Our Educational Programs

NYSBA CLE Programs

Service Animals Versus Emotional Support Animals
Recorded: August 20, 2018
Legal issues with animals occur in several arenas: housing, real estate, health, agriculture and business, to name only a few.  

 Agenda Topics
• What is a Service Animal and What is an Emotional Support Animal
• Training and Certification Requirements
• Applicable Laws – ADA, FHA, NYS HRL, NYC HRL
• Knowing How to Navigate Overlapping Federal, State, and Local Laws
• Animals in Housing
• Animals in Public Spaces (including college campuses, restaurants)
• Animals in Transit
• How to Make an Accommodation Request
• How to Make a Discrimination Claim

Speaker: Bari Wolf, Esq. | Vernon & Ginsberg, LLP
1.5 CLE credits in professional practice

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Lunch and Learn Programs

Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse Program (VALAC)
Recorded: Friday, October 5, 2018
About the Program: The Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse (VALAC) Program is part of the Onondaga County Bar Association's Animals and the Law Section. Created in 2014, the Program's goal is to assign an attorney to serve as the advocate for an abused animal who is the subject of a pending abuse case in Syracuse City Court. The VALAC Program works cooperatively with the Court, District Attorney's Office, Syracuse Police Department, Local shelters and hospitals, local and regional rescue organizations and the Syracuse Department of Animal Control. The advocate, or "VALAC," monitors the health, physical condition, temperament and prognosis of their dog or cat while the case is pending. The VALAC, who is teamed with a student from the Syracuse University School of Law, visits their client on a regular basis, and consults with hospital and shelter personnel for the purpose of providing status update reports to the Court, District Attorney and Defense Attorney. The VALAC Program also assists with fostering, adoption and rescue efforts once a surrender is obtained from the original owner. In 2018, "Shadow's Fund" was established to help pay for the medical costs, treatment and relocation cost of our clients. 

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Featured Speaker: Nicholas J. Demartino, Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney in Syracuse, NY and Director of the Onondaga County Bar Association's Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse (VALAC) Program.

Exposing the Myth of Trophy Hunting as a Means to Conserve Endangered and Threatened Species
Recorded: Wednesday, June 6, 2018
About the Program: In this presentation, Friends of Animals Legal Director and former University of Denver law professor Mike Harris will discuss the legal and factual misinformation that is commonly evoked in rhetoric on the utility of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This talk aims to elucidate why the North American Conservation Model is not a valid justification for trophy hunting today. We will discuss how these issues apply to recent policy changes under both the Obama and Trump administrations and how states are stepping up to fill in the regulatory gaps.

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris has been an environmental law attorney for more than 20 years, working directly on litigation to protect wildlife and natural ecosystems. Michael received a B.A. in Environmental and Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, an M.S.L. from Vermont Law School, and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was an executive editor for the Ecology Law Quarterly. Before coming to Friends of Animals, Michael was an associate professor at the University of Denver, where he directed the school’s Environmental Law Clinic. Mike, who lives in Colorado with his family, is an avid hiker, adventure guide and enjoys teaching his son to respect wildlife. 

Featured Speaker: Michael Harris, Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program Director.

Legal and Policy Considerations for No Kill Sheltering
Recorded: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
About the Program: The presentation will provide an overview of no kill animal sheltering around the country.  We will discuss legislative and policy tools that can be used to assist shelters in reaching the goal of saving all healthy and treatable animals that come through their doors.  Specific topics and tools to be discussed will be the common hurdles mentioned as barriers to no kill sheltering, the use of data to improve programs, community cats, and the use of resolutions to assist in reaching the goal.

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

Featured Speakers: Richard Angelo, Jr. and Andrea Joy (A.J.) Albrecht, both from Best Friends Animal Society

Intro to Animal Law Program 
Recorded: November 1, 2017
The program was created by the NYSBA Committee on Animals and the Law to educate both attorneys and the public about animal legal issues in New York State. This program is a great way to get a better understanding of the animal laws in New York State. 

Featured Speakers: Kirk Passamonti and Amy Pontillo  

Integrated Rescue Teams in Disasters
Recorded: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 
GR3’s 1Hart program is designed to provide teams specializing in emergency response, rescue, and resilience care to animals during a natural disaster. While the bulk of person power and resources in the disaster relief sector focus on meeting human needs for disaster response, preparedness, and post-crisis services, 1Hart seeks to build animal rescue teams and integrate them with humanitarian response. Although conventional crisis management should also include preserving the symbiotic relationship between people and their domestic and companion animals, 1Hart explicitly acknowledges the need for emergency preparedness and response that includes attention to the safety of animals. 

Featured speakers: Malcolm Seheult, JD, Ph.D., FRSA and Joann Lindermeyer, DVM, MPH

The Travels of an Honorary Master Mason Guide Dog: Accessibility from his View
Recorded: March 15, 2017
Meet Gary Norton, an attorney, consultant, and mediator. Standing by him, since 2010, has been Pilot, his guide dog. This program will delve into the human and animal relationship - a bond between a notable man and his guide dog - and it will touch upon access law for not only those with disabilities, but the dogs who stand by their side. The program will also foster a discussion as to how we leverage our diversity, not to mention the spirit of the law, for good feelings with others. 

Featured Speaker: Gary Norton  

Humane Education Program 

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Animals and the Law, would like to introduce you to our Intro to Humane Education program. This program can help educators meet the requirements of New York State Education Law §809, which states:      

“The officer, board or commission authorized or required to prescribe courses of instruction shall cause instruction to be given in every elementary school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money of the state, in the humane treatment and protection of animals and the importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as well as the necessity of controlling the proliferation of animals which are subsequently abandoned and caused to suffer extreme cruelty.”      

The Humane Education program we have developed is for children in grades K-6. Our program includes a comprehensive outline that educators can use, as well as supplemental handouts. Topics we cover include: the responsibilities of having a companion animal; how to care for your companion animal; the importance of being kind to animals; and a brief explanation of the difference between companion animals, farm animals, and wild animals. Throughout the outline, we highlight sections that are geared toward certain age groups (Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6).    

In 2002, the New York State Bar Association created the Committee on Animals and the Law to focus on legal issues regarding the interests of animals as well as those of pet owners and animal caregivers, and to focus on professional development and public education relating to animal related legal issues. Since its inception, the Committee has aimed to be a legal resource for humane-related issues pertaining to animals and is committed to making a difference for both animals and people.       

If you have any questions, contact our Education Subcommittee Chair, Ashlee K. Cartwright, Esq. at ashlee.k.cartwright@gmail.com. We look forward to working with you to bring this program to your school.   


Humane Education Program Outline 

Do's and Don'ts of Companion Animals (Handout)     

Do's and Don'ts of Companion Animals (Fill-in)

What Not to Feed your Companion Animals (List)

What Not to Feed your Companion Animals (Fill-in)

Lunch and Learn recorded programs hosted by MeetingBridge