[ SHOWGSD-L ] Texas Attorneys Seek Legal Rights for Animals-Not necessarily a good thing

  • From: Scharo777@xxxxxxx
  • To: showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 13:44:01 EDT

____________________________________
 From: rpoa@xxxxxxxxx
To: rpoa@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 8/31/2009 7:51:47 P.M.  Central Daylight Time
Subj: Texas Attorneys Seek Legal Rights for  Animals

 

TX-RPOA E-News
>From RPOA Texas Outreach  and
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
"Animal welfare, not animal  'rights'
and, yes, there is a difference."
Permission granted to  crosspost.

August 31, 2009

Members of Texas Humane Legislation  Network and Animal Legal Defense Fund 
are behind the Mandatory  Spay/Neuter and Intact Pet Permits recently 
passed 
in San Antonio,  Dallas and Fort Worth.  The article below is from their 
own 
mouths  - if you had any doubts as to their agenda.  If animals have legal  
rights equal to humans, it would be impossible to use them for anything  - 
with that use equating to slavery.  Certainly no breeding for any  reason. 
Think about  it.
__________________________________

Animal law specialists  speak for those who can't
BY ELIZABETH BASSETT

August 10,  2009

http://www.fwbusinesspress.com/display.php?id=10761

When  it comes to animals in the Texas courts of law, the most  frustrating
thing may be that decisions are largely based on a precedent  set in 1891.

The case, Heiligmann v. Rose, dictated through the state  Supreme Court if 
an
animal is wrongly killed all the owner can recoup is  the market value of 
the
animal. The owner can't get sentimental value or  emotional damages, and yet
the destruction of an inanimate object like a  family heirloom can warrant
huge sums be awarded.

"You're going to  allow someone to recover sentimental value for a brooch 
but
not your  dog?" asked Randy Turner, partner in the Hurst firm Turner &
McKenzie  P.C.

That ruling is something Turner and other animal law specialists  have their
eyes set on. Turner said he has cases he wants to take to the  Texas Supreme
Court to try to change that ruling, and Arlington solo  practitioner Donald
Feare said he and other attorneys have been working  for years to find a way
to make a change. A lot has changed since 1891,  Feare said; today, people's
animals are family members "but we don't  recognize that."

Turner and Feare are the two attorneys in Tarrant  County who practice large
amounts of animal law. While the Animal Law  Section of the State Bar of
Texas was established in 1996 and it has a  robust membership, both Turner
and Feare say that the two of them plus  attorney Yolanda Eisenstein of
Dallas handle the most cases by a wide  margin.

"It's one of those things of hey, no one else is doing it, so  you get all
the calls," Feare said.

Animal law is centered on  animal welfare, Feare said, not animal rights. An
attorney who handles  animal cases must keep in mind the welfare of the
creatures who cannot  speak for themselves.

"Whatever we do to them, we can do and get away  with unless we stop us," he
said, "because they can't."

Finding  people who can fight in the courtroom for animals is difficult,
though.  Turner said the majority of animal law cases are done pro bono,
since  there's usually no way to win back more than the animal's market
value -  which may be an incredibly small sum for a dog or cat - or  
attorney's
fees. Turner handles other cases, like personal injury, to  cover overhead,
as does Feare, and it can be hard to convince new  attorneys to join the
ranks when it's nearly impossible (at least in  Texas) to make a living by
doing animal law.

Animal law also is a  field that covers a range of law types. Turner said
when he started  taking on animal law cases, he found himself having to 
refer
back to  information he hasn't used in years, since issues of constitutional
law,  criminal law, trade practices, contract law and all other sorts of  
law
types come up, ranging from city ordinances to international  trade.

Despite the small number of attorneys who handle animal law  regularly, the
field is gaining more visibility. The Animal Legal Defense  Fund shows a 
long
list of law schools that offer an animal law course or  have offered a
course.

"It's definitely a growing area because  when I was in law school, I don't
think there was a single school that  taught animal law," Turner said.

Feare, who is an adjunct professor  of animal law for Texas Wesleyan
University's School of Law, recently  served as a special prosecutor for the
nearly 500 dogs seized in Montague  County and taken in by the Humane 
Society
of North Texas. Instances like  that and other high-profile cases in recent
years - like NFL player  Michael Vick's participation in a dog fighting
operation - have prompted  more media attention to animal seizure or neglect
cases and also are  making the public more aware of the need for animal law
practitioners, he  said.

"The caseload is just phenomenal now," he said.

The path  into animal law is paved with passion. Feare, who was raised  in
Arlington, has a background that includes doing wildlife  rehabilitation on
the state and federal level and 15 years as a police  officer, he said. He's
also an accomplished wildlife photographer. Turner  was

always an animal lover, and after graduating from law school he  volunteered
with the Humane Society of North Texas. After they found out  he was a
lawyer, he said, they put him on the board and that exposure to  cruelty and
meeting animal activists prompted him to become  professionally involved.

Representing animals doesn't always mean  representing their owners.
Sometimes, as with Feare's Montague County  case, it means working to get 
the
animals into better custody. Sometimes  representing what's best for animals
means representing others who work  for animals, like humane societies, or 
in
Turner's case, animal  activists, ranging from airline pilots to physicians
to college students  who may protest in some way. Turner represents 
activists
who may be  accused of trespassing or the recipients of selective
enforcement, he  said, and often this work is pro bono.

"An animal rights activist  might be a retired school teacher or college
student," he said. "They  just don't have $300 to throw at lawyers."

The stories that come from  animal law attorneys are sometimes filled with
sadness; a person whose  dog died from negligence at the vet's office, but
suing the vet means  only getting back $100, the market value of the dog. 
But
there also are  other stories, like chasing down escaped emus or traveling 
to
Zimbabwe to  try anti-poaching techniques on the endangered black rhino.

While  much of current state animal law is still set on the idea an animal 
is
a  piece of property, attorneys and the general public have changed views  
and
work is being done to treat animals with their welfare in mind. After  all,
that's what humans want, and we're not that much different from our  dogs or
other pets, Feare said.

"We are an animal," he  said.

RPOA Texas Outreach (501C4  Nonprofit)
www.rpoatexasoutreach.org
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance  (501C3 Nonprofit)
www.responsiblepetowners.org

900 NE Loop  410  #311-D
San Antonio, TX  78209
$15 Annual dues (January  - December)
To subscribe, contact  rpoa@xxxxxxxxx







 
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