Welcome to Hamilton Law
and Mediation

You have come to the right place if you are in conflict with someone over an animal.

Mediation is a much kinder, gentler choice for the people and animals involved in a conflict. And, I am committed to serving you and your pet in a peaceful manner so everyone is heard, respected and understood.

We Are A Mediation Practice

forging new frontiers to help pet owners, pet service providers and those passionate about animals who find themselves embroiled in conflict, live and serve more peacefully with and for animals. We help everyone remain focused on the best outcome for the animal and the people who are their champions. Sometimes the needs of the animal get lost in the people’s disagreement or their ego gets the better of them. We help everyone come to a desirable understanding that helps the animal while those who disagree find a workable solution. It is simple once you feel heard.

Debra's Work Has Been Featured On...

Upcoming Events – Let’s Connect

(click on the event for more info…)

MAAP Short and Long Term Pet Care Planning Community Call -- Jan 27| Hosting | 6:30 pm EDT

Are you doing everything you possibly can to make sure you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this pandemic?

Have you made your pet's MAAP pet care plan yet? There really is no time like the present to "Get'er done"

If you haven't yet, I want to encourage you to come to our weekly MAAP Pet Care Planning community call at 6:30 pm to get started.

There's still time for you to register for this week's webinar:

Co-Chair NYSBA Committee on Animals and the Law - Preparing for Emergencies - January 25, 2021 - 3:25 to 4:30 pm | Presenting

NYSBA (New York State Bar Association) Annual Meeting

I'm thrilled to be speaking from 3:25 to 4:15 pm on January 25, 2021 at the NYSBA Annual Meeting -Committee On Animals and the Law about "Preparing for Emergencies"

I'll be covering what happens if you are no longer able to care for your animal(s) and how to create a legally sound pet care plan!

We'll be having a Q & A after the presentation!

There will be 1.0 CE Credits available in the area of Professional Practice.

To learn more and register:



2021 Virtual Legal Symposium | February 16 and February 18, 2021 | 1:00pm – 4:15pm | Presenting

Federal and state legislation, pandemic concerns, reporting requirements, and stress in the workplace, are constantly testing practice managers. By understanding and becoming well-versed with legislative requirements, managers can help the practice avoid legal problems. There is a lot to know and it’s not always feasible to access the latest information. VHMA’s Virtual Legal Symposium was designed to connect managers with legal experts who provide information about the veterinary industry’s most compelling legal issues and offer suggestions for actions to ensure compliance.

Program Highlights:

  • HR Issues in the Time of COVID
  • Top 10 Tips to Improve Veterinary Medical Records
  • Nipping conflict in the bud-Skills that help de-escalate

Multiple members from the same hospital are encouraged to attend – take advantage of the $99 rate for additional attendees.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021
1:00 to 4:15 pm ET (presented in three 50-minute blocks)

HR Issues in the Time of COVID
Speaker: Jennifer S. Jackman, JD

Workers are returning to the workplace, even though COVID-19 has yet to be contained. Among employers and employees, safety remains a concern and a priority. Jennifer Jackman, an attorney with the firm Whiteford, Taylor and Preston, will discuss urgent human resource topics that managers are confronting due to COVID-19 and will lead participants through the maze of leave management issues and COVID-19 related precautions and accommodation that employers may be required to protect employees under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
Among the pressing topics on the agenda are:

Handling an employee’s request for ADA accommodations.
The legality of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.
COVID fears and their impact on a worker’s decision to return to the office: rights of employees and responsibilities of employers
Federal laws governing protected leave and other state rights and protections afforded to employees.

Thursday, February 18, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Top 10 Tips to Improve Veterinary Medical Records
Speaker: Sarah Babcock, DVM, JD

The patient medical record is a communication tool used with the client, as well a the entire veterinary team. Therefore, the entire veterinary team should participate in drafting a legally defensible medical record. All team members must be aware of and compliant with ethical and legal requirements related to veterinary medical record-keeping. When the team works together, the effort can prevent the veterinary medical record from becoming the rate-limiting step in the practice.

The session will use real examples of state veterinary medical board disciplinary cases to highlight the impact of medical record deficiencies and illustrate how they can be prevented to improve patient care and client communications.

Participants will enhance their ability to describe the benefits of good medical record-keeping, define the components of a professional medical record entry, identify requirements to comply with record-keeping principles—including retention and records release— recognize practical tips for obtaining and documenting owner consent, and list strategies to improve the record-keeping practices of the clinic.

