Updated: March 13, 2023

Animal Law Section

Cat and a scale

Animal law has quickly emerged as a specialty legal field in law schools (Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, Hastings, Rutgers, and the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, which publishes the Animal Law Journal). Animal-centered litigation appears more routinely on court dockets as pet owners sue to recover damages. Nationwide, legislatures debate the passage of bills addressing issues at the boundaries of human-animal relationships. In 2010 Carolina Academic Press published the fourth edition of a 780-page volume on animal law, the first casebook of its kind.

Animal law has useful applications for practitioners in many areas including landlord-tenant, criminal, wills and trusts, personal injury and tort claims, nonprofit organizations, agricultural, local government, and administrative law.

In addition to providing a forum for members to exchange ideas, study, and understand laws, regulations, and case law pertaining to all areas of animal law, initial goals of the Animal Law Section include:

  • Establishing an annual seminar and eventually a multistate MCLE animal law institute
  • Publishing an Animal Law Reporter for the Pacific Northwest or nationwide
  • Printing and distributing quarterly email or paper newsletters to section members, soliciting articles from practitioners, academics, and others
  • Producing animal law-related pamphlets for the public
  • Providing information to and facilitate cooperation with government agencies and nongovernmental humane societies, rescue organizations, and animal sanctuaries
  • Organizing brown-bag lunches and round tables to address animal law matters in a short time frame.

Annual Report |  Budget  |   Bylaws  |  Year in Review

Join Now



Shape Your Section for the Future: Apply Today to Become a Section Leader

Application Deadline is 5 p.m. April 17, 2023.

The following section executive committee positions are open for applications. Regular terms begin Oct. 1, 2023, with remaindered terms starting upon election.

  • Chair-elect: remainder of current term ending Sept. 30, 2024.
  • Secretary: remainder of current term ending Sept. 30, 2024.
  • Treasurer: remainder of current term ending Sept. 30, 2024.
  • At-Large Member (two positions open): remainder of current term ending Sept. 30, 2024.
  • At-Large Member (two positions open): one-year position beginning Oct. 1, 2023, and ending Sept. 30, 2024.

To learn more about roles and expectations for serving on the section executive committee, review this volunteer position description, which provides a general overview of section executive committee positions and may differ for each section.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a current section member and should be eligible to vote in accordance with the section’s bylaws.

Application Process: Go to the myWSBA portal to complete the online application for open executive committee positions. The Section has requested that each applicant submit a resume and statement of interest with your application. These documents can be uploaded with your online application (pdf format only). Please be advised that application materials may be posted on this website for public viewing.

Note: If you are applying for more than one position on this or multiple sections’ committees, you must complete and submit all applications at the same time, as you will not be allowed back into the portal at a later time. Please make sure you are completing the applications within the application window for all of the relevant sections.

Nomination Process: The Chair shall solicit nominations from the Section membership and appoint a nominating committee of not less than three members of the Section. An effort should be made to include at least one person who is not a member of the current executive committee on the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall verify qualifications and willingness to serve of nominees and make additional nominations when appropriate. All applicants will apply through an electronic application process administered by the Bar. In selecting its nominees, it shall be the responsibility of the nominating committee to bear in mind the need for broad representation on the executive committee, based on geography, diversity of practice, special expertise, and other factors of diversity.

Alternate Nomination Process: A Section member may self-nominate.

Elections Process: All voting members of the section will receive an electronic ballot sent to their email in June 2023. Visit this webpage in early June for election updates and voting instructions.

For more information about the Section, its executive committee roles, and elections process, please review the Section’s bylaws. You may also contact any member of the current Section Executive Committee or email sections@wsba.org.


Executive Committee

Chair: Leila Arefi-Pour (2022-2024)

Chair-Elect: Vacant

SecretaryAmber Cognata (2022-2024)

Treasurer: Frederic J. Moll (2022-2024)

Immediate Past Chair: Vacant

Board of Governors Liaison*: Nam Nguyen (2022-2023) and Kari Petrasek (2022-2023)

Members At-Large:
Adam Karp (2022-2023)
Owen Sutanto (2022-2023)
Jason Foust (2022-2023)

Please contact subcommittee members for details on their upcoming meeting dates and locations.

For general questions, or to request archived issues of the section newsletter, please send your inquiry to sections@wsba.org. To get involved and learn more about the Animal Law Section, please contact the section chair, Leila Arefi-Pour.