Animal Advocacy

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue

posted October 12th, 2015 by
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Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue – October 12, 2015

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue, Inc. located in Jones, Oklahoma, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that strives to improve the lives of neglected, starved, and abused horses.  We provide equine rescue regardless of age or disability.  We promote and teach horse care and humane, natural methods of training horses.  Our primary focus is Animal Cruelty Cases.  We work closely with the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office with their Equine related Animal Cruelty Cases.  We also assist any other local/rural county sheriff’s office who request our assistance.

Urgent Assistance Needed:

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue is asking for your assistance.  We understand that times are tight for many right now, but the smallest amount can go a long way in the rehabilitation of our rescued horses.  Our Donations and Adoptions have dropped dramatically and we are having to turn horses away that need rescued.  We have several horses that are waiting for much needed surgeries.  Please help, any amount that you can spare is greatly appreciated.  All donations are tax deductible and 100% of your donation goes towards the horses in our care.  Please consider making a donation today!  

 

Or Donate online at:

www.blazesequinerescue.com

If you are new to our program, please watch our video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SkqZy8lQm4

Here is a breakdown of our immediate needs:

Many of you may know Double D.  A beautiful horse that came into our rescue program shortly after Rudy arrived in January.  Double D and Rudy are best friends.  They both rely on each other for emotional support.  Double D has gone through 2 surgeries to remove squamous cell carcinoma from his eyelids and his penis.  He had several large masses on his penis that were excised by our Veterinarians.  We treated the cancer with cryosurgery and implantation of chemotherapy slow release beads on his eyelids and his penis.  Both appeared to be a huge success, however, the mass on his penis has returned and once again, he will need surgery.  This surgery will need to be much more aggressive to make sure they are able to get all the way to the cells that are producing the cancer, after the removal of the tumors, he will again be treated with the cryosurgery and implantation of chemotherapy slow release beads.  We are praying that this surgery will be successful and the mass will not grow back.  Double D is a happy horse and enjoys his days with Rudy.

In case you are just now learning of Rudy or Double D.  Please follow their stories here:

http://blazesequinerescue.com/Rudy.html or http://blazesequinerescue.com/Double%20D.html

You can also see a wonderful video of Rudy and Double D here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym6SMrLDB_s

We also have another rare case!  Shemar came into our rescue program in April from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.  Shemar is a beautiful, Black, Quarter Horse Stud.  He is estimated to be 7 years of age.  He came in very thin, body score of a 3, infested with internal/external parasites.  Shemar appears to be a double crypt-orchid and will need surgery.  However, before we can address his needed surgery to remove his testicles, we have ran into some liver conditions.  Shemar shows no signs of being ill.  He is a happy go lucky horse and we would never know he was having any form of complications had we not pulled blood work prior to sending him to surgery.  Shemar’s blood work shows that he is going into some form of liver failure.  However, we don’t know what would be causing this.  We have taken Shemar to OSU for diagnosis and possible treatment.  However, I came back from OSU just as confused as I was before going.  If you have been following us for a while, you know that we always seem to have the rare cases.  OSU diagnosed Shemar with a rare disease, so rare, OSU has only seen it 3 times in the last 20 years.    

Sadly, we just didn’t find the positive answers we were hoping for. Shemar has been diagnosed with a severe Pulmonary Disease Due to “Multisystemic eosinophilic epitheliotropic Disease” (MEED). MEED occurs primarily in young horses, ranging in age from 3 to 13 years. The disease is histologically characterized by eosinophilic and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates and the formation of eosinophilic granulomas in different organs. The clinical signs vary according to the organs affected. The prognosis of horses with MEED is invariably poor. However, attempted clinical management includes treatment with hydroxyurea and dexamethasone.