2:45 to 4:15 p.m. ET

Nipping conflict in the bud – Skills that help de-escalate
Speaker: Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton

Veterinary practice managers will find several strategies that can be applied to decrease/diffuse the emotional upheaval and distress that can occur among doctor, staff, and clients. The session incorporates listening, appreciating, and acknowledging perspectives and perceptions while building a bridge toward solutions that will work for all.

Topics include:

Maintaining boundaries by encouraging listening over speaking
The importance of getting it right over being right
Finding the balance between doing it yourself knowing when to hire a third party
Learning to de-escalate potential conflicts to improve the practice’s overall well-being.
Case examples will be used. Discussions will focus on how things could have been addressed earlier/differently by the practice team to diffuse the conflicts and resolve it without litigation and license complaints and participants will learn strategies that can be applied in the workplace. Language cues and ‘go to’ phrases will be shared to help you nip conflict in the bud.

Registration Fees
VHMA Members
$355 first per person, per event
$99 each additional person, per event

Non Members
$595 per person, per event (rate includes VHMA membership)
$99 each additional person, per event

Need help presenting the meeting expenses and value to your employer? Start with VHMA’s Employer Justification Letter.

Continuing Education
6 hours of continuing education are available

For cancellations received in writing two weeks prior to the event, all fees, other than a $25 processing fee, will be refunded. After the two week deadline, no refunds will be issued.


They Are Counting On You – Navigating The Journey Your Pet Takes When You Can’t Care For Them | Assisi Animal Health | Webinar Dec 1st 12:00 pm | Presenting


I'm honored to be presenting this webinar for Assisi Animal Health on December 1st. If you need to make or review your beloved companion's care plans, then I want to encourage you to attend.

  • Do you have a plan to care for your beloved companions if you are unable to care for them due to death or injury?
  • Do you want to know if the plans you have in place will keep your pet safe?
  • Do you know how to make a plan for your animal companion?
  • Are you tired of worrying about what will happen to your pet if something happens to you?
  • Are you looking for information that will help you make that plan, giving you peace of mind?

Register for this free webinar to get the information you need to create your pet's MAAP Pet Care Plan sooner rather than later.

We Work With

Our Services

Conflicts over animals arise in every area of life including marriage, divorce, malpractice, trust and estates, civil, criminal, and contract law. Whether your disagreement is with an ex-spouse, neighbor, veterinarian, pet service provider or their staff, mediation is the one and only means of telling your story and having the opportunity to hear your counterpart’s story in a safe environment.  You are always able to sue, but wouldn’t you prefer to tell your side of the story first and see if a resolution can be achieved?

Through the mediation process, I help people tell their story and address the conflict that precipitated the conflict. Mediation provides a proven, step-by-step, peaceful method of allowing the parties to communicate with each other effectively, directly or online, addressing the issues that have come between them, quickly and with respect. We help everyone feel they are part of the win-win solution.

Think about the last time you had a conflict.  Maybe it involved your beloved pet or the pet of another.  The sustained fear of addressing the conflict overtook your life.  You suffered in silence or you waited too long to say anything and then exploded in a way you had never intended.  The after effect of such an exchange may result in losing the right to see your dog in divorce, returning to the veterinarian you like and respect, maintaining a relationship with a dog walker or destroying a longtime relationship with a breeder or owner.

Have you ever dreamed of being able to address a disagreement over an animal in a way that sustains a dialogue, educates everyone involved about the underlying cause of the disagreement and provides a happy outcome? Let me share with you how to make that dream a reality and it doesn’t need to be frustrating or complicated.

If you are a veterinarian and want a practice that is filled with happy clients that can’t wait to refer you to their pet-owning friends and acquaintances and employees that are happy and get along, you have come to the right place.  Let us help you learn how to easily set up a practice that makes it exciting to get up and go to work every day.

You may be a pet owner with a cranky neighbor who is really upset about your barking dog, a co-owner disagreeing with the future of a pet or a divorcing couple and the pet is the object of contention.  You are at each other’s throats.  Mediation is the method you should choose to employ first when trying to find a path of least resistance to solution and happier conversations on the matter.

Meet Debra

Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton is the principal at Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC, (HLM) the first solo mediation practice in the US dedicated to helping people resolve conflicts involving animals.

HLM uses alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help resolve conflicts ranging from divorce disagreements over the family pet to helping animal rights advocates see the benefit of sitting down with their adversaries and having a neutral discussion before, during & after litigation is initiated.

Debra also works with pet service providers and professionals to help them pursue their passion for helping people and their pets while reducing their exposure to costly litigation.

She presents programs that teach people how to communicate, as a speaker and receiver of information without feeling they need to resort to litigation. Debra is the go-to person for information regarding the use of mediation in disagreements over animals for the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Sun Times, Bloomberg and the US News and World Report.

