2017 Winter Paw Review Featured Student Articles


Our Winter 2017 Paw Review features excerpts from student authors Meghan Hays and Ashley Baillargeon.  Meghan and Ashley are students at FAMU and were students in section member Randall Abate's Animal Law Seminar.  Both submitted the papers they wrote for the seminar to the 4th Annual Animal Law Writing Competition, which is co-sponsored by the Animal Law Section, the Student Animal Legal Defense Chapter at Florida State University College of Law, and Pets Ad Litem, Inc.  Ashley's paper on gopher tortoises was the competition's winning entry and Meghan's paper on breed-specific legislation was runner up. For the full articles, click on the links below.

Gopher Tortoise. Photo from Wikipedia Creative Commons. Author: Craig ONeal http://www.flickr.com/photos/36703550@N00/2601702635
Ashley Baillargeon
Florida Gopher Tortoise Protections
Meghan Hays
Pit Bulls and Breed Specific Legislation

Proposed Changes to International Wildlife Protections to be Discussed at Upcoming CITES World Wildlife Conference

by Barbara Junge

       Proposed changes to international protections for dozens of wildlife species will be discussed at CITES World Wildlife Conference, Sept. 24 to Oct. 5, 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Species at issue include the African elephant, rhinos, sharks, African grey parrot, American crocodile, and many other animals as well as plants.

       The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that the billions of dollars in annual trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. By regulating the international trade of more than 35,000 species of plants and animals (and products derived therefrom), CITES is one of the world’s most powerful tools for conservation – it is enforceable by all member nations, with fines that can run in the millions. Examples of products governed by CITES include foods, exotic leather goods, medicines, fur coats, and tourist curio items.

       CITES was drafted and approved at a meeting of 80 countries in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1973. The United States was the first nation to become a party to CITES when it became effective on July 1, 1975; South Africa joined just a few months later. With the addition of Tajikistan on March 30, 2016, a total of 181 nations are parties to CITES. CITES is coordinated by a Secretariat (provided by the United Nations Environment Programme) which is responsible for studying reports of the parties, undertaking additional scientific and technical studies, and making recommendations to the parties.

The CITES system is designed to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal, and traceable. Three appendices to CITES list species threatened with extinction and in which trade is permitted only in exceptional circumstances (Appendix I), species in which trade must be controlled in order to ensure their survival (Appendix II), and species that are protected in at least one country which has asked for international assistance in controlling trade (Appendix III).

       Every two to three years the nations who are parties to CITES meet at a “Conference of the Parties.” The 2017 Conference of the Parties (CoP17) will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5, 2016. At CoP17 the parties to CITES will review progress on conservation of species, and consider amendments to the CITES lists of species to be protected. In addition to delegates representing the parties to CITES, observers from non-party nations and other United Nations agencies will attend CoP17. The parties also have permitted certain non-governmental organizations involved in conservation or trade to participate in the debates and formal sessions, but without a vote.  Visitors are welcome to attend CoP17, but are not permitted to speak at formal sessions.

       For those interested in animal law, the debates that will be held at CoP17 provide a rare opportunity to review the best scientific advice available worldwide about the species at issue and to evaluate the arguments offered by proponents seeking to change the listing of a species. For example, the United States joined Angola, Chad, the European Union, Gabon, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo, in proposing that the African grey parrot be moved from Appendix II to Appendix I (to increase its protected status), and the CITES Secretariat has recommended that the proposal be rejected. Colombia’s proposal that the American crocodile residing in a region of Colombia be moved from Appendix I to Appendix II (decreasing its protected status), received the Secretariat’s recommendation that it be adopted.


        Follow the CoP17 proceedings on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn, at the links below.

Further reading:

  • The CITES website offers several tools, in multiple languages, to promote a greater understanding of international trade in wildlife. For example, the CITES Trade database can be searched by species or by purpose of trade (e.g., for breeding, medical, circus, hunting trophy, commercial) or by the name of the importing or exporting nation. http://trade.cites.org/


  • To learn more or to follow the CoP17 proceedings, visit:



Below is a statement from one of the many scientific organizations and advocacy organizations that will be attending CITES.  Search for other statements by following any of the above media sources or viewing the list of participants at https://cites.org/cop17 and visiting their websites.

The Shark Research Institute's Statement on CITES

From Shark Research Institute, www.sharks.org, September 20, 2016:

The biggest issues at CITES CoP17 will be African elephants, rhinos and sharks.

