A Look Back at 2014

What a year 2014 has been for increasing the visibility and clout of the political voice for animals in Pennsylvania!hn

It’s been a year of growth, record-breaking engagement, elections, victories, and a heartbreaking defeat.

Here’s a snapshot review of accomplishments and setbacks in 2014:

  • 88.5% of Humane PA’s endorsed candidates were elected into state office in November’s election!
  • The 2013/14 session saw a record number of pro-animal bills introduced.
  • The Cost of Care of Seized Animals Act, which passed in 2013, was put to use in 2014.
  • We were successful in halting the harmful and oppressive “Ag Gag” bill which died on November 30th!
  • The animals and entire animal protection community suffered a heartbreaking loss when the House Majority Leader did not allow HB 1750 to receive a vote after it overwhelmingly passed the Senate.
  • The number of engaged humane voters in PA continues to grow! Between our Facebook, Twitter, website, and email lists, we are more than 33,000 members strong! Humane PA is now the largest, fastest growing and most interactive state political action committee for animals in the country.
  • We fulfilled our goals to engage more voters in the 2014 elections, with a robust GOTV effort, including over 8,000 hits on our endorsement list.
  • Humane PA was active in every corner of the state in 2014. We hosted Happy Hours attended by advocates, candidates and legislators, increasing local community involvement.
  • We saw a surge in involvement and support by people who are politically active in the local committees of both parties, increasing the influence and strength of the humane message.
  • Over 100 candidates contacted Humane PA PAC to apply for and request an endorsement.
  • Newly elected Governor Tom Wolf not only had a strong animal platform as a candidate, he now has included an animal advocacy leader on his transition team.

While we are proud of the progress we made in 2014, there is so much more to be done in our state. We are already gearing up to break records in the 2015/16 session and striving to be the strongest force of engaged voters possible. Stay tuned for information about our 2015 goals in our next blog.

Our legislature is starting to understand that the humane treatment of animals is not only right, but also something voters care about and a central factor in who they vote for.
Humane PA provides a unique and essential advocacy tool that other non-profits don’t and can’t. We are dedicated to grassroots and sustained political action to continue to pass and increase the number of laws that protect animals from cruelty and suffering. We are dedicated to a strong pro-animal voting bloc at the ballot box in Pennsylvania.

Humane PA PAC wishes everyone a happy, healthy and humane 2015!

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

State, local SPCAs battle scourge of unlicensed kennels

Amy Worden writes the Philly Dawg blog for The Philadelphia Inquirer. With her permission, we are reposting her excellent coverage of the state of unlicensed kennels in Pennsylvania.

pup

For the third time in a week dogs in extreme situations have had to be rescued from unlicensed kennels in  Lancaster County.

In the first case, the Pennsylvania SPCA raided the home of a hoarder in Lititz who was housing 62 adult dog and puppies in every available enclosed space on her property, including Amish buggies.

A day later the Lancaster SPCA removed six dogs from am unlicensed breeding kennel in Strasburg – including a dog with no eyes and another with no legs.

On Sunday five dogs and puppies were pulled from a burning kennel in Quarryville in a fire linked to a faulty heat lamp. The owners were in Virginia at the time.

The cases highlight the proliferation of unlicensed kennels in Pennsylvania – especially in Lancaster County, home to the state’s largest number of commercial breeding kennels. In many cases these are breeders who were once licensed but gave up their licenses because of stricter kennel laws – or had their licenses revoked – but continued to operate illegally. In other cases individuals who were never licensed but pay fines and keep collecting or selling dogs.

“These puppy millers are like roaches. They scatter and go into hiding when Dog Law shines the light on them but then rear their ugly heads when they think the coast is clear,” said Libby Williams, founder of Pet Watch NJ, which monitors illegal kennels and rescue groups. “We catch underground sellers every week on online broker sites like Greenfield Puppies, Lancaster Puppies and Sunnyside Puppies.”

In the first bust last week, repeat offender Barbara Dienner – who was issued 60 dog law citations in the past three years – is facing another string of kennel charges – and PSPCA officials say – likely cruelty charges.

In the second case, an individual identified by state officials as Merv King will be charged with kennel violations. While a legal number of licensed dogs (23) dogs were found on the property King admitted to having above the legal limit (25) and will be cited for both criminal and civil violations, officials said. It was unclear if he will be cited for animal cruelty.

