United States v. Approximately 64 Dogs

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The names of forfeiture cases—which operate on the legal fiction that the lawsuit is against property, rather than against its owners—often seem a bit absurd; this case, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, is one example. The dogs aren't, of course, accused of anything, even though the complaint begins:

The defendants, approximately 64 dogs, are subject to seizure and forfeiture to the United States ….

Rather, they are just the victims of an illegal dogfighting operation (a very nasty one, judging by the complaint), and are therefore alleged to be subject to forfeiture under

15 U.S.C. § 1177 (confiscation of gambling devices) and 7 U.S.C. § 2156(f) (animals involved in a violation of the Animal Welfare Act).

Still, it's odd to see a case named like this. Thanks to Larry Seltzer for the pointer.

UPDATE: Paul Sherman of the Institute for Justice points to United States v. One Solid Gold Object in the Form of a Rooster (D. Nev. 1962). And the rooster (also known as "the libelee") won!

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