For many severe cases, Pet-Abuse.Com provides a special Action Alert form by which you are able to send a fax to the prosecutor in an Action Alert case.  Whether you're using our webfax form, or writing an e-mail, fax or snail mail letter on our yown, here are some helpful tips that you should consider to make your letters as effective as possible.

Begin your letter by briefly explaining who you are and where you are writing from.

Be polite and take a firm position in your letter. Be confident in your understanding of the issue and remember that the legislator may know less than you.

Be brief - respect the fact that the official is very busy. Limit your letter to one page and one issue. 

Include a brief summary of the crime or issue you're writing about, and make sure your information is factually correct.  Carefully read the entire case and the case updates so that you can be sure that the information you're quoting is the most current.  Referring to inaccurate or outdated information will discredit your letter and you will not be taken seriously.

Choose the three strongest points to support your argument and develop them clearly. Too much information can distract from your position.

Make it personal. Tell your officials why the issue matters to you and how it affects you, your family, and your community. Make a connection to the legislator. Did you vote for her? Did you contribute to the campaign?

Be specific - tell the recipient exactly what you'd like to see happen.  "Please make sure this man cannot ever hurt another animal" is less compelling and useful than something like "Please ensure that this man is sentenced to the maximum term of jail time allowable by law, required to undergo mandatory psychological counseling and banned from owning animals for as long as possible."

If you live in the area where the case is being prosecuted, let the official know that the issue is very important to you and that the way they deal with the situation may affect your future voting decisions. 

If you live in a different area from where the case is being prosecuted, let them know that his or her position on the issue may make you reluctant to visit the county, state or province and that you may be inclined to spend your money elsewhere.

Proof-read and spellcheck your letter - typos and grammatical errors will reduce your credibility and you may be taken less seriously.

DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS.  Use your words to convey how strongly you feel.  Letters written in all caps are harder to read and often imply "shouting". 

Include your real name and mailing address. A random selection of names may be contacted to verify signatures. (Hence, if names/addresses cannot be contacted, they will only hurt our cause.)

Letters without full names or mailing addresses could be taken less seriously, as it could be construed that you are attempting to hide behind anonymity.  When people are willing to be held accountable for their opinions, those opinions typically have more weight.

Use the proper title and salutation in your letter, and always address your letter to a specific person.  If you're using the Pet-Abuse.Com Action Alert forms, will automatically fill in the title and salutation for you.

Prosecuting Attorney/Judge:
The Honorable John/Jane Doe

Dear Mr./Ms. President Doe

Mailing address to Members of Congress:
The Honorable John/Jane Doe

Greeting to Member, Senate:
Dear Senator Doe

Greeting to Member, House of Representatives:
Dear Congressman/woman Doe

Mailing Address to Ambassadors:
His/Her Excellency John/Jane Doe

Greeting to Ambassador:
Dear Ambassador Doe

Prime Ministers:
Dear Prime Minister Doe

Other Officials and elected representatives:
Dear (Title) Doe

Writing to newspapers, TV or radio stations:
Dear (Title) John/Jane Doe
Dear Mr./Ms. John/Jane Doe

When a prosecutor or judge comes through with a meaningful sentence, be sure to write to them and thank them for their efforts.

Ask for mandatory counseling and/or a ban on animal ownership. The states that allow courts to ban people from having custody of pets are New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio.

Useful Resources