Advocacy Toolkit

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Cecilia Diaz, 17th Medical Group Family Advocacy outreach manager, paints a child’s arm to look like an injury during Operation Kids Investigating Deployment Services at Camp Sentinel, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 1, 2016. The wound painting technique is called moulage and is used for the purpose of training emergency response teams and other medical and military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane/Released)

Advocacy Toolkit

Advocacy Toolkit Way to Advocate for Humane limit Laws and Policies for Mothers On Your Community

The Alley Cat Allies’ Advocacy Toolkit will equip you with the basics in citizen lobbying and prepare one to urge for humane laws and policies for cats.
Advocating for Cats

Advocacy Toolkit cats powerful advocate

You can become the cats’ most powerful advocate in your community! Your elected officials, animal control officials, and animal shelter staff make decisions which impact the lives of cats daily. That is why your voice will help them know that you and other community members encourage humane policies and laws.

In certain towns and counties, compassionate citizens defend their best to do Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for community cats (also known as feral cats). In others, people must advocate their officials to reject proposed legislation that place community cats’ lives in danger, and encourage their animal control agencies and animal shelters to execute policies which protect cats.

Alley Cat Allies’ Advocacy Toolkit will instruct you to speak out regarding the laws and policies that affect cats and assist muster your community through grassroots organizing to do exactly the same. Improving local ordinances and policies will finally give all cats a higher degree of security than a TNR organization, feline rescue team, or individual can provide independently. We’re here to help you become an effective advocate for cats and make significant changes in your community.

Recognizing cats’ natural history shows just how recently cats arrived inside and how neighborhood cats continue to live healthy lives outdoors–as most of domestic cats are biologically adapted to do. Only since 1947, with the invention of kitty litter, has it been common for cats to live inside as they do today. In reality, cats have lived primarily outdoors alongside humans, sharing the environment with birds and wildlife, for over 10,000 decades. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the history of cat domestication, as those who oppose TNR often think community cats are displaced and do not belong outdoors. The truth is that community cats have always lived outside and have a place in the natural landscape.
The Community Cat Movement:

Then and Now Limit Lawsadvocacy toolkit limit laws

Prior to the 1990s, trapping cats to have them spayed or neutered and vaccinated was considered an eccentric, even suspect, activity that most people did not know how to tackle and were loath to talk about. Locating a veterinary clinic that was willing and equipped to treat neighborhood cats was next to impossible, and the costs, borne by professionals alone, were shocking. In these ancient days, TNR was an expensive, solitary endeavor. Finally, early caregivers found each other and started working together. Organizing as a team supplied shared resources and a safety net for both caregivers and cats. Small groups formed over time, and a few evolved to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with a structure and financing.

Slowly at first, but with increasing momentum, members of the veterinary profession started recognizing community cats as an underserved population. They grew to understand the urgent need to assist professionals care for cats while controlling reproduction and improving cats’ lives at exactly the identical time. Volunteers organized community cat spay days and full-time, subsidized practices in an outpouring of community services. Humans possess a compassionate character, so it was unavoidable that good samaritans would take action after they understood outdoor cats needed aid. That legacy of caring continues now.

Limit Laws Building the Movement

Constitution of United States of America 1789 • Amendment I
Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the media; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Advocacy Toolkit Wildlife

There are two sources of power in the political process: money and people. The united states constitution guarantees freedoms concerning faith, expression, assembly, and the right to request in the first amendment–thus exercise those rights! Cat advocates must come together and exude power through recruitment, training, and mobilizing citizens to say”no” to killing cats and”yes” into enhancing their lives. Grassroots organizing is a inclusive american tradition that lives on in communities throughout the country. It is in hometown papers all of the time–residents working together to increase their locality or draw attention to some worthy cause. And it works for cats also: it is the best way you can use to help improve the lives of cats and stop the killing in your local shelters.

Grassroots organizing can be accomplished effectively with minimal tools. A casual conversation about cats along with your neighbor may be the beginning of a community-wide shift in coverages for cats! Your actions have the capacity to have a massive impact on your area. Everyone within this motion makes a valuable contribution to the honorable goal of ending the unnecessary killing in mammals and providing continuing care. No matter what function you fill–whether you’re hands-on with cats or maybe not –you are a part of this motion in the event that you just stand up and say”no” to the killing. It’s possible to spread the word and build the movement by getting your friends, family members, and neighbors involved.

