It was only a few weeks ago that the winter holidays were upon us, and with them came the usual seasonal festivities: ice skating, caroling, or perhaps a ride on a horse-drawn carriage. But to animal rights activists in Frederick, Maryland, horse-drawn carriage rides are not a source of holiday cheer, but rather a form of animal cruelty. In Saltz v. City of Frederick, MD, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently addressed the First Amendment claims of one animal rights activist. 538 F. Supp. 3d 510 (D. Md. 2021).
Plaintiff Jason Saltz sued the City of Frederick and four police officers employed by the City under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants violated his First Amendment rights by denying him the ability to chant against horse-drawn carriages from a position located directly across the street from where carriage riders were waiting to embark on their rides. He also claimed that his rights were infringed when the defendants prevented him from handing out leaflets and engaging in peaceful discussion with people waiting in line to ride. Id. at 523.
The defendants had set up a designated “First Amendment Area” for Mr. Saltz and his fellow animal rights protestors, pursuant to an operations plan issued by the Frederick police department. Id. at 527–529.
Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Maryland Upholds Animal Rights Protestor’s First Amendment Claims