April 11, 2012
Law of the Paw, a national grassroots effort developed in Minneapolis-St. Paul, aims to reduce the number of animals that come into humane societies and rescue groups by asking people who love their pets to come on board to make a promise to their pet, in order to help other pets.
This initiative asking animal lovers to “live by the Law of the Paw” and commit to three behaviors to help reduce the numbers of homeless animals is being launched by fifteen animal organizations-- including Animal Humane Society, the Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare (MnPAW)* and the Washington Humane Society in Washington DC.
The groups hope to create an aspirational movement for companion animals by asking pet owners to pledge to create a better world for animals by promising to do three simple actions.
“We really view this as a game changer for animals in this country,” says Janelle Dixon, president and CEO of Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis-St. Paul. “Never before have these three actions been put together—we view this as when people take care of their own pets, according to the Law of the Paw, they are helping all animals and we will see the number of animals coming into shelters reduced and decreases in pet homelessness and euthanasia.”
“We are delighted to be a part of the Law of the Paw campaign,” says Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of the Washington Humane Society. “The issues facing animals are not local problems – we face the same issues here in Washington DC that Animal Humane Society faces in Minnesota. Overpopulation, stray and lost animals and crowded shelters can be found in every community in every state. It's time we come together and address these issues as one.”
The organizations launching Law of the Paw envision this effort to be much like the “reduce-reuse-recycle” efforts some forty years ago. Like the shift people made over the past few decades to evolve from a throw-away society to a recycling society, this is a long-term process.
“By the time the kids who are pledging to the Law of the Paw today are grown and starting their own families – complete with pets – their first thought will be to adopt a pet through a shelter or rescue, rather than a puppy mill or pet store,” says Marilou Chanrasmi, president of the Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare (MnPAW), a coalition of animal organizations in Minnesota that support Law of the Paw. “They’ll also make sure their pets are spayed or neutered, and wear a collar and ID in case their pet is ever lost.”
Law of the Paw is not branded to any one organization, Laurie Brickley, director of marketing for Animal Humane Society explains. Creative materials for this movement have been developed including a dedicated website lawofthepaw.org, where pet lovers can sign the pledge, a film piece and a variety of collateral pieces—brochures, posters, advertising templates—that any shelter, rescue or humane organization can use. “Our goal is for any organization to adopt these materials and to launch Law of the Paw in their own communities. We are aiming for 1 million people to commit to live by the Law of the Paw—in a world where pet overpopulation seems insurmountable, this is a meaningful way every person can help improve the lives of animals.”
*MnPAW members include: