Member Groups

Animal Law
The Newsletter of the ISBA's Animal Law Section

January 2010, vol. 1, no. 1

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Animal Law Section newsletter! As I sit here, looking out over December’s first snowfall, I’m struck by how much my animals have meant to me throughout my life. In my personal life, my pets have given me comfort when I was lonely and laughter when I needed it the most. Nothing compares to the joy that my dog, Sadie, experiences when I come home from work, and I find it both humbling and admirable that my dogs never seem to be in a bad mood. My two horses, Jody and Maggie, even gave me a legitimate excuse to procrastinate writing this letter because, despite the arctic temperatures, I still needed to clean out the barn!


In my professional life, many clients came to me because they ran an animal-related business and needed my assistance in incorporating their businesses, negotiating leases, and drafting agreements tailored for their particular line of work. I met people who opened pet shops, ran dog-walking businesses, boarding stables, feed supply stores and veterinary practices. Some people wanted to make provisions for the care of their animals after their death; others needed to know what are the proper procedures to rescue an abused or neglected animal? And who gets the dog after the divorce?

Throughout the course of my career, I have met many attorneys who are also animal lovers, and that common interest ultimately led to the creation of the Animal Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association. I am very proud and honored to have been invited to participate in this groundbreaking Section of the Bar Association. After all, how many people can say they are doing something “new” in the law? Special thanks to Amy A. Breyer, our founder and the first Chair of the Animal Law Section; her vision is why this Section exists today.

The relationships between animals, humans and the law are constantly evolving, and sometimes the law can be slow to respond. Regardless of whether an animal is a pet, a liability, or a livelihood, there are countless ways in which the law, animals and people interact. Because “animal law” is so diverse, the Animal Law Section strives to create a forum where lawyers can find legal resources and answers to the questions that will arise in your practice.

One way we hope to educate and entertain our section members is through our CLE programs. Another is through this newsletter. In future editions look for diverse topics, such as calculating damages for the value of a pet, veterinarian liability, managing wildlife, animal rescue issues, livestock liability, pending, proposed, and passed legislation, and more! If you would like to submit an article for consideration in future publications, please feel free to send it to me I also welcome your suggestions regarding what types of articles you would like to see, and what information you would find most helpful in your practice. ■




Member Comments (1)

I just joined the section. What I would like to see is an in depth "nuts and bolts" article about how to draft a pet trust and the pros and cons of particular provisions in said document. Although I handle estate planning, I have never actually seen an actual executed existing pet trust.

Note: Also, I know that many of my peers who do estate planning have never seen one either and thus have never attempted to create one.