Justice for Animals Week starts February 19th! If you love animals, which you likely do, you may wish there was something you could do to help all of the animals in need. One way to make a difference is by supporting awareness events, such as this one, and spreading the word about it. A local Washington DC vet discusses Justice For Animals Week in this article.
National Justice For Animals Week was started by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which was established back in 1979 to advocate for better animal welfare laws. The ALDF focuses on many different aspects of animal welfare, including agriculture laws, puppy mills, lab research, and animal cruelty. Headquartered in San Francisco, the group has a multi-pronged approach, which includes filing lawsuits, providing legal help for those prosecuting cruelty cases, and supporting and enforcing new laws. They also offer seminars, workshops, and online events.
Every year, the ALDF selects an animal that was subjected to cruelty to be the official mascot for the cause. This year’s adorable mascot is Leo, a pup that was emaciated when a Connecticut animal control officer stepped in and saved him. Because Leo’s owner refused to officially relinquish him, the pooch stayed in a shelter for two years while his case went on. While stories like this are unfortunately far too common, Leo’s tale is unique in that, under the state’s groundbreaking Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) law, the first of its kind, he was represented in court by a volunteer legal advocate. Leo has since been adopted into a loving home, where he is presumably living his best life and soaking up lots of love and attention.
When it comes to preventing animal cruelty, even small steps can make a big difference. One thing you can do is become familiar with your state or province’s animal protection laws. (Note: MSU has a great resource for this here.) However, there is still work to be done. Supporting the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the creators of this awareness week, is a good start. You can find them on social media. Spread the word, using the hashtags #NJFAW, #Justice4animals and #ALDF. You can learn more about the ALDF and their cause at their website here.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Washington DC animal clinic, anytime!