Breder doesn't take on animal cruelty cases — those fall under criminal law and are taken on by Crown attorneys.
The most common cases she deals with include pet "custody" disputes when couples split up, as well as battles against condominium stratas that forbid pets, and dogs labelled as dangerous after they have bitten someone.
Because pets are increasingly treated like family, she says the cases often spark strong emotions.
For instance, she recently defended a "wonderful, beautiful, amazing husky" that escaped its yard in Port Coquitlam and attacked two young boys playing on scooters, one whom required two stitches from a puncture wound.
The city said the dog was likely to seriously injure more people and applied in provincial court to have it put down.
One of the victims in a dangerous dog case that Rebeka Breder defended. The city argued the dog could have killed the boy. Breder argued the dog was playing with the kids, and some of the injuries could have been from the boys falling off their scooters. (City of Port Coquitlam)
Robin Wishart, the city's director of corporate support, said the case was "quite shocking." Wishart thinks one of children could have been killed if an adult hadn't intervened. He said the boys were still "extremely traumatized."
But Breder argued the dog was just playing with the boys. As she does in most dangerous dog cases, she said the dog wasn't inherently aggressive, and it could be spared its life if precautions like a muzzle were put in place.
The case dragged out for months, while the dog was kept in a cement-floored cage at the pound. The husky was ultimately saved and released under several conditions.
"It was excruciating for the clients and the dog," she said.
Animal lawyer Rebeka Breder defended this husky, Shyloh, after it bit a child while they were playing. The City of Port Coquitlam wanted the dog dead but a judge allowed it to be released with some conditions. (Rebeka Breder)
Breder also teaches animal law as an adjunct professor at UBC. She says she has increasingly noticed courses and programs in her field of practice.
She believes animal law will grow as more lawyers become aware and trained.
"This area of law is expanding because people are very open about caring for animals. It's not as taboo to talk about how much you love your cat more than you may actually love your brother or sister," she said.
"Our society is showing more compassion towards the issues that involve animals."