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Phillips Murrah Directors to team up with Animal Legal Defense Fund at OCU Law symposium

Heather Hintz

Heather L. Hintz primarily represents banks, commercial entities and municipalities in litigation in state and federal courts with an emphasis on protecting hard-fought rulings throughout the appeals process.

Two Phillips Murrah Directors will participate in the upcoming “Animal Law Symposium: Oklahoma City,” supported by Animal Legal Defense Fund and Oklahoma City University School of Law.

“OCU Law is glad to partner with Animal Legal Defense Fund to host this symposium,” said Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and OCU School of Law Dean. “With the launch of our Animal Law Program last fall through the generosity of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, our students have shown incredible interest in this growing area of law.

“The symposium will provide an important opportunity for students to connect with practitioners and learn more about the different aspects of Animal Law.”

The symposium will take place at Oklahoma City Law School on March 6 from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Roth will kick off the symposium with welcoming remarks. Heather L. Hintz, Phillips Murrah Director and Shareholder, will participate in the “Farmed Animals and the Law: Challenges and Opportunities for Change” panel set to begin at 1:45 p.m.

“Oklahoma is deeply rooted in agriculture and resource stewardship,” Hintz said. “A 2016 study published in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine states that the general public has a high level of concern for animal welfare in food production, but lacks corresponding knowledge.

“The study further suggests that if provided information, the public may be encouraged to translate its concerns into market decisions that will improve farmed animal welfare. My studies prior to law school focused on how information leads to educated market decisions that can impact social change. I remain interested in that concept. I also agree with the philosopher Anne Conway (1631-1679) that every part of nature is in sympathetic harmony with every other, and if we harm one part, we harm the others, including ourselves.  I anticipate the Symposium will better enable participants to make informed decisions that can help improve farmed animal welfare and in turn, the welfare of us all.”

The day-long event is set to provide attendees insight from top voices within the animal law community, and the Oklahoma State Bar has approved the symposium for 7 CLE credits.

Learn more about the symposium and Animal Legal Defense Fund at their website here.

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Director quoted as source in article on Oklahoma Supreme Court case

Heather L. Hintz primarily represents banks, commercial entities and municipalities in litigation in state and federal courts with an emphasis on protecting hard-fought rulings throughout the appeals process.

Phillips Murrah Director Heather Hintz defended her stance on Oklahoma State Question 777 in an article published on NewsOK.com on Wednesday.

Read Hintz’s comments from the article below:

Attorneys for opponents of the ballot measure have filed an accelerated appeal in the case, in hopes the Oklahoma Supreme Court will take up the matter before a deadline in late August for the Oklahoma Election Board to print the November ballot, said Heather Hintz, an attorney for plaintiffs in the case.

“We are asking the Supreme Court to retain the appeal because it’s a matter of public importance that has widespread public impact,” Hintz said.

The plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of State Question 777 on several grounds, and argue that the measure is so blatantly unconstitutional that it would be a waste of state resources and misleading to voters, Hintz said.

“There is a strong Oklahoma policy that something that is facially unconstitutional should not go to the ballot because it’s a waste of resources and it misleads voters,” she said.

Read more at NewsOK.com.

Director helps organization transport at-risk pets across country

Director Heather Hintz with Ned, the dog she helped transport.

Director Heather Hintz with Ned, the dog she helped transport.

Free time is sparse for attorneys, but Phillips Murrah Director Heather Hintz uses hers to help animals travel across the country.

“I got involved in transports only recently, via my years-long involvement with animal welfare organizations, rescues, and spay/neuter campaigns,” Hintz said. “One of the animal welfare email lists I have subscribed to for a long time, cross-posted the need to move a deaf and blind dog named ‘Ned’ from Stephens County, Oklahoma to Portland, Oregon.”

Animals that require transport are typically dog and cat rescues that have special needs or can’t be placed where they are, or rescues that are about to be euthanized. Animal welfare networks, animal shelters, and volunteers arrange for the dog or cat to be moved to another place where someone has agreed to place the animal and provide surgery or other animal welfare-related needs, she said.

“In the case of ‘Ned,’ he was totally blind and deaf and couldn’t be placed—he was a special needs dog,” Hintz said. “Deaf Dogs of Oregon agreed to train him to respond to non-visual/non-verbal commands, find a home for him, and train the new owner as to how to deal with a deaf/blind dog.”

Various organizations function as transport organizations. Once a volunteer has been ‘vetted’ or recommended as trustworthy, that person gets on a transport list. When there is a need to move dogs or cats across the country to be re-homed, a very detailed route list is prepared by a transport coordinator, broken down into segments with start and stop times, she said.

Buster, a Jack Russell terrier, at a rest stop during a transport.

Buster, a Jack Russell Terrier, at a rest stop during a transport.

“I thought it would be a rewarding experience, so I signed up,” Hintz said. “I made arrangements with the person who would be dropping Ned with me, and we met at a fast food place. That driver handed me Ned’s papers, his water bowl and some treats, and Ned got into my car and I drove him to Wichita, Kansas.

“I had made arrangements with the person picking up in Wichita to meet at a certain rest stop – when I met her, Ned hopped in her car and they left to meet the next person.”

From conception to completion, the details of transporting animals are particular and sensitive to ensure the animals’ safety.

“If you happen to be on the route, you get the email saying ‘transport assistance needed’ showing all the segments, and you can sign up for a segment,” Hintz said. “It is very structured – you have to make arrangements ahead of time and at each hand-off, and both the person handing off and the person picking up need to notify the coordinator on the spot that the hand-off has been completed.

“The coordinator closely monitors the entire transport.”

Though there are many details and hours involved in making sure the task is completed, the overall mission is personally rewarding.

“It was an incredible experience,” Hintz said. “There were lots of people working together to get this done, giving up time out of their busy schedules, all to save one dog.”

Hintz assisted in another transport last summer involving four white German Shepherd puppies moving from Austin, Texas to Colorado, and an older Jack Russell Terrier moving from Texas to the Wisconsin Dells. The mission was special in that they were all picked up in Wichita by 2 different pilots who flew them to Colorado and Wisconsin, for no cost, as volunteers.

Those interested in contributing can get more info from Deaf Dogs of Oregon’s website here.