Bloomington, Indiana Becomes Newest Guardian City
Help Your City Follow Bloomington's Example by Becoming an IDA Guardian Angel
IDA is pleased to announce that Bloomington, Indiana recently became the 14th city (along with one entire county and the State of Rhode Island) to include "guardian" language in their animal-related ordinances. Bloomington's nearly 70,000 residents join more than 2,700,000 people living in progressive communities across North America that officially recognize their citizens as animal guardians. Thanks to Karen Smith, our newest Guardian Angel, who spearheaded the effort to make Bloomington a Guardian City.
Bloomington, home seat of Indiana University, established other animal-friendly initiatives before becoming the latest Guardian City. Their municipal Animal Care and Control agency (http://bloomington.in.gov/animalshelter) incorporated "guardian" language into their documents and adoption applications to promote respect for animals, and their Foster Guardian Program enables residents to provide temporary homes for animals who have special needs or are in need of home-based socialization and training to increase their chances of adoption. The program has been extremely successful in reducing euthanasia of homeless animals. They also produce a weekly television program called Pets Without Partners that features adoptable companion animals and education on proper animal companion care. Bloomington recently opened the Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic (www.petsalivespayneuter.org), which offers low-cost sterilization to reduce the homeless animal population in the area. The Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA) (http://www.monroehumane.org) is also located in Bloomington, and holds an annual Holiday Pet Food and Supply Drive. At the same time that Bloomington incorporated "guardian" language into their city ordinances, the City Council also voted to make other positive changes, like raising standards for the care of animals and increasing fines for animal cruelty. "Thanks to the efforts of numerous individuals, our city's animal code has been significantly updated to better protect our animal companions," says Smith. "I'm grateful to be part of this guardian community, where animal welfare is considered a priority."
Bloomington's adoption of "guardian" language is part of a growing trend in our society towards modernizing the terms we use to describe the relationship between people and animal companions. Increasing numbers of people see the term "owner" as outdated since it does not reflect the human-animal bond that exists in our culture today. The term "guardian" acknowledges a deeper level of respect, compassion, and responsibility toward animal companions and more accurately reflects the close relationship that often develops between humans and animals.
What You Can Do:
Help your community become the next Guardian City by working with your elected leaders to incorporate "guardian" language into city ordinances, charters, by-laws and other official documents. See http://guardiancampaign.com/guardiancity.htm for a listing of Guardian Cities and check whether your city is there. If not, you can make a huge difference for the animals in your community by becoming one of IDA's Guardian Angels (www.guardiancampaign.com/guardian_angels.htm). To get involved, contact IDA Campaign Coordinator Anjee Lang at Anjee@idausa.org or (415) 388-9641 ext. 219. She will send you a Guardian Pack with step-by-step instructions, and is also available to personally guide you through every stage of the process.