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Laws and local 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 local policies

  • Magazine Article

    Positive politics

    Soon after a New Hampshire law on contagious animals was amended,  Mr. Sassy debuted on the adoption floor at the Monadnock Humane Society.

    When a bad law was affecting good cats, New Hampshire animal advocates lobbied for change

    In June, a 5-year-old gray tabby named Mr. Sassy quietly transitioned from a holding cage at the Monadnock Humane Society to a space on the adoption floor. Despite the lack of fanfare, for shelter staff and volunteers who had lobbied to give cats like him a chance, it was a momentous occasion—and a reminder that the work of saving lives doesn’t occur in a political vacuum.

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  • Magazine Article

    Making the case against animal cruelty

    Animal control and humane law enforcement officers in some jurisdictions can now play a key role in developing a database of national and regional animal cruelty statistics.

    New manual helps officers report incidents to the FBI

    The evidence couldn’t have been clearer, because the perpetrator videotaped his crimes on his phone. In one video, the man wraps his girlfriend’s cat in duct tape and taunts the animal. The other recording, dated three weeks later, shows the same man beating his girlfriend so badly she would end up in the hospital. (Fortunately, the cat and the woman survived.)

    Both videos were disturbing, says Chris Brosan, former manager of strategic campaigns and special projects at The HSUS. But only one of the crimes—the assault on the girlfriend—would appear in national crime statistics.

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  • Magazine Article

    Shining a light on puppy mills

    Wayne Pacelle and his adopted dog, Lily.

    The HSUS’s annual Horrible Hundred reports, based on federal and state inspections of commercial animal breeders, provide a window into some of the nation’s most retrograde puppy mills. 

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  • Magazine Article

    Super trooper

    Colorado Mounted Rangers volunteer Dawn Havens didn't hesitate to choose Kara as her canine partner.

    Colorado K9 officer is busy busting stereotypes

    A shorthaired, medium-sized pit bull-mix, Kara looked like a lot of the other dogs at the Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society in Texas. Her history wasn’t unusual either: She was surrendered with her eight puppies by an owner who couldn’t care for them. But inside this average-looking dog with a sad but run-of-the-mill backstory was a natural high achiever—someone with the smarts, drive and focus to get a job done.

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  • Blog Post

    Policy work is boring. Until it isn’t.

    Getting involved helped me save more animals’ lives.

    In 2008, I was the director of operations at a small but mighty animal shelter in New Hampshire, at a time when animal welfare work in New England was undergoing an enormous transformation. We no longer needed to euthanize healthy and adoptable animals. We were developing creative solutions for treatable pets, addressing animal cruelty in the community and promoting owner-support programs. Hounds and pit bull-type dogs were our canine focus (likely explaining my lifelong love for both groups).

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  • Data/Research

    Greyhound racing is a bad bet

    Dog racing is cruel and exploitive. Learn the stats and see what you can do to end dog racing in your community.

    The truth is that dog racing is a dying industry—since 2001, more than two dozen dog tracks have closed all across the country and dog racing now represents less than one percent of all wagers placed each year in the United States. Currently, the practice is illegal in forty states. Shelters and rescues are negatively impacted by this industry, and we as animal welfare professionals need to take a stand against it. Learn the facts about greyhound racing and how to protect greyhounds in your state. 

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