Companion Animal Law Writing Contest (the “Contest”) is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United
States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old or the age of majority in their
jurisdiction of residence, whichever is greater, at the time of entry. Entrants must be enrolled at an ABA accredited
law school in the United States. Employees of The American Kennel Club, Inc. and their respective
parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and advertising and promotion agencies, as well as the immediate family
(spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee (whether or not related)
are not eligible. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Two prizes will be awarded. The First Prize winner will receive $2,500. The Second Prize winner will receive
$500. The First Prize and Second Prize winners will be announced May 1, 2018. The potential winners are
subject to verification by Sponsor. Limit: one (1) prize per person. Each prize winner is responsible for all
taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use.
How to Enter
a. Only previously unpublished, original works created exclusively by the entrant may be entered. Limit:
one (1) entry per person.
b. Your submission must include:
• Cover sheet with the following information:
• Certification signed by the entrant that the paper submitted is original and has not previously been
published in any form.
* Entrant’s full name, address (mail and email), and telephone number
* Name of school and year of study
* Date of submission of paper
c. Entries must be emailed or post-marked no later than 6 p.m. ET on March 30, 2018:
• via email in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Law Student Writing Competition;”
• via mail to American Kennel Club, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617, Attn:
Emily Holmes, Law Student Writing Competition.
d. Requirements for entry:
• The subject of the paper submitted must be one of the following topics:
• The paper must be formatted as follows:
1. Companion animals have long been recognized by the law as personal property. When an owner
brings suit for loss of a pet or injury to a pet, the damages are calculated under property principles,
which may cap recovery at fair market value. The courts and/or legislatures of several states have been
willing to accept claims requesting damages beyond a pet’s market value, including for reasonable and
necessary veterinary costs that are above market value and for a pet’s “actual value” which can include
economic factors besides market value. A few states have allowed emotion-based claims when a pet is
maliciously injured or killed, but nearly all states have rejected claims for emotional distress, pain and
suffering, sentimental value, loss of companionship and other non-economic damages in negligence
claims involving harm to pets. Discuss the causes of action and types of damages above with relation
to companion animals. What types of situations would give rise to lawsuits over animal injuries?
What are the benefits and disadvantages of allowing expanded liability in these situations? What would
be the net impact on pet welfare? All points of view are welcome.
2. Pet custody has become a highly dynamic area of the law. Under the traditional view, which is
reflected in most state laws, companion animals are considered personal property. In recent years,
some courts have started changing how they handle pet custody in family law cases, such as divorce.
When a couple separates, the pet is traditionally allocated to one of its owners. It may be
determinative if the pet was a gift from one of the owners to the other. In recent years, courts have
been experimenting with different types of solutions, including split custody and assessing the best
interests of the pet. Custody issues also arise with law enforcement, when the police or animal control
take custody of a pet that has been severely neglected and is in need of immediate medical attention.
Comparable issues arise when a local shelter takes custody of a pet found in the street. Discuss the
relevant law surrounding pet custody, the potential limits on ownership interests in pets, the pros and
cons and any potential future impacts of changing the law. All points of view are welcome.
* Double-spaced, 8 ½ x 11 inch sized papers with one-inch margins
* Minimum of 8 pages and maximum of 15 pages in length
* Typed in 12 point Times New Roman font
* Single-spaced footnotes (not endnotes) typed in 10 point Times New Roman font
* Proper citation format.
For more information on this essay contest click here