Wishing this was an April Fool’s Joke

bffaedfaecdeb6c363db28061823ed55_400x400We wish this blog was an April Fool’s joke, but, unfortunately, one of Pennsylvania’s strongest voices for animals – Amy Worden of the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly Dawg Blog – is bidding farewell.  In her last blog written for the Philly Dawg, and gratefully reblogged with her permission, Amy says goodbye.  All of us at Humane PA PAC will miss journalist Amy Worden shining a spotlight on cruelty in PA!

Philly Dawg Bids Farewell

by Amy Worden

I launched this blog in January 2009, only a few months after Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law legislation creating the toughest law in the nation governing commercial dog breeding kennels – widely known as “puppy mills.”

The bill signing did not come without a fight. The battle waged between dog breeders and their supporters and animal welfare advocates raged for two years and generated more public comment than any other single piece of legislation in state history.

Since then, the tide has turned dramatically for animals in the Commonwealth. Most of the largest kennels and the worst violators shut down. Humane PA PAC, which tracks animal-related legislation, has counted a record number of pro-animal bills moving through the legislature and lawmakers are vying for the PAC’s endorsement.

Over the last six years I have tried to shine a light on animal issues in the Capitol and beyond. Readers learned here first of the slaughter of 80 small breed dogs – shot in their wire cages by licensed kennel operators who resisted a dog warden’s order to get flea treatment. That incident in the summer of 2008 shocked the animal-loving public and helped galvanize efforts that led to the dog law’s passage.

Evidence of violations of a consent order uncovered here in 2009 led Attorney General Tom Corbett to finally shut down CC Pets/Puppy Love kennel in Lancaster County, one of the most notorious puppy mill operators, which had sold sick dogs to hundreds of unsuspecting families over the course of two decades.

In 2009 the Eagles decision to sign Michael Vick, convicted for running  dog fighting ring, incensed dog lovers, some of whom boycotted the team and ripped up their season tickets in protest. That decision spurred the Eagles to begin funding shelters and inspired anti-dog fighting efforts in the city. I followed the progress of the Vick dogs – most through the hard work of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – here on these pages as they learned how to be dogs again after years in the fighting ring.

In those six years there has been a sea change in the attitudes of Big Agriculture toward animal welfare as evidenced by the movement to phase in humane animal housing by one of the nation’s largest food distribution companies – Philadelphia’s own Aramark and also Hatfield Quality Meats, one of the country’s largest pork producers.

Still undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals, SHark and Animals Angels depicting operations on Pennsylvania’s poultry farms and at live pigeon shoots and livestock auctions is evidence, those groups say, that cruelty remains.

In recent years the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has stepped up its efforts to crack down on illegal kennels and the Pennsylvania SPCA has increased its work to apprehend and prosecute animal abusers in Philadelphia and beyond. But many parts of the state suffer from having too few – or no – humane society police officers and shelters.

Now, after almost 1,600 blog posts, it is time for Philly Dawg to say farewell. My departure comes with word of the premiers in May –  in New York and Philadelphia – of “Dog By Dog,” a documentary tracing the connection between money, the federal government and commercial dog breeding. Among those interviewed for the film is me.

Anyone interested in following developments in animal-related legislation should bookmark the Humane PA PAC website and Facebook page. For now I will continue to tweet @inkyamy and will post to the Philly Dawg Facebook page.

Amy_WordenAmy Worden is formerly a politics and government reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In that capacity she explored a range of animal protection issues from dog kennel law improvements and banning horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life.

 

Posted in Animal cruelty, Animal Law, Animal shelters, Pennsylvania Governor, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania Politics, pigeon shoot, Puppy Mills | Tagged , , ,

Why I Will Make the Trip to Harrisburg for Humane Lobby Day!

Blog by Elissa Katz, President, Humane PA PAC

HLD15-2April 20, 2015 is Humane Lobby Day and scores of animal advocates from every part of the state will meet in our capital to raise their voices for animals. I will make the trip from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to participate – and I am looking forward to the day with great excitement and anticipation. If you have never attended a Lobby Day, or are hesitating about whether or not to make the trip, I hope that this blog will encourage you to take the plunge and register immediately!