Dog law is continuing to investigate King’s tenant who fled the property with an unknown number of dogs, officials said.

In the Quarryville case, pictures- including of the charred kennel – posted on Lancaster Online show yellow Labs being taken from the property listed as Lapps Woodworking Shop. Recent online classified ads show the owner also sold boxers and German Shepherds.

The Dog Law Enforcement Office has stepped up its game in recent years, deploying a dog warden to focus on monitoring broker and breeder websites and pursue leads to track down unlicensed kennels

But the law and the courts often work against the state and humane agencies. Penalties are weak. The 25 dog limit allows lawbreakers to play shell games with dogs, moving them to nearby farms so they are never caught with 26 dogs on site.

Other states and the federal government limit the numbers to around three breeding dogs. Wardens in Pennsylvania can get a tip about an unlicensed kennel, arrive to find 25 unspayed and unneutered dogs and puppies and do nothing about it unless they track the breeders down on the internet and catch them selling additional dogs.

Violators are cited for summary offenses unless they are caught twice in the same year. Fines run from $80 to $300. Magisterial district judges often dismiss charges without hearing them, fail to use the sentencing and fining tools afforded them in statute, consolidate charges and or toss cases on disputed technicalities, say those who have appeared before them.

In the fiscal year that ended last June 30, the office collected fines and penalties totaling $355,000 but saw only $69,000 of it because of a law that directs all revenue above that amount to be turned over to the judiciary for computer upgrades (a bill sponsored by Rep. Kathy Watson (R., Bucks) to end that practice passed the House overwhelmingly, but ran into opposition from Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who let the clock run out on the bill this session.

There are 2,307 licensed kennels in Pennsylvania subject to state oversight, including twice-annual inspections and the possibility of citations, civil penalties for violations to the dog law which establishes that dogs shall be housed in safe, humane and clean conditions. These include boarding facilities, shelters and breeders, any kennel selling or transferring as few as 26 or more dogs a year.

Dog law officials have been more vigilant in tracking down and citing unlicensed breeders by following up tips, tracking breeder sales online and monitoring classified ads. They have begun applying civil penalties of up to $1,000 a day for dog law violations which does not have to be forfeited to the judiciary.

I often hear from readers looking to purchase a dog who ask me about a certain breeder listed on a website or whose farm they drove by in Lancaster County with the “Puppies for Sale” sign outside.

In an effort to shine the light on the work of state dog wardens and provide a consumer service, we are posting a list of kennel operators cited for running unlicensed kennels in 2014:

Bedford County: Angela Holloway
Bucks County: Michelle Armstrong/Lulu’s Rescue
Clarion County: Richard Zettlemoyer
Clearfield County: Johanna Fuzy
Cumberland County: Tammy Little
Dauphin County: George Petrina/Vera Petrina; Louise Chronister
Erie County: Cathleen Mogush
Franklin County: Crystal Rush;  Dennis Bumbaugh (Better Days Animal Society); Kathy Ferguson; Thomas M. Ferguson; Daniel Baer;Sherry Kinsey
Fulton County:  Vivian Painter
Huntingdon County: Joseph Finkey
Indiana County: Melissa Gromley/Plumcreek Acres; Elmer Mark Zook
Lackawanna County: Jeffrey Luizza
Lancaster County: John Esh/Mary Esh (formerly Twin Maple kennel);Daniel Esh (formerly Clearview/Scarlet Maple Kennel); Katie Lapp; Barbie Beiler
Lawrence County: Melanie Kiger (Kigers Bostons)
Lehigh County: Jance Vasilik
Luzerne County: Jolene Caparro; Ashley Dancho
Mercer County: Lori Reynolds
Montgomery Couny: Stephen Paladino (Karadino Bulldogs)
Montour County: Seth Lins
Northampton County: Harold Keck
Snyder County: Charles Jackson; Amanda Henry; Robert Henry
Somerset County: Nancy Coleman (Coleman’s Critters Camp)
Venango County: Jaime Smalley (Puppy Wood Shihtzus)
Washington County: Jeanie Sexauer (The Puppy Connection); Marcia Hupp
Kimberly Ann Rice (Divine Destiny Rescue)
Wayne County: Philip Card
Westmoreland County: Janice Huffman Short

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.

