December 18, 2008


ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Animals and the Law, one of the nation's first state bar Animal Law committees, has now been granted Standing Committee status by the Association's House of Delegates.

Established in 2002 by then-President Lorraine Power Tharp, the Committee on Animals and the Law is a legal resource for both attorneys and the public about animal-related issues that arise from and have an effect on our legal system.  Committee members include professionals in animal health care, animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and other related fields in animal-law and humane-related work.

Committee Chair James F. Gesualdi said, "The New York State Bar Association has long been a leader in Animal Law.  We are proud to have been granted Standing Committee status and now have a permanent home from which to continue making a difference for animals and people." 

The Committee's Founding Chair Beverly Poppell noted, "The achievement of standing committee status is a worthy legacy of the late past President Lorraine Power Tharp who conceived the idea and also of the current members whose collective efforts already demonstrate that they have accepted the challenge of continuing her groundbreaking work."

Among the Committee's most notable achievements to date are:
? Creation of CLE and public outreach offerings including programs on animal cruelty, dangerous dogs, legal implications of emerging animal diseases and "Animal Law as an Emerging Area of Practice," one of the State Bar's more popular recorded programs.
? Contributing to enactment of important new animal welfare laws in New York, such as those that have strengthened the animal fighting law, required disaster evacuation planning to take into account the needs of pet owners and extended the reach of protective orders to all members of the household including companion animals.  Significantly, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the committee was the only legal group to testify before committees of the New York State Senate and Assembly on emergency preparedness.
? Launch of an annual national Animal Law Student Writing Competition.  
? Creation of the innovative Patient Pet Care Program, in partnership with St. Vincent's Hospital.  This initiative helps provide care for animals whose owners or caregivers are incapacitated.
? Development of a popular Animal Law pamphlet for the Association's Legalease series. 

Exciting new initiatives include a Mentor Program for attorneys and law students interested in Animal Law, the launch of an Animal Law blog, and the publication of a scholarly quality newsletter in Animal Law. 

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  Founded in 1876,
NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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