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Moore groomer wins Creative Groomer of the Year

posted September 25th, 2015 by
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Lori Craig of Moore was recently named Barkleigh Honors Creative Groomer of the Year, a national title voted on by her dog grooming peers as part of Groom Expo in Hershey, Pa.

I have been nominated the last four years for it, but I won it this year, so it was really pretty amazing,” Craig said.

So what is creative grooming exactly?

As Craig explains, there is breed profile grooming, where you take a dog and you cut it to it’s breed profile. This is probably what most people know as dog grooming.

“And then there is creative grooming where you transfer the dog’s coat and fur into something completely different,” Craig said. “As a dog groomer, we get really bored. We do the same haircut day in and day out on every dog. With creative grooming, you add color, you add some hairspray and you start sculpting the hair.”

10639590_10152495270454473_413792196524344893_nA quick Google image search on my part brought up dogs with hair of every color, mohawks and fantastical shapes sculpted in to the fur of mostly standard poodles, some other dog breeds and even a few cats!

Craig’s winning designs this year were her Phantom of the Opera creation and Monarch butterflies.

“It’s amazing what you can do with fur,” Craig said.

For anyone concerned about the welfare of the animals involved, there is no need. The products and dyes used in the process are labeled for pets. Not to mention, the dogs love being transformed, says Craig.

“The dogs love the color and love the attention,” Craig said. “Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement and when people see a colored-up dog, they run and flock to them. [The dogs] absolutely love it!”

1017412_10201113386868871_72297664_nCraig says she has been doing creative grooming for about 12 years. She has been featured on TLC’s ‘Extreme Poodles’ and has traveled the world including Singapore, Scotland, Ireland and London teaching others how to turn their dogs into living artwork. She also takes her dogs on the road with her to compete across the nation.

Craig’s grooming salon Doggie Styles is located at 1261 S Eastern Ave., Moore, and she says creative grooming is gaining popularity.

“I probably do three to five creative things a day,” Craig said. “I do mohawks with color, stick on earrings, It’s just a way to make somebody’s dog stick out from the others.”

To make an appointment for your dog, call 405-790-0926 or visit www.doggiestylesok.com to view more of her incredible creations.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Deaf Dogs Can Learn New Tricks Too

posted September 19th, 2015 by
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American Sign Language bridges communication for owners and albino dogs

By Brianna Broersma

 

A special group of dogs live right here in Oklahoma City.  Ceasar, Swayze, Deeyenda and Marvel are all deaf and have limited vision. Their owner, Mrs. Rojas, uses American Sign Language to communicate with them. Rojas has taught them basic signs such as “sit,” “speak” and “outside.”  Rojas says, “I look at the sign I need and teach them the behavior to go with it.”

The dogs’ hearing and vision problems can be attributed to irresponsible breeding.  In some breeds, a “merle” or “dapple” pattern is prized. This means that there are patches of lighter color fur on the dogs’ coats. Some breeders will try to breed two merle dogs together in order to increase the percent of merle puppies in a litter. However, if two merle or dapple dogs are bred together, the effect is cumulative, and it can lead to a “double merle” dog with a completely white coat. This can also remove pigment from the inner ear that is necessary for normal functioning.

Rojas’ dogs inherited their traits from such breeding practices. Ceasar is a 2-year-old Great Dane, and his deafness resulted from Harlequin-to-Harlequin breeding. (A Harlequin Great Dane has Dalmatian-like coloring.) Seven-month-old Mini Dachshund  Deeyenda had two dapple parents. Swayze, a 1-year-old Australian Shepherd, is a “double merle,” a product of merle-to-merle breeding. Rojas’s 6-month-old Rough Collie, Marvel, has an “extreme white pattern.” This removes a large amount of pigment from the face and ears, often resulting in deafness.  Rojas says, “These issues are completely preventable with responsible breeding.”

Other effects include light-sensitive eyes that can have “starburst” pupils. If Rojas takes her dogs out during daylight hours, she has to put special goggles on them. The sunlight is harsh on their eyes and skin,  due to the lack of pigment, Rojas says. She also needs to put special sunscreen on them to ensure they won’t get sunburned. Often, Rojas finds it easier to take them out during twilight or nighttime hours to protect their eyes and skin.

They are viewed as a burden, and Rojas says, “Usually breeders will kill these dogs because they are not profitable.” Sometimes “double merle” dogs can have related health issues such as digestive disorders, skin disorders and seizures. They can also have allergic reactions to some medications.

She has actually had to convince breeders to give her their dogs instead of killing them.  She is hoping to get therapy dog licenses so that her dogs can visit nursing homes, convalescent hospitals or other therapeutic settings.  She also fosters/rescues deaf dogs until a permanent home can be found.

She believes “it’s easier to train deaf dogs because they get distracted less” and actually prefers deaf dogs to hearing dogs.

“Deaf dogs are just like any other dogs,” she says, regarding the training process. When teaching a hearing dog, the owner or trainer teaches with a verbal “yes” or a clicker when a command is obeyed. Then the dog is rewarded with praise or a treat.

