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  • California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California


Bruce A. Wagman


Bruce Wagman focuses his practice on animal law litigation, consultation, legislative affairs and education. He has brought and tried multiple state and federal cases involving a wide range of animal law issues, including the following:
  • Cruelty
  • Dangerous dog defense and evaluation
  • Animal hoarding
  • Horse slaughter issues
  • Dog bite litigation and defense
  • Exotic and wild animal issues
  • Farmed animals
  • Biomedical research
  • Complex animal injury cases
  • Animal ownership
  • Veterinary malpractice
  • Pet custody
  • Use of animals in entertainment
  • International animal law
  • Wild horse protection litigation
  • Wildlife protection (endangered species)

Mr. Wagman has a nationwide practice and represents many animal protection groups, as well as individual clients. He is the author of Animal Law: Cases and Materials, the first casebook used in law schools on the subject, currently in its fifth edition. In 2011, he was the lead author of A Worldview of Animal Law, a first-of-its-kind survey of the legal and cultural treatment of animals internationally. Mr. Wagman's animal law practice is featured in a section of the book Careers in Animal Law: Welfare, Protection, and Advocacy (American Bar Association, 2011).


Mr. Wagman's illustrative representations include:

  • National Meat Association v. Brown(U.S. Supreme Court) – Defending California law requiring humane treatment of animals too sick or injured to stand or walk

  • Toni Penrod v. Robertson County, Kentucky – Forcing construction of new animal shelter

  • Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack – Obtained temporary restraining order preventing the initiation of commercial horse slaughter for human consumption

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund et al. v. Sidney Jay Yost — In 2006, Schiff Hardin attorneys helped to achieve a groundbreaking victory that resulted in the permanent rescue of three chimpanzees and represented a major step towards the end of the use of nonhuman primates in entertainment. The case involved Sable, Cody, and Angel — three chimpanzees at the center of a lawsuit filed against the chimpanzees' Hollywood "trainer," Sid Yost, alleging that Yost violated the Endangered Species Act and the California anti-cruelty statute by subjecting the three chimpanzees to violent beatings in order to force them to perform for movie and television appearances.

  • Cramer v. Harris, J.S. West v. Brown, and ACEF v. Harris – All challenging California law prohibiting cruel confinement of chickens, calves and pigs

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Woodley— In a case that began in 2004, Schiff Hardin's animal law attorneys represented ALDF and successfully sued to rescue approximately 350 dogs from an animal hoarder who kept the dogs warehoused in squalid conditions. Schiff Hardin's team helped the ALDF run the initial investigation and litigation through trial and appeal, and also assisted with the rescue, rehabilitation and long-term foster care for each one of the dogs.

  • Chesley Morton et al. v. Georgia Department of Agriculture— Schiff Hardin attorneys from our Atlanta and San Francisco offices helped put an end to the illegal and inhumane gassing of domestic animals in Georgia's animal shelters in violation of Georgia's Humane Euthanasia Act.

  • California Veterinary Medical Association v. City of West Hollywood

  • Chimps, Inc. v. Primarily Primates - Two sanctuaries fought for and obtained permanent homes for nine gibbons and two chimpanzees who had been taken from a situation where they were exposed to daily neglect and cruelty.

  • Cavel International, Inc. v. Madigan, 500 F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2007) - Horse slaughter company sued to strike down an Illinois law banning horse slaughter for human consumption. Schiff Hardin represented amicus who briefed the case to a successful result in the Seventh Circuit, against arguments of preemption and commerce clause violations.

  • A Dog's Life Rescue v. County of Los Angeles - Animal rescue group sued Los Angeles for repeated violations of state law requiring the provision of veterinary care and a pre-euthanasia holding period for animals surrendered to county-run shelters. The case was settled very favorably, with the county agreeing to change all relevant policies and practices and continued monitoring by plaintiff.

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Veneman

  • Earlier in his career, Mr. Wagman argued and prevailed for defendants in an asbestos action before the Alaska Supreme Court. The court adopted the arguments made in Mr. Wagman’s brief, and awarded attorneys' fees to defendants.