  • Proposition 7 seeks to allow sales of existing stocks of rhino horn to retailers in the Far East, to be followed by annual legal sales of horns harvested from captive rhinos. On paper it sounds good, but the 2008 sales of elephant ivory in 2008 lacked adequate controls on crime/corruption and elephant poaching soared out of control.

  • Proposition 16 seeks to put ALL African elephants on Appendix I.

  • Although it is hard to tell right now, it looks like thresher sharks and devil rays have a good chance of receiving protection with an Appendix II listing, but the listing for silky sharks is meeting resistance. The United Nations Food & Agriculture expert study is opposing the listing, so our arguments are being slightly revised, putting emphasis on the greater value of silky sharks to the tourism industry.

       China is the largest market for African elephant ivory and China's authorities haven't earned a reputation for enforcing laws concerning endangered species. In 2014, WildLifeRisk targeted a factory in Zhejiang Province that was slaughtering 600 whale sharks annually. The factory manager even admitted on-camera the plant was also processing basking sharks and white sharks, all of which are 'protected' by the Chinese government, making it illegal to hunt them without government permits. The three species had been listed on CITES Appendix II for more than a decade, and much of the factory's products were being exported. At the previous CITES (CoP16 in Bangkok) the head of China's delegation stated: "China doesn't have the 'capability' to determine if shark fins are from Appendix II sharks."

       What also concern us is Bagamoyo, the Chinese-funded autonomous port currently under construction in Tanzania which will have its own economic zone and satellite city. China is building, or already has, autonomous ports in the East China Sea, South China Sea and the Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and Australia). When completed, it is expected that Bagamoyo will be the largest port in Africa.  We fear that there will be a flood of illegal ivory, rhino horn and shark fins shipped through the port.  Consider what implications the autonomous ports mean for endangered species of countries that have and are ceding portions to China. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_of_Pearls_(Indian_Ocean)


       There appears to be a concerted effort by China to carve out large slabs of the world which it either claims as sovereign, or can access for fishing and trade with increased ease through the growing network of autonomous ports. When China and other countries refuse to even acknowledge the principle of protection for wildlife (another example of course being Japan's refusal to acknowledge the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary), then the sense of urgency to save what is left is increased.


 Statement issued September 20, 2016, by Shark Research Institute, www.sharks.org.

Celebrating Service Animals

by Barbara Junge
Service dog shopping with handler

For centuries humans have relied on animals as partners in work and

entertainment – examples include oxen trained to pull wagons, sea lions trained to

help with military operations, and cats trained to jump through hoops at the sunset

gathering in Mallory Square in Key West.  In recent decades, as we have expanded

our understanding of the capacity for certain species to learn and carry out tasks

there has been a surge in the training and employment of animals specifically in the

service of people with disabilities.  This month we celebrate National Service Dog

Month with a quick review of the types of services provided by these special animals.

What is a “service animal”?
Service dog walking with handler

At least three federal laws and multiple state and local laws (including, e.g., school board policies) define the terms “service animal” or “assistance animal.”  For example, the regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101) define a service animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”  28 C.F.R. 36.104.  Other definitions are found in the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. § 3604(f), “assistance animal” is described at 24 C.F.R. 5.303), The Air Carrier Access Act (41

U.S.C. § 41705, “service animal” is defined in the Glossary accompanying the regulations, see, e.g., 14 C.F.R. 382.117), and Florida’s service animal statute (Fla. Stat. § 413.08(1)(d) defines a “service animal”).  Although the ADA does not require a “certification” of the animal as a service animal, many enterprising private organizations offer certification kits with a badge, vest for the animal, and an embossed certificate – a practice which has been met with wide criticism.  Some other organizations have suggested that a national (or even statewide) uniform set of training and behavior standards would the public’s acceptance of the role of service animals.  The brief overview provided here does not address the specific distinctions in the legal definitions or the passionate debate around the scope of those definitions, nor the questions of certification or uniform standards; for further reading please see the resources at the end of this article.

Service dog turning off light

What types of service are provided?


       Service or assistance animals fall into several categories – and while dogs are by far the most commonly trained animal in each of these categories, other species have been trained to perform some of these roles, e.g., miniature horses, pigs, bunnies, and monkeys.  As this is National Service Dog Month we will focus on dogs and how they assist their partners or handlers.


Guide Dogs:  Guide dogs, or seeing-eye dogs, help people with full or partial vision loss.   Guide dogs can be trained to help their handlers determine when it is safe to cross the street, and can guide them through busy sidewalks, public transportation, and

unfamiliar buildings.   

