New Jersey Animal Law Attorney

Fighting for Animals:
How to Prove Your Case

We have the know-how you need.

Serving clients throughout Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York & Tennessee

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When most people think of the situations they might encounter that would demand legal counsel, they may not immediately think of their pets, service animals, working animals, or livestock. Yet, the reality is that legal cases arise all over the country every day that pertain directly to animal rights, animal ownership disputes, and even criminal cases involving animals.

New Jersey Animal Law Attorney

Representing Animals’ and Animal Owners’ Rights in New Jersey

Attorney Kristina Bergsten has years of experience practicing animal law and offers compassionate, comprehensive legal counsel to animals and their owners in New Jersey. If you have encountered any legal issue involving your pet, service animal, horse, or a working animal on your farm or business, the Animal Law Firm can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate the case with confidence.

Cases We Handle

Attorney Bergsten and the team at The Animal Law Firm can provide comprehensive legal counsel in a wide range of civil and criminal cases involving animals. Some of the most common types of cases our firm accepts include:

  • Pet custody disputes. When couples split up, they need to settle custody of their pets. Both partners may be emotionally attached to their pets, and a New Jersey animal law attorney is the ideal resource for you to navigate any pet custody dispute with greater ease. In New Jersey, there is no clear, legal way to resolve a pet custody dispute between unmarried couples. The Animal Lawyers at The Animal Law Firm know how to navigate the many legal paths to get your pet back from a vengeful ex-partner.
  • Civil lawsuits for police misconduct. It’s unfortunate and tragic that many police officers react poorly to dogs when responding to emergency calls. As a result, many beloved family pets have been killed by police who have used unreasonable force in various situations. If police shot your dog, our team can help you hold the officer and their department accountable. The Animal Attorneys at The Animal Law Firm are not afraid to go up against the “Goliath” that is the government; in fact, it’s where we perform the best: fighting for the underdog! Let us help you get justice for your pet.
  • Dog bite defense. If your dog bites another person or animal, you could be held criminally or civilly liable for the resulting damages. New Jersey enforces a strict liability rule for dog bites, meaning a dog’s owner is liable if their dog bites someone else or another animal. If you are facing criminal charges related to a dog bite, you should seek legal representation immediately because your dog may be taken from you! If you are served with a lawsuit, then the other party could ask the judge to put your dog down! Either way, getting an experienced New Jersey Animal Lawyer involved right away helps increase the chances your pet with stay alive and stay with you.
  • Service and emotional support animal disputes. If you or a loved one needs a service animal, you have various rights in New Jersey and under Federal Law that business owners and other property owners must respect. If you believe you have been mistreated or your service or emotional support animal rights have been violated in any way, we can help. The Animal Attorneys at The Animal Law Firm know how to best preserve and protect you and your service animal’s rights when it comes to disability discrimination.
  • Animal rights representation. Animal rescues and sanctuaries throughout the US perform an incredibly valuable service for animals. However, the people who run these establishments often need legal guidance in navigating the complex legal statutes surrounding their businesses. Or, shelters and rescues need help enforcing an adoption or foster agreement. Our firm can help animal rescue and sanctuary owners address their legal concerns.
  • Animal trainer, groomer, and pet-sitter claims. Business owners who earn their living by providing pet-related services can face civil claims from their clients due to unpredictable and often unpreventable situations. If you operate any pet-related business and have been sued by a client due to an issue that was entirely beyond your control, we can help you address the situation with comprehensive legal counsel.
  • Animal Rights Advocates Representation. If you defend animal rights through protests, vigils, and freedom/rescue missions, the Animal Attorneys at The Animal Law Firm know how to help you! We understand why you do what you do and we are eager to help animal rights advocates continue to their life-saving mission. If you find yourself facing criminal charges because you were acting on your beliefs, let The Animal Law Firm handle your defense.
  • Equestrian Legal Disputes. Horse owners can face a wide variety of legal issues involving their horses, everything from ownership disputes to USEF charges/violations to boarding contract or breeder contract disputes. Given the many different problems horse owners or horse leasers can face, it is important to have an experienced equine attorney representing your interests in a legal disputes involving horses.

These are just a few examples of the types of cases The Animal Law Firm handles. If you believe you need legal representation in any dispute involving your pet, service animal, working animal, or livestock, we can help.

What to Expect From New Jersey Animal Law Attorneys

Many legal cases that arise involving animals pertain to unpredictable events. Animals like dogs and cats can be incredibly well-behaved and part of the family, but they are still animals and can often act in ways their owners and others do not expect. A New Jersey animal law attorney is the best resource to have on your side when another party has harmed your pet or when you have been accused of any negligence or liability for something your pet has done to someone else.

Animal Lawyer New Jersey, PA

When you choose The Animal Law Firm to represent you, our team will carefully review the details of the situation and help you prepare for subsequent proceedings. Every case is unique, and we take time to get to know every person and animal we represent. We understand that if you face a complex legal battle involving your pet, this situation can pose significant emotional stress on top of practical concerns such as potential liability for another party’s damages. You could also be struggling with the pain of loss if your pet was wrongfully hurt or killed by a negligent police officer, driver, or pet-sitter you trusted to watch them.

Whatever your case entails, you can rely on the team at The Animal Law Firm to provide compassionate legal counsel through every stage of your case. If you are involved in a civil claim against a party who has harmed you or your pet, we’ll help you hold them accountable to the fullest extent possible under New Jersey law. If you become the target of legal action related to your pet, such as a dog bite claim from another party, we can help you compile a robust defense.

