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Law Courses Catalog

Crimes Against Animals

Prosecuting animal cruelty crimes presents a host of unique issues when 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 tackle 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 entrenched in the field of animal cruelty prosecution. Topics will include hoarding, animal fighting, expert witnesses and jury selection, ag gag laws, the Link between animal cruelty and domestic violence, and more.

Students will be evaluated by class participation and a final exam.