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Animal Advocacy:
Do Something:
They Need Your Help


Puppy Under a Table

Key Points

  • Animal advocacy encompasses many areas including writing letters to state, local and national government officials; educating children and others about animal abuse; starting social media campaigns to raise awareness of issues; and keeping abreast of legislation that helps animals.

  • Current topics include making shelters kill-free; protecting farm animals who are often kept in dire conditions; ending breed restrictions in housing; stopping dog fighting and making sure that companion animals have someone representing their best interests in court (think of abuse cases where the owner could get back the animal he/she mistreated).

  • There are many ways to help whether you have 5 minutes or 40 hours. For a quick overview, read my blog about advocating for animals


Animals need us. Many are mistreated and need champions. You can help in many ways: adopt, foster, donate money, volunteer, write your representatives to support legislation that helps animals and work directly with abused animals. You can help whether you have 5 minutes a week or 20 hours.

While many people love animals, others are cruel or ignorant about how to care for them. Think about the person who hits a pet, who leaves an animal in a hot car or who feeds a dog chocolate (chocolate can kill).

Animals are suffering. Activists hope to change this by promoting humane laws and regulations, writing politicians and more. Some do it as part of their jobs; most do it as volunteers.


Do what you can--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 the 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 mean that no animals are euthanized)? What is the most humane way for a municipality to handle stray animals? What behavior results in a dog being labeled as "dangerous" and what can be done about an abusive owner? What is the rabies policy in your town?

This is an exciting time to be working in the animal justice/public policy area whether as an employee or volunteer. There is increasing support to advocate for the rights of animals. In addition, the field of animal control is evolving to become less punitive toward owners and more supportive in helping them to find the resources they need to be a good pet parent.

Stay on Top of Legislation and Ways You Can Help (My favorites are in green)

Where Does Your State Stand? US Animal Protection Law State Rankings (Animal Legal Defense Fund)

Animal Legal Defense Fund

HASS: Human Animal Support Services

Best Friends, Save Them All  Best Friends conducts monthly Zoom sessions on how you can get involved.

Selected Articles and Other Links

ASPCA Advocacy Center and ASPCA Public Policy (sign up for email alerts) Here you'll find urgent news articles and petitions. You can sign up for a free newsletter. It can be depressing to read how people treat animals, but important to take action.

National Canine Research Council

Center for Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University

Paws for People, Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

Association for Animal Welfare Advancement 

Animal Legal & Historical Center at Michigan State University

Animal Law Resource Center (case law database)

Animals as Crime Victims: Development of a New Legal Status, (Animal Legal Defense Fund October enews, October 29, 2019)

A Second Chance also labeled How Michael Vick's Dogfighting Case Changed Animal Welfare Although leading animal-rights agencies thought the dogs needed to be put down, with training they thrived. (Washington Post, September 18, 2019) May need a subscription to read the Washington Post articles.

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?]

Proposal on Solutions to Stray Dog Problem in American Cities (Journal of Political Sciences and Public Affairs, 2015)

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)

Now, go help animals.

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