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Question #1

After several horrific instances of animal cruelty receive major press coverage, Congress passes and the President signs the “Federal Animal Cruelty Act.” The statute reads as follows:
Section 1: Findings
The Congress hereby finds the following:
1. Instances of cruelty towards cats and dogs erode the humane and moral foundations of America.

2. In particular, instances of such cruelty harden all Americans’ attitudes toward pets. In turn, this hardening attitude lessens the interest Americans have in having rewarding long-term relationships with their pets. This shift in turn reduces the demand for care and nourishment of cats and dogs, and ultimately reduces the demand for such animals generally.

3. The sale, care and nourishment of cats and dogs is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States.

Section 2: Prohibition on Unnecessary Cruelty
No person shall inflict unnecessary cruelty on a
companion animal.

Section 3: Definitions
1. “Unnecessary cruelty” means any intentional infliction of physical harm that is not part of legitimate training or disciplining or humane euthanasia.
2. “Person” means any natural person, business association, or state or any instrumentality or arm of a state.
3. “Companion animal” means a dog or a cat, including dogs and cats that are used for work activities.

Section 4: Training; Penalties
Any person found to have engaged in unnecessary cruelty shall, on the first offense, be ordered to undergo appropriate animal care education, as to be determined by the judge. On the second offense, the judge, should the conditions warrant, shall order the offender to undergo an anger management class and/or to serve at a local humane society, but under no circumstances shall any second offender be made to spend more than 16 hours completing the required class or service. On third and subsequent offenses the offender shall be fined by an amount not to exceed $500 per occurrence. If the offender is not a natural person, the person subject to the animal care education, anger management or humane society service orders shall be the individual who actually ordered or committed the act of unnecessary cruelty; however, the non-natural person offender shall remain liable for any fines.

Section 5: Enforcement
Enforcement of this action shall be performed by county animal control authorities and county law enforcement, both of which shall promptly investigate any legitimate complaints of unnecessary cruelty.

In addition, any person witnessing or having proof of an act made illegal under this statute may bring suit to enforce this statute against any person who has violated the statute.

3. Suits alleging violations of this statute shall be brought in any state court that normally has jurisdiction to hear civil misdemeanors under that state’s law.

Subsequent Activity
After the statute is enacted, Peter Peta goes bike riding at Malibu Canyon State Park in California. He watches as a detachment of State Park Police officers conduct a drug sweep of a homeless encampment, using drug-sniffing dogs. After one of those dogs snarls at a homeless person, a police officer hits the dog with a nightstick.

Later in his ride, Peter notices Sylvester Stallone, a private individual, beating his Golden Retriever with a pair of boxing gloves.
The next day Peter files two lawsuits in Los Angeles County Superior Court. One is against Stallone, and the other is against both the California Park Police and the officer that hit the dog during the drug search.


Question 1: What argument(s) can Stallone make that the statute exceeds Congress’ Article I power? Explain why each argument would or would not succeed.

Question 2: Aside from the argument(s) Stallone can make, what additional argument(s) can the Park Police make that the statute cannot regulate how it treats its dogs? Explain why each argument would or would not succeed.
In answering these questions, you may assume the following:

a. Peter has standing to sue.
b. Police dogs come within the definition of “companion animals.”
c. The California State Park Police is an arm of the State of California.
d. California has not explicitly waived any sovereign immunity it has.
e. Under California law, civil misdemeanors are heard in Superior Court.

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