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Center for Animal Law Studies

Tara Cooley

  • Photo, in memory of Dona Cooley, 2008-2020.

Tara is a recipient of the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy Domestic Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences from Meredith College, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University (GGU), School of Law. As a Dean’s Scholar and Public Interest Law Fellow at GGU, Tara earned specialized certificates in Public Interest Law and Family Law.

While in law school, Tara served as the GGU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Chair. She assisted in organizing animal law related events and activities on campus and is particularly proud of her work in planning the 2018 California Animal Law Symposium: Bringing it Home. The symposium addressed animal law issues impacting families such as environmental concerns related to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), pet evacuation during emergencies, emotional support animals and the benefit to veterans, and social justice issues arising in underserved communities. Tara published her 2019 Comment in the GGU Law Review, titled, “Gagged by Big Ag: Whistleblower Silencing Bill Threatens the Employee’s Right to Uncover Workplace Wrongdoing.” Tara received a 2019 Animal Legal Defense Fund Advancement in Animal Law scholarship to recognize her tireless efforts as a law student animal advocate.

Prior to and during law school, Tara served as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher. She enjoyed implementing humane education lessons into her curriculum. Tara also worked at The Animal Foundation (TAF), a Las Vegas animal shelter. At TAF, as the Pets for Life Coordinator, Tara directed grassroots outreach to provide food, medical, and behavioral support to pets in underserved communities to ensure every family received the resources necessary to keep their pet for life. Tara is passionate about solving community issues that impact both human and non-human animals.

Tara currently serves as an Animals and Family Violence Intern for the Animal Welfare Institute and as a source checker for the Animal Law Review.

Tara’s dogs, Dona and Luke, inspired her to pursue a career in animal law.

“I look forward to new opportunities to learn, teach, write, discuss, and advocate on behalf of non-human animals. I recognize the meaningful impact that one conversation may have on the advancement of animal interests. As a specialized advocate for animals, I will utilize knowledge gained from the Center for Animal Law Studies to facilitate discussions with attorneys, legislators, families, children, and community members. Each new experience is an opportunity to make unbounded progress for animals.”