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Animal Law Podcast #55: A Case of Roadside Misery

By Mariann Sullivan — December 25, 2019

On this episode of the Animal Law Podcast, I speak with Jessica Blome and Amanda Howell about the second chapter in the legal effort to close down Cricket Hollow Zoo, a sad roadside “attraction” where animals have been languishing in terrible conditions for years. I last spoke to Jessica on Episode 10 about some Endangered Species Act litigation that managed to free the animals covered by that law, but hundreds of animal remained, left to suffer merely because their species was not at risk. This time Jessica, along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Amanda Howell, went back for the rest, suing on behalf of some deeply concerned citizens under Iowa Nuisance Law and basing their claim that this horrific facility was a public nuisance because it was in violation of the Iowa Anti-Cruelty statute. This is a fascinating case, with a (mostly) satisfying ending. But it also highlights some of the extraordinary gaps in current law “protecting” animals and the extraordinary lengths that must be gone to in order to get them out of obviously abusive situations.

Jessica Blome is a senior associate at Greenfire Law where she primarily practices in the areas of environmental, animal, open government, and land use law. She represents clients in citizen suit enforcement, climate change, and strategic impact litigation. Her practice includes litigating and advising under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, NEPA, CEQA, Administrative Procedure Act, Animal Welfare Act, Endangered Species Act, FOIA, California Public Records Act, and Brown Act. Before Greenfire Law, Jessica worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Missouri Attorney General’s Agriculture & Environment Division, Senior Staff Attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Deputy Director of the San Francisco Ethics Commission. She earned her law degree from the University of Iowa and has a B.A. in Organizational Communication, with Minors in Journalism and Ethics, from the University of Northern Iowa. Jessica is passionate about public lands access, wilderness protection, and outdoor recreation. She spends her weekends in the wild spaces in and around the Bay Area.

As a staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund Amanda Howell uses her background in strategic impact litigation to help us win big for animals. Prior to joining ALDF, Amanda’s career was focused on improving the food system and curbing the harmful practices of multinational corporations. She is dedicated to using her skills to combat iniquity and believes that changing how we view and treat animals will simultaneously improve life for all sentient beings and positively impact individual health, public health, and our environment. Amanda graduated from Northwestern University with a triple major in Political Science, International Studies, and Spanish. She received her law degree from Boston University, where she was the managing editor for the American Journal of Law and Medicine.


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