“Well, with a deaf dog, you show the American Sign Language sign you are trying to teach,” Rojas says. “For example, ‘sit.’ You stand in front of your deaf dog and show him the ASL sign for sit. Once he sits, immediately show him the ASL sign for ‘yes!’ Then you give him a treat. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, and I sit, I get a treat and the yes sign. Therefore, I’m doing what I’m asked to do.’   Be consistent, and they will learn.

“Teaching ‘outside’ is easy too. Just like asking a hearing dog, ‘Do you want to go outside?’ …With a deaf dog, I stand at the door and show him the ASL [sign] for ‘outside,’ then open the door. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, she lets me out.’ So he learns to remember what each sign means with each action. It’s actually easy and less challenging than you would think. Dogs are not born knowing English or Spanish or ASL. They learn when they hear a word, or in my dogs’ case, when they see a word and learn its meaning.”

Another tool Rojas employs is a vibration collar, not to be confused with a shock collar. It is used much like a clicker. Instead of click and reward, the dog gets buzzed and rewarded. “This is an important behavior to learn since when they feel the buzz, they look for the handler for a cookie/reward or instruction in ASL.

“This is so important,” she says. “If for any reason your dog is far off—let’s say at the dog park—and you need to call your dog, you can buzz, and they will think, ‘Oh my mom’s calling me!’ They will immediately look for you to give a command, such as come here, go to the car, stop, or look here.”

For anyone with a deaf dog, Rojas and her pets are inspiration that their pets too can lead a happy, obedient, high-quality life.

She has started a Facebook group to get “double merle” pet parents in contact with one another. It includes owners from all over the country and even international members. The group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/202055833234792/. Members share information, photographs and support for raising these special dogs. For more information, contact Rojas under the name “Haulinauss Deafdog Interpreter” on Facebook.

Complete list of ASL signs that Rojas uses with her dogs:

1    Speak

2    Sit

3    Lay down

4    Outside

5    Go to bed

6    No

7    Yes

8    Good boy

9    Car

10  Cookie

11  Inside house

12  Move over

13  Back up

14  Stop

15  Walk

16  Look

17  Water

18  Food

19  Drop it

20  Come here

21  Go to dad

22  Up

23  Heel

24  Shake

How to Find a Pet Friendly Apartment

posted September 16th, 2015 by
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BY CRYSTAL TSENG

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015

If you have a furry family member, it can be challenging to find the perfect apartment where you can all live. Apartment List recently published data about the top cities for dog and cat lovers; today, we’re here to help you understand how to find a pet-friendly apartment.

Pet Friendly Apts2

Fees and Restrictions

First, we’ll address the common restrictions and fees that you may face.

Restrictions

Every landlord has a different pet policy, but most have one or more of the following rules for tenants bringing pets:

Number of pets: Most apartment buildings limit residents to a total of 2 pets.

Weight restrictions: Some apartments do not allow (or may charge additional fees for) dogs over 55 lbs.

Aggressive dogs: Many landlords will not allow residents to bring dogs deemed “aggressive”. There’s no set list, but this usually includes Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rotweillers, German Shepherds, and Great Danes. While your pet may be harmless, most landlords (and insurance companies) find these breeds to be risky tenants!

Pet Fees

In our experience, almost all apartments require tenants to pay a premium for bringing your canine or feline friend along. Some states and cities place limits on these fees, so you may want to research local regulations if your landlord requires payments that are astronomically high. Here are the fees that we commonly see:

 Pet Friendly Apts

Know your rights

Note that people with disabilities have a right to have service or emotional support pets, even if the leasing agreement specifically prohibits pets. You do not have to disclose your disability to the landlord. Additionally, service and emotional support pets are not subject to pet fees.

What you can do

The list of fees and restrictions can be daunting, but Apartment List is here to help! Many landlords and property managers can be flexible with policies as long as you can show that you and your pet are responsible tenants. Here are three strategies to convince your landlord that your pet is a safe bet.

  1. Build a pet resume

Building a pet resume is all about showcasing your pet, and makes the screening process faster. Things you can include in your pet’s resume are: photo, description, training certification, health records, habits, grooming. The Peninsula Humane Society provides a good example of what your pet resume can include.  A letter of recommendation from previous landlords and neighbors helps too!

  1. Promote yourself and your pet

Let your landlord know you share similar concerns about cleanliness. Express that your pet is potty-trained, vaccinated, flea-controlled, etc. Getting a training certificate like the Canine Good Citizen’s for dogs is a good way to prove to your landlord your pet would be a good tenant.

  1. Get insurance for your pet

Liability is a top concern for landlords, and one of the main reasons landlords are against pets. Landlords will feel more comfortable allowing pets if they are insured – this can be especially helpful if you have an aggressive breed. Be sure to find out whether your insurance has a dog bite exclusion, dangerous breed exclusion or other limitations.

Note that most rental insurance companies do not cover dog bites, so you may need to get a separate pet insurance policy.The Federation of Insured Dog Owners will provide canine liability insurance policies for all breeds of dogs.

Finally, we at Apartment List are here to help! You can use our site to search for apartments that allow dogs or cats, making it easy for you to find the perfect place for you and your furry friend. Good luck hunting!

