Charleston attorney writes book about animal law

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 22, 2016

CHARLESTON – A Charleston attorney has written her second book—combining her love for animals with her love of the law.

Patti Lawson, an associate at Motley Rice in Charleston, wrote her latest book, “What Happens to Rover When the Marriage is Over? And Other Doggone Legal Dilemmas,” as a no-nonsense look at everyday situations and issues and their legal consequences that affect dogs and their owners.

“It is basically a down-to-earth common sense guide for pet parents,” Lawson said.

The book includes chapters on animal abuse, vet malpractice, dog bites, renting with a pet and custody issues when pet parents divorce or separate.

“I used real-life stories and real court cases to help cover topics that people don’t usually think to ask about or research before they have a pet,” Lawson said. “With each chapter, I included a story.”

Lawson said she also included a pet resume and pet responsibility contract for pet parents looking to rent a home with their pet. She also created a pet nuptial for those looking to make sure they keep custody of their pet should they later separate from their spouse.

The last chapter touches on what happens when someone dies and their pet is left behind.

“Thousands of dogs end up in shelters every year because their owner dies and no one in the family wants to take care of the pet,” Lawson said. “This should be something put in your own will. Find someone who wants to care for your pet and make sure it is in your will that your pet will go to that person.”

Lawson said she believes this was the case with her dog, Rusty, who is on the cover of the book.

“It was clear he was not abused,” she said. “He was just left at a shelter with no information.”

Lawson said pet parents need to safe guard their pets and make sure they are taken care of in every situation.

Her first book, “The Dog Diet,” was published in 2006. It was a memoir and lifestyle guide that chronicled the first year of her life with her dog, Sadie, who is now 13 years old.

The book launch for her latest book will be held on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. at Taylor Books in Charleston. For more information, go to

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