Friday, February 26, 2010

State Bar Association Animal Law Sections

Bar Associations Animal Law Sections and Committees

This is a simple, though not comprehensive, list of legal law committees in the United States.  Information will be added and this article will be updated from time to time, so check back if you are searching for such data.  The two links below also contain a great deal of information.

Animal Law Directory   A Who's Who of Animal Law

Animal Law Websites  This is an ALF page and some of the links no longer work, but many still do.

I'll try to keep this information brief, but if you live in one of these states or are active in their politics, please keep this resource page in mind and find what you can about the animal politics in your state.

At the top of the list is the animal law section of the American Bar Association.

Check out this website. You will learn all about the Humane Education Public Service Project or as they call it - HEART. Its primary objective of the Humane Education Project is "to cultivate compassion and empathy in our youth toward animals and foster respect for the environment." hmmmm I see no mention of fostering respect for other people, their rights or their private property, do you?

HEART even published a comprehensive Humane Education Training Manual. According to the website, it "includes detailed lesson plans, teaching tips, classroom communication strategies, school outreach guidelines, state humane education laws, and related articles. The curriculum addresses a wide range of animal-related issues such as responsible companion animal care, animal cruelty laws, dog and cat population and homelessness, puppy mills, dogfighting, the violence link, factory farming, endangered species, habitat destruction, pollution, and global warming." Well, that is an ambitious and monumental undertaking, isn't it?

The website offers books for sale, too, including Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers; The Lawyer's Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues and Wildlife Law: A Global Perspective.

States other than Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania that have affiliated ABA law committees are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

Arizona.  Stephanie Nichols-Young is the founder of the AZ state bar ALS and is president of the ADLF of AZ.  She is also president and board member of the environmental group, Wilburforce.

Connecticut.  Formed in 2002. In 2008 they held a conference entitled “Justice for Animals: The State of the Law in Connecticut.” Speakers included Connecticut State Representative Diana Urban; Animal Legal Defense Fund Attorney Dana Campbell; Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph LaMotta; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Attorney Debora Bresch; Jeanne Milstein, Connecticut child advocate; Owen Little, animal control officer; Susan Linker, vice president and director of Connecticut Votes for Animals and CEO of Our Companions Domestic Animal Sanctuary; and Joanne Bourbeau, New England regional director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Illinois. These links were very slow today. Maybe they are working on them. I will check back later.

Maryland  Check out the information on their 2010 Animal Law Symposium.  "The Animal Law Section is pleased to partner with the Journal of Animal Law and Ethics at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Law to publish the articles, commentaries, or papers for the first-ever regional Mid-Atlantic Symposium on Animal Law. The symposium will be hosted by the Animal Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, in conjunction with the University Of Baltimore School Of Law and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Law. The Impact On & Opportunities For Animals in the Current Political and Economic Climate will be on Friday, April 9, 2010, from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. at the University Of Baltimore School Of Law. See the website for the 11 member council that heads this committee."


Minnesota Council members: Michael Ablan, Collette Adkins Giese, Rebecca Bell, Katherine Bloomquist, Kathryn Boyne, Amy Draeger, Barbara Gislason, Michael Heise, Amy Mason, Vicki McIntyre, Joan Schulkers, Christine Weflen, and Ellen Weinstock.  The Legislative Representative is Vicki McIntyre.

Missouri Though the website does not have a special section for the animal law committee, this link will show what types of legislation they are active in.

New Jersey

New York   If you live in NY, be sure to check this one out

Ohio  You have to be a member to access their select committees and that information.

Oregon  In contrast, the state of Oregon is not secretive and went all out on their website.

Pennsylvania . They don't offer much information at all. The Animal Liberation Front links (top of this article) had a link, but it no longer works.

You can find more info about the Texas web archived in November 2009 and December 2009.  The following is a brief recap:

Randy Turner has been practicing law for almost 30 years and is a partner in Turner and McKenzie in Fort Worth, Texas. Turner regularly represents rescue groups, humane societies, and animal rights activists in civil and criminal cases and is a frequent lecturer on animal law. He has worked as a volunteer in orangutan conservation in Borneo, elephant conservation in Kenya, and black rhino conservation in Zimbabwe.

