Student Organization Spotlight: Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) is a fairly new organization at Georgia State University College Law, determined to provide its members with unique experiences.
While you can tell a person’s character by the company they keep, these students can’t be defined just by the adorable dogs and cats they have taken into their homes and hearts, including foster pets from Hurricane Harvey. The student organization is a close-knit group of friends, who are aware of the rigors of both school and animal rights issues. They rely on monthly SALDF social events to unwind, a time when they close their casebooks, relax and have some fun to maintain a happy school/life balance.
The three-year old group is already connecting with the law community and working on legislative measures to ensure the welfare of animals. Bailey Edwards (J.D. ’18), the president of the organization, said “We are currently assisting Tamara Feliciano, a managing attorney at Coleman Legal Group, who is suing Petland, a pet store that maintains an inventory of dogs from puppy breeding mills.”
Feliciano filed suit with the national chapter of ALDF, and because the case is in the Northern District of Georgia the GSU chapter is hoping to help her with legal research to effect policy changes.
Policy and legislative measures are at the forefront of the organization’s mission. Most recently, the chapter held a “lunch and learn” event, where Feliciano spoke about the importance of being active at the Georgia State Capitol. She urged students to become familiar with reading legislation, as well as approaching and speaking to legislators, emphasizing how gaining those skills will make students better lawyers.
The learning experience for SALDF isn’t limited to just those interested in saving animals. “We know animal rights will most likely not be someone’s sole area of focus, but we do want to encourage it as a pro bono opportunity in an area that needs significant assistance. And because animal law covers a lot of different laws, you gain lawyerly skills in various areas,” said Edwards, referencing Feliciano’s upcoming research project on tax liens to illustrate the diversity of learning experiences.
SALDF Treasurer Honey Shaw (J.D. ’19) said the organization also participates in volunteer work in the community. “The majority of lawyers we work with have access to resources that we can use to help the Atlanta community, so we try to participate in local festivals like the East Atlanta Strut. It’s where we meet a lot of our volunteer partners. Plus, it’s fun to do good work while hanging out with friends.”
Stay up to date with SALDF’s upcoming projects and meet-ups by following them on Facebook>>