Does your four-legged family member need a lawyer?

Animal law is a new, growing specialty

A lawyer to represent you and your pet? Yes! We found more attorneys are now specializing in working for four-legged clients.     
 
It’s something for which Amy was grateful. “Goomba” is not only Amy’s best friend, he is also Amy’s emotional support animal. 
 
She says when her landlord gave her a hard time about the dog, she called a lawyer.
 
“I didn’t know my rights as an owner of an emotional support animal, so I knew that I needed outside help, someone who was familiar with those laws," she said.
 
And we found lawyers focusing on helping animals are on the rise. 
 
“Animal law is growing very quickly, and the need is growing equally as fast,” says attorney Michelle Hubbard.
 
The Animal Legal Defense Fund says, “Animal law is a relatively new, and growing, specialty within the law...” 
 
The American Bar Association now has a “Committee on Animal Law” and is hosting a symposium about animal shelter law. 
 
Some law schools are even offering classes. 
 
And we found entire law firms and it's not only about the dogs.
 
“I get calls about cats, dogs, squirrels, rabbits, things that people are keeping as pets,” says attorney Jeremy Cohen. His firm, Boston Dog Lawyers, is devoted to representing animals and their owners.
 
“Our motto is it's time to bark back. I'm just one small piece in a national movement to recognize that our pets are special,” says Cohen.
 
Why else would a pet need an attorney?
 
Cohen’s had clients at the center of dog custody disputes. And there was a case of a dog nipping at someone and town officials considering euthanizing him. 
 
“Animals get themselves in all sorts of predicaments. I mean I've had calls ranging from things like ‘My dog ate my neighbor’s flowers’ and ‘My dog bit someone’,” said Hubbard.
 
Can calling an animal lawyer really make a difference?  Amy, who hired attorney Hubbard, credits her for winning her case. Goomba got to stay! “It would not have not had the same outcome if I didn't have her,” said Amy. 
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