Knowing the Problems

advocacy toolkit limit laws
The Virginia National Guard hosts more than 50 National Guard, Reserve and active duty Soldiers and Airmen from more than 15 states and territories for a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate refresher training course March 29, 2018, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The 32-hour training focuses on victim advocacy, prevention and ethics and featured guest speakers from local, state and national agencies. (U.S. National Guard photo by A.J. Coyne)

Nearly all animal control shelters and agencies in the united states continue to execute and enforce outdated laws and policies that kill over 70 percent of all cats that enter their centers. Virtually every community cat who enters a shelter is murdered there. Shelters will be the number one documented cause of death for cats, nationwide.

Impractical ordinances like feeding bans and pet limit laws punish the very people who, in their own cost, are working to improve conditions for both cats and the community. Even while community cat groups have arranged and developed, many individual caregivers are harassed and cited for their community service. Some have even resorted to caring for the cats in secret for security’s sake. Instead of capitalizing on the empathy and energy of the people that are a part of the remedy, punitive ordinances are counter-productive and ignore the true problem: the lack of subsidized spay and neuter surgeries and TNR applications. They also produce a subculture of taxpayers who need to hide in the shadows to save cats’ lives.

The good news is that you can help change these backward coverages and pave the way into a greater community for cats and people. Hundreds of communities have already changed and are models for other communities nationally. Shifting local ordinances and policies will ultimately give cats far greater security than any grassroots organization or person can provide independently. There is great political, legal, and ethical advantage in standing together to say that killing cats must stop. Our government agencies must reform their own policies. We, as voters and taxpayers, must leverage our democracy and need it. After all, it’s our tax dollars being spent to kill healthy cats.
Understand What’s Happening in Your Community:

Advocacy Toolkit Local Government and Animal Control

Local authorities provide animal control in a variety of ways. It’s important to realize how animal control is handled in your community so you can effectively advocate for policies and laws which protect and improve the lives of cats. To launch a successful campaign, you want to identify your local government arrangement, research animal control contracts, laws, and data, and get to know your animal shelter and control providers.

Limit Laws Community Resources

When investigating your community’s strategy to community cats, it is important to consider who can help you on your efforts to advocacy toolkit–and who might be an obstacle to your advocacy work. Do a little research. Look up news stories about community cats, contact local animal rescue organizations, and speak to neighborhood cat health professionals and veterinarians.

If there is a person or group advocating to your community’s cats, you might be able to join forces with them. When there is a man or group pushing for inhumane policies for cats, then determine why they want these policies, and consider whether you may be able to work with them to develop a humanist approach to cats who better meets the community’s requirements.

To assist you get started, connect with members of the Alley Cat Allies feral friends network. Feral buddies are advocates, experts, and veterinary professionals operating across the country–and around the world–to help cats and the people who care for them. Our associates are experienced in caring or advocating for cats and joined our community to become a source for their community and also save even more cats’ lives.
Identify your legislation and policies that impact cats:

Advocacy Toolkit Local and State Legislation

If you really care about cats and want to create change that saves their lives, it’s essential that you know and understand the laws that affect them. Most legislation regarding community cats and companion animals are passed in the local (county or city ) level. Regulations in the neighborhood level are generally called ordinances. But state laws can also affect cats–anti-cruelty and animal shield laws exist in all 50 states and in the district of columbia and vary between nations. There might also be local legislation that directly, or indirectly, impact the protection and humane treatment of cats. You must learn your place’s particular laws to successfully interact with the public, cope with risks for cats, and push for humane policies and applications.advocacy toolkit limit laws

Legislation may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! All local governments have a distinctive lawmaking procedure. In addition to laws, local governments also pass resolutions, which make policies rather than legislation, and budgets (also called appropriations), which can be large, complex bills that define how your tax dollars are dispersed between different programs and agencies. It is important to monitor the budget approval process because the allocation of capital determines which programs–for example TNR applications –are available in your community. To put it differently, the individuals holding the purse strings have the capacity, so use the budget process to advocacy toolkit for better policies!

These are the general steps that many communities follow to create a new law:
Occasionally government staff may also introduce legislation. Citizens usually cannot propose legislation by themselves, but they are able to ask for a meeting with an elected official and ask them to winner a law.

After the legislation is submitted, it’s then sent into the authorized department for review. At times it is also analyzed to ascertain the financial impact of the proposed legislation. Now, you can submit letters or emails stating your position on the invoice to elected officials.
The bill is introduced in a council or commission meeting. At this time, the council or commission may hear from the general public. This is your chance to testify on this issue. Legislators can also discuss or debate the merits of the bill. For tips on preparing testimony, see the”Testimony and Hearings” section under”Phase Two: Create an Impact”.

