PreLaw - Back to School 2010 - 38
kill volunteer animal shelter and educational group in Downers Grove, Ill. “We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and it’s a big source of pride for me,” she said. The group has arranged thousands of adoptions for unwanted animals and arranged free spay-neuter operations for thousands of pets. Travis still serves as unpaid president of the group. Despite all that background in helping animals, when Travis graduated from DePaul University Law School in 2005, she never thought she could make a legal career out of her passion for helping pets. “I thought I’d do some pro bono work for animals,” she said. “I never thought that it would be what I’d specialize in. But it was the only time in my life that I was in the right place at the right time. … Animal law is a very new field. It’s like environmental law was 20 years ago.” Before taking her current job in December 2009, she handled many individual cases involving animals. “I was helping one or two animals at a time then,” she said. “An example of one those individual cases might be a woman whose condominium board was after her because her dogs were barking. I was fighting to save a life of one dog here or one dog there while now I’m involved with thousands of them.” Animal law, she said, “is not a lucrative area and is on the lower end of the spectrum in pay. But in terms of satisfaction I was on the highest end of the spectrum. We’re the only lawyers on earth whose clients are actually innocent. There’s not a lot of money though in saving a supposedly
A voice for the voiceless
Cherie Travis, commissioner of animal care and control for the city of Chicago, was an ardent advocate for pets and animals even before becoming an attorney. Ten years ago, while she was volunteering with an animal group at a PetSmart store, someone encouraged her to start her own animal rescue organization. That’s when she organized PACT (People and Animals in Community Together), a no-
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