With so many competing interests vying for the attention of our legislators, it is vitally important for those of us who care about the humane treatment of animals and want better laws to be passed to have a presence in Harrisburg. When we show up in large numbers on Humane Lobby Day, bearing the message that we care about animals and we vote, we send a message that we also care enough about these issues to come out and meet the legislators and their staff on their own turf. It shows we mean business, and we expect anti-cruelty issues to be taken seriously and given the attention they deserve. It gives us the opportunity to look our own legislators in the eyes, the same people we have been calling and emailing about various humane bills, and tell them what is important to us – and what we want them to do about it! And with a record number of animal related bills circulating and pending in the legislature, our legislators need to hear from their constituents to make sure that these bills are front and center in their list of priorities.

I remember feeling somewhat nervous and hesitant while I was traveling to my first Lobby Day – and then the relief once there when all training was provided before being sent out to our various meetings. The HSUS planners of Lobby Day could not make it easier for even the novice to be an effective citizen lobbyist! Pending bills are reviewed and prioritized, we are given packets of materials to present to the legislators, and we are coached on lobbying etiquette. All you have to do is show up and listen. Truly. It is that easy to effectively raise your political voice for animals.

But Lobby Day is not all business – it is a lot of fun too! It is great to connect and share stories and experiences with animal advocates from different parts of the state, especially those who you “know” through Facebook and other social media. And, at the conclusion of Lobby Day, Humane PA PAC hosts a Pawlitics lunch/happy hour that is not to be missed! The crowd is friendly, Lobby Day experiences are shared, and friendships are made. There are some wonderful people I only see once a year at Lobby Day and the Pawlitics party, and I am sure looking forward to spending time with them on April 20th!

Lobby Day is about speaking up and making a difference. It is about empowerment. It is about making connections and developing friendships, both with legislators and their staffs and with other animal advocates. This is our chance to make a political statement on behalf of animals, and the more people who attend, the stronger that statement. I look forward to seeing you on April 20th in Harrisburg!

Please register for both events separately: Register here for Humane Lobby Day.  Register here for Pawlitics Lunch/Happy Hour.

katz_fullElissa B. Katz is the President of Humane PA PAC and a partner in the law firm of Meranze, Katz, Gaudioso & Newlin, P.C. in Philadelphia. She is a regular volunteer with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), assisting with cat care and adoption applications at an adoption site.  She is also a board member of  Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Posted in Pennsylvania legislation, Tethering dogs | Tagged ,

Getting to Know You

pllWe’d like to learn a little bit about the voting habits of all of our members, supporters and animal advocates in Pennsylvania! Please take the following anonymous survey so that we can get to know you. Our goal is to meet your needs and interests as we continue to strengthen the animal vote and this poll will help us do so. Thank you!

Please scroll down through all the questions and hit “submit” when you are finished.

 

Thank you for taking the Humane PA survey!  We will be publishing the survey results in a future blog.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Humane PA Blog.

Get to know us too:  About Humane PA PAC
Sign up to receive alerts from Humane PA

Posted in Pennsylvania Politics, Political Action Committees, Politics, Uncategorized, Voters | Tagged

Walk the Talk for Animals

Guest blog by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret. (Part three of a four part series)

In two previous articles, I wrote about the value of becoming a candidate for local office as a means of gaining an official platform and position from which to advocate for the compassionate treatment of animals. If you have decided to take this step, congratulations!

If, however, you have decided that becoming a candidate yourself is not right for you at this time, it is not too late to have a direct influence upon who will be the candidates for local offices in your municipality. Advocates who have attended one or more of my presentations on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States have heard me expound upon the conceptual strategy of “your friend or someone else’s friend.”

Now is the time for you to implement that strategy!

On February 17th potential candidates began circulating nomination petitions to have their name placed on the Primary election ballot. They have until March 10th to gather a sufficient number of valid signatures from registered voters within their own party and who reside in the municipal jurisdiction in which they are running. If you are one of these qualified voters you can immediately implement the strategy of becoming a candidate’s friend by volunteering to help collect petition signatures!

Every candidate dreads petition circulating and fondly remembers those individuals who help them to do so! Can you think of a more inhospitable time to try to gather signatures than in the midst of this winter? By becoming a petition circulator you become a member of the candidate’s circle of closest supporters. This is true whether the candidate needs ten signatures or several hundred signatures. Every candidate wants to obtain as many valid signatures as possible to demonstrate public strength and to ward away potential challenges to the validity of the petitions.

In short, if you have chosen not to be a candidate yourself, now is the time to contact a candidate of your choice to volunteer your help. Now is the time to have that candidate become “your friend” instead of “someone else’s friend!”

