Mercy For Animals’ new Rena Roseman Legal Fellowship is named after and dedicated to a truly spectacular human being. In Rena Roseman, animals had a staunch protector, a selfless defender, and a hero whose unconditional love brought hope to many. Rena passed away on November 2, 2018, leaving behind a mighty legacy—for animals and everyone whose lives she touched.
Rena’s passion for animals emerged when she and her husband adopted their dog Cami in 2006. Her husband, Elliot Roseman, observed:
She had had a feeling for animals but it really didn’t come out until Cami. Through her gentle eyes, tail wags and affection, Cami was the vehicle through which Rena came to understand that animals had a soul.
After discovering the cruelty in factory farming, and with her natural curiosity, Rena learned everything she could about the industry’s unkind practices. She became vegan, attended conferences, took courses, read books, and volunteered for animal protection causes. To be most effective, she decided to focus her time on just a few organizations, including Mercy For Animals. Elliot shared:
She chose organizations where she believed in what they were doing, where she thought that her resources could make a difference, and where she had some personal connection. She’d interacted closely with people from Mercy For Animals and believed passionately in the animal investigations, education and other programs there.
Rena believed in a world free of violence for all animals (including humans), and without question, she brought us closer to a compassionate future. The Rena Roseman Legal Fellowship will help advance our vital work. Its goal is to help a promising attorney get a start in the animal movement, working with Mercy For Animals’ legal team to support our corporate campaigns, investigations, and other crucial programs.
In celebration of Rena’s life, Mercy For Animals is delighted to introduce the first Rena Roseman legal fellow: Kayla Venckauskas. A newly licensed attorney and recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth, Kayla was top of her class and served as editor in chief of the law review. Kayla demonstrated her commitment to animal law in school, where she helped found a chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and received the National Advancement of Animal Law Award and the Rappaport Fellowship to pursue work for animals.
In recognition of her commitment to public service more generally, Kayla was selected as a public interest law fellow and received the Leader for Justice Award. Kayla has interned with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Massachusetts Senate, and Massachusetts attorney general’s office, and she is dedicated to using her legal training to help animals. Kayla and her boyfriend have four rescued companion animals: three cats—Tuna, Henry, and Smudge—and a newly adopted dog, Eugene. She enjoys running and mastering new vegan recipes.
Kayla is honored to join Mercy For Animals as a Rena Roseman legal fellow:
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to start my legal career at Mercy For Animals, an amazing organization that is close to my heart and that is making an incredible impact for the most vulnerable animals. It is truly inspiring to be doing this work through a fellowship that recognizes such a remarkable woman, who had such dedication to all animals and whose passion and drive I intend to carry with me as I work to help advance the lives of animals.
We could not be more excited to see what Kayla will accomplish with Mercy For Animals, and we could not be more grateful to Rena Roseman for her compassion and unwavering financial and other support. Stay up to date on Mercy For Animals’ work by following us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.