 

Photo attributions:

Cat and dog: Photo by kitty.green66 / CC By 2.0

Dog: Photo by Hotphotochick / CC BY-SA 3.0

Cat: Photo by Adriano Makoto Suzuki used under CC BY 2.0

September 16, 2015   |    by Crystal Tseng

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

A Cat Tale

posted September 12th, 2015 by
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A Cat Tale

by Camille Hulen

 

A Tale of Two Kitties

 

~ Introductions ~

So you think you want a cat. There’s so much to consider. How do you find the right cat? How do you introduce yourself? How do you introduce a new cat into your home? Every cat and every situation is different as the following stories illustrate.

Duke and Thunder were litter mates. Although both would romp and play with other kittens, they behaved distinctly differently toward humans. Duke loved everyone, and his curiosity brought him to every stranger. Thunder, on the other hand, was fixated on his foster mom. He followed her everywhere, demanding attention but would run whenever a stranger came into the room.

Duke had no problem adjusting to his new home when he was adopted. Yes, he hid under the bed and was shy at first, but by the second day he was out and playing, claiming a blanket and empty boxes as his own.

Thunder was another story. Most potential adopters would simply look at Thunder and admire his beauty but then move on, saying, “He doesn’t like me.” One visitor, however, would not give up on Thunder. Although Thunder sought the highest shelf, almost out of reach, Rita followed him around, speaking to him softly. She showed him toys and offered him treats. Eventually, Thunder relented and let her touch him, so she filled out adoption papers and gave him a chance at a new home.

At first, Thunder hid under the bed in the guest room designated as his and refused to come out when his new human came near. However, when left alone, he would come out to eat and use the litter box, and they could hear him rummaging around at night. Throughout this time, Rita went into the room regularly to talk to him so that he would learn her voice. Then, after about three days, she found him on top of the bed! Progress!

From the guest room, Thunder moved into the office but would still seek the highest shelf, just out of reach. He would venture out when no one was looking and “steal” things to take to his hiding place. He was moving in and claiming territory. Next he would do “run-bys” trying to check out the humans, and sometimes sit within 3 feet of them, just observing. At other times he would follow Rita around to get a closer look. Fortunately, the new owners were amused by his behavior and did not get frustrated. Finally, one night he came to Rita as she was having a midnight snack and begged for food.  More progress!

As of this writing, after three weeks, Thunder is not yet a lap cat, but he is loved. I have no doubt that, in time, he will reciprocate with his love and purrs.

These stories illustrate the introductions of two different cats to their new homes, but here are some general tips for introducing a feline into a new environment/home:

  1. When you meet any cat, do not force yourself upon it. Speak quietly and touch it gently on the back of the neck or scratch it behind the ears. Do not attempt to pet it “head-on,” and give it an opportunity to bite. You cannot “pat” a cat like a dog.
  2. Do not attempt to pick up a strange cat! Above all, do not try to cuddle it to your face; this can be dangerous. It does not know you, and you cannot expect it to react like your own cat does. When you do pick it up, confine its front paws and hold it at your hip. Yes, you can scruff a cat by holding the skin at the back of its neck, but this takes practice, and it is not the best way to endear yourself to it.
  3. When you take the new kitty home, keep it in a confined space. A small bathroom is probably best because there are fewer places to hide. Provide water, a soft place to sleep and a litter box.
  4. Spend time in the room with the cat. Rather than leave food in the room, offer food while you are there, then take the food away when you leave. This way, the cat quickly identifies you as its food source. And, by all means, talk to the kitty and call it by name.
  5. Don’t panic. The cat may not eat for the first day because it is scared but continue to offer food at regular intervals. Play with it. For example, tease it with a toy on a string.
  6. When the cat is comfortable with you, release it into the rest of the house. Note: it’s probably better to keep bedroom doors closed at first unless you enjoy crawling on hands and knees, searching under beds.
  7. Relax and let the cat explore at its own pace. Continue to offer food in a designated place but do not keep food available all the time.
  8. If there are multiple cats in the house-hold, the idea of keeping the newcomer separate in its own room is even more important. Keep it in the room until it is comfortable and curious enough to come out. The resident cats will probably become curious as well and maintain a vigil by the door. Curiosity in a cat is a good thing!
  9. Exchange spaces for the cats. Allow the new cat to explore the house while the resident cats check out the smells where the new cat has been confined.
  10. When introducing cats, let them introduce themselves to each other. Do not force one upon the other. Chances are, they will hiss and growl at each other, then retreat and observe each other from a safe distance.
  11. If a scuffle develops, clap your hands and speak sternly. Do not yell and panic to protect your favorite. If necessary, a squirt from a spray water bottle works wonders.
  12. Mutual play with a toy on a string is a good icebreaker, as is a laser light. When the cats focus on the toy or “prey,” they tend to forget about each other.
  13. If you are uncomfortable leaving the cats alone with each other, continue to confine the newcomer in a separate room when you are not home. Eventually, the cats will find their own spaces. They may not become buddies but will usually learn to coexist.

Yes, when you adopt a cat, it finds its own space, both in your home and within your heart. And, I might add, the virtue any cat most assuredly teaches us is patience.

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