Sandra K. Patton is an attorney with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission. Based in Houston, her responsibilities include all aspects of legal work. Sandra volunteers her time with the Humane Society and the SPCA of Houston and is a foster mom for Homeless and Orphaned Pet Endeavors (HOPE), an all-foster, no kill animal adoption group.

Bill Davis practices appellate law at the office of the Solicitor General in Austin. He has published commentaries on animal law in The Federal Lawyer and the Lewis and Clark School of Animal Law Journal. Davis was one of the presenters at the Fourth Annual Animal Law Institute hosted by the State Bar of Texas ALS. He is a member of the ALDF and the Farm Sanctuary.

Amy Bures Danna practices law with The Clary Firm in the areas of Civil Litigation, Toxic Tort, Wills & Trusts, and Animal Law. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, where she lectures on a full range of Animal Law topics. She has presented Animal Law educational seminars which are attended by veterinarians, lawyers, rescuers, vegans, animal control officers, shelter administrators, and pet enthusiasts. Danna was appointed to the City of Houston/Harris County Task Force on Animal.

Don Feare practices civil litigation and criminal defense in Arlington. He regularly handles a large volume of animal law cases and a variety of seizure and dog bite related cases. Don is a member of the board and the legislative committee of the THLN and on the TFACS BOD. He is also a photographer and contributor to Nature Photographer magazine. In addition, he speaks to civic and animal groups throughout the country. Don lives on the sanctuary he established in the late 80’s known as the Wildflight Rescue Foundation. Don is also an Adjunct Professor at Texas Wesleyan School of Law where he teaches Animal Law.

Dawn Reveley has practiced law for 20 years and is licensed in Texas and in Michigan. She practices business law and litigation representing small businesses, most of which are animal care providers. Dawn is one of the founding members of the ALS, and she has spoken nationally on animal law and equine law issues and on the establishment of State Bar Animal Law Sections for other states. She serves on the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and is active in animal-related businesses and hobbies. She has bred, trained and shown horses and golden retrievers for over 30 years.

"Skip” Trimble is a member of this group and the ALDF....and the Texas Humane Legislative Network ....and Animal Protection Institute (Born Free) ... and Dallas Animal Control....and Metroplex Animal Coalition.


Local bar associations with animal law committees



New York City  This standing committee deals with legal issues pertaining to animals, including legal, regulatory and policy issues affecting non-human animals, both wild and domestic. Again, the actual committee member listing is for members only. You can search on the website - search engine at bottom of page - for "animal" to get more information on legislation they have worked on etc.

St. Louis.   Diana Vuylsteke is the contact for this committee though I couldn't find a website. Diana Vuylsteke represents large industrial corporations on legislative and regulatory issues pertaining to energy costs. She is a registered lobbyist and represents Anheuser Busch, The Boeing Company, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Monsanto, Proctor & Gamble and Pfizer on energy legislation. Ms. Vuylsteke has frequently served as counsel to industry in electric, gas, water and sewer rate cases filed by major utilities. She has served as counsel to industry in merger proceedings, rulemaking and appeals from regulatory decisions before the Missouri and Kansas courts. She is also a member of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation.

Kansas City

Washington D.C

Chicago. You must be a member to login and gain access to the Animal Law committee information.

San Francisco. Tom Cushing,  San Francisco County Bar Association Animal Law Committee, is the contact person.

San Diego

Los Angeles

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Florida Web


Spidey's been busy busy busy. I was called away to Florida on some unexpected business and while I was there I decided to do a little research into their web. I knew it would turn into quite a project - just like Texas - or any other state for that matter. I may as well share the information since I have it.

The HSUS coalition of the Florida Federation of Humane Societies began way back in the 1960's. Much of the groundwork for the grassroots federation began in Florida and California.  The original Federation was located in Bradenton, FL (EIN 59-2116518) on Cortez Rd. Records indicate that the organization is now inactive.

In the past couple of years, many of the old state based federations have gone national. The National Federation of Humane Societies  (EIN 74-3180037) based in Washington, D.C., has Wayne Pacelle as one of its directors and he is quite proud of the fact that HSUS recently arranged a corporate liason with the SPCA Wildlife Care Center of Broward County, Florida.  This center is the fifth largest animal care center of the HSUS.  The local Florida grassroots has morphed into other networks which will be covered later.