They still have a few tests that we are waiting on results to come back from, but we aren’t expecting any different of a diagnosis. Shemar’s liver is smaller than normal and due to the location we didn’t feel necessary to risk pulling a liver biopsy. So, that leaves us with a lot of thinking and deciding what is best for Shemar. We still have the fact that he is a stud and surgery is still needed.  His last diagnosis leaves me more confused, as he has done incredibly well since we returned home.  He has gained about 100 pounds, he looks amazing, and he seems to be feeling just as good as he looks.  However, his blood work still shows him to be in some form of liver failure.  If you know me, you know that I don’t give up easily on our horses.  I want to see Shemar live out the life he deserves.  I want him to be able to run in the pasture and play with other horses.  Before I can do that, we must prepare him for surgery.  At this time, OSU felt that he could still undergo surgery, as nothing shows that he physically can’t endure the surgery.  We need assistance to continue to proceed with getting Shemar the care he needs.  I just feel like there should be more answers available than what I am finding.  I am asking for you to please help me, help Shemar!

First picture is Shemar upon arrival, Second & Third picture is Shemar today!

Blaze’s Equine Rescue purchases grain weekly.  We spend $925.34 each week on the required grain we need to feed the horses in our rehabilitation program.

We purchase 24 round bales of hay weekly.  24 round bales with delivery cost us $1400.00 a week.  Sadly, we don’t have grass and have to feed hay year round.

We purchase shavings and fat supplements weekly.  Cost $294.75 a week

Our veterinarian expenses are much higher than our typical years past, due to the extreme medical cases that we have seen this year.  Typically we spend $30,773.92 a year.  We have currently already spent $40,570.45 this year alone on medical expenses and this is only October and we still have extreme cases that require a lot of medical care and expenses.  On average we spend $2500.00 to $5000.00 a month for veterinary care.  Keep in mind that is not only surgeries, etc., but also basic care such as pulling a negative coggins, vaccinations, deworming, teeth floating, castrations, injuries, physical examinations, lameness issues, etc.,  

Our farrier expenses average $500.00 every 2 weeks. 

It is an expensive endeavor caring for over 100 horses daily.  We can’t do this alone and we are asking for your assistance.  Please help us continue our rescue efforts. 

Of course that is only part of our everyday needs.  We also have many projects that we need completing, such as repairing structures and fencing for our rescued horses.  Our needs are always great.  We have saved over 1,290 horses in the last 15 years and we have adopted out One Thousand and Fifty Six horses to forever, loving homes. 

If you or anyone you know is looking to add a horse to their family, please check out our adoptable horses.  We have so many great horses seeking their forever, loving family.  Adoption is another great way of helping.  All adoption fee’s go back into the program to continue to assist other horses in need.  Adoption saves 2 lives.  The one you adopted and the one you opened up a place for a neglected horse to enter our program. 

Remember every little bit helps tremendously and we simply cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

Donations can be sent to:

17667 Markita Dr.  Jones, OK  73049

(405) 399-3084 or (405) 615-5267

[email protected] www.blazesequinerescue.com

Federal I.D. 43-2024364

Collaboration in Rescue

posted October 12th, 2015 by
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Looking Back

Collaboration in Rescue

CollaborationCollaboration works – – just visit downtown OKC. If you think the people behind the MAPS program always agree – – you’re wrong. What they do agree on is rebuilding OKC, they’re willing to work collaboratively – and they’ve been more than successful.

I’m constantly dismayed at the verbal shots fired by people in rescue to and about other rescue organizations. The dogs and cats do not care WHO saves them – so long as somebody does.

Many people involved in rescue are there for all the right reasons.  They want to find new homes for as many animals as possible.  From there it moves slowly in an arc until you are working with people who truly care about the animals in their rescue and have a policy of only adopting after a home visit.

When it comes to those who rescue cats – the range is from those who feel passionately they should always be in-house pets. At the other end of the spectrum are the farmers and ranchers who need barn cats – – they really do.  If there is one common ground it is declawing – – I almost never, ever talk to someone who believes in this painful process.

Add to the mix the transport out-of-state for rescued dogs.  Some go by plane, some by car caravans – which is fascinating to see how 5 to 10+ people, using social media, will transport one or more dogs long distances to new homes.  In addition there are rescues, both shelter and foster, who send dogs to out-of-state shelters that need, yes need, dogs.  Here’s where the disconnect and sometimes nonprofessional bashing comes in to play.  Not sure why – it certainly doesn’t help the dogs.

I believe rescue can be as successful as downtown OKC – – we’re Oklahomans and we can work together.  I’ve seen it first hand – – downtown Oklahoma City.