"Using the Law to Highlight the Link Between Animal Agriculture, Climate Change, and Diet," (co-author) ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Fall 2014)

Animal Law: Cases and Materials, Fifth Edition (co-author) Carolina Academic Press (May 2014) — the first casebook for animal law courses in law schools, first published in 2000

"Wild Animal Law," Animal Docket: Practice Tips for Animal Law Cases, ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Winter/Spring 2014)

"Orca Welfare Law Is a Strong Step Forward," Daily Journal (March 19, 2014)

"Don't Try This at Home," Animal Docket: Practice Tips for Animal Law Cases, ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Fall 2013)

"Best Bets for 'No Pets,'" Animal Docket: Practice Tips for Animal Law Cases, ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Summer 2013)

"A Laundry List of Lies - Common 'Defenses' to Animal Cruelty," Animal Docket: Practice Tips for Animal Law Cases, ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Winter/Spring 2013)

"Animal Law Experts – A Key to Success," ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Fall 2012)

"Animal Biology, Animal Law," ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Summer 2012)

"Don't Just Complain — Educate and Explain: Drafting The Complaint; Telling Their Story," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Committee Newsletter (Winter-Spring 2012)

"Creative Discovery in Animal Cases – Use of the Inspection Tool to Expose Abuse," ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Fall 2011)

"Give Me Back My Dog! – A Practical Guide To Helping Clients Obtain Or Keep Custody Of Their Pets," (co-author) ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Summer 2011)

A Worldview of Animal Law, (co-author) Carolina Academic Press (April 2011)

"Running the Gauntlet of Dangerous Dog Litigation – A Guide to Getting Good Dogs Off of Death Row: Part II," (co-author) ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Winter 2011)

"A National Injustice: The Federal Government's Systematic Removal and Eradication of an American Icon," (co-author) Ecology Law Currents, Vol. 37, No. 3 (February 2011)

"Growing Up with Animal Law: From Courtrooms to Casebooks," Journal of Legal Education (November 2010)

"Running The Gauntlet Of Dangerous Dog Litigation - A Guide To Getting Good Dogs Off Of Death Row: PART I," (co-author) ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Summer 2010)

"Managing Emotions in Animal Cases," (co-author) ABA Animal Law Committee Newsletter (Winter 2010)

"Levine v. Vilsack: When 'Likely' Actually Means 'Definitely'," (co-author) 37 Ecology Law Currents 10 (March 2010)

Animal Law: Cases and Materials, Fourth Edition (co-author), Carolina Academic Press (2010) — the first casebook for animal law courses in law schools, first published in 2000.

"Actions Involving Injuries to Animals," American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts, Volume 90, Third Series (2006)

"Advancing Tribal Sovereign Immunity as a Pathway to Power," 27 University of San Francisco Law Review 419 (1993)

"Second Bites at the Jurisdictional Apple: A Proposal for Preventing False Assertions of Diversity of Citizenship," 41 Hastings Law Journal 1417 (1990)

Speeches and Presentations

Mr. Wagman lectures across the country on animal law issues on a regular basis.

Pro Bono Activities

Mr. Wagman does a significant amount of pro bono work in the animal protection field. He is also a member of the board of directors of three animal protection organizations and two exotic animal sanctuaries.

Previous Experience

Mr. Wagman was an operating room nurse at the University of California, San Francisco Hospitals and Clinics where he specialized in cardiac and general surgery.

Awards and Honors

American Jurisprudence Awards - Torts, Property, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Federal Courts
AV Rated — Martindale-Hubbell
Northern California Super Lawyers – Animal Law; Personal Injury – Products: Defense; Appellate


University of California — Hastings College of the Law(J.D., magna cum laude, 1991)
Order of the Coif, Thurston Society
Articles Editor, Hastings Law Journal
Judicial Extern — Honorable James Browning
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1990)
Columbia University School of Nursing(B.S.N., 1981)
Cornell University(B.S., 1979)


Honorable William H. Orrick, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (1991-1992)

Teaching Appointments

Adjunct Professor, Animal Law:

  • University of California Hastings - College of the Law
  • University of California, Berkeley - Boalt Hall School of Law
  • Stanford Law School
  • University of San Francisco School of Law

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Bar Association of San Francisco
Appellate Practice Section
Animal Law Group

Civic and Charitable Memberships

United States Equine Rescue League
Board of Directors
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Board of Directors
      Vice Chair
Marin County Humane Society
Board of Directors
Chimps, Inc.
Board of Directors