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

Top 10 Blogs of 2014

The Humane PA blog is intended to educate, inspire, train, engage and sometimes entertain Pennsylvanians who care about animals, and our readers sure are a diverse group! Some members appreciate tips on effectively using their time to make a difference for animals, some like good news, some like an in depth look at the growing importance of politicizing animal advocacy, and some like compelling information. Humane PA has been blessed this year with many wonderful guest bloggers. Looking back over 2014, we are sharing the top 10  based on the number of “clicks” on the blog.

  1. Who is Humane PA?
  2. What Animal Shelters can do to Influence Policy
  3. Keith Mohler – an Unsung Hero
  4. One Person Can Make a Difference
  5. Justice Finally Comes to Animal Victims – “Cost of Care” is Law
  6. Facebook Basics for Making a Difference
  7. Good Things Come To Those Who Wait – So Long As They Outwork The Devils While They Wait
  8. Lobbyist…not a four letter word!
  9. Pets Are No More Than Kitchen Chairs
  10. The Race for Pennsylvania Governor – Four Candidates Take a Stand Against Animal Cruelty
Posted in 2014 Pennsylvania Election, Legislation, non profit lobbying, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania legislation, Pennsylvania Politics | Tagged , ,

One Person Can Make a Difference

Guest Blog by Mary Kennedy Withrow

Two years ago, if you would have told me that in the coming years I would effectively influence policy anywhere but within my own household, I would have told you that was absurd. How could I, a volunteer at an animal shelter and gardener, ever accomplish such a thing? Fast forward and here I am-sweaty palms, butterflies, racing heart, and hearing my friend’s voice say, “a little anxiety is good, you’ll perform better”- sitting in the beautiful Pittsburgh City Council Chambers awaiting my turn to testify.  I studied, I knew the facts, I knew the language, and most of all I was determined.

pitttether

I had written my letters and done my part on the proposed statewide anti-tethering bill, SB 522, but, unfortunately, it did not receive a vote. I saw York, Harrisburg and more passing their own anti-tethering ordinances. Hmmm, why can’t I, an ordinary citizen, work to see Pittsburgh follow in their footsteps? I knew Councilwoman Darlene Harris had introduced many laws over the years to help the animals. I’ll try that angle. I had been following and paying close attention to the tips, advice and tools of effective lobbying on the Humane PA Facebook page, as well as their website.  I made calls, I visited my legislators, I made trips to Harrisburg for “Humane Lobby Days.” I felt I had the knowledge and confidence to give this a shot.

I collected the language of the aforementioned cities that had enacted such ordinances. I spoke to the folks in those towns who had introduced their laws.  What were the successes, the problems and what would they change?  I gathered facts on tethered dogs from the CDC, AVMA, USDA, HSUS, ASPCA. All these groups had come out against 24/7 tethering of dogs. In my own work at my shelter, I had seen frozen dogs, severely hypothermic dogs, including a 10 month old dog who had hung himself on a fence while tethered and a dog with his collar that had become so deeply embedded that he had a quarter-inch thick cut in his neck.  The “big dogs” (pun intended) had strong data and statistics to support anti-tethering language and I had the everlasting awful visions of what can happen to tethered dogs.

I decided to email Councilwoman Harris. Not two hours later I received a call from Ms. Harris’ legislative assistant telling me that she would like to speak with me about my legislation. My legislation? After many emails back and forth and conversations with her amazing assistant, we came up with language that we liked. It was introduced the following week. Then it was my turn to sit at the table with members of council-a TV camera in my face, a microphone in front of me and members prepared to ask questions. My heart was racing but in the back of my mind I remembered bitter cold nights, lying in my bed thinking “I know they’re out there” and THIS was my chance to help them.

After a long 30 minutes of testimony, it was time for the first vote. The chair asked “All in favor?” I held my breath and then I heard a resounding “aye.”  “All opposed?”  Total silence-it was unanimous.  “Ms. Withrow, can you return next week for the final vote?”  I had to control my desire to happy dance my way out of the room and answered calmly “sure.”

Stay tuned for the final results tomorrow…

Update on December 15th:  The ordinance passed unanimously and is on its way to Mayor Peduto!

