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GEER VS. CONNECTICUT is the 1896 lawsuit that definitively formed the basis for state law concerning the ownership of animals. The case was brought against Edward M. Geer, on the basis that he was attempting to sell animals in a state in which they would be considered illegally obtained, although he had obtained them in another state through legal means. The Supreme Court ruled that states should operate their right to wildlife as a trust for the benefit of the people.

In other words, individual states were confirmed as having the right to own and control flora and fauna above and beyond the abilities and rights of private interests. Unlike most of Europe, therefore, the bulk of the land of the United States is managed in ...

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