MSBA Animal Section
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MSBA ANIMAL LAW SECTION
Annual Report for 2006-2007

The MSBA Animal Law Section had a successful year, sponsoring four CLE programs, a full-day annual conference, and an annual meeting.  There were 79 section members as of June, 2007.

CLE Programs

10/12/06 - “Minnesota’s Animal Cruelty Law
This well-attended program featured guest speaker Keith Streff, Director of Investigations at the Animal Humane Society.  Mr. Streff explained how Minnesota’s animal cruelty law is intended to work, how enforcement efforts are structured throughout the state, and how enforcement is sometimes impeded by subjective interpretation of the law.  Mr. Streff shared numerous first-hand stories of enforcement efforts and remained for an extended question-and-answer period following his presentation.   

12/14/06 - “Ending the Experiment - Striking Pound Seizure from Minnesota Statutes
Guest speaker Amy Draeger presented a case for changing Minnesota statutes relating to pound seizure.  Ms. Draeger noted that Minnesota is one of only three states which continue to require publicly-funded animal shelters to surrender their unclaimed animals for scientific research.  She further discussed the connection between dognapping and pound seizure, ways in which cities have circumvented the law, and reasons for striking pound seizure from state statutes. 

2/8/07 - “Horse Slaughter Legislation and the Problem of Unwanted Animals
This program, featuring speakers Vicki McIntyre of McIntyre Legal Services, LLC, and Martha McPhee, CEO of the Animal Humane Society, was cancelled on 2/7/07 due to the untimely death of Martha McPhee.  The program may be rescheduled during the 2007-08 year.

5/10/07 - “Animal Terrorism Enterprise Act
Guest speaker Odette Wilkens, a member of the animal law committees of the American Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association, traveled to Minnesota to report on the recently-passed Animal Terrorism Enterprise Act (AETA), and to discuss concerns about the act’s potential impact on free speech and other First Amendment activity.

Annual Conference

The section’s 2nd Annual Animal Law Conference was held on 4/14/07 at William Mitchell College of Law.  William Mitchell was once again a co-sponsor of the full-day event.  The conference was attended by approximately 80 attorneys, students, veterinarians, and law enforcement officials.

Keynote speaker Bruce Wagman, attorney with Schiff Hardin, LLP, San Francisco, and Chief Outside Litigation Counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), gave two presentations, one on animal hoarding, and another on the diverse practice of animal law.  Mr. Wagman was exceptionally well-received and garnered rave reviews from attendees.

Other conference topics and speakers were:

The conference presentations were followed by a keynote reception sponsored by Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A. and Merrigan Brandt & Ostenso, P.A.

Attorneys attending the conference received six CLE credits.  Continuing education credits were also provided for veterinarians and law enforcement attendees.

Annual Meeting

The section’s Annual Meeting was held on 6/14/07 at the MSBA offices.   Agenda items included approving revised bylaws, receiving the annual conference and treasurer’s reports, electing new officers and council members, discussing section goals for 2007-08, and determining the 2007-08 programming schedule, with suggestions for speakers and topics.

Members voted to continue a schedule of offerings that would include at least four one-credit CLE programs on a bi-monthly basis and a six-credit Annual Conference.  Suggested schedule for 2007-08 is:  CLE programs at noon on the 2nd Thursday of the month in September, November, January, and May, with the Annual Conference on a Saturday in March in conjunction with William Mitchell College of Law.  Additionally, the Council will explore opportunities for presenting a program at the MSBA Annual Conference, possibly as a co-sponsor with another MSBA section, such as Family Law or Probate and Trust.

Members also unanimously voted to approve new section bylaws.  Interest was also expressed in updating the section website and in beginning a section e-newsletter which would apprise section members of upcoming animal law events locally and throughout the region.

Finances

The section will end the fiscal year with a treasury balance of approximately $3,500.  The Council will make recommendations for use of any excess funds for the benefit of section members.  Currently, the section funds are used primarily for communications with members, sponsorship of bi-monthly CLE programs, and underwriting of the section’s annual conference.

2007-08 Officers and Council Members

The 2007-08 Council will be comprised of 18 Council members and 3 Officers, the maximum allowed by the section’s bylaws. 

Newly-elected Officers and Council members are:
Chair:  Corwin Kruse
Vice Chair:  Laura Hage
Secretary/Treasurer:  Valorie Chadwick
Council Members (terms expiring 6/30/10):  Kristen Rice, Amy Draeger, Ellen Weinstock, Kathryn Boyne, Cristy Gafney Kruse, Katy Bloomquist, Amy Mason, Michael Heise

Returning Council members are:
Terms expiring 6/30/08:  Vicki McIntyre, Nancy Olkon, Gary Persian, Heidi Vesturs
Terms expiring 6/30/09:  Marjorie Austin-Peterson, Matthew Berner, Valorie Chadwick, Barbara Gislason, Linda Murphy, Christine Weflen

Assembly Representatives 2007-08
Representative - Vicki McIntyre
Alternate - Corwin Kruse

Congratulations to all of the new Section Officers and Council members.  We look forward to another active and successful year in 2007-08.