Part three of a four-part series by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.

Part 1: Be Part of the Solution!
Part 2: Have You Ever Considered Running for Office?

Roy Afflerbach

In addition to being a co- founder and Treasurer of Humane PA PAC, Senator Roy C. Afflerbach, Ret. is founder and President of The Afflerbach Group, LLC.

Posted in 2015 Election, Local elections, Pennsylvania election, Pennsylvania Politics, Political Action Committees | Tagged , ,

Frigid Temps Mean Added Suffering for Outdoor Dogs

Amy Worden writes the Philly Dawg blog for The Philadelphia Inquirer. With her permission, we are reposting her excellent blog Frigid Temps Mean Added Suffering for Outdoor Dogs.  

Photo: Dogs Deserve Better

Photo: Dogs Deserve Better

When I woke up this morning the temperature on my iPhone read 3 degrees and the windows rattling in my old farmhouse told me the wind was likely making it feel even colder.

My Jack Russell terrier mix Olivia was curled at my feet on the quilt.

Thousands of dogs in Pennsylvania are not so lucky this morning.

With the exception of a handful of municipalities (including Philadelphia) it is legal to leave your dog outside in extreme temperatures.  He need only be provided with loosely defined as “shelter.” Animal welfare advocates and humane society police officers have gone to court over what constitutes “shelter,” sadly often losing because the law is so vague.

Neither do most licensed kennel operators have to provide heat for their breeding dogs and puppies. Despite changes in the dog law it is still legal to keep dogs (depending on their body type) in rabbit hutches as long as they have some clean bedding and are not in distress. The fewer than 100 commercial kennel owners have far stricter requirements regarding extreme temperatures, humidity and ventilation which would make it impossible to keep dogs in outside enclosures.

Dog law officials say they focus inspections on winter months to ensure dogs are not suffering.

This does not include the untold numbers of unlicensed kennels with no oversight. I’ve seen the victims in those kennels in winter – the pregnant, emaciated Italian greyhound in the corner of the damp barn with a few shreds of newspaper comics as “bedding,” the female Basset hound in the barren rabbit hutch, feces piled as high as the wire floor.

Those are images one never forgets, especially today where the coldest temperatures in a century are being recorded in parts of Pennsylvania, including Lancaster County, home to the highest concentration of dog breeders – licensed and unlicensed  – in the state.

Once again pro-dog lawmakers in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, led by Sen. Richard Alloway, have introduced legislation to ban 24/7 tethering as they have every session  for close to a decade. Even a protest outside the Capitol in 2010 by Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne, who chained herself to a dog house for 54 days, was unable to convince lawmakers to eliminate the practice responsible for the suffering of so many dogs.

Here’s how Alloway appealed to fellow members in his memo seeking co-sponsors for SB 373 this session:

Tethering of dogs is cruel and inhumane. Dogs are highly social pack animals who thrive on human and animal interaction and companionship. To a dog, being constantly tethered is like solitary confinement is to a human being. An otherwise friendly dog, when kept tethered becomes unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive and develops neurotic behaviors such as incessant barking, digging and chewing. 

Perpetually tethered dogs lead miserable lives! They live, eat, and sleep on their own tiny patch of packed down dirt, often fouled with excrement which in many cases, is rarely cleaned. They are tormented by fleas, ticks, and other insects from which they cannot escape, and suffer from diseases which can kill them. Tethered dogs rarely receive proper care.

The bill defines the parameters of allowable tethering as being “not for a longer period of time than is reasonably necessary for the dog or person to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be physically restrained.”

So far, Alloway’s bill has 18 co-sponsors. For more information on animal legislation pending in Harrisburg visit the Humane PA web page. 

Amy_WordenAmy Worden is a politics and government reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In that capacity she has explored a range of animal protection issues from dog kennel law improvements and banning horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life. To pass along a tip or contact Amy, click here. Reach Amy at aworden@phillynews.com or follow her  on Twitter @inkyamy.

Take Action to End 24/7 Tethering of Dogs in Pennsylvania

Posted in Animal cruelty, Pennsylvania legislation, Puppy Mills, Tethering dogs | Tagged , ,

PAC Fundraising: NOT a 4 Letter Word!

