It is my honor to serve as Chair of the Florida Bar’s Animal Law Section (ALS). As an environmental lawyer, engineer, outdoor enthusiast and son of a veterinarian, my personal and professional life has been enriched by the presence of animals, both wild and domestic. I have lived in nearly every section of this great state, from the beaches of south Florida, to the emerald green waters of the panhandle, and experienced the broad range of habitats supporting unique and interdependent animal species not found anywhere else in the world.
Despite being a relatively new section, the membership of ALS is dedicated, knowledgeable, and growing every year. With a wide array of projects, and a track record of success, ALS provides members with many different opportunities to get involved. Most recently, members have successfully led or supported legislation involving the prohibition on shark finning as well as greyhound racing; drawn national attention to problems associated with commercial puppy mills and big cat ownership; advocated for the expanded use of therapy dogs in courtrooms; and increased the penalty for crimes committed against a police, fire, or search and rescue dogs. In addition, ALS is developing a first of its kind Treatise on Animal Law.
There is no doubt that animals improve our lives. Whether providing assistance to those in need, offering therapeutic benefits, enhancing biodiversity, supporting economic prosperity through ecotourism, or as loyal and steadfast companions, their contribution to society cannot be overstated.
For those of you already members, welcome back. For those who are not yet members, I invite you to join us in using and advancing the legal system for the protection and conservation of animal species, and for the betterment of mankind.
John K. Powell, Esq., P.E.
Chair, Animal Law Section