Katie graduated from Missouri State University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law.  She was awarded the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award by the law school faculty, which is given to the student whose service to her fellow students, university, and community, demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and to society.  Katie is the Founder of the KU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Founded the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Clinic and worked for Best Friends Animal Society while in law school, and upon graduation.

Katie’s legal work history is primarily in animal law legislation, including monitoring, researching, and drafting legislative and policy issues that impact shelter reform and companion animals nationwide. Additional work history includes preparing contracts with shelters and community outreach groups; planning and executing educational clinics nationwide; legal research; spearheading innovative shelter reform programs nationwide; managing general program budgets; developing and facilitating Continuing Education for attorneys and veterinarians; lecturing at law schools, veterinary conferences, national, state, and local venues; and lobbying elected officials and policy makers to promote passage of or defeat or specific legislation relating to animals and sheltering.

Prior to law school, Katie worked for the City Attorney's Office in Springfield, Missouri, for several years drafting legislation and performing general legal research, and worked in the complex litigation field for nearly five years including as a litigation paralegal at Kansas City’s premiere intellectual property law firm. 


Juris Doctor, University of Kansas School of Law, 2011

Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Missouri State University, 2002

Bar Admissions

Kansas, 2012

United States District Court for the District of Kansas, 2012


American Bar Association, Past Vice-Chair, Animal Law Committee of the Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section

Kansas Bar Association


The Post-Conviction Remedy for Pit Bulls: What Today's Science Tells Us About Breed-Specific Legislation, 66 Syr. L. Rev. 241 (2017).

Breed Discriminatory Legislation: How DNA Will Remedy the Unfairness, 4 J. Animal L. & Ethics 161 (2011). Read here.

Ledy VanKavage, Katie Barnett & Lauren Gallagher, The Fiscal Impact of Breed Discriminatory Ordinances in the Era of DNA, The Public Lawyer, Summer 2010.

Civic Involvement

City of Lawrence Human Relations Commission, Commissioner

Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center, Board Member