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Animal Rights Group NhRP Dealt Another Blow in Fight to Free Elephants

We did not have a fair opportunity to litigate the first petition on the merits of the case. You just can’t dismiss the second petition when the first petition did not even reach the merits.

ROBERT STORACE: ‘The founder and president of an animal rights group that is trying to remove three elephants from a Connecticut-based petting zoo said he plans to fight on in the wake of a judge’s ruling this week that dismissed his second petition for writ of habeas corpus… Litchfield Superior Court Judge Dan Shaban dismissed the petition submitted by Massachusetts-based Non-human Rights Project (NhRP), saying it was too similar to the first petition dismissed by another judge.

At issue is whether the court should grant the petition for writ of habeas corpus because the elephants are “persons” entitled to liberty and equality for the purposes of habeas corpus. The elephants in question— Beulah, Karen and Millie—are currently housed at the Goshen-based Commerford Zoo…

In his 2018 ruling on the first petition, Litchfield Superior Court Judge James Bentivegna said the writ of habeas corpus was “wholly frivolous,” and that the group lacked standing to release the elephants to a sanctuary in California. Steven Wise, founder and president of the animal rights nonprofit, insisted Friday that the two petitions are not alike.

“The first petition was dismissed on standing ground and not on the merits. The second petition cannot be dismissed as being the same thing,” said Wise, also an attorney. “We did not have a fair opportunity to litigate the first petition on the merits of the case. You just can’t dismiss the second petition when the first petition did not even reach the merits”…

Wise said he will make a decision next week on how to proceed. He said there are two options: appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court or file a motion for a rehearing in front of Shaban. Wise has argued that the elephants, which he said are autonomous animals, are being illegally imprisoned’. SOURCE…

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