Summary: Law schools are getting animal friendly.
No need to state the obvious, but I’m going to do it anyway. Pets are amazing. They’re loyal companions, and they have a magical ability to make us happy. No matter if we failed our torts exam or had some ungodly drama with our student loans, scratching behind Fido’s ears can rejuvenate us to keep going in our legal careers.
That’s why law schools are taking notice. Not only are pet therapy programs a thing, but some schools are offering animal lovers a way to give back to our furry friends, who need legal protection from animal cruelty, dog fighting, tainted food, etc.
Yale Law made headlines years ago when it was discovered that students could rent a dog from the library to hang out or cuddle with. Over the years the program has expanded to include more pooches. The program was such a hit that other schools such as the University of San Francisco Law School took notice and adopted its own program. According to the USF blog, the program was a huge hit with students, and they ended up adding more sessions to meet demand.
Besides pet therapy, schools are also educating students on animal law. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, there are over 150 law schools that offer animal law courses. This list includes top ranked Arizona State University and Duke University. In 2001, the number of schools offering such curriculum was a measly 9, which indicates the field is growing. The organization said that if your school does not offer an animal law course, you can contact a local branch of ALDF to help facilitate adding it to the course list.
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“Animal law intersects many traditional areas of the law such as torts, constitutional law, criminal law, wills and trusts, contract law, and family law,” ALDF writes.
According to ALDF, Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, is the leader of animal law studies. It partnered with ALDF in 2007 to create the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), which is “an academic and practical forum for the burgeoning field of animal law” by providing “the best education to the next generation of animal law attorneys.”
In addition to taking an animal law course, you can get involved with a Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. There are over 200 branches, and like with an animal law course, you can contact the organization if you need help creating a group on your campus.
Is your law school animal friendly? Let us know in the comments below.