Animal Legal Defense Fund Names Urban As Top Ten Defender Of Animals

March 5, 2018

It's very exciting to be notified you have won an award and it's just plain fun when FedEx finally delivers it! -- Diana

“The most important issue that I have worked on – and continue to focus on – is the link between animal cruelty and future violent behaviors. The shooter in the recent tragedy in Florida had mutilated animals and used them for targets. If we had paid attention to that, we could have saved children,” Rep. Diana Urban said after the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, recognized her as one of America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders.

The national list includes top prosecutors, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and others who champion the cause of animal crime victims honored during National Justice for Animals Week beginning Feb. 25.

Each year, National Justice for Animals Week recognizes these individuals’ outstanding contributions to the protection of animals, raises public awareness about animal abuse and advises advocates how to pass stronger laws and demand better enforcement for acts of animal cruelty.

The organization honored Urban for her achievement in leading the passage of Desmond’s Law, the nation’s first statutory animal advocate position in criminal cruelty cases. Also recognized as a Top Ten Defender was Professor Jessica Rubin of the University of Connecticut School of Law, who championed Desmond’s and is among the first attorneys approved to volunteer as an animal advocate.

Desmond’s Law allows judges in criminal animal cruelty cases to appoint advocates for animal victims. The law honors the memory of Desmond, a shelter dog who was starved, beaten and strangled to death by his owner, who, despite having admitted his guilt upon arrest, was able to avoid jail time and have the crime left off his record after rehabilitation.