Kay Stout, Director   PAAS Vinita  [email protected]  918-256-7227

DVIS Mutt Strut 2015

posted September 28th, 2015 by
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Let Your ‘Mutt Strut’ For A Good Cause

By Anna Holton-Dean

 

DVIS2

Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) in Tulsa is hosting its second annual Mutt Strut Saturday, Oct. 17 at Hunter Park. The dog walk, or “mutt strut,” is designed to raise awareness for the DVIS emergency shelter’s newly-opened kennel, which is the first of its kind in an Oklahoma domestic violence shelter.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services’ new kennel offers shelter to the most helpless of victims.

By bringing your pooch out to participate, you can help domestic violence victims and their pets transition to a better life. Admission to Mutt Strut is an in-kind donation to the kennel, such as gentle pet shampoos, blankets, pet beds, stainless steel water and food bowls, non-allergenic cat litter, bleach wipes and disposable gloves. The first 100 participants to arrive on Oct. 17 will receive dog treats from the Bridges Barkery made by employees of the Bridges Foundation.

Dress your dog in his or her finest costume for the pet contest. He or she may even be crowned king or queen. Have a matching costume for yourself? One winner will also win the title of “Best Owner/Dog Duo.”

DVIS began planning for the kennel last year and is pleased to have officially opened to clients and their pets this past July at its emergency shelter.

The kennel can house up to seven dogs at a time and features a 200-square-foot air-conditioned and heated interior and a 180- square-foot covered exterior space. A 1,773-square-foot outside dog run also gives them a place to run carefree and exercise. The separate cat facility can house up to four cats.

DVIS recognized the fact that many domestic violence victims are pet owners and their pets are a serious consideration when deciding to leave or stay in an abusive situation, Rachel Smith, DVIS community relations coordinator, says.

“Often an abusive partner will kill a pet left behind to get back at the victim for leaving,” she says. “As nearly all clients entering the DVIS emergency shelter have very little or no income, boarding their pets is not usually an option. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets    for revenge or to psychologically control victims. Now the new DVIS shelter offers a kennel for dogs and cats to take away the stress a client might feel if they don’t want to leave their pet behind.”

DVIS Executive Director Tracey Lyall says it’s not only a stress reducer but also a way to ensure “all members of the family are safe, including pets.”

“Often an abusive partner will target a    pet as revenge so we are grateful to offer this for women and men who are abused,” she says. With the kennel’s opening, she says the organization expects to see an influx of pet residents as the word spreads about this vital service.

The kennel recently hosted its first furry guest, Poppy*. During his stay, the DVIS kennel tech made sure Poppy was up-to-date on vaccinations and gave him a flea bath. He also wrote a letter of good behavior for Poppy’s owner to use when she was ready to move into her own apartment.

Another recent DVIS client brought her own dog food for use during her pet’s stay at the kennel, but was happy to receive a toy for her pooch. Most clients aren’t able to come prepared with pet food or paraphernalia so receiving simple items such as blankets, pet beds, treats and toys is a huge relief and source of joy and comfort in an otherwise negative situation.

“It’s important to DVIS to keep families and pets safe and give their owners peace of mind,” Lyall says. “It’s one less thing for a victim to worry about as they prepare to leave their abuser, and that’s key.”

Any resource, such as DVIS’ new kennel, that gives victims the strength and confidence to leave abusive relationships is a worthy cause and something other pet owners can feel good about supporting.

Visit dvis.org to register. For more information, contact Rachel Smith at (918) 508-2711 or [email protected].

 

 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

 

 

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Hunter Park

Admission: An in-kind donation: pet shampoo, blankets/pet beds, stainless steel water and food bowls, non-allergenic cat litter, bleach wipes and disposable gloves.

 

Dress your dog in his/her finest costume. Two lucky pooches will be crowned king and queen of the Mutt Strut. One winner will also win the title of “Best Owner/Dog Duo.” Visit dvis.org to register. For more information, contact Rachel Smith at (918) 508-2711 or [email protected]

Embracing Change in Broken Arrow

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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Broken Arrow Animal Shelter Evolves

By Bria Bolton Moore / Photos by Foshay Photography

 

Jacko, a male Labrador/Mastiff mix puppy, is crouched in a pouncing position, eyes fixated on the camera, or maybe on who is behind the camera? It’s Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, and Jacko is just one of the 33 animals currently available for adoption at the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter.

