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Adventures in Lobbying!

Oh Dog! This week Jen went to the state Capitol to lobby for Humane Day.  She’s gonna tell us a little of what it was like! woo woo woo!

Last Tuesday, I joined others in my state to lobby for animal legislation.  There were around 60 of us attending. Compare that to the hundreds that were present for UT Day being held at the same time. That does make an impression.  It certainly did with me.

Downtown Nashville from my car (stuck in traffic)

We were briefed by Leighann McCollum, TN State Director for HSUS.  We reviewed some talking points to help us when we talk with our elected officials.  I learned that most of the legislation pertaining to animals had already been laid to rest for this year, but one bill, HB 3487/ SB 3692 Prohibiting Primates as Pets, was still in play, so we would focus on that bill.  I do not think undomesticated animals should be “owned” as pets.  But is this a problem in Tennessee that requires legislation to fix?

Last August, a macaque monkey escaped and attacked a woman in Bedford County. The officer that responded was also attacked.  The monkey was shot and killed.  When officers went to the home of the owner, four more monkeys were found, each living in inhumane conditions (one was in a bird cage).  The owner surrendered the monkeys and the animals were transported to a sanctuary.  Afterward, the owner acquired another monkey.

OK, I’m sold. The HSUS folks have scheduled for me an afternoon appointment with my state Senator.  There’s no appointment with my Representative, but I can visit his office so he’ll know someone stopped by.

After the debriefing I met up with another person who was to meet with the same Senator as me. She was unable to make the late appointment but wanted to be sure someone met with him.  I assured her I would be going.  As we talked, I learned we don’t live so far apart, and that I’d actually seen her out walking her dogs before.  Talk about small world!

I also met some other interesting folks, including a woman who runs a bunny rescue, a service dog trainer, an actor, a woman who works with a greyhound rescue, and a woman who works with a PAC that supports candidates that support animal welfare legislation.  I’m hoping each can make an appearance here in the future.

To avoid making this a long post you don’t read half of, I’m going to talk about my meetings in another post.  But here are some things I learned that I think are important:

  1. It’s important to do your homework! I had received some info by mail, but hadn’t carefully looked it over. I should have, because I learned that the bill number on the handouts given me was wrong.  These are busy folks, and they need accurate information, so make sure yours is!
  2. Be persistent!  The first time we visited my Representative’s office, I was met by a smiling young intern. I decided to go back later in the day. I still didn’t meet my Representative, but I did meet his assistant, and that was a great experience for me.  She taught me how to look things up online and gave me some great info I was able to use when I met with my Senator.
  3. Be responsible! There were six people scheduled to meet with my Senator.  I was the only one that made the meeting. I knew why one didn’t show, but it would have been nice if I could have known I was the only one going to be there. Trust me, the Senator noticed it too.
  4. How you say things can be as important as what you say.  I heard the Agriculture Committee discuss a Horse Slaughter bill.  The Representative sponsoring this bill is trying to sell this as a humane way to deal with a problem of horse starvation in the state.  Really? Humane?  Yes, that’s what he said.  And I’m betting there will be many people who will latch onto that one word- “humane”- and lend their support, or at the very least, not stand in opposition.
  5. Do not for one minute think that one person can’t make a difference! OK, so the Primate Bill is stuck in committee and will most likely stay there for the rest of this session.  But I didn’t even know the bill existed until Leighann made me aware.  And now I’m making all of you aware.  If you know someone who lives in Tennessee, I’m asking you to make them aware.  And on it goes.  All it takes is that one person to raise their voice.

Come back tomorrow for more on my experience with Lobby Day!


About Jen and the Furries

Hello and welcome. I’m a 50 something woman who’s probably awake when she should be sleeping. Oh, and there are animals, because who doesn’t have pets?


68 thoughts on “Adventures in Lobbying!

  1. I feel terrible that you are out there doing the hard yards for us and there I am playing ladies in the old folks home with dog in tow! Thank you so much for doing this. I absolutely agree about people keeping animals that do not belong in that particular area or country. I wonder how I can get on a list to house or rescue at risk animals found in these conditions. c

    Posted by ceciliag | March 17, 2012, 7:32 AM
    • First of all, all work is important. So don’t you dare say what you do isn’t as important. Those folks NEED you!

