The Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section will honor Valparaiso University Law School professor Rebecca J. Huss with the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes exceptional work by a member of an international, national, regional, state or local bar association’s animal law committee who has advanced the humane treatment of animals.The award will be presented during the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto at the TIPS Animal Law Committee Awards Reception, Aug. 6, at 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.“Rebecca Huss is one of the leading voices in the country on the laws regarding companion animals and service animals,” said TIPS Animal Law Committee Chair Mariann Sullivan. “Her work has brought much illumination to the confusing patchwork of laws that govern our relationships with these animals. In addition, her work as the court-appointed special master/guardian in the Michael Vick dog fighting prosecution was truly groundbreaking in encouraging the recognition of the American pit bull terriers seized in that case as crime victims.”
Huss teaches courses at Valparaiso University Law School in business associations, mergers and acquisitions, animal law, and securities regulation. Prior to becoming a professor of law in 2004, she served as an associate professor of law (2002-2004) and assistant professor of law (1999-2002). Huss was a visiting professor of law at Lewis and Clark Law School (summer session 2011), Stetson University College of Law (fall semester 2006), the University of Iowa College of Law (summer session 2006), Notre Dame Law School (spring semester 2005).
Prior to joining the law faculty at Valparaiso University Law School, she also served as an attorney for the Fort Dodge Animal Health Division of Wyeth (1998-1999), an associate in the corporate department of Husch Blackwell (1996-1998), and as an associate in the corporate finance and business/tax/international departments of Perkins Coie (1992-1994).
Huss earned her Master of Laws in international and comparative law from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1995, her Juris Doctor magna cum laude in 1992 from the University of Richmond School of Law in Richmond, Va., and her Bachelor of Arts in 1989 from the University of Northern Iowa, where she minored in international studies and graduated with highest honors.
Huss is member of the TIPS Animal Law Committee in which she has actively participated since its founding in 2004 and currently serves as chair-elect-designee, vice-chair and co-chair of its Companion Animal Subcommittee. She also served as co-chair of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Special Committee on Animal Law and chair of the American Association of Law Schools Animal Law Section.
Huss is renowned for her service as guardian/special master handling the disposition of the dogs seized in the Michael Vick dog-fighting prosecution, which involved working intimately with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide for the humane disposition of the dogs. She also played an instrumental role in the drafting and ultimate adoption of ABA Resolution 108B, urging all federal, state, territorial and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to enact laws and implement policies to ensure the humane treatment and disposition of seized animals in a timely manner, which was approved by the ABA House of Delegates in February 2011.
She has been the recipient of many awards including the U.S. Department of Justice, National Asset Forfeiture Award for Outstanding Investigation or Case (July 2009); 2008 President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency and Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence; Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; and the 2008 Law Enforcement Public Service Award from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.