Volunteers Rock! An Interview with Humane PA Western Director Charlotte Bloom Grimme

charlotteIf you are a member of the Humane PA page, chances are that Charlotte Bloom Grimme has recruited you to get more active, urged you to write your legislators, or helped answer a question.  Charlotte inspires all of us to do a little more, give a little more, and make Pennsylvania a kinder place for animals.

How long have you been involved in animal protection work?

Charlotte: “The desire to help animals has driven me for over 30 years. I have been involved since 1970 and started working politically for animals in the 1980s and in the early 90’s, I drove from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to lobby as a volunteer once amonth. I am so proud of Humane PA volunteers and how far we have come. We have come so far, yet there is still so much more to do.”

What progress have you seen over the years?

Charlotte: “I am so pleased to see our movement grow. More people adopt pets from shelters than buy from breeders, more people are reducing or eliminating the amount of animal products that they eat. I am happy that national organizations see the importance of working politically for the animals. Most of all, I am thrilled about the growth of Humane PA. The passage of a bill to upgrade Dog Law five years ago was a major victory, resulting in the closure of over 100 puppy mills, helping us lose our status as the puppy mill capital of the world. This year, although I was dismayed to see a House AG Gag bill introduced, I was elated beyond words to see that together we mounted enough pressure to convince a senate sponsor not to introduce a senate version.”

 What is your best and worst memory of your years of involvement?

Charlotte: “One of my worst memories turned into one of my best. We lost the pigeon shoot amendment by one vote in 1993.  My representative had promised he would vote with us and I learned later he had also promised the NRA his vote. He was hoping the bill would never come up for a vote so when it did, he left the floor, and did not vote. I called his opponent, candidate Pat Carone, a teacher who had decided to run for office with no money and few volunteers. I signed up to volunteer for her campaign and we worked hard to defeat the incumbent representative who had avoided voting to end pigeon shoots. Although he had been well-funded and supported in the district our hard work unseated him. The Carone victory party was one of the sweetest nights of my life and Representative Carone always voted pro-animal while she was in office.”

What do you think we need to do in order to increase the influence of the animal vote??

Charlotte: “I would like to see Humane PA representatives at more political events and fundraisers, supporting humane legislators, which is also an opportunity to educate about animal protection issues. Our opposition has deep pockets and in order to effect change for animals, we too must make campaign contributions and back pro-animal candidates like we did with humane candidate, Sarah Speed. With better funding, we could make sure that pro-animal candidates get elected and stay in office so they can advocate for the voiceless in Harrisburg.”

Do you have anything to add?

Charlotte: “I have seen and continue to see legislators pay more attention to the animal vote, but we still have a long way to go  to advance the animal protection cause. I urge everyone who cares about animals in Pennsylvania to get political for animals!”

Categories: Animal cruelty, Legislation, Pennsylvania legislation, Pennsylvania Politics, Politics, Volunteers

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