Respectfully Submitted,

Katherine C. Bloomquist
Section Chair, 2006-07

 


2004-05 Annual Report
Barbara J. Gislason, Section Chair

Overview of Animal Law
Animals have long been the subject of the rule of law all over the world. Orderly societies have wanted answers to questions, such as: who pays when an animal damages property or bites; how should risks be managed; where is an animal allowed to be; when and how can an animal be killed; under what circumstances will the treatment of an animal by a human be circumscribed; what constitutes a sale; what is the difference between lying and puffing; how should disputes about ownership be resolved; and which animals deserve special treatment.

Animal Law is an emerging practice area in which lawyers are searching to make sense of the laws, and dearth of laws, about animals in the context of enormous cultural shifts. It is, at its very essence, laws that pertain to animals. Expansive in scope, Animal Law concerns people with animal-based livelihoods and attracts those who identify certain animals as family members, or who consider animals in a scientific, philosophical, spiritual, or religious context. It also stimulates lawyers who enjoy the challenge of pioneering a new and complex practice area.

Animal Law emerges at the intersection of animal-related legal problems as they exist in other traditional practice areas, where limited attention is given to animal subjects. It includes, on the subject of pets and companion animals, the determination of economic and non-economic loss, if any, when a pet dies; the appropriateness of utilizing a “best interests” standard in a “pet custody” dispute; and whether it is permissible to leave property to pets in a “pet trust.”

The practice area addresses public and private conflicts about where an animal can be, how it should behave, and how it must be treated. Animal Law includes the struggles between the competing interests of wild animals and urban, farming, and recreational land use. It absorbs Equine Law and animal-related Farm Law.

Because Animal Law is both a practice area and a focus on animal-related legal issues in other practice areas, there is an inherent dualism at its core, which is in part attributable to the confusing applications of Property Law principles. With this nature, what happens in any Animal Law case could impact another case, regardless of how seemingly unrelated the practice area or issue.

For example, now that half the states allow “pet trusts,” this could influence receptivity to using “best interests” standards in “pet custody” cases, with each practice area dealing, or not dealing, with underlying Property Law issues in its own way. Similarly, if non-economic loss is awarded because of the suffering of a pet in a particularly egregious veterinary malpractice case, the essence of the animal’s property status could be affected in other practice areas. Because of wide perception of what is essentially a trickle down—or perhaps more accurately, a “trickle over” effect—most of the scholars and practitioners in the field are keenly watching all developments.

Although law students who have recently taken Animal Law at fifty-nine legal institutions in the United States, including Harvard, Duke, and Stanford, and locally, Hamline University School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law, could easily lay out a framework for the breadth and complexity of the practice of Animal Law—and the role of lawyers within this practice area as prosecutor, plaintiff, or defense counsel—most practicing attorneys and judges could not. This is partially explainable by the recent emergence of the field; this author contends that many judges and lawyers perceive Animal Law, however, as a movement like animal welfare of animal rights, rather than a practice area. Now that the MSBA has established a section and the ABA has established a committee, in time, lawyers, judges and the public will be able to make the distinction.

Establishment of MSBA Animal Law Committee
The Animal Law Committee was established on June 19, 2003. The motion for the establishment of the committee was brought by David Stowman, who was then the MSBA President-Elect. The formation of the committee was hotly contested and the vote was 24-21. Barbara J. Gislason was appointed the first Chair. Programs the first year included:

“National and International Trends in Animal Law”
(MSBA Annual Convention); Barbara J. Gislason, Lee Scholder, Mike LaFleur, Wendy Zeller

“Equine Law”
John Stockman, Ann Bray, Bruce Malkerson, Katherine Bloomquist

“Animal Law 101”
Barbara J. Gislason

“Indicator Species & the Health of an Ecosystem”
Glen Jacobsen, John Moriarty

“Dog Cases and Other Adventures in Animal Law”
Marshall Tanick

“Dangerous Exotics”
Sen. Don Betzold, Robert Marott, Dorothy Chaney, Jane Norling

“Do Animals Have Standing?”
Brian B. O’Neill

Establishment of MSBA Animal Law Section
The Animal Law Committee evolved into the Animal Law Section on June 10, 2004, based on a petition submitted by Barbara J. Gislason. There was no opposition to granting section status during the deliberations of the MSBA Board of Governors.

