Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is LIDA and what does it do?
LIDA is Lawyers In Defense of Animals, Inc., a small but dedicated network of New Jersey licensed attorneys with expertise in animal-related legal matters. LIDA becomes involved with legal matters in which an animal's well-being, or even its life, may be at stake. LIDA's emphasis is on the animals and how to use the legal system to help them. LIDA cooperating attorneys work to protect the animals and, as a result, indirectly help the people who animals are the subject of a situation that requires attorney advice or assistance.

2. What kinds of legal cases does LIDA get involved with?
The kinds of legal matters in which LIDA cooperating attorneys can help are as various as the situations where animals are in jeopardy. For example, LIDA cooperating attorneys have petitioned the courts to enjoin deer and bear hunts; they have appeared in court to keep feral cat colonies from being destroyed; they have established trusts for companion animals; they have represented those facing eviction because they would not relinquish their companion animal; and disabled individuals who were told they could no longer have their therapy animal. LIDA cooperating attorneys have litigated vicious dog cases and have worked to close down "pet shops" and breeders who mistreat animals.

3. Can LIDA help me if I have a legal problem involving one of my animals?
It depends on the situation, whether legal issues are involved, whether court appearances or litigation are likely, and whether LIDA cooperating attorneys are available. The best thing to do when you are in an animal-related situation that you anticipate will require legal expertise is to contact LIDA at that time. A LIDA representative can discuss your problem with you, determine whether you need legal assistance, and try to locate a LIDA cooperating attorney who can assist you.

4. Does LIDA only help if I have to go to court?
No. It is much more common for a LIDA cooperating attorney to offer advice that helps people deal with or control the situation for which they contacted LIDA in the first instance. LIDA cooperating attorneys can negotiate, attend a conference, review documents such as releases or contracts, help you obtain public records, research the law, and so on. In many instances, animal-related matters do not go to court, and are resolved without the time and expense generated by litigation.

5. I do not live in New Jersey. Can LIDA help me anyway?
Right now, LIDA cooperating attorneys are primarily licensed in New Jersey and practice law in New Jersey. If you live in another State, LIDA may be able to refer you to a similar organization in your state.

6. Can I become LIDA cooperating attorney?
LIDA welcomes new attorneys willing to "sign on" because there are always more animals who need attorneys than there are available attorneys. If you are licensed in New Jersey, and would like to join LIDA as an attorney, please e-mail LIDA and a LIDA member will contact you directly.

7. I am not an attorney. Is there anything else I can do for LIDA?
Yes. Several LIDA members are paralegals, some are associated with animal rescue groups and animal rights organizations. Some members simply want to work with the legal system for the benefit and protection of all animals, companion, domestic, and wild. Yes, you can join LIDA as a non-member.

8. How does LIDA fund its operations?
LIDA is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-for-profit corporation. It relies solely on donations and membership fees. To donate, click here.