Cindy Rysavy

Cindy has loved animals and been involved in animal welfare since she was a child. During a semester in elementary school, her teacher brought into the classroom two white albino rats, housed in separate cages. The students were tasked with feeding the rats different diets, one healthy and one unhealthy, weighing them weekly, and recording their growth rates. The experiment was designed to demonstrate to the students that proper development is the result of eating a healthy well-balanced diet. However, for Cindy, the experiment demonstrated the vulnerability and captivity of the research subjects. So, at the end of the semester, when the rats needed a home, Cindy readily volunteered and was given “Snowball.” Snowball quickly became a beloved member of the family. Unfortunately, after only a few years, a tumor developed on the side of Snowball’s body. Snowball was taken to the family’s veterinarian and the growth was successfully surgically removed. However, shortly thereafter, Snowball developed more tumors that could not be removed, and she was euthanized. This was Cindy’s first experience with animal research, the human animal bond, veterinary medicine, and pet loss. These experiences formed a lasting impression on Cindy and helped to shape her career aspirations.

Through high school, college, and graduate school, Cindy continued to rescue animals in need and learned as much as possible about animal (including marine species) medicine, behavior, and welfare. She volunteered with the humane society, reconditioning animals that had been relinquished for behavior issues or rescued from poor living conditions. She also volunteered with the University of Hawai’i, researching behavior patterns of humpback whales located in the ‘Au’Au Channel off Maui. She completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Minnesota, graduating with High Honors, and being the recipient of several awards, including Lee McDonald Class of 1969 Memorial Scholarship, American Association of Feline Practitioners Student Award, and the Joseph E. Salsbury Veterinary Medical Scholarship.

After veterinary school, Cindy was selected to complete a small animal one-year medicine and surgery rotating internship. She continued to remain actively involved in providing care for rescued animals. Notably, she obtained the largest client donation ever received for the hospital’s pet assistance fund.

After several years of veterinary business ownership, small animal medicine practice, and animal advocacy, Cindy returned to school to complete her Juris Doctor degree and Business Law Certificate at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, graduating Cum Laude. She also completed her certification as a circuit civil, family law, and agriculture mediator. Last fall, she joined the Animal Law LLM program.

Today, Cindy continues to work as a veterinarian and practice owner, specializing in small animal medicine, backyard chickens, animal welfare and policy, and at home veterinary end of life services. She volunteers as a Legislative Veterinary Ambassador, Disaster Relief Rescue Veterinarian, and On Call Deployment Veterinarian. She also currently works with small law firms, providing legal research platform and product training support, including new AI technology. She is hoping to launch her new business, focused on advancing animal welfare and policy through education and action, later this year. Her hope is one day all beings will be recognized and protected by the law.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” Proverbs 3:3