Blog by Humane PA President, Elissa Katz

Humane PA prides itself on having effectively mobilized thousands of animal lovers into a powerful political entity and thanks to everyone who responds to our alerts, meets with their legislators, shares our Facebook and other social media posts, and subscribes to our e-newsletter, we are a growing force to be reckoned with in Harrisburg. We are certainly proud of our accomplishments to date, and we are growing stronger every day – but we are not where we want to be – not yet! As good as we and all of you are at engaging in the political process, we are, candidly, lacking in a critically important area – fundraising. We all know that in politics, money is power – so to increase our power for the animals, we need to stop treating fundraising like a four letter word!

We constantly ask all of you to contact your legislators, take action and vote – but we struggle with asking for financial contributions. Why is that? Because we know that you are all doing so much for animals in so many ways, all of which cost money. You foster, rescue, feed feral cats, perform TNR, engage in humane education and outreach, help shelters and private rescues, etc. – so many worthy – and sometimes expensive – endeavors.  We are constantly mindful of the financial pressures that people who care about the well-being and humane treatment of animals face and that makes us hesitant to ask for funds in addition to your time and action. But our hesitation is not helpful to our voiceless constituency, the ones who are counting on us to muster every available resource to help them – the animals.

We are excited by the potential of the 2015/2016 legislative session, with over 20 animal related bills already circulating within the first couple of session weeks. It seems that every week, a new animal protection or anti-cruelty bill is announced by a legislative prime sponsor seeking support from his/her fellow legislators. Animal issues are clearly on the political map – but, as we all know, simply having bills introduced is not enough.  The bills have to move, they require commitment and conviction and support by the legislators – and the legislators must know that when these bills come up for a vote, that their own voters are watching and expecting “yes” votes on good bills and “no” votes on the bad ones.

Will this be the session that the legislature finally passes an anti-tethering/inclement weather bill? Will cruel pigeon shoots, the scourge of our state, finally be prohibited? Will the anti – animal fighting laws be improved by giving law enforcement tools it needs to crack down on this cruelty? Will there be needed protections of dogs, cats, wildlife and other animals passed? We intend to work relentlessly to secure support for and to help move these bills into law.

The animals are counting on us to be the constant voice in the ears of the legislators.  This means that Humane PA representatives must be present at as many political events as possible – and that costs money.  Opponents of humane legislation financially support their candidates, and Humane PA and the animal vote must also show that we can support our leaders who will fight for humane legislation.1006364_638369812863001_1110089128_n

So we turn to you, and ask for your generosity and patience as we work to change our mindset about fundraising.  We – and we hope you too – will no longer view PAC fundraising as a four letter word, but will think of it as a seven letter one: success.  Success for humane laws, success for the humane treatment of animals and success in ending cruelty to animals in Pennsylvania.

Donations are gratefully accepted!   

katz_full

Elissa B. Katz is the President of Humane PA PAC and a partner in the law firm of Meranze, Katz, Gaudioso & Newlin, P.C. in Philadelphia. She is a regular volunteer with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), assisting with cat care and adoption applications at an adoption site.  She is also a board member of  Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Posted in Animal cruelty, Pennsylvania legislation, Pennsylvania Politics, Political Action Committees | Tagged , , ,

Dollars and Dogs: Film Explores Role of Money and Politics in Puppy Mills

In "Dog By Dog," filmmaker Chris Grimes, turns his lens on commercial breeders, politicians and advocates - and at least one journalist to probe the question of how puppy mills continue to thrive despite overwhelming public opposition. (dogbydogdocumentary.com)

In “Dog By Dog,” filmmaker Chris Grimes, turns his lens on commercial breeders, politicians and advocates – and at least one journalist to probe the question of how puppy mills continue to thrive despite overwhelming public opposition. (dogbydogdocumentary.com)

In a new documentary, set to be released this year, a Chicago filmmaker explores the role of money and politics in creating and supporting the nation’s puppy mill industry and thwarting efforts to improve conditions for thousands of breeding dogs who spend their lives in misery.

In “Dog By Dog,” filmmaker Chris Grimes, turns his lens on commercial breeders, politicians and advocates – and at least one journalist to probe the question of how puppy mills continue to thrive despite overwhelming public opposition.

“I wondered how the guys in overalls were able to mount such opposition,” said Grimes in an interview Monday. “So we decided to look at the guys in suits to see how they blocked efforts to fight puppy mills.”

Pennsylvania – once known as the puppy mill Capital of the East and still the home of scores of commercial kennels- is featured prominently. Highlighted in the film is the work and words of anti-puppy mill advocate and rescuer Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue, Sarah Speed, the Humane Society of the United States’ Pennsylvania director, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Bob Baker, now executive director of Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, who fought for tougher laws in Pennsylvania for more than three decades – and me.

