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National Justice for Animals Week

dvm360dvm360 February 2023
Volume 54
Issue 2
Pages: 14

Raising awareness and working to stop cruelty against animals

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is spreading awareness of crimes committed against animals during National Justice for Animals Week, which this year takes place from February 20 to 26. According to the ALDF website, the awareness “includes learning what criminal cruelty is under the law, and how we can all work to build stronger laws, prevent criminal cruelty, hold abusers accountable, and vindicate the interests of animal cruelty victims.”1 This annual week of awareness is kicked off with the announcement of America’s Top Animal Defenders, a list of prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials, animal rescuers, lawmakers, animal legal advocates, and others who champion the cause of animal crime victims.

Every year, ALDF chooses an animal to illustrate the results of ongoing efforts to protect them. Sam the Ram was last year’s representation. Sam was one of the animals rescued in Washington state after a significant neglect case was discovered. He was in extreme need as he was malnourished prior to his rescue. The ALDF provided grant funding that helped cover the cost of caring for all the neglected victims. Sam was able to reach a healthy weight through proper care, nutritious food, and treatment for parasites.1

Sam the Ram (Photos courtesy of ALDF)

Leo the Dog

This year, Leo the dog is the 2023 animal representative. According to the ALDF, Leo was found emaciated and starving after an animal control officer repsonded to a animal cruelty call. The Animal Legal Defense Fund provided grant funding to cover the cost of Leo’s care at the animal shelter, including veterinary exams, lab tests, and medications and was adopted into a loving home.1

How to get involved

To show support and take action during this week, here are the following suggestions:

  • Learn about the animal protection laws in your state.
  • Identify who and how to report animal cruelty cases in your community.
  • Sign up for Action Alerts on the ALDF website.
  • Write a letter to the editor at ALDF about an issue involving animals in your area.
  • Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter at your participating law school. Chapters can host events to raise awareness about criminal justice issues in animal law for aspiring students.

Learn more about National Justice for Animals Week here.


National Justice for Animals Week. The Animal Legal Defense Fund. Accessed January 20, 2023. https://aldf.org/project/national-justice-for-animals-week/

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