State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section announces Sadie and Brandi Award recipients


Shown receiving the Brandi Award, second from left, is Katie Branigan Hawkins, with Animal Law Section Chair-Elect Allie Phillips; Bee Friedlander, Section awards committee member; and Donald Garlit, Section council member.


from State Bar of Michigan with notes by Cynthia Price
Legal News

The Animal Law Section  (ALS) of the State Bar of Michigan provides education, information and analysis about issues of concern through meetings, seminars, their website, public service programs, and publication of a newsletter. Membership in the Section is open to all members of the State Bar of Michigan.

The current chair is Ann M. Griffin of the Michigan Humane Society. The immediate past chair is from the Grand Rapids area, Laurie A. Hrydziuszko, research supervisor at Michigan Court of Appeals, Research Division. The chair-elect is Alice Anna Phillips (shown in photo); the secretary (and Facebook page contact) is Jennifer L. Pierce’ and the treasurer is Anna Marie Scott, who is also a former chair.

The ALS runs an Animal Legal Lifeline at the toll-free number 866-211-6257. The lifeline operates as a way for potential clients, who may briefly describe their case over the phone, to obtain legal advice from section members. Situations are screened, summarized, and sent to all section members through the listserv. If a member wants to get involved, he or she  goes through the coordinator, Nicole Quandt, to obtain the potential client’s contact information.

Another key activity for the section is presenting awards to deserving recipients in key three areas: The Brandi Award, the Sadie Award, and the Wanda Nash Award.

Though the Wanda Nash Award will not be announced until May, the ALS has given out the other two.

The Brandi Award was established in 2000 to periodically recognize a person in the legal or legislative professions who does something remarkable for animals. The award was first presented to Hon. Kaye Tertzag, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge who ruled that a case seeking non-economic damages in the death of Brandi, a companion dog, should proceed. Other recipients of the award include Rep. Robert Kosowski, Hon. Steven Servaas, former Judge David Soet, Hon. John Hallacy, prosecutor Katherine Miller, former Senator Carl Levin, Hon. Conrad Sindt, Senator Rick Jones, former Rep. Pamela Byrnes, former Rep. John Espinoza, and Senator Steven Bieda.

On March 29, the Brandi Award, which carries with it a $250 honorarium for a Michigan nonprofit of the recipient’s choice, went to Jackson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Katie Branigan Hawkins. She formed an Animal Anticruelty Task Force with Dr. Cathy Anderson, shelter veterinarian for Jackson County Animal Control, and has personally taken cruelty and neglect cases arising from Jackson County Animal Control and empowered the shelter to pursue charges on felony and misdemeanor cases.  Her contributions have been vital to the shelter, which has no animal control officers.

Branigan Hawkins chose Friends of the Animals for the Jackson Area, Inc. to receive the honorarium.

The Sadie Award, given on April 17, honored Stiggy’s Dogs of Hamburg Township. ALS leadership traveled to the facility to present the award.

Stiggy’s Dogs is a nonprofit organization that rescues and trains shelter dogs to be psychiatric service dogs for military veterans living with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The psychiatric service dogs are trained and deployed at no cost to the veteran.

The Sadie Award was created in 2001 to recognize contributions to the well-being of animals made by Michigan residents not involved in the legal or legislative systems. The award was named in memory of Sadie, a beloved family dog who died as the result of animal cruelty. Previous recipients of the Sadie Award include Michigan Humane Society Cruelty Investigation Team, Ron Kagan, Judy Dynnick, Melissa Rosenberg, West Michigan SPCA d/b/a Faithful to Felines, SASHA Farm and Connie Page and Tom Connor.

For more information about the Animal Law Section, visit