Briefly, the National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS) 2009 Executive Officers are as follows:
Steve Putnam, Executive Director was the previous VP of business development and corporate relations at HSUS. Robert A. Downey, Chairman of the Board. His on the SAWA Society of Welfare Administrators BOD and is a past VP. Downey has been serving as Capital Humane Society's (Nebraska) executive director since January of 1984, and he also served on the National Companion Animal Advisory Group to the HSUS for four years. Sharon Harmon, President. is the executive director of the Oregon Humane SocietySarah J. Hayes, Secretary, is CEO of the Monroe County Humane Association in Bloomington, Indiana, Pam Carey, Treasurer is with PAWS in Chicago, Illinois.

The 2009 BOD include: Christopher Agostino, Humane Society of Broward County in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Their board of trustees include Marti Huizenga and Al Sorensen.

John Aleshire is the exec director of the Humane Society of Indianapolis, Indiana. Barbara Carr, executive director of the Erie County SPCA in Tonawanda, NY also served eight years with the National Companion Animals Advisory Group (NCAAG).  Janelle Dixon, is CEO for the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, MN.  Lisa LaFontaine is with the Washington Humane Society in D.C. She was the previous CEO of the Monadnock Humane Society in southwestern New Hampshire and has been the  President of the New England Federation of Humane Societies Board of Directors since 2005.

Jane McCall - Dubuque Regional Humane Society in Dubuque, Iowa. She co-authored the Asilomar Accords with Rich Avanzino, President of Maddie’s Fund.  Elizabeth McCorkle is employed by St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ. She is also an executive member of SAWA (the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators). Cal Morgan - President and CEO of Michigan Humane Society in Southfield, MI.

Robin Robertson Starr is the  executive director and CEO of Richmond SPCA in Richmond, VA. Prior to becoming the executive director, Robin was a practicing attorney.  She is a member of the board of directors and serves on the executive committee of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. Robin is a member of the Virginia State Bar and SAWA.  Angie Wood is Director of Operations for Naperville Area Humane Society in Naperville, IL

Member Organizations of the NFHS include A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc., Animal Humane Society, Animal Care League, Animal Lovers League, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Animal Welfare Society, Asheville Humane Society, Californian Animal Control Directors Association, Cleveland Animal Protective League, Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies, Dumb Friends League, Greenhill Humane Society, Hawaiian Humane Society, House Rabbit Society, Humane Society of Kent County, Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, H.S. of Memphis & Shelby Co, Illinois Animal Welfare Federation, Norfolk SPCA, North County H.S. & SPCA, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, Peoria H.S., Potter League for Animals, Richmond SPCA, Sacramento SPCA, Salem Animal Rescue league, San Francisco SPCA, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, Southern Oregon H.S., SPCA Cincinnati, SPC Los Angeles, SPCA for Monterey County, SPCA Tampa Bay, SPCA of Texas, Tails H.S., Washington Animal Rescue League, Wayside Waifs H.S., Wisconsin H.S.

Marching right behind HSUS, et al. is the ALDF - Animal Legal Defense Fund.  Pamela Frasch serves as animal cruelty director for the National Animal Legal Defense Fund said that the number of schools offering animal law courses has trippled as well as the states that have legislated animal cruelty a felony.  Frasch of Portland, Oregon, teaches beginning and advanced animal law at the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College.  According to her, animal law "has exploded" in the past decade. In 1999, she co-authored the first casebook for law schools on the subject, Animal Law.

"Florida was way ahead of the pack and unusual in providing compensation to owners of pets negligently or deliberately harmed or killed," said Joyce Tischler, executive director of the Petaluma, California-based ALDF. A lawyer, Tischler co-founded ALDF in 1979. In the past decade, the number of ALDF chapters in law schools or other student groups has grown from about 12 to 2,000.

"The next generation of lawyers and judges won't find this area of law so unfamiliar, and it won't be something to laugh at," Tischler said. "Part of our mission is to mainstream animal law and do with animal law what was done with environmental law." She said ALDF refers cases to its 200 lawyers around the country.