Throughout the past year, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter, located at 4121 E. Omaha St., has made a change to ensure that animals like Jacko are not only provided with food, medical attention and shelter, but also a permanent home.

“I was raised in the country. I’m a cowboy at heart and grew up with animals. So, I’ve always cared about animals and their well-being,” says Animal Control Director Larry Dampf. He has been with the shelter since 2003 and served as the director for eight years, seeing the shelter through its recent changes.

Dampf says a lot of the developments came after the shelter moved from a 5,500 square-foot building to its current 13,500 square-foot shelter in August of 2011. With new space, came new opportunity.

New Policies and Procedures

Up until about a year and a half ago, those who adopted a pet from the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter signed a Sterilization Agreement, essentially promising that they would get their new pet spayed or neutered. New pet owners would pay a deposit, get their animals sterilized, and  then the City would refund the deposit back to them. Now, however, pets are spayed or neutered before they’re handed over to their new owners.

“There are a lot of factors that go into the spay and neuter program,” says Dampf, who had been envisioning a different process for more than a decade. “You have to have the vet; you have to have the funding; you have to have the facility. But it’s always been on the radar that we wanted to implement and have every animal spayed or neutered.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are about six to  eight million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year in the United States. Unfortunately, barely half of them  are adopted.

“Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth  control for dogs and cats,” according to the Humane Society.

“The last thing we want to do is contribute back to shelter over-crowding,” Dampf says. “Through the spay and neuter program, we’re helping to decrease those numbers     in shelters.”

In an effort to better serve its patrons, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter changed its business hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, to 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday.

“We found that the public really couldn’t get off work and be here at 4 o’clock,” Dampf says. ”Now, it’s easier for them to be able to get here and do business with the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter, which is a real plus.”

Dampf said the shelter has also hired an on-staff veterinarian consultant who comes in on a weekly basis to oversee the health of the animals. Additionally, the shelter  spent $12,000 on new software to track animals under its care, record adoptions   and much more.

The shelter also made a change to how it euthanizes animals. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized annually in shelters, according to the Humane Society.

About a year ago, the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter got rid of its gas chamber, which was used for euthanasia. The shelter now only uses injection to put animals down.

Interested in Adopting?

Unfortunately, there’s never a shortage of furry friends waiting for their turn to go “home.” Here’s how pet adoption works at the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter:

  1. Visit the shelter, and fill out a questionnaire about the type of pet you’re seeking.
  2. Browse the dogs and cats available for adoption. Spend some time with your potential pet in a “get acquainted room.” While animals surrendered to the shelter are available for adoption immediately, stray animals are kept for five days before they are available for adoption.
  3. When you find the pet that’s right for you, fill out the paperwork and pay the $60 adoption fee, which includes spay or neuter, rabies shot and the five-in-one (includes Parvo, Distemper, Bordatella, etc.).
  4. Pick up your pet the following day after its spay or neuter procedure.

Photos of animals available for adoption can be viewed online at baanimalshelter.com and now also on www.tulsapetsmagazine.com.

All of the shelter’s recent changes point to one thing: the shelter’s desire to serve the people and animals of Broken Arrow.

“Every shelter worker is burdened with saving animals,” Dampf says. “It becomes  the responsibility of the shelter staff to take care of the animal, house him, feed him and then expend every opportunity and every avenue to find another home for that animal.”

Dampf says the shelter will continue to evolve to best serve the Broken Arrow community and find permanent homes for animals like Jacko.

“We must provide the kind of service and care for animals that is needed,” he says, “that is through continued education and making sure that all our processes and business model are up to date.”

Who’s Helping the Animals Near You? Likely Not the ASPCA

posted September 13th, 2015 by
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Ken White Become a fan

President, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA


Posted: 09/11/2015 2:03 pm EDT Updated: 09/11/2015 2:59 pm EDT

THE BLOG Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost’s signature lineup of contributors

 

As the saying goes, it’s déjà vu all over again. This weekend I received two letters from the New York City-based ASPCA. The letters were identical, although they came with different envelope stuffers. Why does this seem familiar?