      Your state should have a listing of all bills that are up for a vote in your state. But there will be alot of them. So find a group that supports animal welfare legislation in your state and join their mailing list. They’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on and how you can help.

      The Humane Society has a listing for each state on their web site.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 7:38 AM
  2. Hooray for Jenny! Great to read about your day, and also terrific that you have scheduled an afternoon appointment with your state Senator. I think you’re the only person we know that lives in Tennessee, but we will RT this! x Berner Girls

    Posted by Moxie Dogs | March 17, 2012, 8:20 AM
    • The truth is that many similar bills are being introduced in states around the nation. Horse Slaughter bills are active in several states, as are Ag-Gag bills. It’s important to stay up to date on what’s going on.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 8:35 AM
  3. Great to hear that what Jen has experienced recently! Even if it was a small action, doing it one by one makes a big difference in the future!!! Look forward to rest of the story from the lobby day ! 🙂

    Posted by eripanwkevin | March 17, 2012, 8:38 AM
  4. Thank you for sharing your lobbying experience. Keep up the good work!

    Enjoy St. Patty’s day with your sweethearts.

    Stopping by on the blog hop today. Have a terrific weekend celebrating St. Patty’s with your furry ones! And drop into Pet Peeves to see the Ninja kitties.

    Posted by Cherie K. Miller (@Impeeved) | March 17, 2012, 8:45 AM
  5. Good job Jen! One small step…….

    Posted by Bassetmomma | March 17, 2012, 8:45 AM
  6. This sounds like a great experience! Don’t feel bad about not doing all your homework and such. Now you know for next time. I live in Nashville, TN and completely think that undomesticated animals should not live with their humans. We have has a couple of instances of people keeping animals that do not belong in a “home” and it always ends up chaotic ans harmful to other humans.

    Posted by BunkThePug | March 17, 2012, 9:05 AM
  7. This is a VERY good post. THANK YOU fur what you are doing!

    Posted by Frankie Furter and Ernie | March 17, 2012, 9:10 AM
  8. Way to go, Jen! I agree with the pointers you gave. Persistence and commitment always makes a good impression in meeting with a legislator or his/her staff. I’m looking forward to reading more of your experience and impressions about ‘lobby’ work.

    Best of luck to you and your group! 🙂

    Posted by tita buds | March 17, 2012, 9:22 AM
  9. You have my respect for giving back to a world that desperately needs it, my friend.

    Posted by The Hook | March 17, 2012, 9:27 AM
  10. Good work Jen! You are giving voices to the voiceless.

    Urban Hounds

    Posted by Urban Hounds | March 17, 2012, 9:39 AM
  11. Bless you Miss Jen for your efforts on behalf of ALL animals….we need our humans to speak for us and we REALLY appreciate it when you do!

    Big Kitty Hugs

    Posted by onespoiledcat | March 17, 2012, 9:53 AM
    • Thanks so much! I hope to show folks that it doesn’t take a “special breed” of person to speak up for animals… that anyone and everyone can do it.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 10:49 AM
      • Absolutely…we’re all about the same thing after all…loving our lives safely, happily, and with dignity no matter if we’re human or animal! Thanks again for your dedication Miss Jen!

        Kitty Hugs

        Posted by onespoiledcat | March 17, 2012, 11:51 AM
  12. Great post, Rumpy. Please tell Jen Broken Hartz has great admiration and respect for her activism.

    Posted by brokenhartz | March 17, 2012, 11:16 AM
  13. Congratulations, Rumpy.

    For all of your good work in raising animal awareness issues among your readers and for just being a great canine friend, I have nominated this blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

    You can claim your award at http://living4bliss.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/and-the-winners-are/

    Posted by living4bliss | March 17, 2012, 11:31 AM
  14. I really admire you! What a mover and a shaker you are!

    Posted by Russell Smith | March 17, 2012, 12:37 PM
  15. great job showing support for your 4-legged friends!!!

