Charlotte Bloom Grimme

Charlotte Bloom Grimme is the Western PA Director for Humane PA, covering the greater Pittsburgh area. She lives with her husband, three dogs and one cat, all rescued.

Humane PA: How long have you been advocating for animals and how long have you been politically active for animals?

Charlotte: I’ve been advocating for animals for more than 35 years and have been politically active for animals for at least 30 of those years.

Humane PA: Why did you decide to get involved in the political process?

Charlotte: I figured out very early on that one of the best ways to help animals on a larger scale is to help make better laws for them and the only way to do that is to help elect lawmakers who not only care about animals, but are willing to be leaders who are willing to get those laws passed.

Humane PA: We heard you helped to un-seat a legislator, how did you accomplish that?

Charlotte: Many years ago my legislator told me that he was with us on the pigeon shoot bill, but when it came time for the bill to be voted on the floor, he took a walk so he didn’t have to cast his vote. He did not live up to his commitment and so I decided to help the candidate running against him in the next election and she won.

Humane PA: How did you learn how to be such an effective advocate for animals?

Charlotte: Well, Tom Murphy, former Mayor of Pittsburgh and a former PA State Representative really helped to teach us how to advocate for animals. He said we were the only group that lobbied him for purely selfless motivation, that there was nothing in it for us, like some other groups. He taught us the ropes.

Humane PA: What do you think is the biggest challenge advocates face when trying to advocate for animals in the political realm?

Charlotte: Passion is what makes us want to help animals and sometimes that passion can tip a legislator in the opposite direction. Give them the facts and give it from the heart, but act professional at all times. We must learn to play by the rules and learn to never burn any bridges.

Humane PA: What advice would you offer to someone who cares deeply about animals, but doesn’t feel they are politically savvy enough to get involved? Do they have to be ‘political’ to advocate for animals?

Charlotte: No, people don’t have to be ‘political’ to help animals. What I’ve learned is that many legislators appreciate and respond to a personal e-mail from their constituents and it has become the most effective form of communication with them. A personal e-mail is as good as letter received via postal mail. What some people don’t realize is that legislators know for every letter or email that they get, at least 10 other people think that way. There are some people who think ‘oh I don’t have to write a letter, someone else is probably doing that’. Just think, if everyone who cared about animals actually wrote those emails or letters, those numbers would grow exponentially. Also, petitions don’t work. Legislators view 1000 signatures on a petition are equal to one email or letter. Legislators want to hear it from your heart, not some form letter you can add your name to and hit ‘send’.

Humane PA: So, what is the best advice you have for people who care about animals and want to help give animals a voice in Harrisburg?

Charlotte: Contact your legislator today by writing a personal mail. Ask them where they stand on animal issues and ask them to support the pending animal bills is the quickest and most effective way to help animals and encourage others to write to their legislators too.