Animal Law is a relatively new but rapidly growing practice area. Substantive laws that protect animals are few, and establishing standing to enforce those laws can be difficult. In order to advance the interests of non-human animals and their guardians it is often necessary to creatively use more traditional bodies of law such as contract law, property law, constitutional law and tort law.
Richard Rosenthal, is a pioneer and innovator in this field, as General Counsel for The Lexus Project he has created and advanced Cody Trust Standing in over 100 cases in 27 states and continues to be on the forefront of cutting edge Animal Law litigation
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 our lives we are in contact with an animal, animal business or animal based products. Our simplest interactions with any of these can sweeping legal consequences.
Our dogs, cats and other pets are members of our family. During a divorce or separation, negotiating which party will be awarded or get custody of a pet companion animal can be extremely difficult. This struggle is compounded by the fact that there are no laws or statutes in place that acknowledge the emotional bonds between animals and humans. New York now allows for the inclusion of pets in Orders for Protection and furthermore, some courts are taking human best interests and animal best interests into account in applying their discretionary authority in divorce proceedings and civil replevin actions.
I provide legal advice and counsel to clients regarding transactional and litigated matters, including those that go to mediation, such as:
- Pet custody and ownership disputes
- Animal ordinance laws, including animal nuisance laws
- Defending suits for Dog bites and attacks and dangerous dog proceedings
- Foster and rescue issues
- Contract drafting, analysis and review
- Breach of contract, contract enforcement, buy and sell agreements
- Bailments, liens and seizures
- Property claims
- Orders for protection, harassment
- Veterinary malpractice, wrongful death and other tort claims
Whether representing a client in a dangerous dog proceeding or a contractual dispute over a pet adoption, I continuously challenges the existing laws, as well as the beliefs and assumptions of judges and lawyers. My goal is to look at the development of new laws and doctrines so that pets can have their own status within property law or that they belong in a classification somewhere between property law and child custody disputes, given their unique place in the American family. I believe that animals have civil rights and are entitled to due process and continue to fight to advance their standing before the Courts.