The Austin Bar Association’s Animal Law Section wants the public to know how to support animal welfare organizations throughout Central Texas. So, tomorrow, June 9, the section is holding its third annual Animal Well-Fair to serve as an information clearinghouse for concerned citizens. The event takes place at noon at the Northwest Recreation Center (2913 Northland Drive).
Approximately a dozen animal organizations—such as Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Wildlife Rescue, and the Texas Humane Legislation Network—have been invited to educate attendees on what their groups do and how the public can help them in achieving their missions. Representatives will then be available to answer questions and have conversations about becoming involved as a volunteer, foster, or donor. Animals will be available for adoption outside the building.
“We are often asked by our colleagues or by members of the public how they can help animals—which group should they work with and how can they make the biggest impact for our community’s neediest animals,” said Kelley Dwyer, chair of the ABA’s Animal Law Section. She noted that the well-fair enables attendees to visit with many groups under one roof.
The recent flooding in the Central Texas and Hill Country regions has made the work that these organizations do even more important, and the Austin Bar’s Animal Law Section will be collecting pet supply donations to help them during this time of increased need. Dwyer said that some of the organizations are so overwhelmed with the influx of displaced animals that they will not be able to attend the event as originally planned. “This time of year is routinely the busiest time for animal shelters, between owner surrenders and kitten season, and the floods have made things even more challenging,” she said. “The community's outpouring of concern and help for our animal welfare organizations has been amazing thus far, but more help is needed.”
While the Animal Well-Fair is geared toward informing the general public—attorneys and non-attorneys alike—Dwyer said that lawyers stand to gain much from attending the event and becoming more involved. “The animal welfare organizations are the ‘boots on the ground’ for animal welfare,” she said. “They unfortunately witness cruelty and neglect firsthand and are able to offer valuable information to lawmakers and policymakers about potential changes or improvements in existing laws or policies. Attorneys can be especially valuable in helping animal welfare organizations avoid liability and keep their nonprofit organizations compliant with relevant laws. And our legal education makes us especially helpful in advising citizens about the ways they can help animal welfare organizations make our world a more humane place for our animal companions.”