navy to stop the Navy from conducting planned exercises, accuses the Bush administration of failing to conduct a thorough environmental impact study.

The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had given the Navy permission to continue to train, citing measures put in place to minimize the impact on the mammals.

The issue now is whether the lower courts properly blocked the use of sonar in the military exercises after the White House cited an "emergency circumstance" that prevented an environmental impact statement from being issued.

The Navy insists it needs powerful "active" sonar technology to detect increasingly quiet modern diesel-electric submarines operated by potential U.S. adversaries.

In 2000, 16 whales beached themselves in the Bahamas after the Navy concluded too many sonar ships were operating in a narrow underwater channel. The service says it is providing $16 million for independent research to minimize sonar's effect on marine mammals.

Bill to Crack Down on Puppy Mills Now on Louisiana Senate Floor
(Humane Society of the US post)

Louisiana has introduced legislation (H.B. 1193) that would limit the number of dogs kept by breeders, and prevent the operation of factory farm type breeding facilities. H.B. 1193 has already passed the House and now awaits action in the Senate this week. However, we expect an amendment to be introduced that would counteract the intent of the bill.

Puppy mills are breeding facilities that mass-produce puppies for sale in pet stores, over the Internet, and directly to the public. Dogs are stacked in filthy wire cages, often with no veterinary care or human interaction, and they are treated not like pets but like a cash crop. Mother dogs are constantly bred and kept in continual confinement. They are destroyed or discarded when they can no longer churn out puppies.

Other Animal News: Emotional Distress Damages awarded in Pet Food Settlement:

Terms of Pet Food Settlement Announced

Menu Foods Inc. and others have agreed to pay $32 million to settle more than 100 lawsuits filed by the owners of thousands of pets killed or sickened by tainted pet food. The proposed settlement would cover documented expenses such as medical treatment, euthanasia and burial costs in addition to undocumented expenses for emotional stress. District Judge Noel L. Hillman is scheduled to rule on the settlement late next week. Emilie Lounsberry, Philadelphia Inquirer 05/23/2008

Read Article: Philadelphia Inquirer

Note: Ms. DiGiulio did not have clients in this matter.

USDA Bans Downed Cows from the Food Supply


The Humane Society of the United States, as a result of their recent undercover investigations, helped achieve a major victory for farm animals when the USDA announced it will ban all downed cows from the food supply. Although more needs to be done to protect these animals, the ban will spare many of these sick and crippled cows from further mishandling and misery in the slaughterhouse.

New Law Cracks Down on Animal Fighting and Puppy Mills


The U.S. Senate yesterday followed the lead of the House of Representatives and overrode President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill, ushering in key new protections for animals. The final bill -- which is now considered law, except for one section excluded due to a technical glitch -- bans the import of puppies from foreign puppy mills for commercial sale in the U.S. The law spares young, unweaned, and unvaccinated pups from harsh, long-distance transport -- during which they are exposed to extreme temperatures and often die in cargo holds -- and will keep foreign breeders from adding to the tragic overpopulation of pets in this country.

The Farm bill also adds a provision to federal law to make almost any form of animal fighting a federal felony. It’s also now a federal crime to knowingly possess or train animals for fighting, and the maximum prison time for a single violation of any section of the law goes from three years to five years. It is hard to overstate what a blow this is to dogfighters and cockfighters, and it brings us one step closer to eradicating these criminal industries.

The law also authorizes an increase in potential fines -- quadrupled from $2,500 to $10,000 -- for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, fines that haven’t been upgraded in more than 20 years. Such penalties will more effectively deter abuses at puppy mills, laboratories, circuses, and other facilities that use animals

Derby Ends in Tragedy as Eight Belles is euthanized.

May 3, 2008

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has demanded sweeping change in the sport of thoroughbred racing, including a ban on whipping horses and the installation of synthetic surfaces at all racetracks.

Read More at:



April 29, 2008

Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable” Risks to Public Health, Environment go to Pew website to read more>>

The Commission recommends the phase-out, within ten years, of all intensive confinement systems that restrict natural movement and normal behaviors, including swine gestation crates, restrictive swine farrowing crates, cages used to house multiple egg-laying chickens, commonly referred to as battery cages, and the tethering or individual housing of calves for the production of white veal.

In addition, the Commission recommends the end toforce-feeding of fowl to produce foie gras, tail docking of dairy cattle, and forced molting of laying hens by feed removal.

Due to the capital investment in these intensive confinement systems by many contract producers,particularly in swine production, the Commission recommends targeted assistance be made available to contract producers to facilitate the conversion from intensive confinement systems, either through accelerated depreciation or some other mechanism.


Visit STOPTHESEALHUNT.ORG for more information. International Fund for Animal Welfare



February 14, 2008

The Humane Society of the United States today called the news of another New York City carriage horse death a prime example of why the city should adopt Councilman Tony Avella's legislation to entirely ban carriage horses from New York City.

Last week an eight-year-old Percheron carriage horse was found dead in his stable. In an unprecedented move, the Department of Health has refused to provide its records to ASPCA investigators who are charged with helping to enforce city carriage horse welfare laws, informing them that they needed to file a Freedom of Information Act to obtain the horse's veterinary and other records.