Animal Law Attorney FAQs

Q: What Is an Animal Lawyer?

A: Animal law is a newly emerging legal field. Animal lawyers are the attorneys who practice this type of law, and they advocate for the welfare of animals, along with their legal rights. Common types of cases practiced in animal law include cruelty to animals, custody disputes, and animal welfare. In addition to using their skills and knowledge to litigate these topics, they also may work in field research or educational settings. This allows them to help inform others of the legal rights that animals have and promote good practices in industries where animals are involved. This field of law has grown in importance as the relationship between humans and animals, and the environmental space that both occupy, continue to expand.

Q: What Is Animal Jurisprudence?

A: Like humans, animals also have legal rights and protections. Jurisprudence refers to the statutes that protect those rights and define the responsibilities humans have to treat animals humanely and with respect. Jurisprudence toward animals originated with property rights, as animals were considered property. It sought to regulate the ways in which they should be treated under those considerations. However, the jurisprudence of animals has taken on new meaning, as animals are now recognized as living creatures deserving of protection and proper treatment.

Q: What Is the Animal Welfare Act?

A: The Animal Welfare Act is a 1966 federal law in the United States. It establishes regulations regarding the treatment of animals in various fields, including research, testing, exhibition, and transport. It also regulates how animal dealers can treat the animals in their care. Working in cooperation with this law are also animal welfare regulations and the rules of practice governing proceedings under the Animal Welfare Act. The first of these regulations pertains to the USDA, providing the structures and standards that allow the enforcement of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The latter focuses on the specific processes taken administratively against violations.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare?

A: Both terms are significant philosophical beliefs about animals, their treatment, ownership, and more. As such, they are often used interchangeably. However, when speaking legally, there are differences in how each is approached. Animal rights refers to the beliefs, principles, and laws that argue that animals should not be seen as property and should not be owned or possessed, as they are independent living beings. Conversely, animal welfare argues that, while animals may be owned for purposes of food, family companionship, clothing, use in the entertainment industry, and more, they are entitled to fair treatment and a humane standard of living.

Q: Does the U.S. Have Animal Cruelty Laws?

A: Every state in the U.S. has animal cruelty laws, with offenses that can be charged as criminal misdemeanors and felonies, including New Jersey. These laws cover both intentional and extreme variations of animal neglect or abuse. Even with these important laws in place, many cases of animal abuse or neglect are unreported. The animal victims of these crimes are unable to advocate for themselves. Therefore, prosecuting such crimes can be difficult. However, there is often a strong correlation between households in which domestic violence is present and households in which animals are abused. This could help be an indicator for those who may be concerned and wish to report possible occurrences.

Q: What Are the 5 Acts of Animal Cruelty?

A: While there are more than five ways in which animals can experience cruel treatment, there are five basic freedoms that govern an animal’s rights. Violations of these five rights are considered cruel and/or neglectful. The five freedoms include the rights to:

  1. Be free from hunger and thirst.
  2. Be free from discomfort.
  3. Be free from pain, injury, and disease.
  4. Exhibit natural and normal behavior.
  5. Be free from fear and distress.

Cruelty that violates these examples could be seen in the form of:

  • Failure to provide adequate food and water
  • Failure to provide adequate shelter
  • Tying or caging the animal
  • Using chains or padlocks in place of a collar
  • Injuries to the animal’s body, including bruises or lacerations

Suspected signs of animal cruelty should be reported to law enforcement.

Q: What Is the Most Common Type of Animal Abuse?

A: Animal neglect is considered the most common form of animal abuse. Neglect refers to the failure to provide an animal with adequate food, water, shelter, or care by a veterinarian. Neglect is often visible in the way the animal physically looks. Other common forms of abuse include hoarding or physical abuse. Hoarding can lead to cases of neglect in that the abundance of animals collected does not allow for each to adequately receive what they need. Physical abuse intentionally inflicts pain and suffering upon the animal. This could be minor or extreme and considered torturous.

Q: What Do Animal Rights Advocates Do?

A: Animal rights activists are those who take on the personal responsibility to advocate for the fair treatment of animals. To that end, they work to stop animals from being treated inhumanely. Advocates may work in various industries that promote animal rights, or they may participate in more civil action, such as protests, sit-ins, or political action. Animal rights activists may work toward the rights of animals within homes, to improve the treatment of those in food production, and advocate in other areas.

Q: Can I Sue Someone If Their Dog Kills My Cat?

A: Under the law, you may have a right to file a claim against a pet owner whose pet is responsible for the death of another’s. However, proving their responsibility can be difficult. For a claim to be successful, it must be proven that the owner of the offending animal had knowledge that their animal may exhibit vicious tendencies. It must also be shown that they were then negligent or intentionally failed to properly control their animal, resulting in the attack and ultimate death of yours.

Like crimes from one human to another, there must be some form of negligence or intent to commit harm. If the dog, as an example, has never displayed violent or harmful tendencies and suddenly is aggressive toward your pet, the owner may not be held liable because you may not be able to prove negligence, as the animal never displayed behavior that would warrant restraint.

Talk to Our Animal Law Attorneys  for Help Today

Time is a critical factor in any legal case. If you have encountered any legal issue involving a pet or service animal, need legal guidance for your animal-focused business, or need to file a civil claim against another party regarding your animal, we can help. Contact The Animal Law Firm today and schedule a consultation with Attorney Bergsten. Our team will evaluate the details of your case and provide the answers you need to your most pressing legal questions.



We know how important your furry family member is to you. Whether they have no legs, two legs, or four or more legs, our priority is making sure you and your pet receive the best representation possible.

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