The Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills provides students with experience in ensuring companion animals are treated humanely and in compliance with local ordinances and state laws in the greater Athens community.

    Working under the supervision of Professor Lisa Milot, students will assist local animal law enforcement personnel and veterinary professionals to identify and investigate crimes and ordinance violations concerning companion animals, including ride-alongs with animal control officers and participating in witness interviews and arraignments. Students will work with community members to come into compliance with the laws and assist in prosecuting offenses. They may also have an opportunity to undertake related policy work such as statutory drafting and analysis.

    The seminar portion of the practicum will provide students with a background in the laws, regulations, and procedures applicable to the practice area. Moreover, students will present their current cases during this time to allow for collaborative learning and problem-solving development.

    This is a one-semester practicum for 4 credits. It involves two mandatory full-day workshops at the beginning of each semester and students will be expected to spend 125 hours per semester (an average of approximately 9 hours per week) on practicum-related work. This work will not be distributed evenly during the semester and may require weekend fieldwork at times; student should expect high and low periods of work based on caseload demands.


    For 2019-2020, the workshop dates are:

       Fall semester: Wednesday, August 21 and Saturday, September 7

       Spring semester: Wednesday, January 15 and Saturday, January 25


    Much of the practicum’s work will occur at locations such as Athens-Clarke County Animal Control and local veterinarian offices that are not easily accessible by walking or through public transportation, so participating students must have a reliable means of transportation. The cases will involve animal cruelty and other emotionally difficult offenses and at times may be high conflict; students must be prepared to deal with these issues in a professional way. 


    There are no prerequisites. Students not enrolling in the practicum in the following semester are expected to transition their cases to incoming students or the professor. Rising 2Ls and 3Ls, as well as UGA graduate students outside of the School of Law, may apply, as well as rising seniors in the undergraduate Criminal Justice Studies Program, SPIA, and pre-veterinary medicine majors. Students continuing from the fall semester will be given priority in spring enrollment. In Spring 2019, there was only one space available for a new enrollee.


    Students will be required to keep timesheets, a reflective journal, and a class journal and will be graded based on the quality of their legal work (including fieldwork and assigned written work) and on their participation in the workshops.

    Enrollment in the Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills is by permission of the instructor only. It is limited to 8 students per semester. The professor will make enrollment decisions primarily on the basis of the practicum application form and preference in the spring semester will be given to students continuing from the fall. In addition to the application, interested students will need to submit a resume.

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