"The city's lack of transparency on horse deaths is just one more reason that horses do not belong on the crowded, congested streets of modern cities," said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States. "As we have seen far too many times, mixing horses with busy city traffic is a recipe for disaster. The city council should take action to protect public safety and horse welfare."

The September death of a carriage horse coupled with a recent audit from City Comptroller William Thompson showing the city's carriage horses live and work in inhumane conditions has placed renewed scrutiny on this threat to public safety and animal welfare, and spurred Councilman Avella to introduce this legislation.

February 6, 2008

Two Chinese and one U.S. company face charges in the incident that killed dozens of animals and sparked concern over China products.

See CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close) February 6 2008: 4:49 PM EST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Two Chinese businesses and a U.S. company were indicted Wednesday in the tainted pet food incidents that killed dozens of animals last year and raised worries about products made in China.

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E, and Las Vegas-based ChemNutra were charged in two separate but related indictments. The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City said the tainted food led to the death and serious illness of pets in the U.S. last year.

One of the indictments charges Xuzhou Anying Biologic, located in China's Jiangsu Province, and Suzhou Textiles, in Suzhou, China, with 13 counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce and 13 counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce.

ChemNutra and company owners Sally Quing Miller, a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller were charged with 13 counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce, 13 counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Tainted Chinese products: Dumbest moments in business

The indictments allege that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of wheat gluten tainted with the toxic chemical melamine to avoid inspection in China. Xuzhou then did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S. as a material to be used in food, the indictment says.

It also says the shipment was falsely declared to the Chinese government in a way that would avoid a mandatory inspection of the company's plants.

According to the indictment, ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods. The indictment alleges that the melamine was added to make the gluten meet the required standard for protein content specified in the contract between Suzhou and ChemNutra.

"Millions of pet owners remember the anxiety of last year's pet food recall. These indictments are the product of an investigation that began in the wake of that recall," U.S. Attorney John Wood said in a news release announcing the indictments.

ChemNutra did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The indictment also names Xuzhou Anying Biologic owner and manager, Mao Linzhun, and Suzhou Textiles' President Chen Zhen Hao.



Video of workers abusing cows raises food safety questionsStory Highlights
Hidden-camera video shows workers shocking, kicking, jabbing weakened cows

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A video showing California slaughterhouse workers abusing dairy cows -- a violation that raises questions about U.S. food safety -- was released by the Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday.

The video, which one lawmaker said raises questions about the safety of the nation's food supply, shows Hallmark Meat Packing Co. workers administering repeated electric shocks to the downed cows -- animals that are too sick, weak or otherwise unable to stand on their own. Workers are seen kicking cows, jabbing them near their eyes, ramming them with a forklift and shooting high-intensity water up their noses in an effort to force them to their feet for slaughter.

The society says the video was shot last year by an undercover investigator who wore a hidden camera under his clothes when he worked at the facility.

Hallmark Meat Packing Co., based in Chino, California, sells beef to its sister company, Westland Meat, which distributes it to various federal programs, including the National School Lunch Program. Watch the video of cows being abused »

Downed cows are more easily contaminated and may carry diseases harmful to consumers. U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations prohibit allowing disabled or contaminated animals into the food supply. Officials said they would investigate.

Don't Miss
Humane Society of the United States
"This must serve as a five-alarm call to action for Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture," said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society president. "Our government simply must act quickly both to guarantee the most basic level of humane treatment for farm animals and to protect America's most vulnerable people -- our children, needy families and the elderly -- from the potentially dangerous food."

The Associated Press reported that the Agriculture Department is investigating the possible violation of state and federal laws at the slaughterhouse. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said "appropriate actions will be taken" if violations are found in the facility, and added there is no evidence the nation's beef supply is at risk.

"There is no immediate health risk that we are aware of," he said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, sent letters Wednesday to the agriculture secretary and the head of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) asking for an immediate investigation into the safety of ground beef being used in the National School Lunch Program.

"The treatment of animals in this video is appalling, but more than that, it raises significant concerns about the safety of the food being served to our nation's children," Durbin said. "The apparent slaughter of sick and weak animals not only appears to violate USDA regulations, but could be a danger to our nation's food supply."

He called on the USDA to investigate and urged FSIS to act immediately "to review the safety of the food being used in the school lunch program."

Westland, the second-largest supplier of beef for the National School Lunch Program, was named "supplier of the year" in 2004-2005 by the Agriculture Department. It has delivered beef to schools in 36 states.

In a written statement, Steve Mendell, president of both Westland and Hallmark, said the company has terminated the two employees in the video and suspended their supervisor.

"We are shocked, saddened and sickened by what we have seen today. Operations have been immediately suspended until we can meet with all our employees and be assured these sorts of activities never again happen at our facility," he said.

The statement did not address whether meat from the sick cows in the video ever entered the food supply.

The USDA, in its news release, said it was "unfortunate" the Humane Society "did not present this information to use when these alleged violations occurred in the fall of 2007."

