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Animal Law Podcast #20: James Whitlock and Douglas Ruley and the Cherokee Bear Zoo Case

By Mariann Sullivan — January 25, 2017

James Whitlock

Welcome to the 20th episode of the Animal Law Podcast! Today, Mariann is joined by Jamie Whitlock and Doug Ruley, who focus on environmental law at Davis & Whitlock, P.C., in Asheville, North Carolina. Jamie has litigated numerous environmental and land use cases in federal district courts nationwide, the state courts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas, and in local and administrative venues throughout the southeast. Doug has litigated cases involving the forests and biodiversity of the Appalachians, air and water pollution, and transportation and land use, among many others. 

Douglas Ruley

On today’s show, Jamie and Doug discuss the deplorable conditions at the Cherokee Bear Zoo for grizzly bears, who live out their lives in concrete pits begging for food from benighted tourists. Can this be legal? Jamie and Doug, who have brought a lawsuit seeking to free the bears, consider how the intersections between the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act open up the possibility of freeing them from their terrible lives. What does it mean to “harm,” “take” and “harass” captive wildlife? What is a “generally accepted” husbandry practice? We’ll consider these and other questions, and what the answers mean for these desperate animals.


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