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Laws and public policies

One of the best ways to help animals is to be involved in local and state advocacy. Voices from the front lines are often the most influential, so it is critical for those working in animal shelters, rescue groups, TNR programs and spay/neuter programs to be heard. Making time to testify at a hearing or to lobby officials can feel overwhelming when you know animals need you, but those activities can pay dividends by creating long term change in your community. Check out our resources and sign up for action alerts in your state and community, to ensure the decision makers hear from you.

  • Animal Care Expo 2017 special session: Come on down ... the policy is right!

    Think legislation and other types of public policy aren't relevant to your lifesaving mission? Think again! When politicians take on issues like breed-specific legislation, hold times for cats, adoption regulations and access to veterinary care, your work may be directly affected, and not necessarily for the better. 

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  • Bills, laws and ordinances, oh my!

    I didn’t grow up interested in politics or the various debates over policy in the ‘90s. To the young me, that all sounded pretty boring and not all that relevant to my life. After all, there weren’t any laws or ordinances preventing school dances, science fairs or hanging out with friends, right?

    Times have changed, and I now see the benefits of being engaged with politics. But that change didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen simply because I learned the process of how policy changes happen. What changed was that I found a “why.”

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Laws and public policies

  • Magazine Article

    A word from us

    Lindsay Hamrick gets a greeting from a puppy rescued from an unlicensed breeder in New Hampshire.

    I came to the Humane Society of the United States in 2014 after a decade (more if you count those years I spent as a kid sitting in cat rooms and walking dogs way too big for me) overseeing operations at animal shelters. I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited about or motivated to fit policy into my daily workload of caring for homeless pets—until I worked for an animal shelter that was located in a city with breed-specific legislation, flawed policies that ban certain types of dogs based on their physical appearance.

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  • Magazine Article

    Lives on the line

    Every day, animal control officers and humane investigators face unpredictable situations with limited knowledge, stepping onto unknown turf where they may encounter a dangerous animal or—more likely—an angry member of the public. What can they do to protect themselves?

    Animal control and welfare work can be dangerous. How can we reduce the risks?

    When animal control officer Bobby Evans reported for duty at the Bellmead Fire Department on June 18, 2007, he probably expected it to be a typical Monday morning. After checking in around 8:30 a.m., Evans—the lone ACO for the community located near Waco, Texas—headed to the shelter to check on the animals. When Evans failed to respond to radio calls, Bellmead fire chief James Karl went to the pound around 10 a.m. to check on his officer, only to discover that he’d been murdered—shot in the back multiple times.

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  • Magazine Article

    Making a change for the better

    All nine available dogs from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay were adopted in the first two hours of Super Pet’s grand reopening event in February.

    Pet store program helps boost adoptions and fight puppy mills

    “Whether the economy is good or bad,” says Randy Housley, the general manager of Polly’s Pet Shop in Universal City, Texas, “people seem to want puppies.” And San Antonio Animal Care Services draws from such a wide area that his store is rarely without them.

    Since August 2013, the shelter has been the store’s sole source for puppies. In fact, the store now adopts out about 150 puppies a year, more than it used to sell.

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