    Barks and licks and love, Dakota

    Posted by catchatcaren | March 17, 2012, 12:51 PM
  16. Thanks for the very good post with great information. Even though it may go against your personal traits,,,always remember,,,with politics, and those who live in that world,,,the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Wow,,,,I like the sound of Senator Rumpy ! Go get em’. Have a safe and Happy St. Pat’s day.

    Posted by Joke Puppy | March 17, 2012, 1:58 PM
  17. Good for you, Jen… It must have been a little overwhelming to stand alone with the Senator… 😦
    As you said – Do not for one minute think that one person can’t make a difference!
    and YOU HAVE…

    Posted by carolynpageabc | March 17, 2012, 2:06 PM
  18. Good for you for making a difference! I believe every little act counts! Thanks for helping make a difference when some of us cant do it. 🙂

    Posted by paws2smile | March 17, 2012, 2:32 PM
  19. Thanks for taking action. Appreciate your notes and what you have learned. You shown us how to start. Plan to make use of the information. And thanks for raising awareness – it’s critical. Thanks again

    Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | March 17, 2012, 3:29 PM
    • It certainly is important. It’s important to overcome the fear and do it. It helps when you have a group like HSUS to guide me along the way.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 8:13 PM
      • The horse slaughter bill is a real issue. What is apparently needed is a bill stopping horses from being taken across the US borders to other nations’ slaughter houses (which are not regulated at all). What we saw here once the state closed the slaughter houses, was that old/ injured/unwanted horses were jammed into trucks and moved across the country to Mexico in 100 degree temps with no food, water, or cool air. I have been working with legislators trying to stop transporting horses to slaughter over state lines and across our nation’s borders. Have had heated discussions with vets in ranch country who feel slaughter houses are a humane option. They do have points to consider. Sometimes it just comes down to someone making money who doesn’t care. Sorry, tend to get cranked. Thanks for getting out there. (Those who can’t travel: phone, fax, email – or write letters – it does make a difference) Thanks again

        Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | March 17, 2012, 9:13 PM
      • And they do have a valid point. The problem is that slaughter houses have to have horses to slaughter, and once the old, injured and unwanted are gone, what next? I fear we’ll have horses raised in less-than-ideal conditions and solely for slaughter, much like we do other animals now.

        Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 9:35 PM
      • So agree. The round up and sale for slaughter of wild horses/mustangs on federal lands must also be stopped. Every little voice helps.

        Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | March 17, 2012, 9:39 PM
      • The Horse Slaughter bill here is on a fast-track to make it through committee. June Buggie’s gonna be talking about it Tuesday. He’s spitting mad.

        Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 9:56 PM
  20. Great post you have here 🙂

    Posted by jakesprinter | March 17, 2012, 4:21 PM
  21. Wow! I am so glad you stopped by my blog! I foster and donate but you are in the trenches and on behalf of all the future dogs who will benefit from your hard work I say THANK YOU!! Your one voice becomes their voice and that’s what counts!

    Happy Paddy Day and may God’s blessings shine down on you!

    Posted by Debby | March 17, 2012, 6:11 PM
  22. Hey it’s Jet here. Hi Miss Jen. Go Jen… you are inspirational for K9s and humans alike. Thanks for sharing, yes, 1 woof or voice counts, thanks for walking the talk.

    Posted by heyitsjethere | March 17, 2012, 6:27 PM
    • Thanks Jet. We don’t have to walk alone ya know. There’s plenty of room for others to join me.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 8:14 PM
      • Indeed… we’re trying to help overturn this thing called breed specific ban those silly humans have put in place in our area.

        Posted by heyitsjethere | March 17, 2012, 8:44 PM
      • That’s going to take some education on dog behavior. Yes, dogs are different. But it’s not the breed that’s the problem, and it’s not fair to the dogs. It’s also not fair to the humans who have an unrealistic idea of being safer because certain breeds of dogs aren’t in their neighborhood. Oh, and they’re still there. They’re just not there legally.

        Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 9:58 PM
  23. Awesome post!!! Keep up the great work, Jen! Every small step makes a difference!! Thanks for being an inspiration to animal lovers everywhere 🙂

    Posted by For the Love of My Dogs | March 17, 2012, 6:56 PM
  24. Hi Y’all,

    Thanks for sharing your lobbying experience.

