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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fighting Unjust Dog Laws One Paw at a Time

Fighting Unjust Dog Laws One Paw at a Time

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Milwaukee Animal Advocate Kelly Herbold comes from “a family of fur ball lovers,” as she puts it. Growing up in Sussex, her fondness for the four-legged members of her household evolved into a lifetime passion. Now, when she is not working as an executive assistant for Derse marketing, she’s the animals’ spokesperson. Herbold says, “All animals are at mankind’s mercy and we must do right by each and every one of them.” 

 

Why dogs? 

The catalyst was an amazing black-and-white homeless dog that I met in 2007 while living in New Jersey. My life changed forever when I started volunteering at my local shelter. I looked forward to walking Prince every time I went in. One night I signed in, and noticed he was gone. I excitedly asked the manager who adopted him. She bluntly said, “He was put down.” I went home that night feeling sick, like my heart was ripped out. It was at that moment I decided to start fostering shelter dogs. And then it began; a simple decision to volunteer at a shelter thrust me into the world of animal advocacy, particularly shelter reform and breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL).

 

Which advocacy positions do you hold? 

I foster and adopt out local shelter dogs with Helping Pitties in the City, an affiliate program of Remember Me Ranch. I am a founding member of Milwaukee Animal Alliance (MAA), a grassroots group of local citizens concerned about Milwaukee’s homeless animals. I am an advisor with Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals with a focus on BDL.

 

What major issues do Milwaukee’s dogs face? 

There are four cities in Milwaukee County—Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, St. Francis and Cudahy—with BDL laws. The laws are an ethical failure and a public safety failure. They cause good dogs to lose their families and contribute to shelter deaths. We are working on how to repeal these laws. Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals, along with citizens, had a major victory in stopping Watertown from passing BDL. We are currently working on stopping Madison. 

Also, 43% of animals here in shelters are being put down, 105 per week. Municipal shelters are funded by tax dollars. Citizens have a right and a responsibility to have a voice in how their tax money is spent. We care about our shelter animals. MAA proposed the formation of a Citizen’s Participation Committee to help, but the MADACC [Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission] Operations Committee said no. We feel the offer should have been welcomed with open arms as they are in other cities. 

 

In your opinion, what is Milwaukee’s role in helping these dogs? 

Milwaukee loves its pets. Cities like Kansas City, Mo., Reno, Nev., and Washington are saving upwards of 80% of their homeless pets. Milwaukee can too! Stay in the loop on what’s happening at MADACC and other Milwaukee County shelters. Go to MAA’s website. Make a difference by adopting, donating, fostering, volunteering or advocating for our city’s pets!

 

To learn more about the organizations discussed above, visit them online:

remembermeranch.org/pittiesinthecity

milwaukeeanimalalliance.org

wivotersforcompanionanimals.com

madacc.org.