Animal Law

I am indebted to Yolanda Eisenstein's book "Careers in Animal Law" (2011, ABA Law Practice Management Section & Law Student Division) which pointed to many of the resources below and are listed in her Appendix.

Animal Rights & Animal Advocacy Organizations

Animal rights and animal law encompasses a wide variety of specialties that includes companion animals (those that live closely with humans, primarily dogs and cats), animals kept in captivity for entertainment (circuses) or education (zoos), those used in medical research, farm animals, and wild animals who live in their natural habitat. The organizations listed below are a small sample of the organizations that are working on some of these issues. I have focused on those that I have had some personal contact with or connection to.

  • Farm Sanctuary

    Farm Sanctuary operates sanctuaries in Orland, CA and Watkins Glen, NY where former abused farm animals (e.g. fowl, cows, goats, sheep) can live out their natural lives in a comfortable setting. I have vacationed in the Orland sanctuary's rental cabin, which is pretty, clean, and comfortable. Visitors get a tour of the sanctuary and you can even stay overnight with your dog! What's particularly fun is that the animals at the sanctuary are so tame now that you can actually pet them, including the normally skittish animals, like turkeys. So fun!

  • AnimalsAsia

    List of offices

    AnimalsAsia is "devoted to the welfare of wild and urban animals in Asia. We also work towards the conservation of endangered species." Located throughout the world, they have an office in San Francisco. I was thrilled to host Morgan Lance, US Director, at GGU through SALDF to talk about their work to end the illegal trade in bear bile and the cruel practice of using bears for this purpose.

  • Born Free USA

    "Our mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife - including highly endangered species - in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally."

  • The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

    I highly recommend Fossey's book, "Gorillas in the Mist" written about her experiences studying and preserving the gorillas of Rwanda.

  • Jane Goodall Institute
  • Lawyers in Defense of Animals
  • Marine Mammal Center

    Located in Northern CA, the MMM invites visitors to see rescued sea lions and seals (I'm told that they do rescue sea otters, but generally send them to the a better-equipped facility in Monterey). Marine mammals end up there because of illnesses from pollutants in the ocean water, accidental injuries from boats, and even intentional harm from humans. The facility is educational, open to the public, and very family-friendly.

  • Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)

    Located in San Francisco, PAWS provides support to seniors and people with disabling illnesses who have pets, but need a little extra help in order to care for them. PAWS volunteers provide animal food, assistance with dog walking, and other services in order to help these people care for their pets, and keep these families together.

Campaign Finance Reform & Lobbying


Legal Research

I am law librarian, so legal research issues permeates every section of this guide; however, below are specific legal research tools that either teach you how to do legal research or are links directly to primary source material.

California Legal Research

  • CA Legislature

    This is the official website for California's legislature and it contains the text of bills, proposed and enacted, from both Houses, since 1993. It is a particularly valuable resource for legislative history research, as it contains the bill drafts, committee reports, and voting history.

  • CA Courts

    This is the official website for California's judicial branch and t contains basic information about the court system in California, the text of both published and unpublished CA Supreme Court and Appellate court decisions from 1850 to the present, Judicial Council approved court forms, and court rules. The opinions are provided by LexisNexis and are free to the public.

  • CA Regulations

    All the sections of the California Code of Regulations are free and searchable online, with the notable exception of Title 24, the California Building Code. That must be purchased or you must go to a library. Some county law libraries and public libraries carry it.

County Law Libraries

County law libraries are free and open to the public, but generally, in order to check out books or use certain resources, you must be a member, which does cost a fee. County public law libraries are invaluable assets and an irreplaceable part of our democracy, as they provide access for ordinary citizens to the codes, cases, and regulations that comprise our legal system.

Federal Law

  • The Government Printing Office

    The US government is the largest publisher of information in the world and the GPO is responsible for promulgating legal information from all three branches of government. I recommend THOMAS for legislative information, and GPO access for everything else.



    "Thomas" is named for Thomas Jefferson and the site is run by the Library of Congress. The real genius of THOMAS is that it provides the legislative history of pending and enacted federal bills, including the bill's drafts, committee reports, and voting record.

    • Research references recommended by the Library of Congress itself, including fun stuff like the entire "Federalist Papers":

The US Code

The US Code, 1994 - [last year]. The code is always a year behind. For a current version of the Code you have to use a law library or a fee-based service. Annoying and unfair to the public? You bet!


Court Opinions

The court decisions of the US Supreme Court, Appellate and District Courts are supposed to be free and publically accessible. The reality is that they are published in a scattershot fashion and listed on various governmental websites. The best source for Appellate and District court decisions is PACER, which is published by the government, but is not free to use and can only be accessed once you set up an account. Therefore, best source free and accessible court decisions is still the privately published "LP" means "legal professional." Westlaw bought FindLaw several years ago and divided the site into to two parts, one for the public, which is mostly message boards, and one geared towards legal professionals, which contains useful primary source material, including court opinions

Sara Fox Dudley Attorney at Law