I am a bird lawyer, I practice bird law ("animal law"), AMA!
I work in KCMO and help pet owners and businesses with animal related matters, as well as family law and general criminal defense.
I have never seen the Always Sunny episode. Sorry.
EDIT: Gotta run and catch stuff at this Clio Conference. Thanks for the questions, everyone!
I have watched quite a bit but haven't gotten to that one!
I'm calling kangaroo court.
It's literally a running gag for the last six years
I find it strange no one has mentioned this to her by now.
Because I didn't get to the season it started yet. My friends told me about it and I've watched the McPoyle trial on YouTube.
so do you love harvey birdman, or not?
Love is such a strong word.
What is the average air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European?
I KNEW I LIKED YOU
Would you like to come to Camelot?
1.) Do you get to let parrots testify?
2.) What's the most ridiculous "dangerous dog" case you've had?
3.) What's your favorite emotional support animal?
Edit: 4.) Favorite Muppet, and why is it Sam the Eagle.
- Nope, but never had an occasion for that to come up either...
- Any time the "victims" don't show up.
- Dogs. They can do so much as service animals and ESAs.
Do you also practice Tree Law?
Only the birds in the trees!
How does the Rule of Perpetuities impact your animal law practice?
Where Seabiscuit's genetic lineage is Blackacre.
Law school flashbacks... I'm not crying, you're crying.
Why animal rights law? And how did you get into it?
It's not so much animal rights as it is helping pet owners. To me, animal rights is the pie in the sky idea that isn't really attainable without a lot of laws changing or fighting that fight like ALDF, at least in my state.
I started by getting involved in the Animal Law Society and then got a position as student certified attorney with the city prosecutor's office and helped with the animal dockets specifically. I learned a lot and learned that it is more about education and help than punishing people. From there I saw a need to help owners and here we are, it's a growing practice area for me.
Have you ever had to deal with hybrid domestic and wild animals? What do you do?
Had client get a ticket for a "wild/hybrid animal" in the city limits. Didn't know what type of animal it was until he came and I REALLY wanted it to be an ocelet (insert Archer references please). It was a Bengal cat. They were using WIKIPEDIA as their basis that this Bengal was a hybrid animal. I had an expert witness lined up and the city was going to bring in the zoo's vet. Then the cat passed away before trial and the city threw out the ticket. I really wanted to try that case! I think the judge would've agreed with me.
Not sure how costly these are but couldn't a blood/genetic test establish this beyond reasonable doubt?
It's an option but takes time to get. Still need someone to talk about the results, too.
But a bengal is a hybrid... A cross between as Asian leopard cat ( Prionailurus bengalensis ) and the domestic housecat.
They have less than a 16th in most cases.
But all bengals have varying degree of hybridization.
And at the D4 level of breeding, they're deemed domesticated according to vets.
is bird law in this country governed by reason?
Are animals property or something more in the legal world?
MO considers animals property, which is good and bad depending on what the situation is. There have been states assigning special status to animals, but not here for a bit.
If you could have one law animal-related law passed, what would it be?
Something to help owners when pets are stolen or hurt by someone.
What is it now, just conversion/other property crimes? Why are those insufficient?
You can do a conversion claim and all of that, but if you have two competing owners what do you do? And there's not really a clear civil claim for someone hurting your pet intentionally.
Do you employ a pet detective?
Ace is too expensive. And no need for a private investigator yet!
Did you have anything to do with the June 2017 bar exam MPT question about bird law
Also who's your favorite KC rapper
No idea what was on the exam in 2017. What was the question??
Emotional support peacock... yes or no?
ESA is tricksy, but I would say no, not reasonable. They're not a companion animal.
Do you think that there's going to be new guidance forthcoming on ESAs, especially in housing? Right now the practice seems to have gone way beyond initial intent. I believe some Canadian provinces simply forbid no-pet clauses in leases, which would be a simpler approach, but I doubt that would ever fly here--what do you think?
Not sure, I think it's worth exploring. I just don't want to diminish those who actually need an ESA.
What, in your opinion, is the worst bird?
Any that shit on my car.
What is the highest amount of money you've seen (or heard of) at stake in a case relating to "bird law"?
There have been a couple police shooting dogs situations with high settlements (I think a million or more?). That's all I can think of right now. I know a colleague of mine got a significant settlement for death of a dog in KS.
What issue would you say you see the most in regards to businesses and animal related matters?
Businesses want to protect themselves with service agreements. That's been my focus so far.
In law school did you know that you'd go into this area? Do they even have classes on animal law?
I knew I wanted to but I never really knew how until I got into the city prosecutor's office. I've been looking for more and more ways to help ever since.
What are some typical animal-related matters?
I help a lot of dangerous dog claims. City ordinances on this are VERY poorly written: vague and unenforceable. In one city near me, if your dog looks the wrong way at someone and that person feels threatened (and reports it), your dog can be deemed dangerous. It's absurd. I also help with abuse and neglect claims for people. I have also helped a couple cases where there were agreements for purchases of dogs and then those agreements fell through.
How difficult is it to find legal research resources in this area of law? Are you usually breaking relatively new ground when you file complaints?
Actually, it's using well articulated areas of law and applying them to my situations. Judges so far have been really receptive to this idea and it helps them have something to guide their decision. I have not yet had to pave the way for new law but maybe soon!
Did you get that thing I sent you?
i smoke a cigarette a day, on my back porch. about halfway through i can count on this stupid bird swooping down and stealing it and flying off. this bird has now gotten cancer, and is trying to sue me. what do i do?
Laugh at him until you get served.
