March 14, 2014
They’re furry and cuddly, always glad you’re home, and, if given the chance, will have you sleeping on a fraction of what used to be “your” bed before you can say “down boy.” Lately, following Olympic slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy’s herculean efforts of to save stray dogs in Sochi, along with the resultant outpouring of support back home, I think it’s safe to say Americans care about our pets.
So, many have begun asking, why don’t we protect them? Um, it’s called a fence, right? Yeah, not exactly. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating, but it turns out leashes and fences haven’t been enough to protect numerous family pets nationwide. In fact, I retrieved so many results on this topic from one simple WestSearch in News that I had to create my research folder for this post way earlier than anticipated.
Now, searching News can give us a great idea of general events and happenings on the topic of animal abuse and rescue, but what about the meat (grain-free, please) and bones of Westlaw – primary legal content? I’m glad you asked!
When animal abuse struck the home of one Michigan family, they were not about to take it sitting down. Logan, a Siberian husky, had acid thrown on his face while he was tethered in his family’s backyard. He died shortly thereafter, but today his death is bringing change to Michigan, and perhaps the rest of the country.
Logan’s Law was introduced by the Michigan State Legislature, and has spent the past year weaving its way through the legislative process. Want to check how it’s doing? On WestlawNext it really couldn’t be easier. Every search on WestlawNext is run across fifteen content categories; conveniently, Proposed and Enacted Legislation is one of these fifteen.
I started by running a search for Logan’s Law (by name) or, alternatively, anything on an animal abuse registry (the exclamation points in my search pictured below open the end of the word so that abuse! searches for abuse, abuser, abused, etc., same with register, registered, registry, and so on).
Because I set my jurisdiction to just Michigan state, I am seeing all of the results for this search across all of Michigan. When I click on Proposed & Enacted Legislation on the left-hand side of the screen, I am presented with all of the versions of Logan’s Law that have been proposed by the Michigan State Legislature. Want to see other states considering similar legislation? Simply change your jurisdiction from Michigan to All States.
If I filter (left-hand side) for just the last three years, I see over 50 pieces of legislation have been proposed across various states. I can easily view which states fall into this fido-friendly group by expanding the Jurisdiction filter (also on the left-hand side). Voila! I now have a ready-made list of states that have proposed animal abuser registries within the last three years, and the number of versions these efforts have produced.
Want a little more information? Perhaps a recent article in which some dedicated and sleep deprived law student has done your heavy lifting for you? Ladies and Gentlemen, please direct your attention to the right side of your screen. These Related Documents along with other relevant secondary sources are located via a parallel search in Secondary Sources, and the mind-reader-in-training that is WestSearch has pulled the most relevant few for your viewing pleasure. Me, I’d go for 37 N.Y.U Rev. L. & Soc. Change 727 cause there aren’t too many months between December 2013 and February 2014.
Finally, if I want a little more information but I’m not quite sure in which direction to set my steps, I could always check out the Animal Law content page. Content page? Think Westlaw Classic’s databases meet WestSearch’s mind-reading algorithms. Now, pay attention, because this is one of my favorite features of Next (probably because it doesn’t get much easier, but I digress): begin typing the word animal into the universal search box and watch what happens. You should get a dropdown menu that says “Looking for this?” (see screenshot below). WestlawNext will pull up every content page that seems to match your search terms. Once this list has appeared you can access the page by clicking the “Looking for” link! It’s just that easy. Ok, well I’m off to explore the land of Animal Law. Happy researching!