Jessica Rubin, professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law

Rubin

Jessica Rubin—a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law who’s at the forefront of a new law in that state, allowing judges to appoint legal advocates for abused animals in criminal cases—recalls her strong kinship with animals growing up, including that her mother ran a small rescue out of their home. desmonds-lawRubin notes that she became an activist early on, working in college alongside such major figures as Peter Singer and Steven Wise, and decided to attend law school, in part, so as to be able to work more effectively on animals’ behalf. After a stint working for a law firm, she began teaching at the UConn law school, and boosting her animal-related pro bono efforts. Increasingly concerned that animal cruelty cases were often failing to result in convictions—and further inspired by the horrors of a case involving a dog named Desmond, who was starved, beaten and strangled to death by a vengeful boyfriend, yet under the state’s accelerated rehabilitation provision, the perpetrator’s criminal record was later wiped clean–she and Connecticut State Representative Diana Urban began fashioning the bill that eventually became this new law. Rubin explains how it works, including that she (well, actually the law Jessica Rubin, Taylor Hansenschool, so that she can “staff” it with her law students) occupies one of eight positions as selected volunteer advocates, who are able to interview witnesses and experts, write briefs, make recommendation to a judge, and speak in court. In the first case under the law, Rubin recounts, her student, Taylor Hansen (pictured standing next to Rubin,  speaking into the microphone) served as the advocate. This is the first such law in the country, Rubin knows it’s being closely watched by legal communities and animal activists in other states, and hopes others in the country will enact comparable laws of their own.

 

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ALSO: I spoke briefly with Ted Koran, co-founder of The Critter Place, a 30-year-old sanctuary in Weeki Wachi, Florida, where he’s caring for nearly 70 animals, pretty much singlehandedly. He’s facing some formidable challenges, including a recent medical diagnosis, and would certainly welcome help of one kind or another—people heading out to the sanctuary to volunteer, making donations, adopting some of The Critter Place animals, etc. (www.facebook.com/TheCritterPlace, www.facebook.com/tedkoran)

 

COMEDY CORNER: Paul F. Tompkins’ “Alternative Pets ” (http://paulftompkins.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

 NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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