Mary

 

 

 

Mary Kennedy Withrow is a proud member of Humane PA PAC, an Animal Rescue Volunteer for The Humane Society of the United States and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center in Pittsburgh.

 

Pittsburgh considers new rules for dogs in extreme weather | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pet Tales: Proposal would regulate dog houses and tethering

Posted in Animal cruelty, Animal shelters, Community outreach, Tethering dogs

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait – So Long As They Outwork The Devils While They Wait

Guest blog by Senator Roy Afflerbach, Ret.Powerful4

Thanks to patient, steadfast, relentless repetition and perseverance by animal advocates during the 2013/14 Pennsylvania legislative session, more than two-dozen bills favorable to animals were introduced. One of the strongest bills passed this session provides for the cost of care for animals rescued from cruelty and it was signed into law.  Two others affecting the protection of police dogs also passed.  Two more bills,  the bill to end live pigeon shoots and the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption as well as the animal fighting paraphernalia bill made it to the final steps and were almost voted on before the end of October, and every bill that negatively affected animals except one has died. This has been no easy task.

Some may ask, why haven’t more bills passed? Why is it taking so long? What is the legislature doing?

These are not uncommon questions as people look to Pennsylvania’s full-time legislature for action on a variety of issues. Unfortunately, many people consider action to be the passage of new legislation, forgetting that others consider preventing the passage of new legislation to be action. The goal of these individuals is to contain or reduce the influence of government. Often, they consider the passage of legislation to be an expansion of government and they will do whatever they can do to prevent action.

Some people may suggest that the struggle to pass legislation is a contemporary phenomenon. It is not. The writings of the founders of both the Pennsylvania Constitution and the United States Constitution indicate that they deliberately designed our democratic system of government to be arduous in the passage of legislation to avoid knee-jerk reaction to a temporary public outcry. Their writings further indicate that the founders felt legislation with merit would survive the hurdles and eventually rise to the level of passage into law.

Consequently, on average only 4% to 8% of the all bills introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate combined become law in a 2-year legislative session. In the present 2013-2014 session, 263 or 7% of the 3816 bills introduced have become law. In the 2011-2012 session, 285 or 8% of the 4310 bills introduced became law, and in the 2009-2010 session only 181 or 4% of the 4274 bills introduced became law.

Moreover, fully 100 to 120 bills passed in each session (50 to 60 bills per year) are “mandatory” bills. They are necessary to keep the state, local governments, and school districts operating, or are necessary to meet federal requirements. In the 2009-2010 session those “mandatory” bills represented more than half of the bills that became law.

Because of the small number of bills that are actually passed in a session, the question becomes not “why hasn’t this bill passed,” but rather “how do we move a bill ahead of the other 92% to 96% that won’t be considered?” It will never be easy to convince 102 of 203 personalities in the House or 26 of 50 members of the Senate, in addition to a Governor and his/her administration, to support new legislation – especially if it is opposed by powerful interest groups. But with patience, perseverance, relentless repetition of taking the issue to the legislature, and occasionally replacing recalcitrant legislators or Governors through the election process, passage can be achieved.

In short, success in the legislative arena is not for the impatient or faint of heart. It is most often a marathon, not a sprint. Individuals or organizations that recognize this fact and approach legislation with disciplined staying power are the most likely to succeed! That is why bills to promote the compassionate treatment of animals are in position to become part of next session’s 7%!

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 Animal cruelty, Legislation, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania legislation, Pennsylvania Politics, Uncategorized

Top 5 Ways to Give Animals a Voice at the Polls

Election Day presents great opportunities to give animals a voice in Harrisburg, and give visibility to the growing bloc of people for whom the treatment of animals is an important election issue.  Candidates work the polls all day and are eager to talk to voters- especially right before you enter your voting site!   This is a time that they WANT your vote and will rosebudWANT to talk to you.  If the candidates are not at a particular voting location, often their best volunteers, friends and relatives are and they can pass messages on or even get a candidate on the phone for a quick chat with you.

1. VOTE–and don’t forget to take your Humane PA endorsement list with you!

2. Make it a mission–Spend time talking to the candidates if they are at your polling location as well as every campaign volunteer to let them know that you care about the treatment of animals and are there to vote to help elect humane candidates.  A quick conversation  helps legislators and candidates know that we get out the vote!

