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Animal, Aquarium And Zoo Law

Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot’s animal, aquarium and zoo law group provides clients with administrative, litigation and lobbying services on a broad array of wildlife and animal law issues. Our attorneys develop strategies with clients to resolve wildlife law issues and determine whether those solutions are best pursued through agency action, legislative amendments or the court system. At the federal level, our attorneys have expertise in key statutes and programs, including the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

Additionally, we counsel clients on a variety of similar laws at the state level. We have represented dozens of clients on related matters, including utilities, pipeline companies, hunting organizations, universities, aquariums, animal exhibitors, land developers and individuals. Our dedicated team works with clients to best meet their wildlife and animal law objectives through a variety of legal services.

We frequently work with clients to prepare and submit comments on rules promulgated by federal agencies proposing to list or delist endangered species or designations of critical habitats under the ESA. With clients, we navigate the process of federal enforcement actions concerning alleged violations of permit conditions. We have cultivated close relationships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, as well as with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot attorneys also have extensive experience representing clients in a variety of federal and state court litigation and enforcement actions on issues involving the procedures and prohibitions of the ESA, AWA, MMPA and other similar state laws. Our firm has had great success defending against citizen suits alleging unlawful “take” in violation of the ESA or violations of the AWA. We also frequently represent clients in the capacity of defendant-interveners in cases brought by advocacy groups challenging federal government action.

Sometimes the most effective solution for addressing wildlife issues is through the legislative process. Our team has decades of experience on Capitol Hill and in leadership positions within the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies. The attorneys and legislative professionals at Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot use that experience to achieve clients’ goals involving wildlife law, including working closely with congressional committees and subcommittees, individual members of Congress, key staffers and administrative officials involved in environmental and wildlife issues.


James H. Lister
Carissa Siebeneck Anderson