Top state court rejects effort to free Bronx Zoo elephant

Bronx Zoo Elephant Lawsuit

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2018 file photo, Bronx Zoo elephant “Happy” strolls inside the zoo’s Asia Habitat in New York. A legal fight to release Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo after 45 years will be argued Wednesday, May 18, 2022, before New York’s highest court in a closely watched case over whether a basic right for people can be extended to an animal. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s top court has rejected an effort to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo.

The state Court of Appeals decided Tuesday that she does not meet the definition of “person” who is being illegally confined.

The 5-2 decision affirms an earlier court decision and means Happy will not be released through a habeas corpus proceeding. That is a way for people to challenge illegal confinement.

The majority decision says that “no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings deserving of proper care and compassion.”

But it says habeas corpus is intended to protect the liberty of human beings and does not apply to a nonhuman animal like Happy.

Categories: National News