Jessica Rubin, professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law

by | Jun 28, 2017

Jessica Rubin—a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law who’s at the forefront of a new law in that state, allowing judges to appoint legal advocates for abused animals in criminal cases—recalls her strong kinship with animals growing up, including that her mother ran a small rescue out of their home. desmonds-lawRubin notes that she became an activist early on, working in college alongside such major figures as Peter Singer and Steven Wise, and decided to attend law school, in part, so as to be able to work more effectively on animals’ behalf. After a stint working for a law firm, she began teaching at the UConn law school, and boosting her animal-related pro bono efforts. Increasingly concerned that animal cruelty cases were often failing to result in convictions—and further inspired by the horrors of a case involving a dog named Desmond, who was starved, beaten and strangled to death by a vengeful boyfriend, yet under the state’s accelerated rehabilitation provision, the perpetrator’s criminal record was later wiped clean–she and Connecticut State Representative Diana Urban began fashioning the bill that eventually became this new law. Rubin explains how it works, including that she (well, actually the law Jessica Rubin, Taylor Hansenschool, so that she can “staff” it with her law students) occupies one of eight positions as selected volunteer advocates, who are able to interview witnesses and experts, write briefs, make recommendation to a judge, and speak in court. In the first case under the law, Rubin recounts, her student, Taylor Hansen (pictured standing next to Rubin,  speaking into the microphone) served as the advocate. This is the first such law in the country, Rubin knows it’s being closely watched by legal communities and animal activists in other states, and hopes others in the country will enact comparable laws of their own.



ALSO: I spoke briefly with Ted Koran, co-founder of The Critter Place, a 30-year-old sanctuary in Weeki Wachi, Florida, where he’s caring for nearly 70 animals, pretty much singlehandedly. He’s facing some formidable challenges, including a recent medical diagnosis, and would certainly welcome help of one kind or another—people heading out to the sanctuary to volunteer, making donations, adopting some of The Critter Place animals, etc. (,


COMEDY CORNER: Paul F. Tompkins’ “Alternative Pets ” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

 NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.


Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window

Sign up for Updates

Get weekly updates about upcoming shows and events!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Talking Animals. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Archives by Date

In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)