Growing up as an only child, Tannaz Kouhpainezhad was blessed with parents who gave her the opportunity to have and raise all kinds of pets, including; peacocks, goats, turkeys, chickens, guinea pigs, ducks, cats, dogs, and parrots. Their main goal was to teach Tannaz responsibility, love, and respect for all animals. Decades later, Tannaz translated this love and respect for animals into a passion for protecting them. As a State Prosecutor with the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General in Los Angeles, Tannaz has worked on several animal cruelty appeals, and she has been successful in obtaining affirmances in all of them.
Tannaz’s most notable case is People v. Chung. In 2007, officers responded to a 911 call from Chung’s neighbor, reporting that they believed he was torturing an animal. When officers arrived at Chung’s Marina Del Rey apartment they questioned him about dogs, but he denied owning any dogs. Once the officers heard faint whimpering, Chung’s credibility was cast into doubt and they entered his home. The officers found an injured dog on the patio and a dead dog in Chung’s freezer; both dogs had suffered head trauma. Tannaz vigorously prosecuted the case, arguing that officials had "exigent circumstances" to enter Chung’s apartment after they heard whimpering coming from inside. The California Court of Appeal concluded, in a published opinion, that exigent circumstances permit warrantless entry of an individual’s residence to aid a live animal that police officers reasonably believe is being abused. This is the first case of its kind in the nation wherein a Court has held that law enforcement can enter a residence without a warrant to aid an animal – the exception has previously only extended to humans and the property of others.
Tannaz is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, where she teaches Animal Law and Appellate Advocacy. Tannaz has sat on the executive board of the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, and she has worked with various animal rescues and charities. Tannaz is pictured with her beloved Cocoa, a German Shepard/Rottweiler mix.