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CLE, Special Session Centers on Companion Animals and the Law

As part of its Dean John J. Sciullo Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Saturday Series, the Duquesne University School of Law and its Animal Law Society are hosting a special daylong event focusing on pets and current laws in Pennsylvania.

Companion Animals and the Law will be held on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 303 of the law school. The morning session will feature the CLE portion, that is open to attorneys at a fee of $90, and the afternoon session is free and open to the public.

"Legal questions concerning companion animals can pop up in almost any practice area, and are becoming increasingly common," said Ann L. Schiavone, assistant professor of law, who is helping to coordinate the event. "For example, family lawyers are dealing with pet custody disputes and how to provide for companion animals in will and trusts, while civil litigation attorneys may be dealing with personal injury from dog bites or even veterinarian malpractice cases."

In addition, Schiavone said that criminal defense attorneys are being called to represent clients facing serious charges in animal abuse and neglect cases, and that a fair number of commercial attorneys are representing clients in the growing pet products industry. "With this program, we hope to shed some light on new laws and legislation concerning companion animals and provide a primer for attorneys who face occasional animal law questions in their practices," said Schiavone.

As part of the CLE portion of the event, Tracey McCants Lewis, assistant clinical professor of law at Duquesne, will moderate a discussion featuring Schiavone and the following panelists:

  • Matthew D. Monsour, associate from McGuire Woods and a private rescue advocate
  • Pennsylvania State Representative Dom Costa, author of Rocco's Law and member of the National Council on Animal Protection
  • Dr. Faith Bjalobok, founder of the Fluffyjean Fund and fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

Presentations during the afternoon session include a keynote speech by Roy Afflerbach, former Pennsylvania State Senator and former mayor of Allentown; a panel discussion on colony cat projects featuring representatives from Animal Friends, the Animal Rescue League and the Washington Area Human Society; and a screening of a video and discussion of a pilot study on the economic impact of trap, neuter, vaccinate and return programs in Washington and Allegheny Counties.

For more information, call the law school at 412.396.6300 or visit www.duq.edu/law/companionanimals

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.