Well, back in October 2010, the ASPCA sent fundraising letters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that told the story of a dog named Brutus who had been horribly abused then rescued and treated by ASPCA. Although some organizations with national sounding names make up their stories, I have no reason to doubt the ASPCA tale of Brutus, and I have no reason to do anything but commend ASPCA for that effort and others like it that they make to save animals.

What I did take exception to then was the argument meant to encourage the reader here in the Bay Area to send donations to ASPCA. Quoting now from its text:

  1. “As you read this letter, somewhere — perhaps not far from you — someone is inflicting pain on an innocent and helpless animal.”
  2. “You may not be able to rescue that particular animal.”

3. “Please send the largest gift you can manage to help the ASPCA save animals like Brutus…”

My problem, then as now, is that ASPCA operates out of a shelter in Manhattan. Manhattan is literally a country away from the San Francisco Bay Area. If an animal “perhaps not far from you” in the Bay Area is being abused, contacting ASPCA will do nothing to help that animal. If you “send the largest gift you can manage to help the ASPCA save animals like Brutus,” that gift will do absolutely nothing to help an animal “perhaps not far from you.

Back in 2012, residents of the Bay Area started again contacting me about another fundraising letter from ASPCA, this one telling a remarkably similar story about a dog named Spike. Again, this letter included the exact same language as above, only inserting Spike’s name. Again, I have no reason to think the story untrue, but I have every reason to know that gifts from residents of the San Francisco Bay Area will not help animals here in the San Francisco Bay Area. That claim is, simply, a lie.

In 2013 and 2014 I received the same letter about Spike, which caused me to wonder: If ASPCA is doing so much to help animals, I’m sort of surprised they don’t have a more recent case to write about!

My guess is someone at the ASPCA had the same question, so perhaps no surprise that this past weekend’s two ASPCA letters now focus on a dog named Wickham. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same letter I’ve been receiving for the past five years.

ASPCA is not the “mothership” of the SPCA in your community, although presenting itself as if it is obviously proves to be an effective fundraising method for them. Shame on them. Each of the thousands of SPCAs, humane societies and animal control agencies around the country is an independent organization. Sometimes we work together, sometimes not. Sometimes we agree with each other, sometimes not. We are each of us distinct.

The letter goes on to talk about ASPCA’s work in places around the country, claiming that last year they “…traveled across the country assisting in anti-cruelty raids and disaster relief efforts… …from Miami to Sacramento and many places in between.” That’s carefully written, assuming it’s true (and I have no reason to doubt that it is) to make it seem like a coast (Miami) to coast (Sacramento) campaign. However, let’s be clear that there are a whole lot of places in between Miami and Sacramento, places with local humane societies and SPCAs and animal control agencies doing really hard and good work to help animals in their community without a stitch of help from ASPCA’s New York City-based employees.

Know who is asking for your money, and know who is spending it to help the animals near you. If you need help figuring out who that is in your community, send me an email and I’ll see if I can find the answer. Chances are it’s not ASPCA.

Fund Raising Funding Nonprofits Aspca Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA PHS/SPCA American SPCA

Advocacy

posted September 11th, 2015 by
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Making Change for Animals

If you are not registered to vote you are leaving some animals out in the cold!

Advocacy starts with four practical tools…

 

  1. Preparing a Fact Sheet
  2. Writing a letter
  3. Making a phone call
  4. Meeting with your legislator

 

The Oklahoma Legislative Process

The Oklahoma Process is easy to understand, and our policymakers are accessible.  A few things you should know before getting started:

The Oklahoma Legislature meets every year from February through May in a general session of the legislature.  New bills are submitted by each legislator by the second week of the preceding December, so fall is a great time to discuss your concerns with legislators.

During the 4-month session, the Legislature is in session from Monday through Thursday, allowing legislators time in their home districts on Fridays to meet with constituents.

State legislators say it takes only about five letters or phone calls to get their attention on an issue.   And, on average, you only need five to 10 legislators backing your issue to pass a bill out of committee or to kill it. That means your single phone call or letter really can make a difference.

 

Practical Tool #1- Prepare a Great Fact Sheet

What’s a fact sheet?

