Would like to thank the several councilors who shared the legal summary with me, because as you know, I paid for it and have a right to see it, even if it is half-ass;


The Delbridge work group requested we summarize the testimony of James Moore and Andy Patterson from last Wednesday’s work group meeting. James approved the following summary on Friday. I will provide a summary of Andy Patterson’s testimony as soon as he confirms it is accurate.

Attorney James Moore from the Woods, Fuller, Schultz & Smith law firm presented his legal analysis of the impacts of the Delbridge family gifting agreement with City. Moore noted the gifting agreement from 1981 may have created certain restrictions on displaying the Brockhouse collection at the Delbridge Museum of Natural History, yet considerable flexibility remains for the City while honoring the donors’ intent in gifting the collection to the City. The law provides an exception to these restrictions where it has become impracticable for the City to continue displaying the Brockhouse collection and other taxidermy specimens in its current state at the Delbridge Museum of Natural History. 

Moore stated several factors would favor the application of this exception. First, the current location for the display is inconsistent with the long-term plans for economic improvement of the Great Plains Zoo. Second, the presence of arsenic in the taxidermy mounts was not known in 1981, which poses a danger to Zoo staff and the public who may come in physical contact with the mounts as they are currently displayed. Third, the on-going costs to maintain the collection at its current location may not be desirable in light of the low number of visitors to the Delbridge Museum. Fourth, public attitudes may have changed regarding how the collection was obtained regarding the display of taxidermy mounts.  Finally, the value of the collection when compared to the significant cost of preserving the collection may also favor applying the exception for impracticability. 

Moore stated the City has several options for future handling of the collection while still honoring the Delbridge family’s gifting intent. The work group requested he provide additional guidance as options are identified and considered. Options discussed at this meeting included gifting the collection to a non profit entity in-state, or to an out-of-state non-profit entity after July 1, 2024. Another option could be to display the collection at another location in the City. Another option could be to return the collection to the Delbridge family, which Moore advised should only occur upon exhausting all other options.

Discussion also occurred that the Delbridge working group could make recommendations based on the individual specimen.

James’ full written opinion contains significant research and his mental impressions on all the factors he considered. His full written opinion and research are privileged attorney-client communication and protected work product. I will reiterate my offer for you to come read it at my office if f you want to review his opinion and research in full; however, we are not distributing a copy to anyone. James presenting a summary to the work group at a public meeting does not waive these privileges. Thank you. 

Sioux Falls Lead City Attorney


I’m not even an attorney, or pretend to be one, but everyone knows that a legal ‘opinion’ on a hypothetical is not some guarded litigation secret. Is the city being sued over the animals? If so, we have a right to know this. If not, the legal opinion should be released to the public either way.

We all know what’s cooking here, someone who knows someone will be contacted by someone with a plan to deliver something special to their home. Just make sure you wipe the arsenic snot from it’s nose every 1-18 years.

2 Thoughts on “Sioux Falls City Councilors share ‘legal summary’ of Delbridge Animals’ fate

  1. Very Stable Genius on March 20, 2024 at 6:36 pm said:

    A quit claim deed with the Aquatic Center location, stipulations with the Lyons family concerning the usage of the fairgrounds land, and now this. Sometimes gifting sucks, especially if you try to profit from it later….. 🙂 #OhKnowYouDont!

  2. D@ily Spin on March 21, 2024 at 8:32 am said:

    When a piano gets old, you shoot it into pieces somewhere out of town. This is gonna take machine guns and RPG’s.

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