PetWill Radio

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Center for Animal Advocacy - an introduction

Central Florida has a new law firm, one devoted entirely to animal law issues. The Center for Animal Advocacy was created to meet a need, the need for quality legal representation for pet owners faced with a variety of potential legal challenges. The field of animal law is extensive. In fact, animal related issues cross every legal topic from constitutional issues related to standing and first amendment rights to criminal law for cruelty and domestic violence to landlord-tenant issues. And that's just the beginning. There are Pet Lemon Law issues, dangerous dog statutes, homeowner liability for dog bites, pet custody issues. I can go on. There are administrative law issues such as leash laws, entertainment law issues like circuses, federal endangered species violations, contract issues such as boarding or leasing, equine law issues specific to horse owners such as liability protection statutes. There is breed specific legislation, dog fighting concerns, and animal protection laws, with an increasing frequency.

I taught Animal Law for two semesters at Barry University School of Law. The course was both fascinating and exhilarating. The students were passionate about the subject and their respective beliefs about animal rights. We all learned something valuable, primarily that the need for competent legal counsel in the area of Animal Law is growing. Both Barry University and Florida A & M University have student chapters of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

I frequently get asked for recommendations to an attorney who can handle veterinary malpractice issues. Yet, I don't really know of anyone in Central Florida actively promoting an interest in taking these kinds of cases. I even tried to develop some referral sources but wasn't getting a very enthusiastic response. It's a tough practice area because the law is still evolving and recoveries are limited, while the subject matter is emotionally charged.

My expertise is in estate planning including pet trust planning, not litigation. That's why when I met Kim Radcliffe, an experienced litigator with significant experience and a passion for pets, an idea started to form. A few days later Casey Taylor, another pet enthusiast, Barry Law graduate and one of my former Animal Law students needed a place to focus her energies that the idea came full circle. There was no reason why the three of us couldn't make this happen and serve the legal needs of Central Florida pet loving community.

We are open for business. Our office is virtual, our commitment to pets unwavering. You can learn more about us and sign up for our blog at or follow us on Twitter at @PetLawyers. We also have a Facebook fan page and a company page on LinkedIn. We look forward to talking to you!

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