University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW Law student organization helps sponsor conference on link between domestic violence and animal abuse

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), a student organization based at UW Law School, will co-host an all-day conference aimed at addressing the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.

Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5, “The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Violence: A Community-Wide Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Abuse” is a conference designed for lawyers, veterinarians, domestic abuse advocates, law enforcement, social workers and other advocates.

According to Hannah Richerson, pet abuse can be part of family violence, and human victims often stay with their abuser to protect their animals from harm. “Family pets may be the target of threats, harm or killing to ‘emotionally blackmail’ and coerce human victims to comply with and remain silent about abuse,” she says. Richerson is a third-year UW Law student and the president of the UW-Madison chapter of ALDF.

She says ALDF is helping a local organization, Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims, host the conference. This organization, founded by UW Law graduates Megan Senatori '01 and Pam Hart '02, works to enable victims to leave an abusive partner by providing safe shelter for their animals, with the ultimate goal of reuniting victims with their animals.

Lawyers attending the conference will learn about representing domestic violence victims who have pets, including the civil and criminal legal protections available for animals in domestic abuse situations. Attendees can also apply for continuing legal education credits, Richerson says.

The conference will be held at the University Club in Madison. Details are available at the conference website. For information about speakers, schedule, and registration, visit

About the Animal Legal Defense Fund at UW Law School

UW Law School's chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund participates in a variety of intiatives and events to advance the field of animal law. Activities last year included beginning the process of creating a pro bono opportunity to answer questions the community has regarding animal rights and welfare; successfully incorporating animal law-related material into existing course curricula; partnering with the Dane County Humane Society and Alliance for Animals to raise money for their organizations; volunteering with Heartland Farm Sanctuary to clean and maintain their facility; holding a food and supply drive for Madison Cat Project; collaborating with the Shelter from the Storm rescue to host "Bark on Bascom," a de-stress/adoption event in the law school.

Submitted by Law School News on September 18, 2018

This article appears in the categories: Students

Submit an Article