Here is the full press release:
During its first-ever National Justice for Animals Week, February 22 – 28, 2009, the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is recognizing some of the top law enforcement professionals in the nation for getting real justice for animals who are victims of abuse. With the theme “Fighting Animal Cruelty, Honoring Animal Victims,” the week will be an annual event dedicated to raising public awareness nationwide about how to report animal abuse—and how citizens can work within their communities to create stronger laws and assure tough enforcement. The week, co-sponsored by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the author of Tennessee’s T-Bo Law (named in honor of his beloved Shih Tzu) and numerous other successful pro-animal laws, will also celebrate significant legislation in the push for animal justice in the halls of Congress.
The mascot for this year’s National Justice for Animals Week is Adam, a spunky black cat who was set on fire by two teenage girls in a vicious attack in Santa Rosa, California, as an eight-week-old feral kitten. Adam survived third-degree burns on 45% of his body and the case grabbed headlines around the world. Adam was rescued by an 11-year-old boy who also later identified the girls who committed the crime, allowing them to be charged with felony animal cruelty. ALDF is honoring Adam and all those who came to his rescue with a special video profile that will be available on www.aldf.org.
The week, also co-sponsored by former California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, who sponsored a California bill that would have required mandatory spaying and neutering of cats and dogs, will encourage all citizens to get active in their own communities, and ALDF is providing downloadable resource guides designed to help animal advocates navigate the criminal justice system. “Animal victims of abuse cannot speak for themselves—so concerned citizens and our legal system must speak up for them,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “From the young boy who rescued Adam and identified his abusers to the prosecutors who oversee a unique Animal Cruelty Prosecution program within the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, ALDF wants to applaud those who are fighting animal cruelty and honoring animal victims during National Justice for Animals Week.”
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program provides free legal assistance—including legal research and strategy suggestions, location of expert witnesses, and sample pleadings—to prosecutors handling cruelty cases and works to strengthen state anti-cruelty legislation. Camera-ready artwork and web banners for National Justice for Animals Week are available upon request. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org.