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April 03, 2022

Year Fifteen (2018 – 2019)

Chair: Jane McBride
Chair-Elect: Fran Ortiz

The overall theme of the Animal Law Committee (ALC) this year was “Raising the Bar.”

Significant Activity
ALC collaborated with the National Judicial College to establish judicial education in animal law.  The effort resulted in a series of 10 webinars delivered at the end of 2019 and through the early months of 2020. It is among the first formal judicial education offered in animal law by a national judicial organization.  ALC spearheaded the logistics of production of the webinar as well as recruited initial funding.  The series was supported by the Brooks Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Petco Foundation.   The series was developed by ALC member Bruce Wagman.  Mr. Wagman taught the majority of the webinars.  He was joined in the instructional delivery for the criminal webcast by Diane Balkan of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  The project was also supported by Mr. Wagman’s law firm, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila, LLP as well as the San Francisco SPCA. 

The ALC received the TIPS Leadership Involvement Committee Award, recognition awarded to a committee that has demonstrated outstanding leadership within TIPS through involvement of its committee leaders and members with other General Committees, as a resource for committee initiatives, project and undertakings; by providing leadership advice, guidance and professional development opportunities for its members, and through the involvement of the Committee’s members in leadership roles with TIPS and/or the ABA.

At the ABA TIPS Spring Conference in New York City, NY on May 3, 2019, ALC awarded James F. Gesualdi its 20169 ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee's Excellence in Animal Law Award. A sole practitioner, working and living in Islip, Long Island, New York, Jim also consults via a business that carries the name of his book, Excellence Beyond Compliance, Ltd. (The book title is Excellence Beyond Compliance: Enhancing Animal Welfare Through the Constructive Use of the Animal Welfare Act). He assists zoological professionals and organizations to better serve the animals in their care via the consulting rm. His law practice concentrates on the legal, regulatory and related strategic matters and wildlife conservation issues facing zoological organizations. He works extensively with the U.S. Animal Welfare Act including championing means of improving the administration and enforcement of the Act and leveraging the Act to drive continuous improvement in animal welfare. His past and present leadership experience includes New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals and the Law (founding member/past chair/ current member); Suffolk County Bar Association Animal Law Committee (founding co-chair); ABA TIPS ALC current vice chair; past special professor of law at Hofstra University School of Law, where he taught Animal Law; previously on the faculty of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums “Zoo School” for zoological professionals, where he taught courses on ethical considerations relating to animals; and he has lectured extensively on constructive approaches to building consensus, and fostering transformative, sustainable change to better serve animals, their interests and well-being. He was the inaugural recipient in 2018 of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals & the Law’s Exemplary Service Award. Mr. Gesualdi was the featured ABA member in the June/July 2020 ABA Journal in the regular column “Members Who Inspire”.

CLE Programs
The Annual Shelter Law Symposium (5 hours of credit) was presented at the National Animal Control Association on October 10, 2018, held in Denver Colorado.  The program was coordinated by ALC member Jane McBride, and featured presentations on dangerous dog proceedings and shelter law by ALC member Bruce Wagman, and transport of shelter animals and law relative to ownership by ALC member Fran Ortiz.  The symposium was concluded with a presentation on equine investigations and the care of victim horses by the Colorado Horse Rescue and the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department.

Due to a significant reduction in ABA staffing instituted due to budget concerns at the beginning of 2019, other CLE program planning was postponed for the year.

ALC sponsored the Animal Law Summit, a conference conducted by state bar association animal law committees.  Sessions included presentations by ALC members Jim Gesualdi, Daina Bray, Fran Ortiz, Guy Dicharry, Elena Pavlova, Adam Karp, and Anna Morrison Ricordati.  ALC recruited a significant number of members as a result of its participation.

ALC also served as a sponsor of the National Animal Law Conference conducted by ALDF and Lewis&Clark. 

ALC members presented programs on animal law at various law schools, promoting awareness of and membership in ALC.

ALC’s Wildlife Subcommittee co-hosted two programs on relevant topics of law with the Maryland Bar Animal Law Committee.

Policy Recommendations
The ALC concluded work on its resolution on Military Pets, and pursued its work on resolutions on (1) Police Encounters with Dogs, and (2) Military Working Dogs.

The Resolution on Military Pets was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 2019. The resolution urges Congress, the Department of Defense, and Defense contractors to adopt breed-neutral pet policies for families living in military base housing.

In the fall of 2018, ILC’s Policy and Alliances Subcommittee updated its contacts for the country’s state and municipal bar association animal law committees and sent to each a packet containing all of ALC’s HOD resolutions to date and guidance as to how they can be used to advance state and local animal protection statutes and ordinances. 

