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Sonoma County Gazette

Barrister Bits - Legal Questions Answered - by Debra Newby

Do you have a legal question on your mind? If so, please email me at Your name will remain confidential. This Q & A Legal Column is intended as a community service to discuss general legal principles and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Debra A. Newby is a resident of Monte Rio and has practiced law for 34 years. She is a member of the California, Texas and Sonoma County Bar Associations and currently maintains an active law office in Santa Rosa which emphasizes personal injury law (bicycle/motorcycle/motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, trip and falls, etc.) and expungements (clearing criminal records). Debra can be reached via email (, phone (707-526-7200), or fax (526-7202).

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2020-03-19Mar 19, 2020

What are the rules for flying with a support animal?  The U.S. Department of Transportation kicked off 2020 by proposing a new federal rule that would only allow a DOG to fly as an emotional support animal.  The proposed rule also clarifies that the dog is considered a pet, not a service animal.  The proposed new rule would also give airlines much more latitude in developing and enforcing their own policies regarding travel with service or emotional support animals. Individuals with disabilities are not impacted directly by the new rule and may continue to fly with their legitimate and verified service animal. 

2020-01-29Jan 29, 2020

Did you hear about the woman who was walking the Graton trail when she and her little dog were attacked by a dog who escaped from a neighboring yard?  In an attempt to protect her dog, she picked her dog up, only to have the attacking dog rip the dog from her arms and brutally kill it in front of her (she also suffered bites and abrasions).  What legal rights does that poor woman have? 

2019-12-23Dec 23, 2019

As part of my annual year-end tradition, I am highlighting some of the new California state laws.  Keep in mind that during the 2019 Legislative Session, hundreds of Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) collectively passed.  Governor Gavin Newsom signed 870 of the 1,042 bills that landed on his desk (he vetoed the remaining 172 bills). 

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