Animal Law Writing Contest

The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers' Association and Animal Health Institute offered law students an opportunity to engage in a scholarly discussion and debate of legal issues related to animals and animal law.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014-15 Animal Law Writing Contest:

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the AVMA. Animal law is an interesting and growing field, and I appreciated the opportunity to use my legal education to analyze a key issue in this area.”
                                —Christopher Moores


  • 1st Place - $2500 cash prize (plus round-trip airfare, one-night accommodation and ground transportation) to attend the American Veterinary Medical Law Association's Annual Meeting*
  • 2nd Place - $1000 cash prize

* The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will select the air carrier, hotel and ground transportation to allow the 1st place winner to attend the American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA) annual meeting. Only travel expenses pre-approved by AVMA will be reimbursed.


Participants must be currently enrolled at an American Bar Association-accredited law school located in the United States. Entrants may participate in the writing of only one entry per contest. The names of entrants will be held in confidence until judging of articles has been completed.


Entries must contain original work done exclusively by a single author. No paper that has been previously published in any form shall be considered.

  • Double-spaced, 8 ½ x 11 inch size papers with one-inch margins
  • Paper typed in 12-pt. Times New Roman font
  • Sent via email as word document attachment
  • 10-20 pages in length
  • Include single-spaced 10-pt. Times New Roman font footnotes (not endnotes)
  • Use citation format commonly used in your individual discipline

Entrants are required to complete and return a cover sheet and certification page with his or her essay, which includes:

  • Entrant's full name, address (mail and e-mail), and telephone number
  • Name of school and year of study
  • Date of submission of paper
  • Certification that the submission is original, has not had prior publication in any form, it will not be submitted for publication elsewhere, and that the entrant transfers all rights, title, and ownership interests in the submission to the sponsors.

*Submissions that do not comply with all of the requirements above will not be accepted.


For the 2014-15 contest, participants were instructed to provide an in-depth analysis of one of the two following topics:

  1. Beginning March 2015, retailers in the City of Chicago may offer for sale only those dogs, cats or rabbits that the retailer has obtained from animal control centers, animal care facilities, government-operated shelters, humane societies or rescue organizations. Provide a constitutional analysis of the ordinance (Section 4-384-015, Municipal Code of Chicago).


  2. Los Angeles County has adopted an ordinance requiring all cats and dogs to be spayed or neutered after a certain age, with a few specific exemptions allowed. Provide a constitutional analysis of the ordinance (Section 10.08.155, Los Angeles County Code).

These topics were chosen for their timeliness and potential for development of a scholarly constitutional analysis. 


The exact deadline for receipt of submissions was announced and posted on this site. Papers must be submitted via e-mail to Papers transmitted or sent in any other form will not be considered.



A committee with relevant experience will judge the papers. All points of view are welcome. The following factors will be considered: thoroughness and depth of analysis, originality, discussion of conclusions and future impact, quality of research, writing style, form and quality of citations, and conformity with rules of the competition. The decision of the judges is final.

The sponsors have authority to make all decisions as to submission eligibility and/or compliance with the contest's requirements. All such decisions are final and are not appealable.

First and second place winning submissions will be published on the American Veterinary Medical Association's website and announced through various communication channels of the supporting sponsors.


The following organizations are sponsors of the Animal Law Writing Competition for Law Students: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers' Association and Animal Health Institute