    Thanks too for stoppin’ to wish us well.

    Y’all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    Posted by Hawk (@browndogcbr) | March 17, 2012, 7:59 PM
  25. That was some great information. We had a chimpanzee attack in CT, the owner was feeding it xanx because it had a tendency to be aggressive. Her friend came over to help her with him and he ripped her face off, literally. She is now blind. When the police came they shot the chimp, but still it’s sad and yes they need laws because some people, just. don’t. get. it.

    Good for you for taking a stand and speaking out, one voice added to one voice….together we can make a difference!!

    Posted by Jodi Stone | March 17, 2012, 9:47 PM
    • How senseless. If the owner had known that the monkey would become aggressive (most likely happened at the onset of sexual maturity), would he or she have brought the monkey into the home, or expose the friend to injury?

      It’s not fair to the monkey, and it’s not fair to humans either. So WHY do we allow this to happen?

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 10:01 PM
  26. Rumpy dog, I am so impressed with your mom. Wow. Most people are okay just signing a petition, but she went and lobbied! I’ve been wanting to do that too (to encourage stronger breeder laws are passed here), but have been a bit intimidated.

    I think perhaps your mom is the one who’s lead I need to follow. You are so lucky to have a mom like her.

    Posted by Mel | March 17, 2012, 9:56 PM
    • She followed in the footsteps of others, and how she wants to encourage others to follow her. I hope you go for it! And don’t think you have to do it alone. Find a group of like-minded people and join them.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 17, 2012, 10:03 PM
  27. I really support what you’re doing!

    Posted by butimbeautiful | March 18, 2012, 12:42 AM
  28. How DARE that owner acquire another monkey – how is that so? Wasn’t there a law against them owning any, as they were proven to not care for animals. That is just heart breaking – a monkey in a cage that should be swinging through trees. What is WRONG with people? I just cannot comprehend.

    What a very interesting post… and what excellent work you do. You have my vote as a very humane soul.

    Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes | March 18, 2012, 1:00 AM
  29. Outstanding! So few Americans participate at a grassroots level. In Colorado, there are about 5 million residents. Of those people, there are about 2,400,000 registered voters. Of those, there are about 850,000 who are active to my particular party affiliation. There are far less who actually participate in our state caucuses at a neighborhood/precinct level. In 2008, my wife and I were easily elected as delegates to represent our neighborhood at the county level. This year, far more people seem to have gotten the grassroots bug. We could only get in as alternates this year, but we still attended the County Assembly yesterday in order to meet all the local candidates and many of the state candidates. Out of 5 million people in Colorado, we–who are responsible for placing candidate’s names on everyone’s ballots– were among something like a tenth of one percent of all of them. If people only knew that a “majority” is nowhere near the full number of residents of a state. People representing the majority of a state could probably fit into one county, or less, into one good-sized town. If people only cared. Obviously, you do though, and I applaud you for that!

    Posted by essaybee2012 | March 18, 2012, 1:15 PM
  30. I wanted you to know mom and I read this and we are with you every inch of the way. I didn’t know you and your mom were fellow Tennesseans. 🙂

    Posted by Katie Isabella | March 18, 2012, 8:10 PM
  31. This is pawsome and so important. Unfortunately, the only thing politicians seem to listen to is $$. If you’re not offering them tons of cash, they don’t care.

    Posted by Cathy Keisha | March 19, 2012, 10:43 AM
  32. I *truly* appreciate your emphasis on Due Diligence–it doesn’t matter what the cause, it’s essential that people get their facts straight or nobody can have a sane conversation, let alone effect any necessary change in the world. Cheers to you for that!

    Posted by kathryningrid | March 20, 2012, 7:55 PM
  33. Huzzas and hoorays for you, Jen! Rumpy, I know you are behind your mom all the way! I have been having good success in using the online tools provided by HSUS to lobby for Humane Society issues with my representatives and senators! Yay!

    Posted by granbee | March 23, 2012, 3:25 PM

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