Student group hosts event honoring Delaware legislators
Public Relations - Published: February 14, 2013
2013SALDFHumaneSocietyAwardsPromo 235pxWidener Law’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund organization, in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States, will host a ceremony that honors two Delaware legislators for their work on behalf of animals.

The Feb. 20 event will recognize Delaware Sen. Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere) and state Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow). They will each receive a Humane Legislator Award given by The Humane Society of the United States. The program will begin at 5 p.m. in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom in the Main Law Building on the Delaware campus.

The program is open to the public. Blevins and Jacques will both speak, after receiving their awards, about the development and passage of humane laws and the importance of animal protection laws.

The Humane Society of the United States bestows legislator awards annually to elected officials who have been leaders in the development of laws that protect animals. The law school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) extended an invitation to host the event as it coincides with the organization’s mission to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Widener Law began providing classes in animal law in 2004 and the area of law continues to grow in popularity.

“We are pleased to welcome The Humane Society of the United States and these elected officials to Widener Law for this special event,” said student Danielle DiPillo, president of SALDF. “Public service is part of the culture at Widener and this is an excellent opportunity for our organization members, and other students, to witness its rewards. SALDF is grateful to be part of this event and have this opportunity to learn more from our guests about important current issues affecting animals.”

Blevins led the initiative for Delaware’s low-cost spay/neuter law, which funds those services for income-eligible pet owners. It is funded through a $3 rabies vaccination surcharge. She also led the effort to define standards of care for animals in shelters, and procedures to ensure animals receive every opportunity to be adopted. Most recently she was the primary sponsor of legislation, signed into law in August, that defines continuous dog tethering as a crime of animal cruelty. She also established and chairs the state’s Animal Welfare Task Force, which convened last year.

“I am honored to receive this award, particularly because it reflects the passion that I hold for protecting animals. Animals enrich our lives and they deserve our best efforts to make their lives happy and free from suffering,” Blevins said.

“Sen. Blevins has made a career of helping those in our community who cannot speak for themselves. She is a passionate leader when advocating for laws that assist animals and their human counterparts,” said Hetti Brown, Delaware state director for The HSUS.

Jaques was the primary House sponsor of legislation to end Delaware’s role in the global shark finning industry by prohibiting the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins. He was also a lead sponsor on the dog tethering animal cruelty legislation, and worked to help get the bill passed.

“I am so honored to receive this award, although I believe I’m just doing what anyone would do. Protecting those who can’t speak for themselves, like our animals, is something everyone of us needs to do each and every day,” Jaques said.

Brown added, “Rep. Jaques is a vocal advocate for animal protection. His commitment to ensuring humane treatment of companion animals and wildlife is evident in the way he champions initiatives to protect them.”