How everyday students, adults can get involved to save pets

How everyday students, adults can get involved to save pets
2016-07-28 05:07:40 UTC

Illinois' animals may be safer than in other states. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the Midwestern state is No. 1 in reference to the United States Animal Protection Laws from 2014. Maine, Oregon, California and Michigan follow close behind.

That doesn't make these five states perfect for pets. Approximately 2.7 million animals nationwide are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats) annually for a variety of reasons, according to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, there are simple ways to help decrease those numbers, and improve pet health and safety in these states and the ones that didn't make the top five list. Here are five suggestions. 

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1. Support the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

"I worked in patent law for a couple of years just because that was the logical route to go ... I just realized that I like animal law a whole lot more once I was exposed to it," said Chicago lawyer Anna Morrison-Ricordati to Gurulife's Shamontiel.*

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                                                    Photo courtesy of Anna E. Morrison-Ricordati

"But the ALDF is a group of attorneys that have a lot of animal interests in mind," Morrison-Ricordati, who works in private practice for AMR Law Group LLC and as an animal law attorney for AMR Law Group LLC . "And the SALDF are divisions in most of the law schools that have student groups. They address issues that come up not just with companion animals but for wildlife, animals used in entertainment and clothing, and also farm animals. They really address the needs of all of those animals and of course people protecting animals as clients." 

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Not interested in working in the legal industry? Here are a few ways to support the organization anyway. 
* Donate to ALDF online fundraisers.
* Organize a fundraising event to help ALDF. 
* Donate a used car, truck, RV or boat, which is eligible for a charitable tax deduction
* Purchase kibble from V-Dog.


Recommended Reading: "Florida in top 20 for animal rights, ALDF lawyer tells how students can get involved


2. North Carolina residents volunteer to train service dogs

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Residents in Wilmington, North Carolina can volunteer for Canines for Service. Individual volunteers, couples or families can raise and train a foster puppy for up to 24 months. Canines for Service offers initial training classes, and training expenses are tax deductible. 

Dog walkers and office assistants are also needed. People outside of North Carolina can participate in the Walk & Dog Dash through a virtual team page.  The next Walk & Dog Dash is March 25, 2017. 


3. Volunteer to be a dog walker for PAWS in Washington

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Progressive Animal Welfare Society has dog walking shifts from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Weekend shifts include Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The weekly shifts are for three hours for a minimum of three months.

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There are also volunteer opportunities for: 
* Cat City Assistant
* Cat Room Attendant
* Cat Room Cleaner
* Companion Animal Shelter Gardening Assistant
* Dog Kennel Attendant
* Dog Kennel Cleaning Assistant
* Dog Walker
* Feline Transport Team
* Foster Care Program Assistant
* Foster Care Volunteer
* Handy Helper
* Marketing & Web Team
* Pittie Committee Member
* Post-Surgery Clinic Assistant
* Small Engine Maintenance
* Veterinary Clinic Assistant


4. Volunteer for the Animal Humane Society

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AHS has nationwide opportunities for pet lovers to volunteer in animal shelters (i.e., animal bathers, exam assistants, adoption preparation); community outreach; foster care; Walk for Animals and other special events. Teens ages 16 to 18 can also participate in the Summer Animal Volunteer Experience. 


5. Help homeless pet owners find resources

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It's a pretty safe bet that a pet would rather have pet owners down on their luck (voluntarily or involuntarily) rather than being in an animal shelter or worse. And homeless people may be able to provide the kind of  in-person attention that a pet needs. However, resources are obviously more scarce. For those who see homeless pet owners who need supplies, Pets of the Homeless has nationwide locations where pet food, emergency veterinary care and wellness care can be found. They're usually food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Inquire or inform homeless pet owners who may not know where to find these places. Emergency veterinary care may or may not be covered, but for those who want to contribute, there is a donation option to help Pets of the Homeless, too. 

* This interview with Morrison-Ricordati  was originally completed for the CBS "Let's Get Back to Work" series and parts of it were later published on Sun Times Network.