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April 17, 2016

Year Thirteen (2016 - 2017)

Chair: Stacey Evans
Chair-Elect: Daina Bray

The overall theme of the Animal Law Committee (ALC) this year was "Coexistence with Wildlife".

At the ABA Annual Meeting in New York, NY on August 11, 2017, ALC awarded its 2017 "Excellence in Advancing Animal Law" to Julie Fershtman for her extensive work in Animal Law.  Julie is a shareholder at Foster Swift.  She is  one of the nation’s leading practitioners of Equine Law.  Julie advanced the welfare of horses from the courtroom to the boardroom, as well as in numerous articles, books, CLES, and in legislation.  Julie was an inaugural Vice Chair when ALC was founded and remained a Vice-Chair for a decade. During that time, this year’s recipient helped ALC serve its membership and stand out in the ABA.  Animal Legal Defense Fund co-sponsored the awards reception.

CLE Programs
The ALC held three very successful CLE programs.   The first CLE, ABA Symposium: Animal Law Shelter Law, at the National Animal Control Association conference, discussed due process rights in dangerous dog proceedings and civil rights claims for loss of companion animals as well as the legal framework of the Million Cat Initiative, on October 5, 2016.  Speakers included ALC Vice-Chairs Richard Angelo, legislative attorney, Best Friends Animal Society, Fran Ortiz, professor, South Texas College of Law, Jane McBride, attorney, Illinois Humane, Adam Karp, partner, Animal Law Office of Adam Karp, and Bruce Wagman, partner, Schiff Hardin.

The second CLE, Transcending Challenges in Risk and Crisis Management: Protecting Animals, People and Clients/Organizations was in Chicago at the TIPS Section Conference on April 28, 2017. This was the first time ALC had a CLE at TIPS Section Conference.  The program provided the audience with tools to assess and manage risks, limit liability, prepare for contingencies and address different interests including those relating to animals, people and the client’s reputation, in zoos and other organizations that provide opportunities for people to interact with animals.  Speakers included Jill Allread, CEO, Public Communications, Inc., Wendy Bulger, general counsel, San Diego Zoo Global, W. Stuart Dornette, partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, J. Tim Potter, equine scientist, Robson Forensic,  and Laurie Beechner, associate general counsel, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Inc.

The third CLE, Who Let the Dogs In: Managing Dog Bite Litigation From Every Angle, was co-sponsored with Staff Counsel and held at the Annual Meeting, on August 10, 2017.  The program explored insurance coverage issues, damages, defenses and the use of animal behavior in litigating a dog bite case and strategies to maximize representing your clients on the plaintiff and defense side of a dog bite case and ways to reduce dog bite risks.  Speakers included Evan D. Baker, Senior Associate at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., Dr. Peter Borchelt, DVM, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and Donald Sweeney, Senior Counsel Law Office of Karen L. Lawrence/Allstate Insurance.

Policy Recommendations
ALC authored Resolution 102B, passed the ABA House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting.  Resolution 102B urges legislative bodies and governmental agencies to interpret existing laws and policies, and to adopt laws and policies that allow the implementation and administration of trap-neuter-vaccinate-return programs for community cats within their jurisdictions so as to promote their effective, efficient, and humane management.

Public Service Activity
On August 10, 2017, ALC co-sponsored Living with Wildlife symposium with the New York City Bar Animal Law Committee.  Panelists at the symposium discussed laws, policies, and ways to coexist with wildlife and pets.   Panelists were Dr. Peter Borchelt, certified applied animal behaviorist, Jeffrey Dupee, Deputy Commissioner of the Community Affairs Unit in the Office of the New York City Mayor, and Richard Simon, Director of New York City Parks Department’s Wildlife Unit. 

ALC organized and led the TIPS public service project at Animal Haven on August 12, 2017, during the Annual Meeting.  Events included cleaning kennels, walking dogs, socializing dogs, and socializing cats.

The ALC continued its co-sponsorship of a humane education project with the HEART organization that began in 2009. The program trains primarily lawyers and law students with materials that are generally targeted to students in upper elementary school grades.

Website and Webinars
ALC coordinated with the ABA Commission on Disability Rights and had a panelist on a webinar on the laws that impact emotional support animals on planes and other venues, on May 9, 2017.  ALC continued to update its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Website on the many events and activities ALC had.

ALC completed its 5 year strategic plan during the 2017 Mid-Year Meeting in Miami, Florida.   The strategic plan includes a continued commitment to provide educational programs, messaging about substantive animal law topics, increasing membership, diversity, publications, public service, and networking events.

Minutes of all business meetings were created, approved and posted on the TIPS/ALC website. Open conference calls in throughout the year included a lunch and learn on the removal of animal welfare information on the USDA website.

In April 2017, Wildlife Law and Ethics by ALC authors Yolanda Eisenstein and Bruce Wagman, was published.  The book explores how laws, ethics, and moral issues can influence the lives of wildlife.   The book focuses on the power of the U.S. to influence wildlife protections on a global scale.

ALC continued publishing an excellent newsletter three times a year with increasingly interesting and timely articles.   A special edition on coexisting with wildlife included articles on laws impacting coyotes, geese, wild horses, deer, and other wildlife.  ALC also continued to provide a chapter for the TIPS Annual Survey.

Law student members worked to update ALC history for the website.  Outreach efforts were made to related groups outside ALC. ALC Chair reached out to Asian, African American, and Hispanic organizations.

ALC Chair-Elect led the effort in Careers in Animal Law Panel at University of Mass at Dartmouth in November 2016 and in March 2017 at Northeastern University Law School in March 2017.  ALC Chair-Elect also organized lunches or dinners for ALC members throughout the country including DC, Miami, Chicago, and New York.

Welcome letters and/or calls to all new members were made as soon after they joined ALC.  Dropped members (from TIPS or the ABA) were contacted personally in an effort to get them to rejoin. A recruitment e-mail was sent to TIPS members who are not ALC members.