Skip to Main Content

Animal Law Research Guide: Cases

The Animal Law Research Guide provides guidance for students researching animal law and advocacy, as well as the discussion of animals in the fields of philosophy, cultural studies, gender and women's studies, environmental studies, and literary theory.

Researching Cases Involving Animal Issues

Two great places to start your case law research on animal law-related issues are: (1) Westlaw's Multistate Animal Law Cases database and (2) digests. 

Westlaw's Multistate Animal Law Cases database (MAML-CS) contains animal law-related decisions from the state courts of all fifty states and the local courts of the District of Columbia, and may be searched just as you would search any other database in Westlaw.

A digest is a collection of headnotes taken from cases (as reported in case reporters) and categorized by topic. A headnote is a sentence-long summary of a legal issue that was discussed in a case. For information on how to use a digest to locate cases relevant to your legal issue, please visit our UCLA School of Law Legal Research and Writing Guide.

For researchers of animal law, the following West Key Numbers should provide good starting points for case law research on selected issues such as animal cruelty, stray animals, and endangered species. These Key Numbers may be referenced using either West's print digest or Westlaw:

Key Number Description
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(5) Protective and anti-cruelty in general
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(6) Laboratory and research animals
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(7) Fighting and contests
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(8) Searches, seizures, inspections and forfeitures
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(9) Prosecutions and proceedings; review
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(10) Penalties, punishments and costs
Key Number Symbol 28k3.5(11) Animal welfare societies and agencies
Key Number Symbol 28k15 Regulation of slaughtering
Key Number Symbol 28k43.1 Injuring or killing animals; in general
Key Number Symbol 28k44 Injuring or killing animals; civil liability
Key Number Symbol 28k45 Injuries or killing animals; criminal liability
Key Number Symbol 28k58 Estrays
Key Number Symbol 28k59 Estrays; rights of owners
Key Number Symbol 28k60 Estrays; statutory regulations
Key Number Symbol 28k61 Estrays; impounding or taking up
Key Number Symbol 28k63 Estrays; actions and other proceedings for damages
Key Number Symbol 28k64 Estrays; Penalties for violations of regulations
Key Number Symbol 28k65 Estrays; criminal prosecutions
Key Number Symbol 28k103 Pounds
Key Number Symbol 149Ek527 Plants and animals protected in general
Key Number Symbol 149Ek528 Endangered, threatened, or sensitive species
Key Number Symbol 149Ek547 Private right of action; citizen suits