Fact sheets introduce an issue in a format that’s useful to busy people.

Good fact sheets recognize that busy people (like your elected officials and legislators) need something short and punchy to grab their attention. A good fact sheet says, “Read me!! I’m a painless way to get acquainted to an issue.” Anything long and complicated many not simply be ignored; it can actually be counter-productive. Keep it short, accurate, and interesting.

The purpose of a fact sheet

Set out the facts:  key statistics, figures, or comparisons

Identify a group with a particular issue

Provide answers to common questions about the issue (they may be in a O & A format).

Show information using graphs, charts or pictures.

Inform, persuade or educate.

Make an argument for a particular course of action.

 

A Good Fact Sheet:

Is only one to two pages long.

Doesn’t use long sentences or wordy paragraphs.

Is easy to read with sub-heads, bullet points, and often graphics.

Includes only the most compelling, useful statistics.

Uses stories, examples or other simple ways to convey complicated points.

Reflects careful thought about the audience and facts important to them.

Draws a conclusion and clearly states what you want the reader to do.

Includes the name, address, telephone number, Website address and/ or e-mail address of the organizing group.

Is honest, factual and does not exaggerate.

 

Practical Tool #2: Write a Letter

Letters are an important, even critical, way to influence legislation. You can mail, FAX or e-mail your letter. Letters to your own council representatives, commissioners, senators or representatives are especially important.

You have two state legislators (one senator and one representative).

Always use your own stationary or letterhead for your letter, and use your own words or thoughts. Form letters are not effective!

A personal story about how legislation affects your family or your community can be very effective.

 

Here are a few guidelines:

Introduce yourself as a constituent (if you are one).

If you are part of a group or coalition, say so, along with how many people you represent.

Keep it to one page if possible—short letters have the greatest impact.

Make your position clear, and say exactly what you want your legislator to do.

Tell how the legislation will affect Oklahoma communities.

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert. Your personal experience and your commitment is the best evidence.

Don’t threaten, browbeat, or get nasty.

Refer to bills or policies by name or number (if you know them).

Ask for the legislators view on the issue.

When a legislator does what you ask (such as vote for a bill), send a thank you note.

 

A great letter includes:

Who you are.

What you want done.

A little bit about the issue or a particular bill or piece of legislation.

Who supports it, if you know.

What you want done, again, in slightly different words

Your name, address and telephone number

 

Addressing your letter:

During the legislative session, you can send letters directly to the Statehouse, addressed like this:

The Honorable (Full Name)                         or                            The Honorable (Full Name)

Oklahoma State Senate                                                                Oklahoma House of Representatives

Oklahoma City, OK 73105                                                                              Oklahoma City, OK 73105

 

Practical Tool #3:  Make a Phone Call

When the legislature is in session, you can call legislators or their staff at their offices at the capitol. Lists of members’ names, office addresses and telephone numbers are available for the House at www.okhouse.gov, or (405) 521-2711 and the Senate at www.oksenate.gov, or (405) 524-0126.

 

Here are a few tips for calling your legislator:

Identify the bill or issue you wish to talk about by name and number (if possible).

Briefly state your position and how you would like your legislator to vote.

Ask for your legislators stance on the bill or issue.

Don’t argue if the legislator has an opposing view or hasn’t yet decided.

If you don’t know the answer to a question- don’t guess. Simply say you don’t know, but will get back to him/ her with that information.

If your legislator needs more information, supply it as quickly as possible (things move very quickly at the Statehouse!).

Never be abusive or use threats.

Follow up your call with a note restating your position and thanking them for their time.

Warning:  Legislators are often away from the office, in committee meetings, or on the floor of the chamber, so you may end up talking with a staff person instead. That’s great!! Use the same basic rules.  Staff people are very reliable and will pass along your message.

 

Tips for using voicemail:

State your name and address

Identify the specific bill you are calling about; use the bill number if you know it.

Briefly state your position- either support, opposition or some combination.

Keep the message simple.

 

For example:

“Hello, this is Jane Smith at 123 Main Street in Oklahoma City. I’m calling to let you know that I fully support HB 3192, which would regulate currently unregulated animal dealing facilities in our state. I urge you to vote yes.  Thank you.”

