This is a feature on someone we’ve come across who is a hero for animals in this world. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, all colors, and walks of life. Our heroes could be clients of ours, or someone we meet in the many communities we serve and places we visit.
At HousePaws, we celebrate the human/animal bond every day in our practice. We love finding people (and animals) who show the strength of that bond. We find them inspiring and hope you will, too!
HousePaws Q&A with Alan Braslow
This month’s Animal Hero is Alan Braslow, founder of Dog Advocacy and Rescue, Inc.
Q: Alan, tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My wife and I have been animal advocates forever. We have always been rescue volunteers, have had multiple dogs and cats at the same time, and are “professional foster failures.” When the Michael Vick debacle hit we became extremely active with Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no kill rescue in the country. We are out in Utah at their sanctuary every year volunteering. We foster puppies for Don’t Bully Us Pit Bull Rescue (there are 8 in my house right now) and try to do as much as possible to, as BFAS would say, “Save Them All.”
Q: In 2017, you were awarded the Camden County Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal for the work you do in banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in NJ. What started this process?
A: Back in June 2015, a puppy store that was sourcing from commercial breeders, aka puppy mills, opened in Cherry Hill. A few individuals who knew my passion for rescue asked that I help them shut the store down. With the help of hundreds of caring individuals from Cherry Hill and surrounding communities we picketed the store every day, twice a day. In addition, we were supported by Jeff Nash, Camden County Freeholder, who took the lead in passing a working resolution banning the sale of puppies and kittens in retail stores. This resolution led to a banning ordinance in Cherry Hill. As of February 2020, there are over 140 such ordinances passed in NJ communities (and every town in Camden County!).
Q: You also work with therapy dogs.
A: Yes. Therapy dogs are very special dogs. Their personalities are such that they enjoy the attention people give them, have no aggression, they are extremely well behaved, ignore other therapy dogs when they are working where other therapy dogs are present. They are just the sweetest dogs out there. What I do, in addition to having 2 of my dogs as therapy dogs (Amber and Gracie), is test and observe other handlers and their dogs to certify them. Person and Dog are a team and are certified together.
Q: Do you have any other pets at home?
A: Last time I looked the permanent residents were 4 dogs (Amber, Jack, Papi, Gracie) and 5 cats (Ana, Niki, Charlie, Maury, Brisket).
Q: Is there a story or moment that really sticks out to you throughout all of this?
A: What amazes me is how many really good people are out there…and how many ignorant, non-caring, selfish people are out there as well. Last February, a local Cherry Hill resident was caught leaving his two pit bulls (who he claimed he cared about) outside in 20 degree weather on 4 foot chains. When the Cherry Hill Humane Law Enforcement Officer and an Animal Control Officer went to his residence they also found 8 puppies outside as well. While we were able to remove the puppies and not give them back (they were fostered for 8 weeks in my house), after 4 months of legal battles he was allowed to keep his two adults. Surprise, surprise, the female is pregnant again and since he is now in Philadelphia we do not have the ability here to do anything.
Q: For over 20 years, you have been working and spending your own money to protect the rights of dogs in abusive situations in New Jersey. In January of 2020 you started a 501(c)3 called Dog Advocacy and Rescue Inc. What is the mission of this organization?
A: Our mission is to represent the interests of dogs in abuse cases and rescue when possible. Animal abuse is not only a crime against animals, but also is a crime against society. The link between animal cruelty and other crimes perpetrated later against humans, especially children, is clear and established by FBI crime data. This requires full time staff and the ability to fund legal expenses to prosecute as necessary. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $100,000 a year which will allow us to get the job done. Specifically:
- Seek proper justice for animals and prevent further victimization of animals at the hands of humans.
- Serve as a voice for animals in court who have been victims of animal cruelty.
- Provide resources and support aiding in the prosecution of individuals involved in animal abuse.
- Assist concerned citizens to effectively advocate for diligent enforcement of cruelty statutes by law enforcement
- Listen to concerned individuals who believe an animal is being neglected or abused.
- Educate the general public about animal abuse by gathering information and conducting research.
- Work collaboratively with other animal protection organizations to further these goals and organization mission.
Thank you for all your work, Alan!