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NewsNips: ATTORNEYS SPEAK FOR PETS

Digestible Delectable Tidbits - Sept 2017

 

Ground-breaking CT law allows judge to appoint lawyer to testify and cross examine on behalf of abused animals that have no voice in a courtroom. 

 

Good news for pets, bad news for negligent owners. Karen Dawn{1} reports Connecticut passed a law in 2016 said to be the first in the country allowing “judges to appoint lawyers and law students” to represent dogs and cats in court.

 

It began in 2012 when Alex Wullaert admitted to violent abuse of his dog but got away with it. The judge let him off under a probation program for first-time offenders. Animal rights advocates made T-shirts and posters, held demonstrations, and pushed for legal advocacy for abused animals. With the passage of "Desmond's Law" in 2016 pets finally had a defense team.

 

Animal law experts said that the prosecution of Michael Vick, the professional football player who pleaded guilty in 2007 to dogfighting-related charges, served as a turning point in the acceptance of advocates for animals.” ~ New York Times see{2}

 

According to a staff lawyer at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the CT law is being watched by other states because it also supports “prosecutors who are overburdened with cases or may consider crimes against animals to be less of a priority.” TheDogPress agrees having no representation can shortchange abused animals but also notes that dog breeders will worry that it furthers the concept of “animal rights terrorism”{3}.  We’re told that AKC is opposed to the law on the grounds that it “interferes with an owners’ rights over their property” and certainly that can happen. Also there is no mention of lawyers representing livestock in the Connecticut law.

 

We understand this new law is to protect pet animals from twisted owners who are abusive or deliberately neglectful but we also recognize it could be used to confiscate beloved pets from elderly or mentally impaired people who need their pet more than the dog or cat needs rescuing. On that point, we side with AKC.

 

Even so, people have free legal help and look what providing attorneys for criminals has done for citizens. City and county jails are running over as “habitual offenders” become addicted to the comforts of prison, free food, medical care, counseling programs (where they can complain to a willing listener) and like-minded buddies who in federal prison, form gangs… What ever happened to chain gangs

 

Animals commit no crimes. They are model citizens. Therapy dogs are not immune to dog breed and dog limit laws unless the owner hires any attorney. It is only right that finally, in a small but legislative-leader rich state, lawyers can speak for our best friends.

 

{1} Dawnwatch.com (off-site opens in a window)     {2} Michael Vick’s Amicus Brief     {3} Animal Rights Terrorism

1709 http://www.thedogpress.com/NewsNips/1709-attorneys-speak-for-pets.asp

 

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