Animal Law Clinic

What We Do

Animal law overlaps with many traditional areas of the law–family law, torts, criminal law, wills, trusts, probate, constitutional law, and property law–and is the subject of a growing number of statutes, regulations, and case law.  Animal law explores fundamental questions about the nature of legal rights and interests, how laws create or establish power imbalances, and how those imbalances impact animals.

Under the guidance of STCL Houston faculty members, law students conduct legal research, draft legislative policy, and provide an analysis of current laws and regulations in support of animal welfare and shelter organizations, attorneys handling pro bono animal law cases, and individual clients.

As the initial project of the ALC, law students, under the guidance of faculty members, are addressing the legal questions generated by animal rescuers and others assisting with the recovery of animals affected by natural disasters.   The legal questions and answers will be included in a comprehensive natural disaster manual created in response to the effects of disasters on humans and animals alike.  The manual will set out specific protocols and best practices for cohabitated shelters that house evacuees with their animals, thereby saving both human and animal lives.


Who’s Involved


Elizabeth Dennis, J.D.

Associate Dean, Professor of Law
Co-director of STCL Houston Animal Law Clinic







Catherine G. Burnett, J.D.

Associate Dean and
Professor of Law

Fran Ortiz, J.D.

Professor of Law, Advisor to STCL Houston Animal Law Clinic, and Faculty Advisor to Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

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