Programs for the section included:

“Saving Wildlife Habitats”
Rebecca Rom

“Beyond Felony Provisions: The Next Generation of Animal Cruelty Laws”
Pam Frasch

“Pet Trusts: The Minnesota Legislature Says No to the Elderly”
Hon. David L. Knutson, Robert A. McLeod

“Animal Law Legislative Wrap-Up: Minnesota and Beyond”
Corwin Kruse; Cristy Kruse

Establishment of ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee
While chairing the MSBA Animal Law Section, Barbara J. Gislason had the opportunity to bring Animal Law to the ABA. On October 9, 2004, TIPS established the Animal Law Committee by unanimous vote, and appointed Barbara J. Gislason as chair for two years. The Animal Law Committee is the only Animal Law Committee in the ABA. During 2005, the committee published the following articles:

• Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Publications

Tort & Insurance Law Journal

“Recent Developments in Animal Law,” Rebecca J. Huss

TortSource

“How Much Is That Doggie in the Window: Valuation for a Lost Pet,”
David Favre
“Dangerous Dogs,” Debora Bresch
“Veterinary Malpractice: Leading the Evolution of Animal Law,”
Barbara J. Gislason
“The Trouble with Horses,” John Stockman

The Brief

The Animal Law Committee: A New Commitment for TIPS and the ABA, Barbara J. Gislason

• Animal Law Committee Publications

Newsletter: Barbara J. Gislason, Editor-in-Chief; Rebecca Silverstein and Angela Caputo Griswold, Associate Editors

Spring issue:
Cupp, Richard, “A Birthday Wish”
Fayad, Michael and Mercer McGuire, Debra, “The Lacey Act: Criminal False Labeling”
Fershtman, Julie, “Read the Fine Print: 11 Common Myths Regarding Equine Insurance”
Karp, Adam, “All Bark and No Bite: Getting the Most Out of Your Animal Law Judgments”
Roberts, Marilynne, “Refining Dispute Resolution Practices for Animal Law Issues”
Silverstein, Rebecca, “Companion Animal Trusts”
Wei, Song, “Animal Welfare and the Present Chinese Legal System”
Winders, Delcianna, “The Time Is Now: Bob Barker and the Momentum Behind Animal Law”

• Annual Meeting in Chicago, August 4-8, 2005
Animal Law CLE, Aug. 6, 2-5 p.m.

“It’s a Dog’s Life: What Does Tort and Insurance Law Have to Say About It?”
Introduction to Animal Law: Barbara J. Gislason, Conference Chair
Keynote speaker: Dr. Temple Grandin
Panel on Tort Law: Moderator: Barbara J. Gislason. Panelists/Speakers: David Favre, Marshall Tanick, Hon. Benjamin Zvenia, John Kerr, Paul Waldau
Panel on Insurance Law: Moderator: Sandy McCandless. Panelists/Speakers: Keith D. Parr, Christopher Green, Julie Fershtman, John Buckley, Adam Karp
Equestrian Law Basics: Katy Bloomquist
Cosponsoring committees:
Civil Procedure and Evidence Committee (Chair: Michelle Mosby-Scott)
Insurance Regulation Committee (Chair: John Knapp)
Medicine and Law Committee (Chair: Raymund King)
Property Insurance Law Committee (Chair: W. Douglas Berry)

Gislason was able to utilize some of the outstanding members of the MSBA Animal Law Section on a national level, including Katherine Bloomquist, Marshall Tanick, Marilynne Roberts and John Stockman, in the above described ABA publications and CLE programs.

Goodbye to First MSBA Animal Law Committee and Animal Law Section Leaders
An enthusiastic thank you to Lee Scholder and Wendy Zeller, who respectively have been the vice chair and secretary of the MSBA Animal Law Committee and Animal Law Section for the past two years. As a footnote, Lee Scholder and Gislason taught the first Animal Law course ever offered in Minnesota at Hamline University School of Law. Scholder and Corwin Kruse taught Minnesota’s second Animal Law course at William Mitchell College of Law. The section hopes to facilitate the offering of Animal Law classes at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas Law School during the next two years.

Welcome to New or Ongoing Section Leadership
Thanks to the efforts of the Nominating Committee (Glen Jacobsen, Ann Decker and chair Marilynne Roberts), Katherine Bloomquist is the 2005/6 Chair of the Animal Law Section. Corwin Kruse will serve as vice-chair and Laura Hage as secretary/treasurer. Barbara J. Gislason will be the Voting Representative to the General Assembly. The Section Council representatives are: Vickie McIntyre, Nancy Olkon, Gary Persian, Heidi Viesters, Cristy Kruse, Patrick Costello, Glen Jacobsen, Louise Segreto, Thomas Bauer, Laura Hage, Marilynne Roberts and Michael LaFleur.

The Minnesota Animal Law Section will continue to be dynamic and vital, making a significant contribution to our home state of Minnesota while also leading the nation. Thank you to all the outgoing members of the Minnesota Board of Governors who made this possible. To the members of the new General Assembly, our section and everyone in it will continue to make you proud.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara J. Gislason
Chair, Minnesota State Bar Association Animal Law Section

-Last Updated 7/27/05-