May 2014           News | Upcoming Programs & CLE | Reports | Get Involved


"Parrot Confidential" - Examining Parrots in Captivity
May 15
6:30 - 8:30 PM

Parrots are among the world's most popular pets. However, unlike dogs and cats, parrots are not domesticated and require specialized care for their 70+ year lifespans. This program will feature a screening of the documentary, "Parrot Confidential," followed by a discussion of the legal and factual issues related to parrot captivity.

"Death at Seaworld": Examining Killer Whales in Captivity
May 27
6:30 - 8:30 PM

The subject of marine mammal captivity has recently generated considerable public interest and debate, particularly concerning the associated animal welfare and public safety issues. This program will discuss the legal and factual implications of marine mammal captivity and feature author David Kirby, who will discuss his book "Death at SeaWorld," which examines the exhibition of orcas by the entertainment industry.


Lobbying 101: Having a Voice in New York City, Albany & Washington, D.C.
April 30
9:00 am -
12:00 pm

A practical introduction to the subject of advocacy and lobbying. The panel will cover the nuts and bolts of how to build an effective advocacy campaign--and how to do so within the law. A 50% discount will be granted to attorneys working for government agencies, public interest groups, full-time students and full-time academics.


Missed a Program? You Can Still Benefit! CLE Programs' CDs, DVDs and other course
materials can be found on the website.


Animal Lobbying 101

Pictured L-R: City Bar Assistant Legislative Director Elizabeth Kocienda, Bill Ketzer of the ASPCA, Brian Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, and Animal Law Committee Chair Christine Mott presented at a February event "Animal Law Lobbying 101: Examining Animal Advocacy on the Local, State and Federal Level."

ABA Lobby Day

Pictured L-R: City Bar Legislative Director Maria Cilenti; NYSBA past President Mark Alcott; Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez; NYSBA President-elect Glenn Lau-Kee; NYSBA Director of Governmental Relations Ron Kennedy.

City Bar Legislative Director Maria Cilenti participated in the ABA’s annual lobby day in Washington D.C. during the week of April 7th. During her trip Maria visited New York delegation member offices and, among other issues, she conveyed the City Bar’s support for continued Legal Services Corporation funding as well as for passage of the “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act,” which would combat the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the resulting risks poised to public health, the environment and animal welfare.

President’s Column
City Bar President Carey Dunne discusses the Association’s efforts to issue and convey policy recommendations on a wide range of topics, including animal issues, to the de Blasio administration as it has taken shape. Check out his latest column “Beyond November: The City Bar and the New Mayor.”

New Guide: Reporting Animal Cruelty or Neglect
The Committee on Animal Law compiled A Guide to Reporting Suspected Animal Cruelty or Neglect in New York State that provides the appropriate agencies, along with phone numbers, to contact in New York State in order to report suspected animal cruelty or neglect.

Mute Swans

The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.8790/S.6589, which would impose a two-year moratorium on the implementation of the Proposed Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In addition, the proposed legislation would require the DEC to demonstrate the actual damage to the environment or other species that have been caused by the mute swan population. The report supports the proposed legislation because: 1) the underlying determination that mute swans meet the statutory definition of an invasive species requires further analysis and the Draft Swan Plan does not make the case for exterminating the entire free-ranging population of mute swans; and 2) the Draft Swan Plan was issued prematurely.

Commercial Bull-Running Events
In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the Committee on Animal Law called attention to a series of commercial bull-running events that are being held around the country, in which participants pay a fee to enter a race track where bulls are released to sprint alongside the participants, with no barrier between them and the bulls. The Committee wrote that the event appeared to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, posing serious dangers to the bulls and humans involved, and recommended that the Secretary take all necessary steps to address the animal welfare and public safety concerns associated with these events as mandated by the Act.

Killer Whale "Lolita"
In response to a request for comments, the Committee on Animal Law expressed support for the proposal that would include the killer whale "Lolita" as a protected member of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (the Act). The Committee urged that the language of the Act be amended by removing the exclusion of captive members of the population. The exclusion of captive members of a population, the letter noted, impacts endangered and threatened specimens, and, as such, an interpretation allowing for separate legal status creates a loophole in the law that is inconsistent with the intent of the law and its implementation in other cases.

Committee Involvement--It's Never too Late
Committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done. Working on a committee can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, some you may not even anticipate.

A full list of the City Bar committees along with a brief description of each and an application form can be found on the City Bar’s website. As a number of City Bar committees have more applicants than available slots, please consider applying to more than one committee.

For more information about the Animal Law Committee and some of their previous publications, you can go to their committee page.

Legislative Affairs
Have an interest in or questions about the City Bar’s legislative work? Send an email to, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Updates include recent City Bar reports, news and upcoming programs in a particular practice area and are issued periodically to City Bar members.