“In other states, like Washington and Missouri we focused on agriculture committees [in the legislatures] and we focused on lack of enforcement in Pennsylvania,” said Grimes.

Grimes also managed to get a sit down interview with Chester Gipson, the powerful head of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that oversees licensing and regulation of commercial breeders. You will not hear from the American Kennel Club, the nation’s largest and oldest breed registry, which denied repeated requests by Grimes for an interview.

Grimes said he is still working on securing distribution for his film and is exploring many platforms including cable and Internet, but also hopes to partner with local groups and plans theater releases in Pennsylvania and around the country as early as the spring.

Amy_WordenAmy Worden is a politics and government reporter for the Inquirer. In that capacity she has explored a range of animal protection issues from dog kennel law improvements and banning horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life. To pass along a tip or contact Amy, click here. Reach Amy at aworden@phillynews.com.

Posted in Animal cruelty, Pennsylvania legislation, Puppy Mills | Tagged

PA Animal Community Mourns Voices Lost

Animal Welfare Advocates Speak for the Voiceless

It seems lately the many thousands of voiceless creatures of Pennsylvania are losing – at an alarming rate – those who spoke eloquently and powerfully for them.

It began in 2013 with the untimely death of Patti Bednarik, a Pittsburgh attorney and member of the Governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board, who was instrumental in educating lawyers about animal law and was a leader in the fight for stronger puppy mill laws.

In 2014 the animal community lost two longtime humane society police officers: Ron Smith, who brought animal abusers to justice in western Pennsylvania for 30 years and Keith Mohler of Lancaster, who was the first to win cruelty cases for abuse of farm animals and stood as a sentinel for all animals in the region for decades.

Since the beginning of this year alone three individuals who played major roles in making Pennsylvania a safer place for animals have died.

Cindy Stark, of Wilkes Barre, was responsible for transforming shelters in two Pennsylvania counties and as president of the Federated of Humane Societies, led efforts at shelter reform statewide.

Stark, a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board, spent 32 years working for SPCAs, including 14 years as manager at the York County SPCA and 18 years as manager at the Luzerne County SPCA. She was a humane society police officer and was instrumental in setting up and implementing training and continuing education programs for humane police officers. She mentored countless officers and shelter employees throughout her career and was the editor of the Blue Book, the handbook for all Pennsylvania humane society police officers.

Karel Minor, president of the Humane League of Pennsylvania, said Stark’s death last month at 62 is a great loss to the animal community.

“She was one of the generation of animal welfare professionals who presided over the shift in sheltering from being dead-end pounds to places where animals for real second chance,” he said. “In a field that is increasingly filled with those who have not faced the same serious hurdles as decades ago and can verge on being Polly Anna, Cindy remembered what our “industry” had been through and how far we have come. She was among those who could look optimistically ahead while being realistic about the past and present. “

For 30 years Erik Henderson stood at the helm of the state’s largest animal welfare organization, the Pennsylvania SPCA. Henderson, of Haverford, died last month at 71.

The shelter’s current chief, Jerry Buckley, said he transformed our organization from an animal shelter to a modern animal welfare institution by adding programs and departments to benefit animals’ behavior and health and expanding the shelter’s mission beyond Philadelphia. He brought awareness to the public that preventative health programs and spay and neuter programs for every animal were key to the pet overpopulation problem.

In the 1990s, Joe Taksel, as president of Mobilization for Animals played a central role in leading the battle to end the brutal massacre of pigeons at the annual Hegins pigeon shoot. He also was active in PETA and other organizations fighting against animal cruelty. Taksel died last month in Pittsburgh at 67.

Late last year one of the state’s most vocal advocates was temporarily sidelined by a serious health challenge. Tom Hickey Sr., of Chester County, a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board who was instrumental in the passage of the 2008 dog law and remains a passionate fighter for shelter animals, suffered a severe stroke in November. He has made tremendous progress in a short time his family reports and they have created a web page and blog “BeatStroke” to chart his recovery.

Another longtime voice for animals, Anne Irwin – a force for four decades is retiring from her post as head of the Bucks County SPCA in September. During her 43-year career she oversaw an expansion effort that added a second shelter in upper Bucks County in 2012 and expanded humane education and cruelty programs. She also implemented programs to help animals stay in their homes, such as offering temporary boarding during emergencies, donated pet food to food pantries and offered behavior training and hotline support for pet owners. Irwin also was a leader in the Federation of Humane Societies.