 

Practical Tool #4: Visit Your Legislator

Personal visits are a highly effective way to help legislators understand your position on an issue. Legislators welcome visits from constituents. They want you to be involved. However, they are busy people, so time is extremely valuable. Plan ahead and use the time well.

If you make an appointment when the legislature is in session, remember this is no guarantee that the legislator will be able to keep it. Legislative schedules change at a moments notice. Don’t take it personally-that’s just how it is.

 

Before the Meeting:

Make an appointment in advance, and expect to get about 15 minutes.

Prepare a good fact sheet.

Try to learn in advance where your legislator stands on your issue (many have their own websites just for this purpose).

Be prepared to explain how the bill will affect animals, Oklahoma communities, and voters in their district.

Dress appropriately for an appointment. Normal business attire is appropriate.

 

During the Meeting:

Be on time (parking can be challenging so leave early).

Be prepared, be polite and be brief.

Start with your 90 second speech

Give your legislator your fact sheet.

Be firm but friendly. Don’t be afraid to ask for a commitment to support your bill.

Attack the issue, not the person.

Don’t disparage government or politics.

Don’t use jargon, technical terms, or acronyms.

If you do not know the answer to a question, say you will find the answer and get back with them.

Be realistic. Remember that controversial legislation and regulations usually result in a compromise. It has always been so and will be so in a democracy.

Before leaving, ask how you can be of help to them (for example, more information? Talking to others?).

Thank them for their time—even if they will not support your cause.

 

After the Meeting:

Follow up with a thank you note and any information that was requested.

 

Sample Fact Sheet

A good fact sheet!  It’s all on one-page and with lots of “white” space.

 

 

Animal Advocates of Oklahoma

 

Supports HB 1234

 

Problem: Unregulated dog dealing in Oklahoma is a crisis. 

 

Provides a brief description of the bill and the history

Oklahoma is the only high volume dog breeder state without state regulations of facilities moving large numbers of dogs or cats. Due to tightening regulations elsewhere, substandard pet breeders have moved here, creating serious animal welfare issues.  à

 

The growing number of substandard kennels in Oklahoma has created a “buyer beware,” market with an ever increasing number of animal welfare and consumer complaints.

 

Substandard facilities also operate as a cash business, these facilities are costly to taxpayers and communities alike.

 

Solution:  Create comprehensive regulations that support those already in compliance with federal regulations.  State the solution that you support. 

 

HB 1234 does the following:

 

Creates regulations to bring unlicensed kennels and shelters up to minimum standards under state laws and provides a framework for enforcement and  a funding structure.

 

Passage of HB 3192 would provide a mechanism for registration and inspections of these facilities in order to prevent neglect, fraud and the loss of tax revenue. Draw a conclusion: → State clearly the outcome you want to see.

 

Please support HB 1234

 

For more information contact:

 

 

Provide contact information for yourself or your organization

 

Sample letter

 

What’s SO Great About This Letter?…. It’s just one page!!

 

January 1, 2008

 

The Honorable John Smith

City Hall

Anytown, USA 12345

 

Dear Representative Smith:

 

I am a constituent in Anytown and I am writing today to urge your support for the Breeder, Advertising and Transfer (BAT) permit.  I am deeply concerned about halting unscrupulous breeders who are often exposed to be very substandard. 

 

Substandard facilities create serious animal welfare issues and taxpayers are paying a steep price for the problems caused by “backyard breeders” and irresponsible pet owners.  

 

The BAT permit also requires those selling animals to collect and remit taxes so that our city does not have to foot the bill for the breeders.

 

I look forward to learning your position on this issue.

 

Please let me know if any additional information about this issue would be helpful.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jane Public

100 Main Street

Anywhere, USA 12345

 

A Word About E-Mail

 

E-mail is received differently by individual legislators. Some prefer e-mail above all other communication; some don’t read e-mail for days or not at all. It’s a good idea to call your legislator’s office first and ask, “Does Senator Smith read e-mail? Would that be a good way for me to send information to him?” If you do send an e-mail, always include your FULL name and your HOME address at the end.  That helps the legislator know that you are a real, live voting person in his district.

* Adapted from advocacy materials by Claudette Selph, Tulsa, OK