3.  Talk up Endorsement–If you do not have an endorsed candidate – especially if they are the incumbent – tell them we would like to be able to endorse next time-but we need their cooperation!

4. You are there to help–If you have a good candidate, volunteer to help his/her campaign and perhaps even work the polls on Election Day.

5. Share Humane PA GOTV messages–check and share endorsement lists throughout the day to remind your friends to vote!  There are candidates running for office who will fight animal cruelty and abuse, and stand up for the values of kindness and compassion.

In order to have humane laws, we must elect humane lawmakers. Let’s win the day for animals on November 4!

Posted in 2014 Pennsylvania Election, Animal cruelty, Pennsylvania election, Pennsylvania Governor, Pennsylvania legislation, Pennsylvania Politics, Voter scorecard

Announcing Humane PA’s 2014 Endorsements

Humane PA is pleased to present Humane PA’s 2014 candidate endorsements  for Pennsylvania state offices in the upcoming election on November 4th.

In a recent statewide poll, 86 percent of Pennsylvania voters  support their legislator’s endorsed 2014efforts to ensure the humane treatment of animals. Our aim is to make sure that Pennsylvania voters who care about the treatment of animals know which candidates will support a humane agenda and deserve their vote at the polls!

How do we chose who to endorse?

Before we endorse candidates, we give them the opportunity to let us know where they stand on animal cruelty so we can measure their responses and commitment to stand strong for the humane treatment of animals against their opponent. Our endorsement process is not taken lightly and we spend a great deal of time reviewing and evaluating an incumbent candidate’s voting record and leadership on animal bills, including their behind the scenes efforts. Priority is always given to an incumbent with a perfect or good record – we stand by our friends, particularly those who are committed leaders in the fight against cruelty. We also ask every candidate – both incumbents and first time office seekers – to complete our endorsement survey as the survey responses are critical in determining which candidates will receive our endorsement. Our survey queries candidates on key pieces of pending animal legislation, both the bills that are easily supported as well as those that may face opposition. We also ask candidates to tell us about themselves, the role of animals in their lives and their feelings about how animals should be treated. If two non-incumbent candidates are equally qualified based on survey results, we conduct follow up calls, as well as consult with constituents in their districts who know them. Responses can be illuminating.  All responses are kept strictly confidential, and allow us to evaluate the level of commitment a candidate has to helping protect Pennsylvania’s animals from cruel treatment. We also take viability of candidates into account before endorsing.

We are fortunate this election in that many races are between strong, humane oriented candidates. In this election cycle, we actually have races where both new candidates answered equally well and we did something we don’t usually do – double endorsed!

We did not endorse in races where candidates did not respond to the survey or where the record and survey weighed fairly equal on the issues. *Please note, as a registered state political action committee, we only issue endorsements of candidates for state offices and make no endorsements for federal offices.

Because the legislative session is not yet over, and there may still be votes on animal bills, further evaluation may take place to add additional candidates to the list (let’s hope we don’t have to un-endorse).  Candidates may also still submit surveys and may be considered at the same time that further votes are evaluated.

Our goal is for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be a kinder place for animals and for our legislature to pass appropriate laws to protect animals and eliminate cruelty. Thus, we encourage those who care deeply about these issues to consider and be guided by our endorsements, and to support groundfloorcandidates who will support a humane agenda. We also urge candidates who were not endorsed to improve their records next session!  We thank all of the candidates who took the time to complete our survey. Good luck to all of our Humane PA Endorsed Candidates!
2014 Endorsements  

Posted in 2014 Pennsylvania Election, Pennsylvania election, Pennsylvania Governor, Pennsylvania Law and animals, Pennsylvania Politics, Political Action Committees

Take the HB 1750 Challenge!

By Dawn Heinbach, contributing blogger

One thing is certain about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: it is a complete success, generating over $100 million in donations for ALS nonprofit organizations and, more importantly, raising awareness about this devastating disease.

Photo credit: Liz Kearley

The HB 1750 Challenge is similar. It asks you to do something very simple to remind our state legislators how far our mutual work has brought HB 1750, the bill to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption and also finally ending cruel live pigeon shoot contests.