In some communities, the bill might be voted on the exact same day it’s introduced. In other places, the bill is considered at multiple encounters before being voted on. Alternately, a bill may be considered at a committee that is composed of a smaller number of councilmembers. The committee may then opt to pass the bill along to the complete body, amend the bill, or urge against its passing.

Do not forget: bills can be amended at any stage along the way to becoming a law. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow every step of the procedure in case unfavorable language is suggested in any point.
Familiarize Yourself with an TNR Ordinance Drafting Process:

Limit Laws Ordinance Drafting Procedure

Alley Cat Allies has helped thousands of communities draft and implement powerful TNR ordinances and policies. Many communities have successful TNR and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) policies and policies that aren’t spelled out within their local legislation, and that’s ok! In other cases, local lawmakers and advocacy toolkit want to produce their support of TNR official. The following source provides the guidelines we follow when evaluating and drafting an ordinance to make sure it reflects good public policy and values the lives of cats.
Collect Evidence on the Effectiveness of TNR:

Advocacy Toolkit TNR Around the USA

Today, tens of thousands of communities have enacted TNR ordinances and policies, and new programs have been implemented daily around the nation. The continuing growth of government-supported TNR programs is evidence that elected officials, animal control agencies, and shelters are recognizing the need to change their policies to reflect the core values of the country. We’re a nation of animal lovers who want humane solutions for cats. An overwhelming majority of americans–81% –think it is more humane to leave a stray cat outside to live out her life than to have her caught and killed, according to national survey conducted by harris interactive for street cat allies. Local governments are moving toward TNR since they recognize that it is the only humane and effective approach to neighborhood cat populations.

Chu, K. & Anderson, W. M. (2007) U.S. public comment on humane treatment of stray cats.

After decades of this cruel, expensive method of catching and killing cats have neglected to stabilize cat inhabitants, local officials, animal control officers, and animal shelters are recognizing they need an entirely different approach. Some TNR programs are set up for as many as 25 years: a testament to how well they work. Scientific studies demonstrate that TNR is the only humane and effective approach to neighborhood cat populations. These studies, that have been conducted in multiple countries and have been published in many different peer-reviewed scientific journals, provide proof for how TNR stabilizes community cat inhabitants, improves the lives of human cats, and helps cats become better neighbors. Reading about communities which have experienced firsthand the many benefits of TNR will be helpful to you as you describe why TNR has to be implemented in your community.

TNR has been in practice for decades in the United States after being demonstrated in Europe, and scientific studies reveal that it stabilizes community cat populations, enhances cats’ lives, also assists cats become better neighbors. These statements are only some of the major points you need to remember when talking TNR with elected officials, animal control officials, and animal shelter employees. This resource provides all the speaking points for TNR you have to make your case.

Nationally, almost 70 percent of all cats that enter animal shelters are murdered there. For neighborhood cats that number climbs to virtually 100 percent. This is catastrophic for the cats and for the people working every day to help them. However change is underway in several communities. More animal control agencies and shelters have started to embrace humane modifications that reduce intake amounts, decrease euthanasia rates, and boost live releases. The following resources will help your animal control agency and shield adopt humane policies, protect community cats, and save more lives read more about laws of nautre laws of man .

Advocacy Toolkit TNR Ordinances

Well-intentioned ordinances, like those who claim to encourage TNR, can cause more damage than good if they create regulations and limitations –and subsequently, penalties and liabilities against health professionals and TNR providers–in which there were none. The most successful TNR ordinances are those that are easy. The most debatable TNR ordinances have compulsory registration. The following resource can help you determine whether your community may benefit from a TNR ordinance.
Understand Why the Following Laws are Harmful to Cats:

Advocacy Toolkit Leash Laws

Why they hurt cats: leash laws are harmful because any cat who’s outside –whether she is someone’s pet who’s out for a period of time, either intentionally or by accident, or a neighborhood cat–is subject to impoundment. Nearly 100 percent of community cats impounded are murdered, and 70 percent of all cats are killed. Leash laws originated to safeguard individuals and property from damages caused by dogs. Cats and dogs are exceptional species, and treating them exactly the same just does not work. Furthermore, unowned cats like community cats don’t have any indoor or owners homes.

Advocacy Toolkit Accreditation Requirements

Things to look for: legislation which require all cats to be registered or licensed with a government agency, which normally requires payment of annual fees and a tag attached to the cat’s collar.

Why they harm cats: licensing ultimately contributes to more cats being impounded in animal shelters, where 70 percent of all cats have been killed. Licensing is very misleading and harmful since it fails to achieve any of its stated aims. Furthermore, very good samaritans that are caring for community cats might be unfairly treated as owners and be cited or bullied into quitting care.

