AVON — When another lawyer stands up for animals in court, and another guilty verdict is handed down in a cruelty case, pets can thank attorney and professor Jessica Rubin. Animals have found a staunch advocate in Rubin, and so has the Connecticut Humane Society.
Rubin will be inducted into CHS’ Gertrude O. Lewis Humanitarian Society at this year’s Diamonds in the Ruff gala auction on Saturday, Nov. 9, 6 to 10 p.m. at The North House, 1 Nod Road, Avon. She’s only the fifth person to earn the prestigious designation.
The creator of the Animal Law Clinic at the University of Connecticut, Rubin says she’s happy and thankful to receive the honor, but feels it’s about more than just her work.
“I’m also hopeful that the honor will bring attention to CHS and Desmond’s Law,” Rubin said, noting the law she helped implement in the 2016 legislative session with CHS and fellow animal supporters.
The law allows courts to assign volunteer legal advocates — law students or lawyers volunteering their time at no cost to the state — to assist in bringing justice in animal abuse cases. The students who work on cases are from her own classes and the Animal Law Clinic.
Rubin has long worked with animals, even when she was a child. Her mother ran an animal rescue group.
“We were the contact for local animal emergencies — abandoned dogs, abused cats, injured swans,” said Rubin, who has two dogs, Cynara, who is 13, and Holly, who is 5. “So, I think that I am hard-wired to love animals, and my upbringing allowed that passion to flourish and develop into a lifestyle and eventually a career.”
Now she’s doing the same for her students, while giving pets a voice in the courtroom. And other states have taken notice, with some now planning their own animal advocate program for cruelty cases.
“What’s so amazing about Jessica’s work is that it’s not only having a positive impact on pets in Connecticut, it’s having a domino effect nationwide. She helped create a model with the legal advocate program that other parts of the country are now replicating,” CHS Executive Director Gordon Willard said. “As animal cruelty cases are taken more seriously in court, that will hopefully lead to the prevention of animal cruelty in our state and beyond. We’re so proud to be honoring Jessica for playing such an important role in the safety of animals.”
Rubin joins an exclusive group of past humanitarian society honorees: journalist Jill Rappaport, known for correspondent work for NBC’s TODAY show and NBC’s Nightly News; William Berloni, the recipient of a Tony Award Honor and famed theatrical animal trainer; Heidi Voight, NBC Connecticut anchor and journalist; and River 105.9 radio and TV personality Renee DiNino.
Seats for the Diamonds in the Ruff gala are on sale now at CThumane.org. The event’s title sponsor is Hill’s Pet Nutrition. The evening includes visits with CHS foster puppies, a gourmet, multi-course plated dinner, drinks, a photo booth, animal-themed trivia, music and live and silent auctions.
Proceeds will support lifesaving care for pets like Cosmo at CHS’ three locations in Newington, Waterford and Westport. Cosmo, a tiny terrier mix, arrived at CHS needing an emergency leg amputation after being injured. He started a new life as a tri-paw and now runs with ease alongside his new dog brothers in his new home.
CHS serves pets from all over the state through its three locations, staff medical department and Fox Memorial Clinic, a reduced-fee veterinary office open to the public.
The event takes place on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. at The North House, 1 Nod Road, Avon. Tickets are $90 per person. For seating and sponsorship visit www.cthumane.org.