Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Ley para el Bienestar y la Protección de los Animales" - Ley Núm. 154 de 4 de agosto de 2008

Puerto Rico has a new Animal Protection Law - "Ley para el Bienestar y la Protección de los Animales" (Ley Núm. 154 de 4 de agosto de 2008) - which completely substitutes Law 67 of May 31, 1973, as amended as well as a number of other statutes dealing with animal protection and rights.

My congratulations to all my fellow members of the Colegio de Abogados' Comisión Especial Sobre los Derechos de los Animales who put so many hours into researching, discussing, drafting, reviewing and providing this legislation to key legislators so as to assure that it would be approved. I take special pride in having been of some assistance. But more than anything else, I take great pride in the dedication shown by all of the Special Commission's members - both lawyers and many non-lawyers, including veterinarians and representatives of various organizations such as the Humane Society of Puerto Rico, Save a Sato and others.

Our work is certainly not done, since it is no use to have animal protection laws if we do not educate judges, prosecutors, police officers, and most important of all, the population at large, as to the importance of protecting, respecting and defending our animals. The commission has a busy agenda in this regards, with a strong focus on educating school age youngsters on the importance of protecting animals.

For me working with other Commission members has truly been one of my most enjoyable experiences as a lawyer. While I'm a criminal defense attorney, and not all of my clients are innocent, in this case I can truly say all of my clients are innocent.