For a quick overview of how you can help, read my blog about advocating for animals
Animals need us. They can be mistreated and need champions. There are many ways to help: adopting, fostering, donating money, volunteering, writing your representatives to support legislation that helps animals and working with animals. Help whether you have 5 minutes and 20 hours a week. You may not think of yourself as an activist--if not you, who?
While many people love animals, others are cruel or ignorant about how to care for them. Think about the person who hits a pet or who leaves a dog or cat in a hot car or who feeds a dog chocolate (chocolate can kill).
Animals are suffering. People are hoping to change this by working on humane laws and regulations, writing politicians and more. Some may do it as part of their job; most do it on their own. Educate yourself. Do what you can--write letters and advocate for pets and other animals. There are so many good causes: For example, stopping puppy mills, ending dog fighting and protecting race horses. Help make sure that those who mistreat animals receive punishment commensurate with their actions. Too often sentences are too light given the heinous nature of their crimes.
Public policy involves other issues as well, including: How many pets should a person be allowed to have in a city? How is "cruelty" defined? What constitutes a no-kill shelter (it doesn't necessarily mean that no animals are euthanized)? What is the most humane way for a municipality to handle strays animals? What behavior results in a dog being labeled as "dangerous" and what can be done about the owner? What is the rabies policy?
Why This Is Important:
In this example, a woman's dog (on a leash) was mauled to death by a neighbor's three dogs who had gotten loose. The owner had been previously cited for problems, including cruelty, yet he continued to own dogs. It was through the work of neighbors that this case received publicity. The publicity contributed to law enforcement and animal control action.
Stay on Top of Legislation and Ways You Can Help
Where Does Your State Stand? 2021 US Animal Protection Law State Rankings (Animal Legal Defense Fund)
ASPCA Advocacy Center Latest news, alerts and resources to help you fight for the rights of animals
Ladyfreethinker.org A nonprofit media organization founded by Nina Jackel "dedicated to exposing and stopping suffering of animals, humans and the planet. Here you'll find urgent news articles and petitions to help end cruelty to all species." You can sign up for their free newsletter.
Selected Links (Articles and Other Links)
Law Making Cruelty to Animals a Federal Crime (NPR, November 25, 2019)
Animals as Crime Victims: Development of a New Legal Status, (Animal Legal Defense Fund October enews, October 29, 2019)
US Officials Knew Bomb Sniffing Dogs Were Dying From Neglect in Jordan. They Sent More (Philadelphia, Inquirer, September 16, 2019; originally published in the Washington Post)
A Second Chance also labeled How Michael Vick's Dogfighting Case Changed Animal Welfare The Post tracks every dog. Although leading animal-rights agencies thought they needed to be put down, with training they thrived. (Washington Post, September 18, 2019)
Pritzker Signs Kennel Safety Bill Into Law. The Measure, which Requires Sprinklers and Alarm Systems, was Prompted by Deadly DuPage Fire that Killed 29 Dogs (Chicago Tribune, August 7, 2019) [Ed note: Why does it always take a tragedy to bring about common-sense change?]
New California Divorce Law in 2018: Pets Will Be Treated as a Family Member and Not as Property to Be Divided (NBC News, Dec. 29, 2018)
Animal Legal & Historical Center at Michigan State University
Animal Law Resource Center (case law database)
National Canine Research Council
Public Policy Information and Related
National Canine Research Council
ASPCA Public Policy (sign up for email alerts)
Best Friends, Save Them All Best Friends conducts monthly Zoom session as to how you can get involved. Fabulous!
Proposal on Solutions to Stray Dog Problem in American Cities (Journal of Political Sciences and Public Affairs, 2015)
Center for Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University
Paws for People, Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction
Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (from the website, "The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.")
Take Your Pet to Work
"How to Be a Pet-Friendly Employer" (Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, February 27, 2017)