Charleston School of Law: Animal Law in South Carolina

This spotlight was submitted by Danielle Young, president of the Charleston School of Law SALDF. For more information, please contact Danielle at

Charleston School of Law SALDF membersFounded just last spring, Charleston School of Law SALDF has already celebrated some early successes. Initially, we developed a relationship with Pethelpers, a South Carolina animal rescue shelter. The experienced leaders at Pethelpers helped SALDF to identify the animal issues that are specific to the Charleston area, such as backyard breeders, pet licensing, and feral cat communities.  We are also working as a liaison between Pethelpers and the law school to provide pro bono opportunities for students who want to devote their time to solving these issues. This partnership provides an outlet for interested students to foster their love for animals while expanding their legal experience and knowledge.

Because the field of animal law involves such complex dynamics, the SALDF has invited animal law experts to speak as part of the school’s Professionalism Series, which is a school-wide lecture series designed to expose students to professionalism in the law.  Nancy Perry, the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), graciously accepted our invitation to be part of the Professionalism Series and will be traveling to Charleston from Washington D.C. to speak about the legislative and lobbying efforts she oversees. Jonathan Lovvorn, Esq., Vice President and Chief Counsel of Animal Protection Litigation and Research at the HSUS, will accompany her. After their lectures, the SALDF will be hosting a social event to bring students, community leaders, and local attorneys together to discuss animal law.  This event is an effort to unite our community so we can better work together to improve the lives of animals in South Carolina. Our SALDF is honored to host two such prestigious legal figures. We hope it will mark the beginning of major change for animals in the South.

Bringing speakers to campus and hosting social events is part of a larger effort to change the climate in Charleston and introduce animal law to a conservative base. We are currently working on legislation that will provide civil remedies and injunctive relief to private individuals in animal cruelty cases. When legislative session begins in January, this bill will be waiting for it. Public support of this bill is essential to getting it passed.  We are currently constructing a timeline so the submission of this bill will correlate with phone calls and letters in support of it from the public. By asking the public to write letters and make phone calls, we can increase the chances of getting this legislation passed into law.

Other projects currently in the works at Charleston Law are advocating for an Animal Law course; protesting the circus in March and providing a family-friendly field trip to a wildlife sanctuary in lieu of the circus; sponsoring a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in low-income neighborhoods; and selling Charleston School of Law dog collars for fundraising purposes.  Because we have so many ideas and so little time to execute them, we are hosting a retreat over the holiday break to form firm timelines, assignments, committees, and schedules.  We are excited to end this semester with a retreat and cannot wait to execute these ideas in the spring!

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