Animal Writes
5 September 2001 Issue
Wanted: Guardian Angels 

WANTED: Guardian Angels needed to spread the word about IDA's "They Are Not Our Property - We Are Not Their Owners" Campaign.

In Defense of Animals is searching for more Guardian Angels to lead the campaign in their community to change the language of their local laws to read guardian in place of "owner" with regard to companion animals. Boulder, Colorado was the first to make this change on July 11, 2000. In February of 2001, West Hollywood and Berkeley, California made similar changes to their ordinances to reflect the fact that their citizens are indeed guardians of their dogs, cats and other companions. Boulder citizens are now seeing the changes everywhere -- the Boulder newspaper is routinely using the word guardian (not "owner") in articles and editorials; the Humane Society of Boulder Valley is using guardian in their daily language and in all printed material; and signs erected by City Staff in dog parks now use the new terminology.

This simple wording change is an effort to elevate the status of animals beyond that of mere property to that of sentient individuals with needs and rights of their own. Most of you probably already consider your animal companion as a member of your family instead of as a commodity (like your sofa or your car).

Much abuse is perpetrated because dogs, cats and other companions are perceived of as the "property of owners." Even when someone is charged with the crime of animal abuse, quite often he/she is let go with a mere "slap on the wrist," to go back into the community to continue his/her abusive ways. Think of the changes we might see if we educate our children to the fact that they are guardians of living beings rather than "owners of property."

Last year 5 million adoptable animals were killed in shelters. At the very same time the lethal dose was being administered, puppy mills were producing countless numbers of dogs, cats and other animals to be "sold" to "owners" at pet stores. Guardians would realize the importance of always adopting and rescuing instead of buying and selling animals, and would understand the commitment to the animal for his/her lifetime.

Today IDA is working with people across the country who wish to make this simple language change a reality in their communities, both legally and in
everyday language.

If you would like to help or to know more about the campaign, please contact Laurie Lown, Director of IDA's "They Are Not Our Property, We Are Not Their Owners" Campaign, by e-mail at [email protected]
or by telephone at 503-293-1853. Remember that each individual can make a difference!

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