Applicability of D.C. FOIA to Humane Rescue Alliance

On April 19, 2023, the Director of Open Government issued this advisory opinion concluding that:

(1) The internal records held by the Washington Humane Society (d/b/a Humane Rescue Alliance (“HRA”)) are not subject to direct requests under D.C. FOIA.

(2) Records HRA “produce[s] or collect[s] pursuant to” its contract with the District (e.g., under its animal-control division) are subject to D.C. FOIA, but “the public body with programmatic responsibility for” HRA’s contract--here, DC Health--is “responsible for making such records available."

(3) Records might be obtained through subpoena.