Deputy State’s Attorney for Lamoille County, Aliena Gerhard, is this year’s guest speaker at NCAL’s Annual Meeting, taking place Thursday, July 21st from 5-7pm at 16 Mountain View Meadow Road, Morrisville, VT. Aliena will provide an overview of animal welfare laws in Vermont, discuss challenges, and propose solutions for strengthening the laws in Vermont and expanding legislation to protect animals.
Aliena says, “In the State’s Attorney’s Office, I am working with law enforcement to identify and prosecute animal abuse cases.” Her goal while a Deputy “is to strengthen animal cruelty laws by expanding mandatory reporting laws to include suspected animal abuse, to allow anonymous reporting of suspected animal abuse, to promote stable funding for the care of surrendered animals, and to ensure all entities that are involved with handling animal cruelty cases be empowered with a complete understanding of the extent of their authority to inspect properties and seize animals that have been abused.”
Aliena has always been a big animal lover and advocate. In college, she spent 4 months in Botswana studying conservation and working in the bush to protect African Wild Dogs and Bushbabies. Aliena graduated with honors from Gettysburg College where she earned a BA in English. She then went on to Temple Law School where she graduated with honors with her degree in Criminal Law and was recognized with honors for a paper she wrote on Female Genital Mutilation Violating the International (U.N.) Convention on the Rights of The Child. Aliena began her career as an attorney in 2000. She was a prosecutor for several years outside of Philadelphia, specializing in prosecuting crimes against children, as well as prosecuting assaults and homicides. After that, she worked as an Open Space Director in Pennsylvania, helping landowners conserve their land through the use of conservation easements. This served to protect connected habitats, promote biodiversity, and preserve watersheds and view scapes.
Aliena became a prosecutor for Lamoille County last November. In her current role, Aliena is tasked with prosecuting a variety of high profile cases in Lamoille County, including the recent violent murder of a transgender woman, Fern Feather, in Morrisville. Later this month, Aliena is set to prosecute an animal cruelty case involving a dog known by many as Trooper. Trooper was found emaciated and near death, abandoned on the side of the road on the first of May. He was brought to NCAL for rehabilitation and after a month of regaining his strength he was placed in a foster home and adopted. You can read more about Trooper’s recovery journey at NCAL here. A press release from the Vermont State Police provides a description of his case. The arraignment will be held on July 27, 2022 at 1pm at the Lamoille County Criminal Court. Many local animal welfare advocates are expected to show up in support of justice for Trooper.
Aliena has lived in Vermont since 2010. Outside of work, she enjoys running, hiking, kayaking, and hanging out with her two teenage sons and their many critters (1 dog, 1 rabbit, 2 chinchillas, and 11 chickens)!