Debra hosts free online webinars, which teach pet owners and pet service providers how to address conflict in their business or relationships with clients, colleagues or pet service providers. She also helps pet owners and pet service providers aid each other in the creation and implementation of a SIMPLE short and long-term pet care plan. The MAAP Plan enables beloved companion animals get the care their owners want them to have any time their owner is personally not able to care for them.

Debra graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in 1983 and was admitted to practice in New York in 1984. Debra is also an AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) Certified Workplace Wellbeing Expert

What Our Clients Are Saying

I contacted Debra when I was having a pet custody dispute with my fiancée after a separation. My fiancée and I were not agreeing that I should be still be involved in our dog’s life and I was devastated.

After having contacted various attorneys to explore my options, I decided to try to search for pet mediators. I came across Debra’s name and some of the publications she had been featured in and decided to reach out to her to find out more about her services.

She was very timely in responding to my initial email and offered me a phone consultation to further discuss my situation. During the phone consultation, Debra was very knowledgeable and attentive regarding my circumstances.

I am pleased to announce that since then, my fiancée and I have come to an agreement where our beloved dog will remain a part of my life. I was very impressed with Debra’s promptness, understanding, and compassion to my situation. 

Matthew L.

Thank you for your time and speaking with me. I genuinely believe what you are doing with your career is fantastic.  If it were not for our call, I would be out a lot of money to an attorney who wanted to litigate. I wanted to send you an email of appreciation. It’s a hard time for me emotionally and having Z with me is making it a bit easier. 
Thank you for your help. BS & Z

Thank you for the time sharing your wise counsel yesterday.  I realize this was precious time out of your busy schedule.  There is such an ease and friendliness to your approach which naturally would make anyone want a peaceful resolution to any dispute.  Your approach is so needed in this litigious society. Thank you again for your time.
Good luck to your red-haired baby.  They are a joy!
Regards, P. J. Kelley

I highly recommend Ms. Hamilton for veterinary mediation and law work. She exudes competence and compassion in all her work and relationships.

G Lynn Davis


We are very impressed with how Debra mediated a recent “in office” conflict among employees.

She gave them the tools, skills, safe space and confidence to resolve the issues that had come between them. Our office is happy again and we recommend her to everyone!

Jennifer G Miritello

New York

Debra is kind and caring and very skilled in helping resolve issues surrounding our pets. She takes time to listen and offers wonderful guidance.

She recently assisted me with a health issue with one of my dogs and we are working towards a resolution. I would highly recommend Debra. She is dedicated and committed to getting to a positive outcome for all, especially our animals. Thank you, Debra.

Susan Wagner McKenna

New Jersey

Thanks so much Debra for a wonderful seminar!! It was so informative and so much fun!!

It was not only “Playing Nice At The Dog Park” – it was using skills to diffuse any potential conflicts involving our beloved animals.

Using these easy to remember techniques (so hard to think when a dispute flares up unexpectedly) made Debra’s information so valuable!!

Debra can really help with all of our concerns with our animals- creating a care plan for them in case of our illness or accident as well as mediating issues with divorce, landlord or neighbor issues.

Debra is a great speaker and a unique resource we can all use!!

Barbara Buscareno


Debra Hamilton is a great resource for pet parents. She taught me that setting up a trust and instructions on how I’d want my dogs cared for if something happened to me was of paramount importance.

It always made me very uncomfortable when my husband and I traveled together. What would become of our four furry babies, should tragedy strike? We don’t want to think that, but unless we’re prepared, our beloved animals are the ones who will possibly suffer.

Today, because of Debra’s insights and follow through, I have a safe haven for each of my dogs. Each trusted caretaker knows exactly how I’d want that pup cared for; their quirks and needs.

We pray this is proactive but never needed, of course, but I know that because of it, I feel so relieved and prepared! I highly recommend Debra for guidance, coaching, and legal services to prepare you to ensure your babies will be in good hands and live the life you’d want them to live.

Jody Miller-Young

Fashion Editor, Hamptons Pet Magazine, Bark And Swagger

Change The Way You Address Conflict.

Let Us Help You Save Your Sanity And Future Relationships…

Debra's Professional Affiliations and Memberships

As a special “Thank You" for registering for the webinar, I’d like to give you a copy of my “Prepare For Your Pet’s Care” ebook!

This is the information you need to start thinking about so that you can effectively create both short and long-term care plans for your beloved fur babies! Simply add your name and best email into the form below!

Be sure to click the confirmation link in the email you'll be receiving in a few minutes so that we can send your gift to you!

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