Anne says she will remain active in animal welfare issues.

Amy_WordenAmy Worden is a politics and government reporter for the Inquirer. In that capacity she has explored a range of animal protection issues from dog kennel law improvements and banning horse slaughter to the comeback of peregrine falcons and pigeon hunts. From hamsters to horses, animals have always been part of her life. To pass along a tip or contact Amy, click here. Reach Amy at aworden@phillynews.com.

Posted in Animal cruelty, Animal shelters | Tagged

Have You Ever Considered Running for Office?

Guest blog by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.

On January 15th I wrote about the value of a local municipal office as a public platform from which to advocate. I also noted that many municipal offices go uncontested and therefore offer unique opportunities for the dedicated animal advocate to win election to offices such as borough council, township supervisor, auditor or school director.

It is neither difficult nor expensive to wage a local campaign for many municipal offices. A stella bellagood primer for campaigning for office can be found here on the state website. Although you may want to enlist a few friends to help you obtain signatures on nominating petitions, and to carry your message forward, for a low-budget local office it is not necessary to go through the process of establishing a formal campaign committee. You will, however, need to file spending reports. If the amount is less than $250 per reporting period – and it is usually less than that for the entire campaign for smaller offices – you need only file a notarized statement to that effect.

The first day to circulate nominating petitions to place your name on the municipal ballot is February 17th and the final day to file those petitions is March 10th.  As I wrote two weeks ago, your county elections/voter registration office can provide you with a list of the offices that are open for election this year and can provide you with the petitions and with a list of the registered voters who live in the municipality where you wish to be a candidate.

If you wish to advocate on the host of animal issues that arise within a municipality, and to do so from the inside of government on an official public platform, now is the time to make that decision! Choose the office, obtain nominating petitions and, on February 17th , begin gathering signatures from registered voters of the party in which you are registered to place your name on the ballot as their candidate for the May 17th Primary Election!

Part two of a three part series by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.

Roy Afflerbach

 

 

In addition to being a co- founder and Treasurer of Humane PA PAC, Senator Roy C. Afflerbach, Ret. is founder and President of The Afflerbach Group, LLC.

Posted in Pennsylvania election, Pennsylvania Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Be Part of the Solution!

Guest blog by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.

Odd-numbered years offer a unique opportunity to Pennsylvania animal advocates who wish to obtain an official platform from which to advocate. Odd numbered years mean municipal elections. Counties cities, boroughs, and townships will be holding elections for executives, mayors, commissioners, councils, supervisors, auditors, school directors, and other local offices.

Dog

Although there are usually contested races in the larger municipalities for offices such as County Commissioner or Mayor, many of the offices in smaller municipalities often go uncontested and sometimes without any candidates for the post! This is usually because the posts are part-time and offer no pay or a minimal stipend for attending meetings. There is no easier method by which to influence the establishment than by carefully identifying the offices for which there are no challengers and becoming a candidate yourself.

Nearly all municipal offices require no special qualifications. As long as an individual does not have a criminal record, is a resident of the municipality and can obtain one-hundred signatures, or less in most cases, upon a petition to place their name on the ballot and can pay a nominal filing, that person can become a successful candidate.

Becoming a municipal official offers two significant advantages for the dedicated advocate. First and foremost, it is an official public platform from which to advocate. Consider the opportunity of being a school director. This position attracts media attention. It also offers the opportunity to advocate for curriculum, lunch menus, community service projects, public-private partnerships, and other initiatives to promote the compassionate treatment of animals. A second advantage is that an elected official automatically receives greater attention from other elected officials at all levels. Elected officials respect the fact that other elected officials have been chosen by a constituency whose viewpoints they purportedly represent.

February 17th is the first day to circulate nominating petitions to place your name on the ballot. Now is the time to evaluate if you may wish to infiltrate to advocate! Begin by contacting your county voter/elections administration office to determine what offices will be on the ballot in your municipality. Then, stay tuned to this blog for more “how-to” information.

Part one of a three part series by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.

Roy Afflerbach

 

 

In addition to being a co- founder and Treasurer of Humane PA PAC, Senator Roy C. Afflerbach, Ret. is founder and President of The Afflerbach Group, LLC.

Posted in Community outreach, Pennsylvania election, Pennsylvania Politics | Tagged