Animal Welfare

Kelly Heitkamp and horse

From the age of 8, Kelly knew she would be an attorney representing animals when she was an adult. Her entire life has been devoted to protecting animals from neglect and violent crime and it was her sole purpose in earning a law degree. It has been her mission to advance the interests of animals through the legal system and to expose those who seek to profit from their abuse or exploitation.

Kelly is deeply committed to:

Representing Plaintiffs in cases where dogs have been seized or killed by law enforcement in violation of state law and/or deprived of due process;

Representing members of the public who have been denied access to financial records of a non-profit animal shelter operating on tax dollars and in violation of Texas state statute, ultimately forcing the release of the financial records;

Providing free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases; and

Working to strengthen anti-cruelty statutes on city, state, and federal levels.

A major focus of the practice is the political arena where Kelly negotiates and campaigns for a variety of animal welfare issues including prohibition of "puppy mills," horse slaughter for human consumption, dog fighting, and other violent acts against animals. She works with a variety of animal welfare organizations, attorneys, law clerks, and paralegals who charge nothing for their services when defending animals in city, state, and federal courts where cruelty and abuse are at issue.

Kelly is not alone in her efforts. She works with some of the most influential and respected animal organizations in the world:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF's groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by thousands of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members.

The Humane Society of the United States has been working since 1954 to promote the protection of all animals. With nearly ten million members and constituents, The HSUS is the nation's largest and most powerful animal protection organization in the world, working in the United States and abroad to defend the interests of animals.

The Fund for Animals and The HSUS enhanced their public policy work in 2005 by forming the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which is working to pass laws protecting animals in Congress and in all 50 states. Concerned citizens are always encouraged to sign up for the electronic newsletter, HumaneLines, which has critical information and urgent alerts on animal protection legislation.

The Animal Welfare Institute was founded with the intention of alleviating the suffering inflicted on animals by people. In the organization's early years, there was particular emphasis on the desperate needs of animals used for experimentation. In the decades that followed, AWL has expanded the scope of their work to address many other areas of animal suffering.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network is a statewide political action committee formed to advance pro-animal legislation and defeat anti-animal bills and candidates. THLN is a mainstream voice for the animals of Texas: companion animals, homeless animals, horses, farm animals, native Texas wildlife and exotic animals alike. THLN is the voice at the Texas Legislature for untold numbers of animals throughout Texas who suffer horrific abuse and tragic neglect.

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