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Environmental Law Center

Enforcement and Prosecution of Large-Animal and Large-Scale Cruelty Cases

Thursday, June 5, 2014
4:45pm - 6:00pm
#110 Oakes Hall, Vermont Law School

"Enforcement and Prosecution of Large-Animal and Large-Scale Cruelty Cases "

presented by
Sherry Ramsey, Director of Animal Cruelty Prosecutions, The Humane Society of the United States

In 2009, Vermonters were stunned by revelations about sadistic and routine abuses of infant veal calves at the Bushway Packing plant in Grand Isle. This case, and other cruelty cases involving the abuse or neglect of farmed animals, hoarded animals, or animals in breeding facilities present unique and challenging problems for the community, law enforcement, and the prosecutor handling the case. This lecture will discuss these problems and ways to limit the costs as well as provide for the best treatment for the animals involved and tools to provide for a successful investigation and prosecution.

Understanding how to charge these cases as well as important sentencing considerations will also be discussed.

This lecture will cover a discussion of these issues, including:
- an overview of Vermont's cruelty laws and agricultural regulations;
- understanding exemptions and conflicting regulations; and
- important tools in investigating, enforcing and charging animal cruelty and animal fighting cases.

Sherry Ramsey is a licensed attorney in NY and NJ.  She is employed by the Humane Society of the United States as Director of Animal Cruelty Prosecutions, where she focuses on training law enforcement, prosecutors and judges on animal cruelty and fighting cases and working with prosecutors from around the country on effective cruelty prosecutions.  Sherry previously worked as an Assistant Prosecutor in NJ and in private practice where she focused on animal law.   She has written numerous articles on prosecuting animal cruelty for legal and judicial publications.   Sherry is also an adjunct professor teaching Animal Law at New York Law School.  Her website can be found at

 The event is free and open to the public. One (1) Vermont Bar Association (VBA) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit is available to those who participate. Co-sponsors are the Environmental Law Center, the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, and the Animal Law Society at VLS.