January 11, 2017
BORN FREE USA and THE ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE OF IOWA, INC., Petitioners-Appellants,
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND STEWARDSHIP, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K.
Born Free USA and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc.,
appeal the district court's ruling affirming the Iowa
Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's denial
of the appellant's petition for rulemaking regarding
registration of dangerous wild animals.
C. Kelly of Allen, Vernon, & Hoskins, PLC, Marion, for
Jessica L. Blome of Animal Legal Defense Fund, Cotati,
California, for appellants.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Jacob J. Larson, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., McDonald, J., and Mahan, S.J.
appellants, Born Free USA and the Animal Rescue League of
Iowa, Inc. (collectively, ARL) appeal the district
court's ruling affirming the Iowa Department of
Agriculture and Land Stewardship's (IDALS) denial of the
appellant's petition for rulemaking regarding
registration of dangerous wild animals. ARL argues: (1) under
Iowa Code chapter 717F (2013), IDALS has the statutory
authority to promulgate ARL's proposed rule; and (2)
IDALS did not give fair consideration to the ARL's
petition for rulemaking. We affirm.
filed a petition for rulemaking pursuant to Iowa Code section
17A.7(1) (2013) and Iowa Administrative Code rule 21-3.1,
requesting IDALS amend rule 21-77.1 by adding a definition
for the term "register" for purposes of Iowa Code
chapter 717F, Iowa's Dangerous Wild Animal Act. IDALS
denied the petition on two grounds: (1) IDALS lacked the
specific statutory authority to promulgate the proposed rule,
and (2) even if such authority existed, the proposed rule
would result in increased regulatory burdens on both IDALS
and the USDA licensees under section 717F.7(20). ARL filed a
petition for judicial review with the district court
alleging: (1) that IDALS had the authority to promulgate the
proposed rule, and (2) IDALS' denial of the petition on
the merits was without substance and was not the result of
fair consideration. A hearing was held, and after reviewing
the court file, the parties' arguments and submissions,
and the applicable law, the district court entered an order
IDALS correctly concluded that it does not have the authority
to adopt the rule ARL advocates. In doing so, IDALS did not
abuse its discretion because it had no authority to act. Even
if IDALS had such authority, IDALS' denial of the rule is
not unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of
discretion. The agency gave the petition advocating for
promulgation of the rule fair consideration under both
scenarios, which is all that was required.
court affirmed in its entirety IDALS' decision denying
ARL's petition for rulemaking. ARL now appeals.
carefully reviewed the record, the briefs of the parties, and
the district court's ruling. We find the court's
ruling to be thorough, well-reasoned, and superbly-crafted.
The ruling identifies and considers all the issues presented.
We approve of the reasons and conclusions in the district
court ruling, and further discussion on our part would be of
little value. Accordingly, we affirm by memorandum opinion.
See Iowa Rule of Court 21.26(b), (d), and (e).
[*]Senior judge assigned by order
pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2017).