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Animal Advocacy:
Do Something to Help


Puppy Under a Table

For a quick overview of how you can help, 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--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 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 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 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.

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.

Read my blog, Advocate for Animals: Getting Started on how you can help

Stay on Top of Legislation and Ways You Can Help

(These are non-profits, so they will ask for money, but you are not under any obligation to do so. The information is excellent.)

Where Does Your State Stand? 2022 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 "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)

Animal Legal & Historical Center at Michigan State University

Animal Law Resource Center (case law database)

National Canine Research Council

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)

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 

Take Your Pet to Work

"How to Be a Pet-Friendly Employer" (Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, February 27, 2017)

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