What we do
Devine Animal Law specializes in furthering the interests of animals through the legal system. We seek to advance the rights and well-being of animals and those who care for them. We serve a clientele within Ontario, across Canada, and from jurisdictions across the world.
We provide legal, political and public relations advice in a number of areas related to animal law and advocacy.
About the firm
Alanna Devine has over 15 years of experience in animal law and advocacy, and is deeply committed to reducing the suffering of all animals through her work. Alanna completed her undergraduate degree in Criminology at the University of Toronto and obtained degrees in Civil and Common Law at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, before clerking for the Honorable Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been a member of the Law Society of Ontario since 2007, and is a conseiller juridique canadien in Québec.
Ms. Devine spent a decade of her career as the Director of Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA, where she oversaw and modernized the organization’s cruelty investigations department, and led numerous strategic campaigns that resulted in significant legislative victories for animals, such as the adoption of Bill 51, An Act to amend the Animal Health Protection Act mainly in regard to animal safety and welfare and Bill 54, An Act to improve the legal situation of animals. Ms. Devine was also the driving force behind numerous municipal victories for animals, including a by-law requiring Montreal pet stores to adopt out dogs, cats and rabbits, rather than sourcing them from breeding facilities, and the overturning of discriminatory breed specific legislation in the City of Montreal. She then worked as the Director of Mercy for Animals in Canada, and as a policy Advisor to the mayor and Executive Committee at the City of Montreal, before opening her own practice in animal law. Ms. Devine also teaches animal law at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, and gives conferences and lectures across Canada to other legal professionals, law students and the general public about animal law and advocacy issues.
What is Animal Law?
Simply put, animal law is the substantive body and practice of law that affects all animals. This includes companion animals such as dogs, cats and horses, pigs, cows and other animals raised for food, wild animals such as wolves and skunks, and animals used in research, education and entertainment. The practice covers all aspects of the law (legislative, judicial, regulatory, and executive) and involves many areas, such as contracts, torts, criminal, penal, administrative, municipal, constitutional, property, and family law.
Animal law is a growing field of practice in Canada, and is taught at almost every major law school around the world. Countless animal law cases have made their way through all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court. Animal law and advocacy expands well beyond the reach of the courtroom, and these issues are regularly discussed in traditional media, podcasts and social media across the globe.
Here is a sampling of some of the major animal law cases that have taken place in Canada over the past few years:
- R v. D.L.W (Case from the Supreme Court of Canada regarding bestiality under the Canadian Criminal Code)
- Zoocheck Canada Inc. v. Alberta (Case from the Alberta Court of Appeal involving Lucy the Elephant, confined at the Edmonton Valley Zoo)
- R v. Rodier (Case from Quebec involving cruelty charges against a fur farmer)
- Bogaerts v. AG of Ontario (Case from the Ontario Court of Appeal regarding the enforcement powers of the OSPCA)
- R v. Gerling (Case from the British Colombia Court of Appeal regarding the mental element (mens rea) for animal cruelty offences)
- Montreal's SPCA encouraged by Bill 54: an act to improve the legal situation of animals
- Laval animal bylaw - Alanna Devine
- SPCA advocacy director Alanna Devine on bylaw court challenge
- Montreal SPCA to take legal action against new bylaw targeting pit bulls
- Jean-Luc Rodier, Quebec fur farm owner, charged with 6 counts of animal cruelty
- Stray chickens on the rise amid urban farming trend
- SPCA appeals to the public in cruelty case