Paws and the law

Attorney Christina Kraemer is one of five students in the world’s first animal law master’s program at Lewis & Clark Law School. As part of a legislative internship, she’s drafted suggested changes to Apple Valley’s animal ordinance, which can be viewed at Facebook.com/avanimalwelfare. (Photo submitted)

Attorney Christina Kraemer is one of five students in the world’s first animal law master’s program at Lewis & Clark Law School. As part of a legislative internship, she’s drafted suggested changes to Apple Valley’s animal ordinance, which can be viewed at Facebook.com/avanimalwelfare. (Photo submitted)

As a student at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Christina Kraemer spent a good share of her time studying at a friend’s home in Apple Valley. She’d blow off steam between study sessions by walking the city’s neighborhoods with her dog, Nika.

After earning her law degree at William Mitchell in 2008, the lifelong dog lover enrolled in the world’s first master’s program in animal law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore. Mitchell’s coursework there has her once again turning her attention to Apple Valley.

As part of a legislative internship in animal law, the grad students were required to select a municipality under 50,000 people and draft proposals related to the city’s animal ordinances.

Earlier this month, Kraemer submitted four proposals to Apple Valley City Council members for them to review. One proposal suggests restrictions on animal ownership for repeat offenders of the city’s animal ordinance, another calls for an increase in licensing fees for dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered.

Kraemer entered the Lewis & Clark master’s program in September and plans to graduate in June. The animal law program, now in its second year, is the first of its kind, and Kraemer is one of five students enrolled.

She said she was motivated to focus on animal law in her legal studies following the death of her dog Mojo, who was shot and killed during a police incident in her home state of New Mexico when she was 28.

“It was a catalyst for me wanting to learn more about animal protection and animal law,” she said.

Animal law comes into play in a wide range of legal arenas, she said. Criminal animal abuse, pet custody claims, veterinary malpractice and wildlife habitat protection all fall within its purview.

As for the proposals Kraemer submitted to Apple Valley officials, she encourages residents of the city to read her suggestions and leave comments at Facebook.com/avanimalwelfare.

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