Public Service Activity
At the Annual Meeting in August 2018, the ALC helped Safe Humane Chicago socialize dogs who had been the victims of criminal abuse.

ALC conducted a public service project for the ABA Midyear in Las Vegas.  ALC arranged for volunteers, in particular young lawyers, to spend quality time doing support work for the animal housed with The Animal Foundation.  These activities including everything from doing laundry to filling kong toys with peanut butter.  They also were able to spend some quality time with the some of the Foundation’s canines.

ALC initiated planning for a service project to be held at the TIPS Fall Training conference in Maui at a farm animal sanctuary.

Website and Webinars
ALC worked hard to get up to speed with and master the transition to TIPS new website roll out and communications delivery that occurred during this Bar year. ALC’s Technology chair worked closely with TIPS staff to ensure ALC’s content was consistently transferred and loaded in the course of the year. Also, ALC Technology  co-Vice Chairs regularly provided interesting and relevant content on ALC’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

As of August 2019, ALC conducted 11 monthly business meetings (two in person, the balance telephonic), 10 of which included a 30 minute Lunch and Learn programs.  Program topics included the amendment to the Illinois Marriage Dissolution Act requiring courts to take a pet’s well-being into consideration, the Massachusetts PAWS II legislation, ownership and transport issues surrounding shelter animals, creating opportunity in a small South Carolina firm setting to practice animal law, the work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Santa Ana race track deaths and systemic problems throughout the race horse industry, legislation with surprising impacts on live outcomes for shelter animals, veterinary forensics, evaluation and ramifications of a statewide pet retail sales ban, and farm animal litigation.  ALC’s substantive subcommittees were encouraged to propose, plan and conduct Lunch and Learn programs as a regular aspect of subcommittee activity and involvement.  Minutes of all business meetings were created, approved, and posted on the TIPS/ALC website.

In May 2019, Equine Law subcommittee members met at the University of Kentucky’s Equine Law Seminar in Lexington, Kentucky.

Committee dinners were held at both the TIPS Fall Training conference in Florida and the Spring TIPS Annual Meeting in New York City.

ALC continued publishing an excellent newsletter three times a year with increasingly interesting and timely articles. The ALC partnered with the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) Endangered Species Committee to produce a special Winter/Spring 2019 issue that featured a collection of articles highlighting important issues facing endangered animals.

For the newsletter, ALC established a regularly appearing young lawyer’s column, a regularly appearing student column and a regularly appearing column on the practice of animal law.

ALC provided an article for “TortSource” in August of 2018 on the SafeHumane public service project conducted in Chicago at the ABA annual meeting in August 2018.

ALC provided a committee profile of ALC for “The Brief” in the fall of 2018.

ALC members Adam Karp and Margrit Parker provided ALC’s annual update of animal-related tort law for the TIPS Year in the Review.    

Leadership Development, Mentoring and Membership
Emphasis was placed on establishing a leadership succession and delegating committee tasks among these upcoming leaders.  Going into the bar year, two members who had been in the leadership succession stepped out. The succession was re-established at five, that is, four after the chair.  Traditionally with ALC, much of the burden of administrative and leadership tasks fell to the chair of the committee.  This resulted in a very burdensome year for the chair and a steep learning curve.  In that ALC had a wealth of young attorneys, but lack of depth among middle and late career attorneys in leadership, a couple of the late career attorneys dedicated themselves significantly to mentoring.  Chairmanship of the subcommittees was utilized to develop bar association leadership skills.  Emphasis was placed on making the substantive subcommittees engaging and functional.  For animal law, most members join with an interest in some aspect of substantive law.  Involvement in the subcommittees is an excellent way to encourage member engagement.  It is also a great means by which to identify leadership potential.  This work was a major undertaking during the bar year  Delegation of tasks among the leadership succession was instituted, and enforced, to better distribute the time obligation and to broaden the learning curve as members advanced through the succession.

The mentoring work proved extremely successful.  To this day, the mentees not only stay in contact with their mentor, but have formed a support network among themselves.

A Membership Subcommittee was established and an action plan set forth to enhance continual membership recruitment, inclusion and development of leadership.  This was initiated by contacting every single member of the Committee (numbering over 200 at the time), individually sending them a membership packet with specific information about ALC and its current activities (so people felt engaged) and follow up, if the member desired, by a personal phone call.

A mentoring program for student members was also initiated.

During the 2018-2019 Bar year, Daina Bray was a member of the TIPS Section Council.  Daina Bray and Joan Schaffner were active in numerous TIPS section committees.  Along with Daina, Rebecca Huss was a member of the Section’s LIPS (public service committee).  AJ Albrecht participated in the Section’s Leadership Academy in 2018-2019.