The Animal Law Section of the State Bar of Texas was created in 1996 to address animal-related legal issues in Texas. It was one of the early animal law sections, joining the state of Michigan and the cities of Los Angeles and New York City in recognizing the need for an animal law professional organization. Its mission is to promote the study and understanding of laws, regulations, and court decisions dealing with legal issues involving animals.
Today, the section has more than 300 members and continues to grow. Since 1996, animal law has become a mainstream discipline and is taught at law schools throughout the country, including SMU Dedman School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Texas Wesleyan School of Law, the University of Houston College of Law, and the University of Texas in Austin.
The original officers of the Animal Law Section were Inez VanderBurg, Chair; Skip Trimble, Vice-Chair; Nancy Goldberg Wilks, Secretary; and Randy Turner, Treasurer. Skip Trimble and Randy Turner have maintained their involvement with the section through the years, with Skip retiring from his councilmember position in 2011. Randy Turner is Chair for 2011-2012.
Past chairs of the section are Jean Jennings, Yolanda Eisenstein, Dena Fisher, Kathy Brown, Amy Bures Danna, Lisa McClain, James W. Collins, Joel Hailey, Randall Duke, and Inez VanderBurg.
ANNUAL REPORT 2010-11
The Animal Law Section had a very productive year in 2010-11. The section’s membership increased almost 20 percent. And for the first time in its history the section drafted and submitted an animal-related bill during the 82nd legislative session. While the bill didn’t pass, it was testament to animal law’s growing relevance in today’s legal system and the section’s legislative committee will be back in 2013.
The section also launched a new website in June 2011. The content has been expanded and enhanced and the Members Only page contains additional resources and information.
The 2012 Animal Law Institute will be held on March 9, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. The annual conference is an all-day CLE on animal law and is the section’s major event of the year, with expert speakers from around the country. Check the website for updates.
The section is working on several new projects for the coming year including a series of animal law CLE programs, a law student writing competition, and the development of a consumer guide to animal laws.