"Animal rights represents the last frontier in the natural evolution of the law, from slavery to unemancipated women and now to the ultimate underdog – animals," said Dr. Fred Louis Cohen, a practicing West Palm Beach neurosurgeon, who earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in 1999. He practices animal law part-time with the Roberts Law Firm of West Palm Beach.

So, the next place I decided to look was at the Florida Bar Animal Law Committee.  Bingo! The following are brief bios of just a few of the members, but it will give you some idea of the animal rights inroads that have been made in Florida.

Gilbert Russell Panzer, Boca Raton, Palm Beach County. He is a contributor to and supporter of Animal Law (Lewis & Clark Law School) along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Animal Protection Litigation Section of the HSUS.

Phyllis Gallub Coleman, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County has had articles published in the ADLF Animal Law Review. She also teaches ADLF sponsored law courses at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.

Melissa Ann Cordon , Tampa Hillsboro is the owner of Animal Law Attorneys, a law firm dedicated to the practice of Animal and Pet Law. Melissa began her legal career as an Assistant Attorney General in Tampa. She has extensive knowledge of all facets of civil practice, and is licensed to practice throughout the state of Florida and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Memberships include the Animal Law Committee of the Florida Bar;  Animal Legal Defense Fund and the American Veterinary Medical Law Association.

Ralph A DeMeo ,Tallahassee, Leon County is a shareholder of Leon County Humane Society and on the Tallahasee Animal Shelter Advisory Board. He teaches a FSU Course - Pets ad Litum - where students perform legal research for the goal of improving animal welfare.

Geoffrey Charles Fleck ,Gainesville, Alachua Co. Fleck is an assistant state attorney in Florida and  is passionate about prosecuting animal cruelty and fighting cases.

He is quoted in the Gainesville MagazineM/u> as saying:  “After being a prosecutor for a while, I came to realize to my utter dismay that cruelty cases were never being sent for felony prosecution and, instead, that ninety-nine percent of them never made it to our office even as misdemeanors,” he says. “The animal control folks were so discouraged they merely issued meaningless warnings and citations. Those few cases that made it to our office were routinely treated with no priority, and the defendants were offered deferred prosecutions, which essentially means ‘please don’t do it again.’ I found that to be utterly unacceptable.” In response, Fleck instituted a policy that he was to review all cruelty/neglect/ fighting cases that came to his “intake” division, or to any misdemeanor lawyer, before a final charging decision was made. “I also talked to and met with Animal Services to encourage more aggressive action on their part, and I promised more aggressive action on mine,” he says. “Well, within a month or two, I became inundated with criminal cruelty cases, almost all of which I deemed appropriate for felony prosecution. Fleck says that Florida statutes on cruelty are generally poorly written and unclear, but he has been routinely getting significant jail and prison sentences. . . . I always add a long probation with the special condition that the offender not possess, own, or cohabitate with any animals,” he explains. “The support I’ve received from the judges, to my surprise and delight, has been overwhelmingly positive. Juries are hugely responsive to these cases, too.”

Brent Alan Gordon , Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County is on theBoard of Directors - Humane Society of Pinellas County

Maggie Jo Hilliard, Atlantic Beach, Duval County. In her first job as a lawyer, at the State Attorney's Office, Maggie Jo was an Assistant State Attorney for Duval and Clay Counties where she obtained trial experience and developed a passion for assisting victims and animals. 

Margaret Rose Hoyt, Oviedo, Seminole Co.   Speaking engagement: Animal Law Barry University College of Law - Animal Law 2009.

Virginia Iglesia ,Office on Park Avenue, New York.  Virginia is also eligible to practice in Florida U.S. District Court for the Souhern District of Florida and was a Federal Law Clerk in 2007 - 2008.

Shelley Jean Kravitz , Miami is a Miami-Dade County Judge

Fred Martin Kray, Gainesville, Alachua Co.  He specializes in Animal Law and teaches courses on it.  Check out this interesting article.