Things to search for: legislation that prohibit people from placing food outside for animals, like cats.

Why they harm cats: feeding bans are unsuccessful, lack scientific support, are inherently cruel, and do not come close to achieving their intended goals. They do not stabilize community cat populations, and they undermine and discourage the TNR applications that do. Having a feeding ban in place, TNR is not possible to carry out. If a community is concerned about its community cat population, TNR is the only answer.

What to search for: LIMIT LAWS

Advocacy Toolkit legislation which require all cats to be spayed and neutered.

Why they harm cats: mandatory spay and neuter laws dismiss neighborhood cats, that represent the great majority of whole cats–only three percent of those cats are neutered, instead of 82 percent of pet cats. Further complicating the issue is that in houses earning less than $35,000 per year, just 51 percent of pet cats are neutered. The root of the dilemma is the lack of affordable spay and neuter services for pet owners and community cat caregivers.

Advocacy Toolkit Pet Limit Laws

What to search for: legislation that limit the number of pets a individual can own.

The reason why they damage catspet limit laws are intended to protect the community from dangerous or unsanitary conditions and also to protect animals from inhumane treatment. Some limit laws are targeted at preventing hoarding: a psychological illness where somebody maintains more creatures than he or she can adequately care for in an enclosed area. The simple truth is that limit laws raise the amount of animals killed in shelters by deterring people from adding another member to their nearest and dearest. Potential adopters should be invited to adopt the number of animals that they can offer a loving home for, and shouldn’t be restricted through a random number.

Limit laws become debatable for local cat caregivers once the amount of cats that they care for exceeds the number of creatures that a individual may”own.” Restrict laws should be composed so that there’s an exemption for local cats and local cat caregivers. Caregivers are not the owners of those cats and should be treated accordingly. The perfect way to protect the wellbeing of animals and public health would be to tackle certain problematic behaviors–not to pass off and random laws.

Advocacy Toolkit Be Ready to Respond to Common Arguments Against TNR:

Opposition: Community cats must be eliminated (i.e., trapped and killed).
Answer: The Vacuum Impact: Why Catch and Kill Doesn’t Work.

Response: Why it is Trap-Neuter-Return, not Trap-Neuter-Adopt.

Opposition: Community cats should be placed in sanctuaries.

Opposition: Community cats ought to be transferred to a different location.

Response: Cats and Wildlife.

Opposition: Community cats ought to be killed because they’re a public health risk.
Answer: Community Cats and The Public–A Healthy Relationship.

The most important thing you can do for cats would be to function as the voice in the legislative procedure. Whether you choose to communicate with elected officials through phone calls, emails, letters, or office visits, you must communicate your service (or debate ) of laws and policies which affect cats. The top priority of all elected officials will be re-elected. If they are aware that a lot of their constituents are paying attention for their position on animal welfare, they are more likely to vote as their constituents wish. Remember to be polite and professional in all of your communications, even if the legislator does not agree with you. Being rude and disrespectful will not help save cats’ lives.
Emails and Letters

Make sure you personalize your email or letter to include the legislator’s full name and name. When available, also include the name or number of the proposed ordinance. If this info isn’t accessible, clearly identify the matter from the first paragraph. Don’t forget to send a letter to every elected official. As an instance, if there are six councilmembers, you need to send six customized letters.
Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings with Key Decision Makers:

Advocacy Toolkit Meeting Your Legislators

Many legislators are ready to meet with their components. Their job will be to take notes and report back to the legislator.

Contact or email the agency or guardian to request a meeting with the director or other team members. Be sure to present yourself, such as who you are, your title (such as your job or your position inside an animal advocacy toolkit organization), why you care about these problems, and any experience you have with TNR or caring for outdoor cats. If you go for a group, make sure everyone is on precisely the exact same page about what coverage and program changes you are recommending.
Submit Written Testimony and Speak at a Public Hearing:

Advocacy Toolkit Testimony and Hearings

In front of a new community law is passed, the city council or county commission will hold a hearing to discuss its merits. This is your chance to talk out to cats and describe why you oppose or support the ordinance. You may send written testimony to the commission or council or you’ll be able to present your testimony in the hearing. Please note these tips before attending a hearing and providing testimony:

