In 2015, The Humane Society of the United States launched Humane Oklahoma, an intensive state-level initiative to provide law enforcement agencies, shelter leaders, and volunteers with training, resources and equipment to work collaboratively to combat animal abuse.
A three-year long program, Humane Oklahoma is expanding the capacity of animal welfare officers to respond to animal cruelty, driving up enforcement of state laws, and providing shelters and rescue groups with services and training to expand their reach and decrease euthanasia.
Oklahoma has the dubious honor of being in the top five states producing puppy mill dogs. There is only one inspector for the entire state and very limited training and resources available to animal control officers. Weak enforcement of animal welfare laws, and a fragmented and disperse animal welfare network, discourages collaboration between shelters/rescues and law enforcement.
In partnership with the FBI, National Sheriff's Association, Oklahoma Sheriffs Association, Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Oklahoma Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association, we launched our humane law enforcement training in five cities across Oklahoma.
Our first shelter/rescue training had over 350 attendees, representing 160 organizations, so far more than 700 officers received training on animal protection laws. Soon after, participating officers were calling our experts for on-the-scene advice regarding cases, utilizing the equipment and tools we provided, and connecting with local shelter/rescue organizations for placement and coordination.
The HSUS will continue to support the rescue community with resources to close gaps in care, and will continue to provide law enforcement officers, prosecutors and state agencies resources to enforce state laws.
The HSUS will also leverage our national puppy mill campaign to introduce policy efforts and consumer engagement in Oklahoma and improve standards of care in commercial dog breeding operations.
To further increase our impact, our Pets for Life program will help Oklahoma shelters challenge many long-held assumptions about people and pets living in poverty. The program is creating a paradigm shift in the animal welfare movement to reach previously overlooked segments of pet owners and encouraging the realization that a lack of financial means does not equate to a lack of love felt for and provided to a pet.