The Committee also held its annual meeting and seminar in Orlanda, titled “Animal Law Issues Affecting Florida Practitioners” where he taught "Pet Store Litigation: Defective Puppies and Puppy Mill Cases.”  Other subjects included "Animal Law and Legal Malpractice: The Necessity to Understand Animal Law and How It Relates to Your Practice” by Steven M. Wise, a 25-year animal law practitioner and author of Rattling the Cage, Drawing the Line, and Though the Heavens May Fall.  Wise is also an adjunct animal law professor at the Harvard Law School, Vermont Law School, John Marshall Law School, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Other segments of the seminar included Animal Law and the First Amendment: Animal Abuse Protest Cases, Florida Equine Law: The Proper Treatment of Florida’s Horses – A Matter of Course, Of Course?, “Dangerous Dog Litigation and Practicing Animal Tort Law: Practical Considerations for Animal Law Practitioners.

The 2008 Florida Bar Meeting, presented by the Animal Law Committee, in Boca Raton, billed as The Nuts and Bolts of Practicing Animal Law Profitably included such topics as Recovering Attorney's Fees in Animal Law Cases, The Nuts and Bolts of Class Actions and Animal Law and Animal Trusts and Estate Planning.

Mindi Beth Lasley , Tampa, Hillsboro Co I am a former prosecutor with the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. I started her law practice in 2005 which has significantly grown to the extent that she now has an associate attorney and 5 other employees. Mindi handles family law cases and quipped, "animal cruelty and domestic violence go hand in hand." In her free time, she volunteers several hours a week assisting animal welfare charities.

Marcy I. LaHart , Crawfordville, Wakulla Co.  She lectures on various topics including puppy mills. LaHart did represent a dog (and its owner?) against the Port Lucie Humane Society so she can't be all bad.  LaHart also demanded $100,000 from the Miami-Dade County police department's animal shelter over the claimed wrongful death of her client's 5-year-old cat, Winnie.  Her passion is to protect animals.  One account stated that Lahart owns five dogs and four cats. Marcy represented client in the well known Wizard of Claws case.

Katherine Marie Lockett , Orlando, Orange County is the Manager, Animal Services, Community and Environmental Services on Conroy Rd.

Steven Mark Logan , West Palm Beach , Palm Beach County is a former Prosecutor in Broward County, Florida. His private practice emphasizes criminal defense (except animal abuse) and he also practices Family Law and Animal Rights.

Aliki A Moncrief , Tallahassee , Leon Co is an activist and attorney for Earthjustice where one of his passions is to protect sharks from the fishing industry. Moncrief is also an  Environmental Health Program Staff Attorney.  She is a 1999 Harvard Law School graduate, where she was an active member of the public interest and environmental community. Moncrief was a legal intern with The Wilderness Society and Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund and  also worked for the Massachusetts State Legislature Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture.  Before leaving Massachusetts, Moncrief taught an undergraduate course on environmental law and policy at Boston College. She is admitted to practice in the State of Florida and in the Northern and Southern Federal Districts of Florida.

Carla Jane Oglo, Tallahassee, Leon Co. Oglo is with the *Florida Prosecuting Attorney Association and works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the General Counsel of the Florida Department of Health Office.  Assistant General Counsel, Carla Oglo, gave a presentation on “Penalties for Fish and Wildlife Violations” to the Animal Law committee at an Annual Conference of the Florida Bar in Orlando

*The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA) is a nonprofit corporation whose members are the 20 elected State Attorneys and over 1900 Assistant State Attorneys created to serve the needs of prosecutors. The primary functions of the Association office are education through seminars, publications and technical support.

Elissa Pearl-Hulnick, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County was the registered agent for the Animal Rights Alliance USA in Lake Worth.  (the website is now inactive and the organization has most likely become a new group)

Timothy William Ross, Davie, Broward County was once an attorney for for Nanci Alexander's Animal Rights Foundation regarding the Disney Animal Kingdom.

Sandra K Wolkov, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County is with the Humane USA Florida Chapter.  Steering Committee members include Nanci Alexander, founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, founder Heather Veleanu, Diane Watchinski - Director of Ethical Compliance -Wildlife Care Center, Howard and Carole Baskin - Big Cat Rescue, Michelle Harris - and Pam Huizenga - daughter of Waste Management Mogul Wayne Huizenga.

In fact, the Humane USA Florida is the reincarnation of the dead HSUS federation.  We have gone full circle on this tiny segment of the web.  As always, there is so much more, so stay tuned.