Demand Grows for ‘Animal Law’ Expertise

By Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun

Sheriff’s deputies knocked on Roger and Sandra Jenkins’ front door in Taneytown early one Saturday in January to serve a court paper to the couple’s teenage son. Within minutes, a chaotic scene unfolded, and the family’s chocolate Labrador retriever was shot by one of the deputies and collapsed bleeding in the snow.

The dog survived, but its owners say it is permanently disabled. The couple sued, alleging reckless endangerment and infliction of emotional distress.

Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

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