What do you think about litigation and cases where humans are attempting to assert rights on behalf of non-humans, e.g. the case that argued that the animal that snapped that selfie with a photographer's camera should own the copyright (and thus receive revenue)?
It's a slippery slope and could potentially cause more problems than intended. However, I think there does need to be some better protections and laws for owners of animals.
What city or county ordinance related to your work would you change if you had the opportunity?
Breed Specific Legislation. It does nothing but cause problems for the city and hasn't actually helped prevent attacks.
Is there BSL in KCMO? I'm super surprised to hear that, there are a lot of APBTs there
KCMO currently has a mandatory spay/neuter, which is better than BSL but not perfect. However, there are other nearby cities that do have the bans. Not sure what APBT stands for and too lazy to Google right now.
My wife desperately wants to get a mini-horse, but our city's ordinances regarding such a beast are vague. The city is deferring to county regulations, which don't really cover mini horses. We just don't want to just get a mini and hope it all works out. What's the bet way to proceed?
You probably want to look into local laws with an attorney in your area.
Bird law?... Have you represented a bird yet?
Do you know who I am? Do you even go here?
What are the big differences between repping domestic animal owners/dealers/breeders/etc. versus wild animal owners (like zoos)?
Wild animal owners have strict liability issues that make it much harder to get any leeway. Also, zoos have way more issues than just animal related things, like slip and fall and employment problems. Domestic animal owners (cats, dogs, pigs, ferrets, etc.) face more city and county charges that have more flexibility in how to solve the problems they're facing.
Don't you know about the bird?
Are there any birds you think you would refuse to represent?
Do you have any Caw-caw-tionary tales to tell?
I am not sure I can say I wouldn't represent a specific bird, but I would love to represent a flamingo.
They're really really stinky. You sure about that?
I don't have to live with it, just represent it!
How do you speak to the birds, then translate it for the court?
Hire an expert.
Is it legal to keep a hummingbird as a pet?
Going to depend on what city/state you live in! I think KCMO might say no, but I'd have to check for sure. Also, this is not legal advice and I'm not your attorney. :)
Wouldn't keeping a hummingbird as a pet violate the Migratory Bird Act though?
Very true! Looks like a federal permit is needed. Good luck getting one.
Saw this post at the top of my page after I lost all 4 of my parakeets today due to my parents’ neglect. They left the cage outside and some animal opened it, letting all of them escape. All the responsibility falls on me but for some reason my parents refused to spend a dime to send them to the vet when my birds are ill (and I can’t afford it being a student).
I’m afraid they’ll just buy more parakeets to keep themselves company but neglect them again. Is there any way to somehow prevent them from buying any more birds? I’m already mourning the loss of my birds and I don’t want anymore to be hurt.
That's rough and is going to depend on your relationship with your parents. Legally the thing I'd recommend is reporting to local animal control. That may not be possible for you if you need to preserve your relationship with your parents. Practically though, you could try to figure out how to tell sellers not to sell to them, assuming you know where they're buying from.
Reminder that I'm not your lawyer, just brain storming.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Was it legal for it to cross the road where it chose to cross or was the chicken J-walking? Are any other charges pending on the chicken?
If the chicken is loose and not confined, he's a criminal! Well, his owner is anyways.
This is kind of a rabbit hole question, sorry. Are you familiar at all with the current dichotomy within the world of dog training that is balanced trainers vs force free trainers? Basically people who use all 4 quadrants of operant conditioning vs those who try to use only two. The dog training industry is entirely unregulated, and a lot of people on both sides want some sort of legally recognised regulation for the industry, but the main argument is who decides the rules of regulation. What are your opinions on this, if any? Also any opinion on tool bans, and whether or not it is acceptable to entirely legally ban the use of a physical training tool due to an ethical bias against using them, as well as there being very few recent and thorough studies citing the points that one side argues for in different contexts beyond people training pet dogs poorly?
There is a lot to this and I'm not very knowledgeable on it. I'd have to reach out to some trainers and vets for opinions. Off the top of my head, it probably depends on what the dogs are being trained for. Police dogs and service dogs have different outcomes to their training. Then you have dogs that need basic obedience training. Regulations may be a good option and I would imagine it would have to be a legislative push to get a certificate through one of the state boards (vet, probably?). It'd be interesting to delve into and see if it's something that could be done without pissing off the farmers in MO (their lobby is huuuuge).
Joe's or Jack Stacks?
Depends on how I'm feeling but usually Joe's.
What's your stance on the rights of emus?
Note: if this question seems odd, take a look at my user flair in r/bestoflegaladvice
I'm missing context and can't see because I'm on my phone. However, I don't want to start any emu wars.
Did you go to bird school? Do you enjoy your job and would you have ever thought this is what you'd end up doing? Or, as a child, did you just one day sit down and go, "I'M GONNA BE AN ANIMAL LAWYER!"?
I do like my job a lot! It's stressful but the pros outweigh the cons. Also, I didn't grow up thinking it, but as soon as I knew I wanted to go to law school I wondered if I could.
Do you have a fursona, and is it a bird?
Also, considering that Bird Person's marriage to Tammy was based on a false identity, is it binding or nah?
But really, what's the craziest case you've had (that you can tell us about)?
I think my family law cases top my animal cases.
Harvey is that you?
Who is asking?
Can they force my Scarlet Macaw to testify against me in court or is it like my spouse?
... Are you married to your macaw?
Judgment or Judgement and can we be friends again?
Judgment in the USA. We never stopped being friends! Let's go see how to help your fox get out of the box.
Or you know, the mod was sitting next to me at the time. There's that, too. Also the picture is from my Facebook page. Reverse Google search that.
will you post bikini pics?
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