St. John’s University School of Law: Third Annual Vets and Pets 5K for Charity

This spotlight was submitted by Bettina Hollis, secretary of the St.
John’s University Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.

St. John’s law students formed the St. John’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) in the fall of 2007. Our goal was to increase awareness of animal law as an exciting and expanding area of law and to raise awareness of animal abuses throughout the country and the world. Our journey began with simple discussions about what we could do to help. None of us were really sure what animal law was, but we all shared a love of animals and a passion to keep them safe. We decided to volunteer our time at local animal shelters and, with the support of ALDF, petitioned the administration to add an animal law course to the curriculum.

Our efforts paid off when on January 16th, 2010, the first animal law class at St. John’s met. Professor Jennifer McMahon, herself an alumnus of St. John’s, started off the class with questions. Her aim was to design the course around our interests, including veterinary malpractice, animal inheritance, animal use in laboratory testing, endangered species, cruelty to animals and criminal law. Although the course is offered at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, the students come ready to participate and the discussions are always lively. To most of us, it’s not just another law course – it’s a new path, largely unpaved and close to our hearts.

St. John's Annual Vets and Pets 5K for Charity eventAs part of St. John’s SALDF’s work to raise awareness of animal law, we hold a 5K charity run/walk every year. On April 10, 2010, we invite anyone in the area to join us at our Third Annual Vets and Pets 5K for Charity. In cooperation with the Armed Forces Society, St. John’s SALDF invites animal lovers and their pets to walk or run with us around St. John’s campus. Each year, the event attracts people from all over the tri-state area with their canine friends for exercise, food and fun. This year, donations will go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Queens Animal Shelter.

Last year’s event was a great success; raised over $2,700 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC). Pictures can be seen here. We predict this year’s event will be even bigger and more successful.

To register, download the registration form here or email me at

With an animal law class part of the curriculum at St. John’s, we anticipate growing participation in SALDF. We plan on screening a documentary next fall as part of our goal of raising awareness. If anyone has any information or recommendations on screening a documentary, please feel free to contact us.

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