Hearing or Signal Dogs:  Hearing or signal dogs are trained to provide many services to people with hearing loss, including alerting them to alarms, knocks at the door, approaching people, and other important sounds that are part of daily life.

Medical Alert Dogs:  Medical alert dogs are trained to detect or respond to specific conditions, including diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, and stroke.  These dogs are able to detect early warning symptoms before the handler does, e.g., an

elevation in the blood sugar of a diabetic handler.  They are trained to alert their handler to the problem, bring medication or a phone to their handler, provide physical support, or alert others of an urgent need for medical assistance.  

Service dog at ATM

Mobility Dogs:  Mobility dogs are trained to assist people who are in wheelchairs or who have trouble using their arms or legs.  Mobility dogs can carry objects to their handler, push elevator buttons, pull/push a wheelchair, open doors, and help their handlers balance and move from place to place.

Neurological/Psychiatric Service Dogs:  Service dogs can also assist people with a

number of neurological or psychiatric conditions, including dementia, PTSD,traumatic brain injury, autism, and more.  These dogs – like medical alert or

mobility dogs – can be trained to bring medication to their handler, check the house for intruders, and turn on lights.  In addition, neurological/psychiatric service dogs can be trained to provide critical support to help their handler have the confidence to improve the handler’s social interactions and relationships, expand the handler’s verbal and nonverbal communication, and decrease stress.  These dogs also may be trained to alert their handler when they notice subtle early warning signs of panic attacks or confused behavior, and they are trained to calm the handler and help bring the handler’s awareness back to the current surroundings.





How can you help celebrate service dogs?


       There are several ways you can help celebrate and pay respect to service dogs:

1.  Always keep your distance from service dogs – no matter how much you are drawn to them.  Don't touch them, don't gesture to them or stare at them, and don't let your dog or your children interact with a service dog.  Service dogs who are wearing their vests are on duty and need to maintain complete concentration on their jobs for their safety and the safety of their handlers.  Indeed, Fla. Stat. § 413.081 provides that a person who recklessly interferes, or permits his or her own dog to do so, with the work of a service animal may be guilty of a misdemeanor.

2.  Adopt a failed service dog.  It happens - some dogs go through the entire training program and find out that they aren't cut out to be service dogs, but are still wonderful, well-trained, loving dogs who would make great companions.  In fact, some of the same traits that disqualified them from the highly-focused work of a service dog make these dogs excellent family pets.  There are a number of organizations - many with long waiting lists - that offer adoptable “career change” dogs exiting training programs.  See below for a few resources.

3.  Donate to a service dog organization.  The training and placement of service dogs is a very expensive endeavor.  Donations to programs that cover these costs so that an individual without resources to pay for the training can still be partnered with a service dog are always welcomed.  There are organizations that partner service dogs with military veterans, or those that focus on a specific type of service dog.  You also might ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.  And always check out a charity’s status through reputable websites, e.g., Florida’s Gift Givers’ Guide, (https://csapp.800helpfla.com/cspublicapp/giftgiversquery/giftgiversquery.aspx), Guidestar (http://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx), Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org/), or others.  Some service dog training programs also rely on volunteer puppy raisers or look for volunteers to assist with fundraising or other activities. See below for some suggestions.


       Next time you see a service dog at work, be grateful for the service they are providing.  And be sure to check our Florida Bar Animal Law Section website frequently for updates on service animal access cases and other issues involving service animals, www.FlaBarAnimals.org.


       Happy National Service Dog Month!



Further reading:


Assistance Dogs International: http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/about-us/ (their North American Trainer’s Conference will be held in Halifax, Pennsylvania, Sept. 20-22, 2016)

International Guide Dog Federation: http://www.igdf.org.uk/


National Association of Guide Dog Users, a member of the National Federal of the Blind: http://www.nagdu.org/


U.S. Department of Justice Service Animal FAQs, available at our Animal Law Section website


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Notice on Assistance Animals and Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities (April 30, 2013):



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Service and Guide Dogs FAQs:



Michigan State University College of Law Animal Legal & Historical Center, Table of State Assistance Animal Laws:



Disability Rights Florida, Service Animals:


Service Dog Registry, a private organization promoting adopting of uniform training and behavior standards for service dogs:



Guiding Eyes for the Blind, adoptable “released” dogs:



Canine Companions for Independence, information on becoming a volunteer puppy raiser: http://www.cci.org/site/c.cdKGIRNqEmG/b.4011029/k.6CF1/Puppy_Raising_Program.htm


Southeastern Guide Dogs, information on becoming a volunteer puppy raiser:


Service puppy in training vest