Comm on Animals and the Law Meeting

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Total MCLE Credits: 3.50 (Professional Practice 3.50)
Sutton Center, 2nd Floor



Despite the passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act in 2006, and the implementation of many related laws and policies since then, there is still much legal work to be done when it comes to protecting animals - companion, farm, zoo, and wild - during and after natural disasters. This year's program will cover current laws and policies, recent legal developments, as well as highlight weaknesses at both the federal and state level that need to be addressed. Practical aspects of animal rescue during natural disasters will also be discussed, particularly with respect to how evacuation, rescue, recovery, sheltering and tracking are all impacted by the existing legal structure. In addition, the trickle-down effect of rescuing animals during natural disasters will be covered, including the impact on human health, safety, and well-being.

1:30 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.    Welcoming Remarks
Chair: Amy M. Pontillo, Esq. | Division of Professional and Court Services, Office of ADR Programs 

1:35 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.    The New York Laws and Policies Pertaining to Animal Rescue During Natural Disasters (1.0 Credit in Areas of Professional Practice)
This portion of the program will look at bills that have been proposed in New York to help animals when there is a disaster and an evacuation, and those that have been passed by the NYS legislature in the last several years, after Katrina and Sandy and other disasters that point to the need to address the needs of animals at these times. It will be followed by a Q&A session.  
Barbara J. Ahern, Esq. | Attorney at Law 
Amy M. Pontillo, ,Esq. | Division of Professional and Court Services, Office of ADR Programs

2:35 p.m. – 3:35 p.m.    Common Natural Disaster Issues that Shelters and Rescues Face and How to Prepare for Them (1.0 Credit in Areas of Professional Practice)
Disaster response is dynamic and ever changing while many of the laws regarding animal protection in crisis have remained stagnant.  During this session we will talk about PETs Act and what it means along with other legal and legislative measures that impact household pets, companion equine, and sanctuaries when emergencies strike. It will be followed by a Q&A session. 

Wanda Merling | The Humane Society of the United States       
Bari Wolf, Esq. | Vernon & Ginsburg, LLP    

3:35 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.    Break

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.    The Practical Aspects of Animal Rescue During Natural Disasters / Q&A session (1.5 Credits in Areas of Professional Practice)
This portion of the program will explore the considerations and logistics of both rescuing and caring for dangerous wild animals during natural disasters. How do you balance animal welfare and public safety when dealing with apex predators? We'll discuss some of the unique challenges of working with dangerous wild animals, what you may not know about the tiger in your neighbor's backyard, and the shortcomings of captive wildlife laws and policies. It will be followed by a Q&A session.
Jennifer Leon | Big Cat Rescue
Amy M. Pontillo, ,Esq. | Division of Professional and Court Services, Office of ADR Programs 

5:00 p.m.    Adjourn