Between now and September 15th, when our state legislators return to Harrisburg, write a note to your legislators about HB 1750 and mail it to their local office. If your senator and representative support the bill, express your thanks and let them know that you expect this bill to be brought to the floor for a vote during the Fall session. Your note can consist of just a few sentences, or it can be longer. If your legislator does not support the bill, you can urge them to do so and explain why it’s important. Ask your friends and family members to commit ten minutes and 49 cents to send their thoughts. If each person reading this sends one thank-you note, and persuades one friend to send a thank-you note, the result is an impressive stack of mail to our legislators.

There are several reasons why hand-written notes catch the eye of a legislator. Today’s technology has rendered hand-written notes almost obsolete – which is exactly why such a thing will stick in a politician’s mind. Before computers became an integral part of our daily lives, people used the mail to to communicate their thoughts and desires. If people felt strongly about an issue or an incident, they would write a letter and mail it to the appropriate party. Many huge mail bags would arrive at a celebrity’s or public figure’s office, and several people would be assigned the job of reading the incoming mail. A hand-written note can have a tremendous impact. There is more effort involved; rather than simply clicking “send,” the person must buy a stamp and mail the note at the local post office. This can indicate to the recipient the sender’s extra efforts in trying to be heard.

Of course, as technology has advanced, the ways to communicate with our legislators have expanded and there is also something to be said for opening your e-mail and finding it filled with requests to support a bill. A letter delivered by the postal service, though? That is a bit harder to ignore. It is a physical object that takes up space, and if enough of them arrive at the same location, something will have to be done with them or they will pile up quite high. It is also not as easy to dispose of a letter without opening it. The intrigue of an envelope addressed to you from another person is very compelling.

Now is the time to remind not only our legislators, but other Pennsylvania citizens, about this extremely important bill. Do you think we can do it? We can – but only if we all put pen to paper and make our voices heard.

Action alert: Support HB 1750 – to End 2 Shockingly Cruel Forms of Animal Abuse

Sign up for Call-in-Day to pass HB 1750

DawnHeinbach 2014It took awhile for Dawn Heinbach to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up, but during her two-year tenure at Reading Area Community College, she finally realized her passion. Dawn served as Editor-in-Chief of the Front Street Journal, the school’s student newspaper, and her creative work has been published in Legacy, RACC’s annual scholarly journal. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Society of Professional Journalists. A nontraditional full-time student, Dawn is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing at Kutztown University. She loves sharing people’s stories, struggles, and triumphs as a reminder that we are all connected by the same thread. Dawn also shares her writing talents to help make Pennsylvania a better place for animals by blogging for Humane PA PAC.

Posted in Animal cruelty, Community outreach, Legislation, Pennsylvania legislation | Tagged

Who is Humane PA?

Blog by Humane PA President, Elissa Katz 

humane paWho is Humane PA?  In a word – YOU!  Regardless of age, race, socio-economic background, religion, political allegiance, or any of the other traits we use to define and distinguish ourselves, there is a core commonality binding us all – our heartfelt belief that animals deserve to be treated humanely.  Regardless of our differences, we are united in the conviction that there is no place for cruelty to animals in our state.  Our shared belief and conviction are the pillars of Humane PA PAC, and each one of us is critical to ensuring that Pennsylvania is increasingly humane.

Humane PA is now over 31,000 Pennsylvania voters strong – and that is just on social media.  Those numbers, as impressive as they are, omit the scores of individuals who are not on Facebook , Twitter or other social media, yet are working with us to improve the lives of animals through public policy.  In fact, we are hard pressed to think of anyone – other than a small number of callous extremists – who does not believe that animals should be treated humanely and that cruelty is intolerable.  It is up to each one of us to increase the strength and political power of the animal vote by enlisting our friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, animal rescue groups and virtually everyone we encounter – to join with us under the umbrella of Humane PA and to turn Humane PA into THE political powerhouse in our state.

non partisonI know that there are a variety of non-animal related issues of concern to all of us, and that we may stand on opposing sides – but I also know that when it is a matter concerning animals, we put aside our differences to stand strong against cruelty.  And, regardless where a candidate stands on various other issues, there is one thing that we should all expect – a commitment to the humane treatment of animals.  A candidate who does not believe in the humane treatment of animals does not belong in office, it’s as simple as that.

