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November 13, 2009

La Jolla Seals Decision

San Diego Judge Says Seals Can Stay

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States heralds the ruling Friday by Judge Timothy Taylor of the Superior Court of California in San Diego to allow harbor seals to continue living at Casa Beach in La Jolla, Calif. In his ruling, Judge Taylor vacated two previous judicial orders that would have required the City of San Diego to disperse the seals and to dredge the beach to ensure the seals did not return.

Earlier this year, in response to the ongoing litigation about the seals, the state of California amended a law to clarify that Casa Beach could be used as a seal rookery. Although the law (enacted through Senate Bill 428) does not go into effect until Jan. 1, Judge Taylor found that continuing to require the City disperse the seals and dredge the beach until the law becomes effective would ignore the Legislature's intent to protect the seals. The court also recognized that "substantial public resources would unnecessarily be expended" if the previous orders were upheld.

"Judge Taylor's ruling removes the final legal roadblock to protecting the Casa Beach seals in what has been a years-long policy, political and legal effort," said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California state director. "Now the City can end this costly and bitter battle once and for all, and do right by the seals who are treasured by the San Diego community and its tourists."

A survey from earlier this year indicates that nearly two-thirds of San Diego residents want these marine mammals to remain and the editorial page of the San Diego Union-Tribune has called for the City Council to "stand firmly on the side of the seals."

The HSUS is pleased to have supported the efforts of the City of San Diego, the Animal Protection & Rescue League, the La Jolla Friends of the Seals and other San Diego individuals and organizations who worked hard to ensure the seals' protection.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by nearly 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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