Every year in late February we dedicate one week to raising public awareness about animal abuse and how to stop it.
It’s National Justice for Animals Week.
For 2017 the week runs from February 26 to March 4.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund created this week in 2009 to:
Because animals can’t speak for themselves. So we must all speak up for them when they’re victims of abuses
Each year the ALDF names a mascot for the week. The first year it was Adam, an 8-week-old kitten who, two years earlier, survived being set on fire by two teenagers.
For 2017 Luke the pit bull gets the honor. Poor Luke had his shoulder shattered when his “guardian” threw him against a wall. ALDF helped ensure he found a new, loving home.
Each year ALDF also honors 10 people who have made a difference in the lives of animals. See the 2016 honorees here. They include a state representative, judge, and several district attorneys.
The 2014 honorees included the man who founded the first Animal Crimes Unit in the country—Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart. Previous honors for this animal advocate include Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World (2009) and the “2009 Humane Chicago Award” along with the Animal Crimes Unit.
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The Animal Legal Defense Fund works within the legal system to protect animal’s lives and interests. It does this with whatever actions are necessary in different cases:
Recent efforts include offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever is responsible for the death of two pit bulls in California.
It also supported the Montreal SPCA’s efforts to overturn the city’s pit bull ban.
But ALDF doesn’t only focus on dogs and cats or other pets. For 2015 the National Justice for Animals Week mascot was Gracie the alpaca.
In fact, the organization doesn’t even stop with domesticated animals. In January 2017 it filed a lawsuit to stop a coyote killing contest in Wyoming. Sadly it was too late to stop the 2017 event, but ALDF continues the fight to prevent the next one … and all the ones after that.
And of course, ALDF does this work all year long. Not just during National Justice for Animals Week.
Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this unofficial holiday.
You don’t have to be a lawyer, police officer, or sheriff to make a difference for animals in your community.
You just need to care about animal welfare and be willing to take action if you see animal abuse.
Of course, it helps if you know what to do. The ALDF offers many different resources:
You can also sign the Animal Bill of Rights to show your support for recognizing animals as sentient beings that deserve our protection.
The ALDF offers a list of 7 simple actions you can take (one for each day) to celebrate this week. They include learning your state’s laws and downloading the LiveSafe App to make it easy to report abuse or neglect.
If you’d like to help ALDF continue its work, consider making a donation. Or even setting up a monthly donation or joining ALDF.