The Humane Society, in its statement, said it had turned the information over to "California law enforcement officials" at that time, and "local authorities asked for extra time before public release of the information."


The time has come for an Animal Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association. The next Board of Governors meeting will take place in January 2008. WE NEED AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE from active members of the LSBA and non-members who would like to see the formation of the Section. Review the proposed LETTER TO THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS , BYLAWS, and RESOLUTION here! (Word Documents)

Members of the LSBA, send an email to ariel@arieldigiulio.com stating that you would like the Board to vote in favor of creating an Animal Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Also, please supply your bar roll number for our list. OR, send or fax a letter to my office stating your intent to join the Animal Law Section of the LSBA. Law Office of Ariel K. DiGiulio, 422 Notre Dame Street, New Orleans, LA 70130,
Fax: 504-524-4084.

Non-members of the LSBA, send an email to ariel@arieldigiulio.com stating that you would like the Board to vote in favor of creating an Animal Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association for your benefit as a member of society. OR, send or fax a letter to my office stating same to: Law Office of Ariel K. DiGiulio, 422 Notre Dame Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, Fax: 504-524-4084


Order your Animal Friendly license plates through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The proceeds from the sale of these plates will pay for low cost spay/neuter surgeries throughout Louisiana.


Louisiana Revised Statutes
Title 47. Revenue and Taxation (Refs & Annos)
Subtitle II. Provisions Relating to Taxes Collected and Administered by the Collector of Revenue
Chapter 4. Vehicle Registration License Tax (Refs & Annos)
Part II. Levy of Registration License Fee or Tax (Refs & Annos)
§ 463.60. Special prestige license plates; "Animal Friendly" prestige license plate; animal population control; Pet Overpopulation Fund

A. The secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall establish a special prestige "Animal Friendly" license plate for motor vehicles. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 47:463(A)(3), the department shall establish this prestige plate provided there is a minimum of one hundred applicants for such plate. The license plates shall be restricted to passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and recreational vehicles. This prestige plate shall be issued, upon application, to any citizen of Louisiana in the same manner as any other motor vehicle license plate.

B. The charge for this prestige license plate shall be twenty-five dollars to be distributed as provided in this Section and a handling fee of three dollars and fifty cents to be retained by the department to offset a portion of administrative costs. These charges shall be in addition to the standard motor vehicle license tax imposed by Article VII, Section 5 of the Constitution of Louisiana.

C. The department shall collect the monies received from the sale of this prestige license plate and shall forward twenty-five dollars immediately upon receipt to the state treasury. After compliance with the requirements of Article VII, Section 9(B) of the Constitution of Louisiana relative to the Bond Security and Redemption Fund, the monies shall be deposited in the Pet Overpopulation Fund, which is hereby created within the state treasury, and shall be used solely to provide reduced-cost sterilizations of adult animals as defined in R.S. 3:2471(2) to indigent pet owners. All unexpended and unencumbered monies remaining in the fund at the close of each fiscal year shall remain in the fund. Monies in the fund shall be invested by the state treasurer in the same manner as monies in the state general fund. All interest earned from the investment of monies in the fund shall be credited to this fund after compliance with Article VII, Section 9(B) of the Constitution of Louisiana.

D. A Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council is hereby established within the office of the governor to establish guidelines for the expenditure of funds credited to the Pet Overpopulation Fund and to review and make recommendations on grant applications submitted in compliance with Subsection F of this Section. Members of the council shall serve on a voluntary basis and shall not receive any compensation or reimbursement of expenses. The council shall meet at least twice annually, and it shall consist of the following members:

(1) One representative of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Public Safety Services appointed by the secretary of the department.

(2) One representative of the Department of Health and Hospitals appointed by the secretary of such department.

(3) The state veterinarian or his designee.

(4) One member of the House of Representatives appointed by the speaker.

(5) One member of the Senate appointed by the president.

(6) One representative of the Humane Society of Louisiana appointed by the board of such organization.

(7) One representative of the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association appointed by the board of such organization.

(8) One representative of the Southern Animal Foundation appointed by the board of such organization.

(9) One representative of a public animal sheltering agency appointed by the board of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

(10) One representative of a private animal sheltering agency appointed by the board of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

E. Any indigent pet owner on public assistance, including but not limited to the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Security Income Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, or any other similar public assistance program named by the Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council, shall qualify for low-cost services.

F. Any veterinarian licensed in this state, veterinary hospital, or organization qualified as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, may apply for grants from the fund, on an application approved by the Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council. Grants shall be distributed solely for purposes of providing low-cost pet sterilizations by licensed veterinarians.

G. The Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council shall establish policies and procedures, subject to oversight by the House and Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committees, to implement the provisions of this Section, including but not limited to the collection of the monies received for the sale of these prestige license plates, the disbursement of grants, the transfer and disposition of such plates, the colors available for the plates, and the design criteria.

H. The state treasurer shall credit to the Pet Overpopulation Fund any additional funds received from private contributions, grants, and donations made to the Pet Overpopulation Fund.


  422 Notre Dame Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 
p. 504.524.4080  cell. 225.614.0797 fax 504.524.4084