Animal Advocacy:

Do Something!

Puppy Under a Table

Animals need us. There are so many ways to help: adopting, fostering, donating money, volunteering and working with animals.

While many people love animals, others are cruel or ignorant about how to care for them. Think about the person who leaves a dog or cat in a hot car or who feeds the animal chocolate (chocolate can kill). Or, a family may love their cat, but who gets that cat in the case of divorce?

Many animals are suffering. People are helping 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's not necessarily that no animals are euthanized)? What is the best way for a municipality to handle strays? 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 acting appropriately.

Stay on Top of Legislation and How You Can Help

Where Does Your State Stand? 2018 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

Animal Legal Defense Fund A nonprofit media organization founded by Nina Jackel and "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. You can also like and follow their Facebook page.

Selected Links (Articles and Other Links)

Trump Signs Law Making Cruelty to Animals a Federal Crime (NPR, November 25, 2019)

Anti-Cruelty as Federal Crime: Trump is Expected to Sign Bill Passed by Congress (NPR, Nov. 7, 2019)

From the story, "It doesn't apply to the meat industry...accidents and legitimate medical procedures. Other practices, from scientific research to hunting and fishing, also are not covered..."

House Passes Bill that Will Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Felony, (The Hill, October 23, 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 

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)