Do Animals Have Any Rights in Court?

Animal abuse and neglect are far too prevalent, but very few animal cruelty cases actually result in convictions. In Connecticut, however, a new law actually gives animals a voice in such legal matters by providing court-appointed advocates to represent the animals. Animal advocates can do investigative work, make arguments, write briefs, and make recommendations to the judge. Seven lawyers and a law professor in the state are approved as volunteer advocates, and in June 2017, the first advocate testified in court in a dog-fighting case.

The consequences for animal cruelty:

  • Between 2006 and 2016, only 19 percent of Connecticut's 3,723 animal abuse or cruelty cases ended in convictions. Eighty percent of the cases were dismissed or not prosecuted.
  • Studies have found connections between animal abuse and violence against humans. For example, the Chicago Police Department found that 65 percent of those arrested for crimes against animals had also been arrested for battery.
  • Desmond's Law was named after a shelter dog that was starved, beaten, and strangled to death in 2012, according to The Hartford Courant.
More Info: NPR

Discussion Comments


Yes. Justice at last. Animals should have rights in court.


It is time something was done for these poor animals that cannot speak for themselves.

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