Mobilizing Montgomery: Humane Treatment of Animals

By on 21 January, 2015 in City Living, Government, Lynne Burford, Pets with 2 Comments

We are feeling the tease of spring for a few days. I know my dogs are grateful for more time outside, for sunshine patches to lie in and for the tiny sprigs of green grass they always find and eat (and which I sometimes see after it has been eaten!). The dog park is teeming with canines running, rolling and chasing each other. And because we love them, we smile like proud parents and chat about the new food on the market and hey, did you know Tractor Supply sells a rawhide-free rawhide? They do!

Rescued buddy number one

Rescued buddy number one

We are also discussing AVRAL, a grassroots, nonpartisan political action committee which represents the interests of our companion animals. Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation is the long version of the acronym, and this is a pretty great group of folks. Anyone can join. Some of the things AVRAL works to address are overpopulation of dogs and cats, animal cruelty, neglect and the subject of chained dogs. They support animal-friendly legislation and work with our legislators to improve the way animals are treated.

No, this is not PETA. Members and supporters eat meat. Heck, many are farmers who grow meat. But a common thread runs through the group. The current approach in Alabama to addressing animal welfare actually does little to improve the numbers of stray dogs, many sick and dying, on the streets and in rural areas. The plan for adoption and placement of rescued animals, including shelter reform, is another topic near and dear to their hearts. Although we are blessed with a very nice, clean, well-managed shelter in Montgomery, the numbers are so high that not all are adopted. Many are too damaged, too sick, or simply not chosen. This is where stricter spay-neuter laws could make a huge difference, and AVRAL lobbies for these changes so that little by little, the lives of all companion animals can be better.

Rescued buddy number two

Rescued buddy number two

AVRAL also worked hard to ban the gas chamber as a means of killing shelter animals. Gas chamber, you ask? Yes, in 2011 there were still carbon monoxide gas chambers in the state. Gassing an animal to death is the cruelest, most inhumane method shelters use. And AVRAL’s efforts to pass “Beckham’s Bill” were successful. Yes! If you want to add your voice to the many others supporting better lives for our animals, check them out. Anyone can join AVRAL, and it’s free.

I’m working on a transport to a rescue up north this week. Thirteen dogs whose entire lives were spent in a trailer with five humans and four other dogs (a total of 17) were surrendered and brought to a foster home while they wait to head to Wisconsin. Once there, they will be a part of a great rescue called Sandi Paws, another all-volunteer organization who adopts these “southern dogs” to waiting families. Wisconsin has such stringent and strongly enforced spay/neuter laws that people will pay hundreds of dollars to adopt a spayed or neutered mixed breed pup. The motto of many rescues up that way? “Adopt A Dog with a Southern Drawl!” As cute as that is, it is shameful that our supply of unwanted dogs here is endless.

So as I sit and love on my pups, grateful for this warm pre-spring day, I think of all the animals who can’t speak for themselves. Paul Harvey said, “Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals’ suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Because animals don’t vote.” It is sad, and it is true. Consider helping AVRAL, volunteer at the shelter, donate money to a clinic to go towards their low cost spay and neuter. Foster an animal while to waits to be adopted. Adopt one. Speak up and speak out. Let’s move our state up the ranks to a position we are proud of when it comes to the welfare of those who have no voice.

You can make a difference!

Additional rescued pals:

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas and a very tolerant greyhound named Anya.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Thank you for this inspiring article, and for highlighting Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation (AVRAL). AVRAL is dedicated to strengthening and enacting effective and enforceable animal protection laws in Alabama. Every animal advocate and lover in Alabama can join at and we hope you will. WE, (you, me, “us”) DO VOTE. Your voice and vote counts. Thank you.

  2. Shirle Rogers says:

    How will your proposed spay/ neuter law affect responsible show and hobby breeders?

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