what is animal law?



While most people think that the practice of animal law is advocating for the rights of animals, in actuality, the legal aspects of animal law cover a broad range of interactions between people, animals and animal based organizations.

Animal Law can involve issues of criminal law, business law, insurance coverage, family and custody law, property law, products liability, food safety, veterinary malpractice and personal injury. Almost every day of our lives we are in contact with an animal, animal business or animal based products. Our simplest interactions with any of these can have sweeping legal consequences.

I am an attorney experienced in the issues that are unique to businesses which involve providing goods and services to animals and their owners.

From insurance coverage issues, selecting the proper business entity, ensuring proper contractual protection and by analyzing and planning for the unique risks associated with an animal based business, our office can provide the guidance you need to minimize risk and best protect your business, your employees and your personal assets.

Are you an existing business that caters to animals and their owners? Are you thinking of opening a new business or expanding? Ask yourself these three questions: (1) Are you properly incorporated and shielded from personal liability? (2) Do you have proper insurance for your employees, your business and yourself in case of an accident or lawsuit? (3) Are you aware of all of the laws and regulations which impact an animal related business? If you have answered no to any of these questions or are unsure of the answer you should contact an attorney today to discuss these issues.

I understand the particular needs of municipalities, family farms, agribusiness and businesses that deal with animals. Call me today for an appointment and consultation to discuss your business and your needs.

Agriculture and Markets Law compliance issues

Frequently animal related businesses, farms and municipalities face issues with the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law and the various rules and regulations of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you own or manage a business that is a farm, kennel, a private municipal shelter operating under the Agriculture and Markets Law, pet grooming facility or a niche business looking to produce animal feed, nutritional supplements or pet treats there are a multitude of regulations which must be addressed and complied with in terms of state and federal filings as well as having appropriate contractual terms in place with your vendors and distributors. I am familiar with these issues and can help to ensure that your business is in compliance. Please contact me to discuss your particular issues.

Service animals.

A service animal often is a disabled person’s guide and link to the world. If you have been denied access to a public place, business or airport I can help. Discriminated against in employment due to your need for a service or therapy animal? Also, a special law provides for compensation if a person’s negligence injures or kills a service animal. If you have suffered this kind of devastating loss, I can help, contact me.

Animal health insurance disputes.

Denied coverage for your pet’s medical condition? I can help to contest the insurance company denial of coverage. Contact me today to make an appointment for a consultation.

Rescue organization issues.

From existing not-for-profit companies to start-up animal rescue organizations, I can help guide you through the maze of state and federal regulations, achieve §501(c)(3) status as well as maintain your corporate standing. Establishing and running an effective not-for-profit corporation can seem overwhelming, each entity and its mission is different; call me today to discuss your particular needs.

Municipal issues.

Municipalities in New York deal with animals and their owners on a daily basis. Starting in January of 2011, each municipality in New York is responsible for implementing and maintaining their own dog licensing program. Additionally, cities and towns must, by law, maintain a shelter or contract with a private kennel for shelter services. Pursuant to Agriculture and Markets rules and regulations this agreement must be a lease between the parties and contain very specific language.

Municipalities must also employ a Dog Control Officer (DCO), who can issue appearance tickets for zoning violations (for example, a leash law violation), can seize unlicensed dogs and who can bring and prosecute a proceeding in a local court under §123 of the Agriculture and Markets Law for a dangerous dog determination.

I have experience in drafting municipal agreements, dog licensing statutes, statutes involving zoning and regulation of animals and kennels. I am available for consultation on these issues as special counsel or on an hourly consultancy basis to businesses or municipalities who have these particular technical legal issues.

Estate planning.

Recent developments in New York law afford both pets and their owners certain protections and benefits. It is now possible to create a “pet trust” as a portion of an estate plan to provide for the future care of your lifelong companion should you die or become disabled. Call me today to set up an appointment to review your existing Will to add a pet trust provision.

Order of Protection.

Did you know that if you believe a person may cause harm to one of your pets it is now possible to get a Court enforceable Order of Protection for a pet?

Pet Lemon Law.

Did you know that New York has an “Animal Lemon Law” that protects consumers for purchases of domestic animals?

Animal Law


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