Virginia Animal Law Society Vice President Wins Animal Law Writing Competition

Posted on July 18, 2008

Reported by Mary Wood


Virginia Law
, January 10, 2008

The
clients second-year law student Elisabeth Custalow is interested in
helping can’t tell her what they want or need, but that won’t stop her
from trying. Custalow recently won the inaugural Pet JD animal law
writing competition for her article, "Protecting Virginia’s Animals: What Treatment Is Required by Virginia Law of Animals in the Commonwealth?"

Co-sponsored
by Adaptibar and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the competition was
promoted nationally to more than 100 law schools. Custalow’s article,
written for a general audience, focuses on Virginia’s animal cruelty
laws and legal requirements for keeping pets and companion animals. Pet
JD is a Web site that provides networking for animal law attorneys and
informative articles about the field.

Custalow, who serves as the vice president for
speakers for the Virginia Animal Law Society, said she represents a
wave of students and attorneys getting involved in the burgeoning field
of animal law. "There have always been people who have been concerned
about animal welfare," she said. The creation of the Animal Legal
Defense Fund "really led to the growing popularity in the field."

With that organization’s creation, students
interested in animal law had an employment goal, and chapters on animal
law have slowly sprung up across the nation. The Law School’s chapter
began in 2006, and now boasts 30 members who are active in pro bono
projects concerning animal law.

This summer Custalow will serve as a researcher for
Florida-based attorney Steve Wise, former president of the Animal Legal
Defense Fund and a pioneer in the field.

Custalow aims to work on behalf of animals after
graduation, either for a nonprofit or as a prosecutor, but
acknowledges, "There are more people who want to work in the field of
animal law than there are jobs available." Custalow owns a thoroughbred
horse and hopes to adopt a dog from the local animal shelter soon.


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