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GET LAWS!

Dogs Deserve Better strongly encourages all of you reading this today to make it happen! Get laws in your city, county, state or country against the chaining and penning of dogs for life.

The longer we work the issue of chaining and penning dogs the more we realize we need laws to protect them. Many letters fall on deaf ears, and even person to person contact often results in dead ends. Working via education alone is not the fastest route. Education combined with legislation is the answer.

Julie Lewin, President of Animal Advocacy Connecticut and founder of National Institute for Animal Advocacy, serves as advisor to Dogs Deserve Better:

"As a lobbyist for more than a decade, I've learned important lessons. First, most legislators' votes about animals are unknown by the vast majority of their constituents who care, leaving opponents of humane laws in control. Second, state policies allow institutional and legal forms of animal abuse, because our legislators and policymakers have not been held accountable for their actions by an informed constituency. Third, inhumane laws and policies do not reflect the views of the majority, but rather those of anti-animal minorities with a strong local or national presence. Fourth, this will not change until animal advocates voice their feelings to the legislators and let them know they will be held accountable in the voting booth."

Julie recently lobbied for and got the first state law prohibiting continuous chaining of dogs in Connecticut. Julie will come to your organization or community for a training seminar, e-mail her at jlewin@nifaa.org or call her at 203.453.6590.

Citizens in communities throughout the U.S. have stood and changed laws already. We welcome articles from anyone instrumental in changing chained dog laws. Please e-mail your article to info@dogsdeservebetter.org.

We all need to pitch in to help get laws passed! Please send this letter to your local and state representatives and senators. There is also a letter to the editor in .doc format.

Letter for Legislation in .pdf format

Letter for Legislation in .doc format

Letter to the Editor in .doc format

Below are a couple of sites where you can find out the name and address of your state and local reps. Also, Congress.org allows you to send e-mails to them too.

Congress.org
House of Representatives

Heather Carpenter, Orlando Florida Dogs Deserve Better rep, has compiled a basic 'to-do' list from a seminar in changing laws at the AR2003 Conference in DC:

1) SELECT AN ISSUE. Like chaining of dogs!!

2) EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE ISSUE. You should be well informed on the issues surrounding your cause, and not just from a cruelty aspect. Government officials are concerned about public safety, public health, and of course animal welfare.

3) RESEARCH YOUR COUNTY'S CURRENT LAWS. They may have some aspect of a tethering ordinance in place. If not, they may have an ordinance regarding the confinement of animals. Tethering could be added onto this already existing ordinance. Remember that http://www.municode.com is a good resource to look up your county's ordinances, if they're on-line. Its really easy to use. If your county does not have on-line codes, go to your local library or clerk of court for a copy of the local ordinances.

4) FIND A MODEL ORDINANCE. See our Model Laws page for the best laws to model yours on. The Helping Animals website, as well as Unchainyourdog.org, have the ordinances from other counties listed. Your commissioners want to see what's going on in other communities and probably write their ordinances based on one already existing. The original six communities all enforce the law, as well.

5) FIND ALLIES. Your local humane society or even your local animal control could be helpful. Also any animal rights or welfare groups, wildlife or environmental groups may be supportive. Dog obedience trainers or vets may be supportive.

6) KNOW YOUR OPPOSITION. Its important to think about the type of people or groups that may oppose your ordinance. Know their arguments and be ready to counter. These might be hunters or low end breeders, or if you live in Alaska or the cold climates, sled dog groups. These people have large packs of dogs and frequently keep them chained. They are a working animal to them, not a companion.

7) INTRODUCE YOUR ORDINANCE. Find the local commissioner who has either supported animal friendly laws or introduced animal friendly laws previously. You can also go to YOUR local commissioner. If your's is not interested, go to the next one. Find someone to "sponsor" your ordinance.

8) LOBBYING. Once you have a sponsor and bill number, lobby the other commissioners. Provide informational packets to all of them. Mobilize your group of supporters to contact their commissioners about the ordinance. You can also get national organizations to write letters for you.

9) PUBLIC HEARING. Once the ordinance is introduced, a public hearing is frequently held. Arrange for speakers on your behalf from different areas, such as animal control, cruelty investigators, dog bite victims, or a dog trainer or animal behaviorist. If there is not a public hearing, just a vote, get as many people as possible to speak.

10) THE VOTE. When you know the commissioners are going to be voting, get as many phone calls, faxes, letters, emails to go to them as possible. Make sure they know the majority of the public wants this. Enacting legislation takes a long time, maybe even years, but its worth it. Even if you lose, the public will be better educated and you can try again.

Heather Carpenter, Orlando, FL Dogs Deserve Better Rep

More Advice on How to Get Laws

Form a Coalition
Terri Rutter in Maryland, working with DDB rep Lynne Gillis, has formed the first statewide anti-chaining coalition, called Maryland Alliance of Dogs Deserve Better expressly to lobby for better legislation.

Tips on How to Go About Changing Laws for Chained Dogs
We all want better laws to prevent the 24/7 chaining of dogs. Dianne Lawrence has been working on laws in her area and gives us the benefit of what she's learned.

Tips from Gloria Zaiger, St. Paul, Minnesota
We all want better laws to prevent the 24/7 chaining of dogs. Gloria Zaiger succeeded in her area and gives us the benefit of what she's learned.

Suggested Items forYour Chained Dog Legislaton Packet

The facts about Chained Dogs from HSUS

Brochures from Dogs Deserve Better

Photos and/or video of local chained dogs

Signed petitions from local voters
(sample petition in .pdf format)

Testimonials from those who have laws
(Compiled by Heather Carpenter, Orlando, FL DDB Rep)

"Joe's Law" in New Jersey

Laws Against Animal Cruelty in Austria

Communities who have laws

Letters from allies, i.e. Humane Officers, Vets, etc.

Your proposal, modelled after a successful law in existence elsewhere


Possible Articles to Include

Good Article about Children and Dogs

Virginia Man Gets Jailtime

There Ought to Be a Law....

"Chaining: Cruel, Unnecessary, and Too Often Overlooked"

"Mental Health is as Important as Physical Health"

Dog's Need Time Off the Chain to Learn Good Behavior

Center for Disease Control Study

UnchainyourDog.org has some recent News Files


Dogs Deserve Better is a 501c3 nonprofit education/legislation/rescue organization.

 

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Contact Info: Dogs Deserve Better, Inc. P.O. Box 23 Tipton, PA 16684 Toll Free 1.877.636.1408 814.941.7447
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