Last case was Angel’s Gate
Marc R. Jurnove, 63, died on July 3, 2013 in McLeansville, North Carolina. A U.S. Coast Guard veteran who had ridden his own horse since age seven, Jurnove went on to spend 17 years as a mounted park ranger in New York City, rising to the rank of lieutenant, then served for 14 years as a volunteer cruelty investigator for the American SPCA.
Jurnove also did extensive investigative work as a volunteer for many other national, regional, and local humane organizations.
Long Island Game Farm
The name Jurnove became a common legal reference as result of a federal Animal Welfare Act case in which he was lead plaintiff, supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, concerning the care of a long deceased chimpanzee at the Long Island Game Farm.
The Animal Welfare Act as it now exists has evolved in bits and pieces from the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966.
The first major amendments, adopted in 1970, taking effect in 1971, extended the coverage of the Act to all “warm-blooded animals…used or intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation or exhibition purposes.”
That language remained intact in the 1976 and 1985 amendments that established the Animal Welfare Act in present form.
However, Congress left writing the Animal Welfare Act enforcement regulations to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. USDA-APHIS then evaded responsibility for handling the increased workload the 1975 and 1985 amendments would have brought by excluding rats, mice, and birds from the regulatory definition of warm-blooded animals.
Won standing to sue
A series of lawsuits against the exclusion followed, but the USDA and the research industry repeatedly won rulings that animal welfare groups and concerned individuals had no legal standing to bring their cases.
Jurnove and ALDF overturned this obstacle in a September 1998 U.S. Court of Appeals verdict, later upheld without comment by the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, Jurnove noted in 2002, “The USDA is still not required to enforce any regulation under the Animal Welfare Act. The court has stated [in a lawsuit brought by the American Anti-Vivisection Society, based on the Jurnove verdict] that due to how Congress wrote the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA is not required to enforce their own standards, and failure to enforce the standards cannot be challenged.
“The wording cited,” Jurnove continued, “was Title 7, Chapter 54, Section 2146, Administration and enforcement by Secretary, (a) Investigations and inspections, which states that “The Secretary shall make such investigations or inspections as [he deems necessary] to determine whether any dealer, exhibitor, intermediate handler, carrier, research facility, or operator of an auction sale subject to section 2142 of this title, has violated or is violating any provision of this chapter or any regulation or standard issued thereunder.”
“The phrase ‘as he deems necessary’ apparently makes rigorous enforcement optional,” Jurnove concluded.
Scotch Plains Zoo
Founder of the International Society for the Protection of Exotic Animal Kind and Livestock, Inc. (I-SPEAK), located in Plainview, New Jersey, Jurnove was also involved in closing the Scotch Plains Zoo in 1997, which had been repeatedly cited for numerous Animal Welfare Act violations, and in many other prominent cases, the last of which led to the closure of the former Angel’s Gate animal hospice in Delhi, New York in 2012, followed by the legal dissolution of the Angel’s Gate charity on October 2, 2015 .
Jurnove and his wife Phyllis relocated to North Carolina, recalled longtime family friend Kimberly Serino, after they were burned out of their home in a New Year’s Day 2010 housefire. During his last years Jurnove was especially active in investigating and exposing alleged cockfighters with connections in the North Carolina and Kentucky legislatures and state government.
Despite working with dozens of other animal advocacy organizations, Jurnove after his ASPCA stint avoided formal affiliations with any except I-SPEAK, out of frustration, he said, with the politics of the cause.
“Maybe if all the different organizations were not busy pursuing their own individual agendas, more could be accomplished,” he said.