Follow the city’s or county’s instructions about testifying, such as after a time limitation and signing up beforehand. You can call the city clerk or look on the internet to discover the procedure in your town.
Dress professionally at the hearing, unless you’re using a large crowd wearing a fitting article of clothing (like a teal t-shirt) to signify support for cats. Make sure you alert the council during your testimony why all these folks are dressed in a certain way. You might also ask everybody there in support to stand up so that the council can see how many people are on your side.
Your testimony should be short, clear, and to this stage. Begin by introducing yourself and stating where you live, which shows that you’re a constituent having a personal stake in their decisions. Next, say your affiliations with some classes, or if you’re a caregiver of neighborhood cats or a owner of an adopted animal.
List the 3 chief reasons to support or oppose the ordinance. Tell a short, relevant story about the good job you do or you care about this matter. You are able to compose bullet points or the entirety of your testimony depending upon your comfort level with public speaking.
Whether you have already been to many hearings or it’s your first time, then we recommend you practice reading your testimony as much as possible prior to the hearing. Exercise will boost your confidence and prepare you for potential questions from elected officials or attendees. Ask a relative or friend who is not familiar with community cats or TNR to function as clinic audience. Bear in mind, providing testimony at a hearing is a chance for you to create your case and educate the general public regarding the issues.

Have a look at our sample people testimony template to get started:

It’s important your legislators, animal control officers, and animal shelter staff know that many people in their community want humane policies such as cats. There’s great political power in position together–with a single voiceto say that we want policies and laws that protect the lives of cats.

Start out by media with other individuals who have done similar attempts or other undertakings. Have a look at the Alley Cat Allies feral friends network to locate and join with other advocates and organizations in your town. Feral buddies are advocates, experts, and veterinary practitioners operating across the country–all over the world–to help cats and the people who care for them. Our associates are experienced in caring or advocating for cats and our network to become a source for their community and also save even more cats’ lives.

You may also strategy leaders of other local community groups which don’t concentrate on animal issues and inquire about the most effective methods of getting things done on your community. They might also have the ability to help you set up appointments with the decision makers who you’ll have to meet up with to effect change in your area.
Action Alerts

After you have sent your own email or letter to your elected officials, then reach out to like-minded folks by sending an”action alert,” that is an email or social websites post asking others to join you in helping cats in your area. Reach out to your friends and family, and ask them to forward the action alert to their own contacts. If you’re part of a local animal welfare organization, request the organization to send the information to its supporters alerting them to the proposed legislation and requesting them to contact their legislators.
Reach Out to the Media to Make Your Voice Heard:
Talking to the Media

advocacy toolkit limit laws
Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity hosted the 3rd Annual Joint Appellate Advocacy Training at Fort Myer-Henderson Hall, Sept. 22-24. This training was designed for appellate government and defense counsel and provided a forum for discussion of critical appellate legal issues and timely training to enhance the practice of appellate advocacy in our community. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Media coverage is one of the greatest ways to draw attention and support to your attempts to secure humane policies for cats in your area. Unlike advertising, you have limited management in a news story above how you or your organization is depicted –but the coverage and recognition are liberated. There are steps you can take to manage all your interactions with the media to generate the best results and policy possible. You can control the message. The key is to prepared.

Op-eds and ltes are excellent advocacy toolkit tools to help get out the word to your community. When writing opinion pieces, make certain that you follow the local paper’s guidelines, such as word deadlines, and where to send it. In your writing, focus on the issues that actually matter and the persuasive information which may affect minds. Remain positive and not too emotional, and use data when available.

Advocacy Toolkit Misinformation

Misinformation prices millions of cats their own lives every year. Cats have portrayed as a major threat to wildlife, public health, and more. By instructing people on the truth about community cats and combating the false claims, we can help stop the killing. Social media gives an superb opportunity for you to shape the public’s understanding of cats. By Way of Example, you can use social networking to protect and enhance the lives of cats :

Posting info about organizations or individuals offering local TNR providers
encouraging others to encourage local laws or policies which help cats and oppose those that hurt cats

Advocacy Toolkit sharing informative stuff regarding TNR and cats

To help you begin, we have designed several”share the facts about cats” infographics which you can discuss on facebook and twitter now!
Get Involved to Become a Resource for Your Company:

Start Your Own Organization

Organizing as a team provides shared resources, a safety net for both cats and caregivers, and a protected legal individuality.

Since every community faces different circumstances in regards to implementing a TNR program, there’s not any single formula for success–however there are a few basic components which are in most programs.

Advocacy Toolkit Be a Good Neighbor

When you conduct TNR or colony maintenance, it is crucial that you communicate with your neighbors. Educating your neighbors and community members around cats. Will start a very beneficial dialogue with them. Which could only help the local cats. Neighbors will understand not to be concerned about the cats along with your TNR and feeding attempts. And they’ll know who”speaks for the cats” if a problem arises. Our community relations tools allow you to educate your neighbors. Find humane deterrents, and also learn how to navigate prospective issues about cats.

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