Who is Humane PA?  We all are!  In preparation for the fall election and the resumption of the legislative session, let’s work to increase our formal numbers by inviting others to our Facebook page, to sign up for our e-newsletter, and to contact their legislators seeking support of pending humane bills.  And, as campaign season ramps up, let us all remind the candidates in our respective districts that we expect them to join with us and to work hard and pass laws to create a more humane PA.

Humane PA PAC’s Mission Statement

katz_fullElissa B. Katz is the President of Humane PA 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 The Humane League and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Posted in 2014 Pennsylvania Election, Animal cruelty, Community outreach, Legislation, Pennsylvania Politics, Political Action Committees, Volunteers

Facebook Basics for Making a Difference

Contributing blogger Dawn Heinbach

facebookThose animal lovers who have been paying attention to the status of HB 1750 already know the importance of contacting their legislators to express their expectations of support. You make the calls when asked, send the emails, and follow-up with your thanks.

What about those people who may also support such a bill, but aren’t sure quite what to do or say? Contacting a state representative for the first time can be intimidating. You can help a hesitant person take their first steps to becoming politically active.

More than just a social media platform where people share pictures and status updates, Facebook is a powerful tool that you can use to spread news and gain support for animal cruelty bills. Just 30 minutes spent contacting your Facebook friends about important legislation can have a huge impact on the success of these bills.

Here are some tips to make sure that you are utilizing Facebook to the maximum, and for encouraging your Facebook friends to get involved:

Make sure you are getting all of the notifications from the page.

  • On the Humane PA PAC page, there is a button at the bottom right of the cover photo that says “Like,” or “Liked” if you already like the page.FacebookBasics Photo3
  • After liking the page, click on “Liked,” and a menu drops down.
  • The first choice listed is “Get notifications.” Click on this, and a check mark will appear. Your news feed will now include all status updates sent by this page.

Invite like-minded friends to “like” the Human PA PAC page.

  • On the left side of the page is a box that shows how many likes the page has. Underneath this, there is a link that says, “Invite your friends to like this page.”FacebookBasics Photo 1-1
  • Click on that link, and it expands to show some of your friends.
  • Click on the link at the bottom of this window that says, “See all,” and you can then scroll to see all of your Facebook friends.
  • To the right of their name is an “Invite” button. Click on it, and your friend will receive an invitation to like the page.

Ask your Facebook friends to call their legislators.

  • Some people don’t mind when you share posts directly to their page, but others do not appreciate it. So rather than sharing a post by Humane PA PAC on your friend’s page, send it in a private message. This way, you don’t risk offending them.
  • You can share a post that asks people to call their legislators, complete with the link that allows them to look up their Senators or Representatives.
  • Click on the icon that looks like a caption box at the top right on Facebook.
  • Click on “Send new message.”FacebookBasics Photo2-1
  • Start typing a friend’s name and your friends with similar spelling will pop up.
  • Highlight the name of the friend you want to receive the message, and click on it.
  • It is possible to send one message to multiple friends, but this is not recommended. In group conversations, every time someone comments on the message, all of the recipients receive the comment notification until they “leave the conversation.” This can be annoying.
  • Even though it takes a little more time, it is better to send messages to each of your friends individually. This way, you can also address them personally in your message by using their name.
  • In your Facebook message, explain what you are asking your friends to do. You can let them know that when calling their legislators, they need only state their name and address, and that they want Senator “Smith” to support HB 1750 with the amendment to end live pigeon shoots. Let them know that sometimes the call is answered by voice mail. It is still important to leave a message, stating the same information.

Try it! Invite at least five friends to “like” the Humane PA PAC page. The more people who stay informed, the better our chances of getting HB 1750 to the floor for a vote in the fall.

DawnHeinbach 2014It took awhile for Dawn Heinbach to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up, but during her two-year tenure at Reading Area Community College, she finally realized her passion. Dawn served as Editor-in-Chief of the Front Street Journal, the school’s student newspaper, and her creative work has been published in Legacy, RACC’s annual scholarly journal. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Society of Professional Journalists. A nontraditional full-time student, Dawn is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing at Kutztown University. She loves sharing people’s stories, struggles, and triumphs as a reminder that we are all connected by the same thread. Dawn also shares her writing talents to help make Pennsylvania a better place for animals by blogging for Humane PA PAC.

Posted in Community outreach, Facebook activism