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Legal Leashes and Canine Contracts: Protecting the Legal Rights of Fresno State’s Furry Icon

Most people probably don’t realize that mascots need attorneys. These larger-than-life sports team characters, whether dressed in costumes or live animals, require legal representation to perform their roles positively. Christopher Brown, a Director of our Fresno office and native of Visalia, California, shares insights on representing one of the Central Valley’s most beloved mascots— Victor E. Bulldog.

Fresno State’s Live Mascot: Victor E. Bulldog

Representing Fresno State’s beloved live mascot, Victor E. Bulldog IV, is a significant responsibility. For nearly 100 years, the university has maintained a live mascot legacy, and Victor E. continues this tradition by participating in public appearances, attending athletic events, and engaging with the community. He is cared for by the Fresno State Alumni Association and lives in a loving family home with the Association’s Executive Director, enjoying a balanced life of work and play. My role involves ensuring that he is well cared for, respected, and treated with kindness and dignity, both physically and mentally.

Key Responsibilities in Representing a Mascot

Representing a live mascot like Victor E. involves considerable oversight, especially when drafting his contracts, as he cannot speak for himself. The unique health needs of the English Bulldog breed require extra attention and medical care from the host family. Our primary concern in Victor E.’s contracts is his safety and health, necessitating careful selection of a great caretaker and veterinarian. We ensure the caretaker is well-suited to handle the mascot’s needs and recognize signs of potential danger or stress during his duties, such as proximity to other animals, food sources, and heat conditions.

A well-drafted contract is only as effective as the team that enforces it. Our team comprises highly qualified professionals who love and respect Victor E. and fully embrace his significance to Fresno State, its students, alumni, and the community.

What Types of Legal Contracts Does a Mascot Need?

Representing a live mascot like Victor E. involves a wide range of legal contracts, including:

  • Caretaker Contract: This ensures Victor E. receives proper care in all aspects. The caretaker must accompany him to events, medical visits, grooming appointments, and any occasion requiring his presence. The caretaker must also provide a loving, dog-friendly household, monitor breaks and temperature control during events, and ensure safe, comfortable, and healthy environments during travel or boarding. If the designated caretaker is unavailable, the duties may fall to the program coordinator.
  • License Agreement: This protects Victor E.’s name and image, ensuring their use aligns with the program’s brand identity.
  • Veterinary Care Contract: This is crucial for Victor E.’s overall health. Exceptional veterinary care is separately contracted to keep the Valley’s favorite live mascot happy and healthy.
  • Artist Contract: This was required for a sculpture installation of Victor E. Bulldog III at Fresno State. It ensures his likeness is accurately portrayed, prevents reproduction of the image in other formats, and addresses the future care of the statue.

Navigating Legal Complexities in Mascot Representation

Balancing the needs and rights of the mascot with the interests of the university and its fans is a delicate task. Victor E.’s physical and mental health is always the top priority. I am entrusted with ensuring his well-being through legal contracts, which is an incredible reward and a true honor. It is a joy to represent Victor E. and witness the profound impact he has on our community.

Fresno State University mascot – Victor V

Chris’ legal work also includes business law, real estate and non-profit law amongst other areas of practice.

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