As Senior Policy Program Manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Nicole Pallotta produces written content that advances the strategic goals, campaigns, and policy positions of the organization. Among other educational materials and resources, Nicole manages and produces Animal Law Update, an article series covering legal and policy news in the developing field of animal law. One of her focus areas is how animals’ evolving legal status intersects with culture and social norms. In her previous roles as academic outreach manager and student programs coordinator, Nicole expanded the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s academic resources and oversaw the rapid expansion of its student chapter program.

Before joining the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Nicole completed her PhD in sociology with a focus on animal studies, critical theory, social movements, and culture. While in graduate school, she developed and taught the University of Georgia’s first undergraduate Animals and Society course. Nicole has published and spoken on a wide range of topics including animals’ legal and cultural status, companion animal disability, secondary trauma and animal advocacy, critical animal education, animals in film, grief and companion animal loss, and the socio-cultural dynamics of becoming an animal rights activist.

Her recent publications include the journal article, “Chattel or Child: The Liminal Status of Companion Animals in Society and Law,” and book chapters, “Reframing Companion Animal Disability Using the Social Model: Removing Barriers and Facilitating Care” and “You’re My Sanctuary: Grief, Vulnerability, and Unexpected Secondary Losses for Animal Advocates Mourning a Companion Animal.” She is also the author of the blog Alec’s Story (alec-story. com).

Nicole lives in Portland, Oregon, with her best friend Teagan, a little one-eyed German shepherd with a big heart. Outside work, Nicole enjoys music, hiking, road trips, discovering dog-friendly breweries, and learning about dog cognition and behavior to become a better caregiver.