Advocacy for Change for Homeless Dogs in your Community
Here are just a few strategies to engage local elected officials for change in your community. Provide this information on your website if you can. Better yet, start an animal advocacy group in your community and engage your community.
Basic Three Steps – Research, Educate, and Propose
Research – Research the problem. Is it lack of an animal shelter? A poorly run existing shelter? An underfunded municipal shelter? Find out what the problem(s) are. Be armed with facts and figures. Do your homework. Research the laws. So many of them are old and outdated. What is the local ordinance for shelter for dogs kept outside? What are the leash laws? Are animal abusers being prosecuted? Perhaps an education program is needed that prevention is better than cure for heartworm monthly preventatives. Encourage accountability.
Educate – Invite a local elected official to coffee to discuss the situation. Local elected officials could be the sheriff or county commissioners.
Discuss the problems. For example – strays, lack of a safe environment for children because of strays, safety issues for drivers with strays, abuse of strays is unhealthy for the animal and those who do it are not safe for the community. Show community support for change.
Propose Solution(s) – Involve others. Have more than one proposal. Insist on better use of your taxpayer dollars. Show the positive impact to the local community if strays are humanely housed and adopted. Euthanasia is not the answer. Preventing more strays and proper care of pets is. Identifying a problem is quite easy to do. Deciding to be part of the solution makes change much more possible.
So many of the problems are because of lack of affordable and accessible spay and neuter. “Clear the shelter” programs are proven to be adversely effective as many of the dogs become street dogs. Strays will continue to have unwanted puppies. Encourage the community to fence their dogs.
Just get started. Even starting with one small change can be the impetus for more change. For more information on how to successfully advocate for change, see
FREE resources for animal advocates – No need to reinvent the wheel.
Become an Animal Advocate
- Inform yourself. The first step to becoming an animal advocate is to get informed. Research animal welfare issues that affect the area you live in and choose one or two to support. These issues may include overpopulation, sterilization, feral cats, dog fighting, neglect and abuse or access to veterinary care. In addition, be sure to investigate the state and federal laws that affect the issues you are most interested in supporting. The Humane Society offers abundant information on animal welfare legislation.
- Get to know local organizations. Next, get to know any local organizations that work towards the cause of your choice. Reach out to such organizations. Call or email them and if possible, visit their headquarters. Find out how they work, what kind of support they need and how you can get involved.
- Volunteer. One of the best ways to get to know the needs of your community is to do some hands-on work at your local animal shelter or humane society. Sign up as a volunteer. Not only will you gain a better understanding of the issues and challenges you want to support, you’ll gain valuable experience that could help you become a paid advocate later on.
- Organize fundraisers. You can help raise funds for your cause by organizing a fundraiser. It could be as simple as a community bake sale or you could organize something more complex, such as a walk-a-thon.
- Spread the word. There are hundreds of ways to spread the word about your cause. You can post updates on your social media pages or create a dedicated social media account or blog to keep your community up to date. You can also volunteer to speak at community events, schools or libraries. Keeping literature related to your cause is another way to help spread the word and inform others about what they can do to help.
Here is our interview with Candas Bennett, a passionate and successful advocate for animals in south Georgia: