One of the ways the Dumb Friends League can fulfill its mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering to an even greater extent is to improve its advocacy programs for policies and laws that protect animals and enhance their welfare. To help achieve that, Ali Mickelson joined the League as the public affairs advisor. She will help the League be more effective in guiding public policy and keep internal and external stakeholders informed.
This 2020 legislative session has been a great opportunity to do both with a number of animal welfare bills proposed. The League is proactively supporting two bills: one to set a Socially Conscious Sheltering standard across the state, and the other to reform BAP‘s (Bureau of Animal Protection) ability to investigate animal welfare issues. Note: this would include agents of the Colorado Humane Society. The League is also monitoring three to four other bills. At this writing, the legislative session is in recess due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Ali says we’ll know short-term success by the passage of bills. In the long term though she hopes to see shifts in how people think about and discuss animal welfare issues, which can have a more significant impact. This is one of the reasons Ali started the GROWL group among League staff and volunteers. GROWL is an acronym for Grassroots Outreach Within the League. As of now, there are about 50 GROWL members to whom Ali emails action alerts, advocacy tips, legislation updates and much more.
She shared feedback from two volunteer GROWLers about their advocacy efforts on the recent attempt to repeal the Denver pit bull ban. So, yes some of this advocacy can be local as well as on a state level. Marianne Walthier said she joined GROWL because she has a long history of being active in causes she cares about. She routinely writes emails to her local and state representatives, phones their offices and shows up at hearings and rallies. Marianne was pleased to report she heard back from all she contacted, and she wants you to know our voices are heard.
Paige Sheen told Ali she’s loved being part of the GROWL group. She also got involved in the pit bull ban repeal efforts, saying she’s always wanted to advocate for “pitties”, and GROWL has allowed her to do so by going to the Denver City Council Meeting to hear the discussion. “It was such an eye-opening experience to see how local politics plays out.” She says that since then she’s been reading about breed specific legislation and looking for more chances to be an advocate.
Do these stories inspire you to expand your personal sphere of influence regarding something you’re already passionate about: animal welfare? Please take a look at the Volunteer Intranet -Tools and Resources – Advocacy section to learn more about this concept.
Participation is voluntary, and you’re under no obligation to do anything. To get started or ask questions, please email Megan Newhouse at email@example.com. Sometimes GROWLing can be a good thing!
Closer View 2020 winter ; Dumb Friends League Intranet; Interview with Ali Mickelson, DFL public affairs advisor; Feedback from volunteers and GROWL members Marianne Walthier and Paige Sheen
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