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Law Courses Catalog

Crimes Against Animals

Prosecuting animal cruelty crimes presents a host of unique issues compared to other types of criminal casework. Animals are legally property, yet as living beings they are also considered crime victims in some jurisdictions. This course will explore existing animal cruelty laws nationwide and will address the practical hurdles that arise when prosecuting cruelty cases, from live evidence issues to exemptions for standard industry practices, to institutional biases. Students will engage in several in-class simulations based on real-world examples and will hear from expert prosecutors and other practitioners working in the field of animal cruelty prosecution. Topics will include hoarding, animal fighting, expert witnesses, jury selection, ag gag laws, the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence, and more. Students will be evaluated based upon class participation and a final exam.