Lycoming County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kalaus has been named by the Animal Legal Defense Fund as one of America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders. Every year, prosecutors and law enforcement officials are honored during National Justice for Animals Week, February 26 – March 4, 2017, for outstanding contributions to the protection of animals, raising public awareness about animal abuse, and advising advocates how to pass stronger laws and demand better enforcement.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is also honoring a pit bull named Luke, by naming him the mascot of National Justice for Animals Week 2017. As a puppy, Luke’s guardian allegedly threw him against a wall resulting in a painful shattered shoulder. The guardian was acquitted of charges but the prosecutor, Melissa Kalaus, reached out to the Animal Legal Defense Fund to prevent him from regaining custody of Luke. With the help of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, ADA Kalaus successfully employed an innovative legal strategy involving contraband forfeiture rules.
ADA Kalaus is being honored as one this year’s top ten animal defenders for her tremendous work for animals like Luke, who now lives happily in an adoptive home. Many other animals aren’t as lucky, and Luke is an important reminder that creative legal strategies and advocacy saves lives.
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