Courses can be taken in any order, however the Praticum has a prerequisite of at least one other course within the program.
ACL 103: Animal Law in Disasters, Estates, and Litigation
(January to April of each year)
This course focuses on who represents the interest of animals in society, the state (society) or the individual (property rights)? The three topics addressed in this course focus on the nature of concerns where animals and humans co-exist in shared spaces. Disaster planning, for example, became a recognized community issue after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and left hundreds of family pets abandoned and at risk of likely death. We all know of wealthy individuals who bequeath considerable resources for the care of their pets, but most people are unable to be so generous to their animals. Are these issues purely about property rights? When does the community become responsible for potential harm to animals? Under what conditions can the community rescue animals from disasters or for owner neglect? On the other hand, when can public officials be held accountable for injuries to animals in the line of duty? For example, can a police officer shoot a dog during a drug raid? Can a postal worker refuse to deliver mail to a home with a barking dog? Are states required to remove dead animals from roadways? This course examines the legal and ethical issues related to these events. The course includes conference calls among students and instructors, and in person sessions for individuals close enough to attend (others may join via conferencing).
ACL 203: Animal Cruelty and the Law
(May to July of each year)
A troubling issue in the relationships between animals and humans in communities is that of animal cruelty. How animal cruelty is defined and adjudicated is examined through inquiry into animal cruelty laws and known links between cruelty to animals and humans, when individuals may intervene in instances of animal cruelty and when mandatory and/or cross-reporting of cruelty is warranted. Issues related to cruelty include actions to recover animals believed to be wrongly taken, use of animals in education and research settings, hunter harassment laws, and parental rights to refuse vaccines containing animal components. Other issues considered in the context of cruelty include farm animals, prison inmate rights to a vegetarian diets, animals in entertainment, and wildlife overpopulation in metropolitan areas. This course includes conference calls.
ACL 301: The Companion Animal and the Law
(September to November of each year)
Companion animals of many kinds become “members of families” in communities throughout the country, and their presence creates a variety of issues for municipalities, which must consider the relationships among humans and animals as they affect public safety and individual rights. This course uses literature and cases to examine the many issues that arise in communities, including noise, nuisance, odor, limit laws, hoarding, and anti-feeding. The course includes conference calls among students and the instructors and two in-person sessions among those in the geographic vicinity. These issues involve law, regulation, enforcement, and community values, and affect the quality of life of both community members and animals. The course provides an opportunity to recognize and evaluate the broader public policy issues that derive from the management of relationships between animals and people in communities.
ACL 403: Animals Certificate Practicum
(Runs concurrently with each of the other courses; Prerequisite is at least one other course in the program)
Completion of at least one knowledge course is required before taking the Practicum. The Practicum provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the overview courses to a specific situation in an individual or collaborative setting. Instructors will work with students to arrange practicum placements in an area of the student’s choice in the student’s home or nearby community. Students will do focused reading in the topical area of the practicum, keep a reflective journal of their experience, and prepare a written paper or other applied product relevant to the practicum placement. Examples of practicum placements include working with local government officials and community groups to develop options for wildlife overpopulation in the community; design and implement a program to incorporate animals into a county jail rehabilitation program; conduct a survey of veterinarians to determine their views of mandatory reporting of suspected animal abuse and neglect; work with an animal control department to evaluate types of animal incidents they encounter and what additional challenges they face in their communities.