PAWS receives $1.4M Stanton Foundation grant

Stanton Foundation provides resources to prevent abuse of dogs


milot working with two others at pet clinic with dog

PAWS Director and Professor of Law Lisa Milot (left) works with veterinary assistant Amelia Hammond to greet a patient during a community vet care clinic in Athens during April. The clinics are an expansion of a pilot program previously funded by The Stanton Foundation aimed at keeping people and their pets together.

Earlier this year, the School of Law was awarded a $1.355 million grant from The Stanton Foundation to help prevent the neglect and abuse of dogs.

The school’s Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills is using this funding to create resources for animal control personnel, law enforcement, prosecutors, law students, advocates and the general public.

Small interventions can make meaningful differences in animal welfare, according to PAWS Director Lisa Milot. “This new grant from The Stanton Foundation will benefit our communities with a multi-faceted approach aimed at heading off local conditions that allow for a slide from low-level neglect to life-threatening abuse or cruelty and shelter overcrowding,” she said.

Barber and two students working at pet clinic

PAWS Assistant Director Allen Barber (center) reviews animal logs with second-year law students Kendra Hansey (left) and Jinny Park as they prepare to counsel an owner about the local legal requirements for pet ownership. The education modules used for the program derived from the animal welfare class PAWS students teach monthly in Athens.

Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said the school is proud to be pioneering this important work and advancing legal education with the help of The Stanton Foundation.

“I remain grateful for our continued relationship with The Stanton Foundation,” he said. “The organization’s support has been transformational across several areas, and it is helping the School of Law to redefine what it means to be a great national public law school. As a direct result, PAWS is providing our students with a unique hands-on and purpose-driven educational opportunity.”

Among the initiatives being funded by the grant are:

  • A series of free, on-demand educational videos covering Milot’s research and data-based techniques to combat various types of neglect and abuse of dogs. Prosecutors, law enforcement officers and animal control officers will receive continuing education credits in connection with the videos. Among other things, the videos will cover a program Milot developed that has reduced the impound of puppies at Athens-Clarke County Animal Services by 50% and another targeted at animal control offenders where participants show only a 3% recidivism rate, compared to 20-30% for similar offenders more generally.
  • An on-demand animal welfare class, with knowledge check and assessment mechanisms, for use by jurisdictions throughout Georgia. The course will cover the legal requirements for pet ownership both on the state level and in the relevant jurisdiction, as well as best practices for the physical and social health of pets plus training tips to head off negative behaviors often seen in shelter dogs. Currently, Milot and her students teach a synchronous version of the class monthly in Athens. This grant will enable its use in other jurisdictions throughout the state.
  • A one-credit minicourse focusing on animal welfare issues for law and undergraduate students at UGA.
  • The continuation of animal welfare team-building workshops throughout Georgia. These sessions bring together professionals working in a specific locality to prevent and prosecute crimes against animals in order to facilitate teamwork on these cases. (Thanks to an earlier grant from The Stanton Foundation, the facilitation of team-building workshops was started in 2020.)

Promoting the welfare of dogs and strengthening the human/dog bond are among the core objectives of The Stanton Foundation, which was created by the late Frank Stanton.

Notably, PAWS – which began in 2018 – is the only practicum/clinic in the nation focusing on local animal welfare issues, and it is the only law clinic in Georgia focusing on animals.