As many, OK all, of you know by now, I am passionate about motorcycling. It is my number one hobby and I ride 17k-18 miles/year on my Honda Goldwing. But you may not also know that I am a militant animal advocate. For years I have served as pro bono general counsel for several animal shelters and a wolf rescue and sanctuary. Recently, I was offered the opportunity to serve as Founding Member and Board Vice President of the newly-forming animal advocacy group called “Ohio Animal Advocates” (“OAA”).
OAA’s Mission Statement:
Ohio Animal Advocates strive to protect Ohio’s animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. We work towards a world in which all animals are respected and protected through education, science, and advocacy. We collaborate with citizens, stakeholders, and policymakers throughout the State of Ohio to champion for humane policy and coexistence.
OAA’s Six Goals
- Develop a statewide network, trainings and a clearinghouse on critical issues impacting animals and humans, such as animal disaster planning, to encourage cooperation and collaboration among animal control agencies, humane shelters and rescues, local authorities and state agencies, social workers and veterinarians, local, state and national animal welfare organizations as well as grassroots organizations (i.e. hold annual meeting/training);
- Teach kindness to communities to enhance the human-animal bond and improve safety with and compassion for animals. Long-lasting, systemic change for animals will only come by transforming the way we think about, live with, care for and protect the nonhumans with whom we share our world (i.e. promote anti-tethering);
- Assist challenged communities with resources that will enable people to retain their pets (i.e. develop a database of free/reduced resources);
- Promote coexistence with wildlife and feral animals by educating the public how they can stay safe when living and recreating alongside these animals (i.e. eliminate trapping of wild animals);
- Develop a network of safe havens for the animals impacted by domestic violence, which will empower individuals to leave abusive home environments. Animal cruelty is inextricably linked to issues of family violence (i.e. develop a database of safe havens); and
- Develop a comprehensive approach to animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect in communities all across the state by identifying the root causes of that abuse and developing both short- and long-term solutions.
This is work I do “for me” and although I get great satisfaction over representing human animals in their divorce or employment or criminal case, I also try to spend time when I can helping non-human animals too. Look for more about OAA on this blog in the coming months and feel free to help us out!
Ohio Animal Advocates – Ohio’s Voice for Animals
MJB/Spring Valley, Ohio 9/2018