Eric Torberson is an Austin-based criminal defense attorney and animal defender who practices in the central Texas region. He received the Don Feare award in April 2018 for his dedication to animals and animal owners.
Torberson, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a former assistant district attorney and is involved in many organizations and associations, including the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. He is a lifetime member of the VFW.
He got his start in animal law about four years ago, when he was approached by a colleague through the Austin Animal Law section to work on a case that required courtroom experience.
“There was a dangerous dog hearing set before my client’s case, and the owner didn’t show up,” said Torberson. “So the dog was ordered to be euthanized as a result.”
In that moment, Torberson felt he had to do more for the animal community in the courtroom.
“We treat our animals like family members, but in the court system many animals do not get due process,” he said. “When a person is accused of something, they have rights and can defend themselves. Often, there is no one to stand up for the animals. Juries and judges who have never met the animal are making life and death decisions about them.”
Torberson has three dogs – Max, General Patton, and Nadia. He plans to continue practicing animal law, which takes up about 40 percent of his caseload.
The Don Feare award was created in 2012 after Feare, an Arlington-based civil litigation and criminal defense attorney, received a lifetime achievement awards for his dedication to animal law. That same year, he was also honored as one of the Top 10 Animal Defenders in America by the Animal League Defense Fund.