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Norwich Bulletin - 1/25/2009

New Organizations For a New Year

Okay, you took the time to write your will and now you know that your animals will be taken care of when you are not longer around. But what about all those animals that have no-one to take care of them now? Here is another very positive New Years resolution that will get you involved in helping Connecticut animal companions and animals in general.

I have what I believe is really good news for animals in Connecticut. Two groups have been formed to improve their status and the laws governing animal welfare. And both groups are open to individuals, as well as group membership, which means you can be “in the know” about animal events without having to belong to a particular group. I mean, even if you currently do not have any pets (but if you are reading this column, I would assume you do), and you care about animals, please visit their websites to learn more.

The Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut, Inc. (AWFCT) is a partnership of animal welfare advocates dedicated to improving the status and well-being of companion animals in Connecticut. AWFCT is not a shelter or rescue organization, but its members include rescue and shelter professionals, individuals, animal control officers and veterinarians working collectively as a unified voice in Connecticut. The primary focus of the Federation is to create a statewide coalition that focuses on animal welfare issues.

The Federation seeks to address the companion animal overpopulation problem by (1) promoting the humane treatment of animals and encouraging the enforcement of laws to protect them; (2) acting as a resource center by sharing and distributing information that promotes animal welfare; and (3) promoting educational programs that encourage responsible companion animal ownership.

The Federation supports trap-neuter-return (TNR) for feral cats, early and low cost spay/neuter programs, life-saving programs initiated by animal control officers and municipal shelters, and much more. Visit www.awfct.org or write to the Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut, P.O. Box 64, Plainfield, CT 06374-0064. AWFCT is a 501c3 charitable organization. Their bi-monthly meetings are informative and enjoyable as you will meet other like-minded people and learn about current issues that affect animals and the animal welfare community.

Connecticut also needed a group that would work with our elected State Senators and Representatives to pass laws that would benefit animals. When many voters let their elected officials know what is important to them and that, in fact, their votes depend on the seriousness with which their officials treat animal welfare, we can improve the laws and the status of our pets and other animals we care about.

Connecticut Votes for Animals was formed as a 501c4 nonprofit organization, dedicated to lobbying on behalf of animals, as well as a separate political action committee (Connecticut Votes for Animals PAC). As a member, you will know whether or not your State Representative or Senator cares about improving our laws regarding domestic animals and wildlife, as well as the progress of key animal related bills during the legislative session.

Prior to the last election, a lengthy questionnaire was sent to every candidate for the House and the Senate in order to identify their positions on a range of animal protection issues. As a member, you will have access to their responses, which is currently on the Connecticut Votes for Animals website. You can find out about the different legistlators efforts on behalf of animals, as they are published annually, and members are notified when important legislation is coming up for a vote and assistance is needed.

Membership is just $25 a year and you will be working with others to advocate pro-animal policies, educate the public regarding animal protection issues and safeguarding the interests of animals by making their well-being important to our elected leaders. Visit www.ctvotesforanimals.org or write to P.O. Box 266, Cheshire, CT 06410.

Connecticut must be a leader in the Nation in how we treat and care for animals, and these two groups are dedicated to making this happen, but they need your help and support. Find out how you can become a member or supporter by contacting each individual group. Unless you make the effort to work toward the betterment of our animal companions, animals will continue to die and the laws will not be there to protect them.

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