KU News Release


May 19, 2010
Contact: Mindie Paget, School of Law, (785) 864-9205

Law student earns Animal Legal Defense Fund's national scholarship

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LAWRENCE — The Animal Legal Defense Fund has awarded a University of Kansas School of Law student one of three national Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships for her outstanding work in the growing field of animal law.

Katie Bray Barnett, who just wrapped up her second year of legal studies at KU, founded the law school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter last fall. Barnett has spent years working in animal rescue and coordinating adoptions and spay/neuter surgeries for countless animals. She has helped with large-scale animal rescues, participated in dogfighting seizures and assisted law enforcement with the evaluation of seized dogs. The scholarship includes $5,000 for tuition for the 2010-11 academic year.


Katie Barnett and Leonidas

“In any area of law, being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is incredibly rewarding,” Barnett said. “I’ve always loved working with animals, and I am honored that the ALDF is supporting my continued work through this scholarship.”

As an intern last summer at Best Friends Animal Society, Barnett conducted research for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s amicus curiae brief in the landmark U.S. v. Stevens case involving dogfighting videos. She also attended oral arguments in the case at the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2009. Barnett published a scholarly article in the Journal of Animal Law and Ethics on “Breed Discriminatory Legislation: How DNA Will Remedy the Unfairness.” She presented the paper at the University of Baltimore’s animal law symposium in April.

Barnett graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s in political science and a minor in public law. She is the daughter of Lesa Roberts and Michael Bray, both of Topeka, and is a graduate of Topeka West High School. She worked for the city attorney’s office in Springfield, Mo., for several years and in the complex litigation field for nearly five years before entering law school. Barnett has been a law clerk for Best Friends Animal Society since May 2009. She has two pit bull mix dogs — including a three-legged rescue dog named Leonidas — who are both Delta Society therapy dogs who visit schools, hospitals and participate in community outreach programs.

“Every time Leonidas pulls himself up on the couch or paces himself up the stairs, I am inspired to keep working to ensure laws protect animals like him,” Barnett said. “Also, because it is well-established that people who are violent to animals most often are, or end up being, violent toward people, it is important to have enough resources to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty. As animal advocates, we can protect people by protecting animals.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships are awarded to second- and third-year law student members of student chapters based upon demonstrated commitment to the organizations’s mission: to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.


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