7th Annual Animal Law Conference

March 4, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
7.00 MCLE hours
Presented by Animal Law

ISBA Regional Office
20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900
(map and directions)
Or Online Course

Click here to register for the live program in CHICAGO

Click here to register for the LIVE WEBCAST


Discover some of our communities’ toughest social and animal welfare issues
as they interface with the legal system with this full-day seminar!

Don’t miss ISBA’s 7th Annual Animal Law Conference that not only features the leading areas of interest in the day-to-day practice of law concerning animals, but also avails the attendee of some of the nation’s top experts in specific animal law areas. Family law attorneys, municipal law practitioners, and animal law lawyers – with all levels of practice experience – who attend this seminar will better understand:

  • How the community-based programs created by Safe Humane have helped at-risk youth and U.S. veterans;
  • How the defense of dangerous dog cases remains one of the most important aspects of the animal law practice and what we have learned in our efforts to keep dogs off of death row;
  • The status of several legislative efforts, including bobcat protection, the ban on ivory products, and the requirement of researchers to place lab animals up for adoption upon retirement;
  • The controversy surrounding the sterilization of stray cats and letting them loose in urban and suburban settings;
  • How pet visitation is affecting divorce settlements, as well as the complexities that can arise;
  • How pet valuation has been recently decided in settlement discussions and court; and
  • Much more!
Please Note: Prior to the program, you will receive a weblink via email allowing you to access the course materials prior to the program. You will also receive a copy of the course materials (for no additional charge) when you arrive at the program, but will need to check the appropriate box on the registration page letting us know if you prefer a flash drive or printed course book.


Program Coordinator/Moderator:
Jane E. McBride
, Illinois Humane, Springfield


8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  Court Case Dogs, Court Advocacy, Collaborative Justice
In November 2015, Safe Humane debuted a coffee-table book, A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago. The organization’s Court Case Dog program works toward a compassionate and humane approach to the housing and handling of dogs maintained under court custody, most often in government facilities. Safe Humane has also long supported a court advocacy program where community members follow court cases involving animal abuse and help develop educational materials and information that promotes understanding and effective intervention, which helps build a partnership between government agencies and community members to promote identification, arrest, prosecution, and effective sentencing of animal cruelty perpetrators, and to ensure that the animal victims are placed in good homes. Join us for this two-hour segment that offers a comprehensive overview of the work Safe Humane’s Court Case Dog program does, including its “lifetime bonds” program where at-risk youth work with at-risk dogs, and it’s VALOR program, which matches U.S. veterans with Court Case Dogs in a structured 8-week program that provides training, companionship, skill building, and camaraderie.
Cynthia Bathurst, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Safe Humane Chicago, Chicago
Hon. E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.  Break (beverages provided)

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.  Litigating and Negotiating Dangerous Dog Cases
Dangerous dog cases originate in administrative law, yet oftentimes end up in an appeal process in circuit court. Don’t miss this segment in which our speaker, Bruce Wagman, draws upon his vast experience as the only lawyer in a leading U.S. firm who focuses solely on animal law to convey the important lessons learned in trying to keep dogs off of death row.
Bruce A. Wagman, Schiff Hardin, San Francisco

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Lunch (provided)

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.  Legislation Update
Illinois continues to be a hotbed for animal protection legislation, including this year’s continued efforts to protect the bobcat from exploitation, a ban on ivory products, and an effort to require researchers to place lab animals up for adoption once they are retired from the lab. This presentation discusses the status of each effort, as well as any additional legislation introduced in the 2016 legislative session.
Ledy Van Kavage, Sr. Legislative Attorney, Best Friends Animal Society, Maryville

12:45 – 2:15 p.m.  Community Cats and Strays: Legal Considerations
In June 2013, Maddies Fund produced a two-part video discussing Dr. Kate Hurley’s work and her conclusions regarding cats maintained in shelters. In short, cats do not do well in a shelter environment and the reclaim rate is abysmal – so why shelter them at all? Dr. Hurley commenced a multi-year tour promoting the practice of sterilization and return to field. Communities across the country have adopted this practice, but not without controversy. This panel presentation examines the arguments supporting the current advocacy for these practices, the arguments that have been voiced in opposition, and the legal considerations that have surfaced as these practices have been instituted in urban and suburban settings.
Peter J. Wolf, Cat Initiatives Analyst, Best Friends Animal Society, Arizona
Prof. Joan E. Schaffner, Director of Animal Law Program, George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)
Sponsored by the Illinois Bar Foundation

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.  Visitation for Pets
An increasing number of divorce/disposition of property matters include provisions for pet visitation as part of the settlement order. Counsel needs to be prepared to address this issue (including being able to fashion language within the law), while judges need to anticipate this issue, be aware of the common complexities that can arise, and be prepared to help bring the issue of pet visitation to a proper resolution for all involved – including the pet.
David H. Hopkins, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, Wheaton
Angela E. Peters, Buffalo Grove Law Offices, Arlington Heights
Hon. William E. Holdridge, Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, Farmington

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.  Valuation of Family Pets
The wrongful injury and wrongful death of the family pet continues to drive the question of the value of a person’s family pet. Join us as Stephen Hedinger recounts his recent experiences representing plaintiffs in police shooting cases (and other instances where pet valuation is at issue) and how this ever-evolving question has recently played out in settlement discussions and court.
Stephen F. Hedinger, Sorling Northrup, Springfield