about > mission
Animals make us better humans
We’re Minnesotans. This is our State and we care about what happens within our communities — to animals as well as to people.
Our passion and focus are for animals because we believe animal neglect and cruelty are still common and even acceptable by some.
Our fight for animals, however, is not just about animals. This is about human behavior, and how we, as people, view and treat other species — humanely or inhumanely. We believe Minnesotans know what is right, and want to take action.
Our mission and vision
Animal neglect and cruelty have been happening for centuries. We don’t expect to change attitudes about animals overnight, but we’re at least going to try and provoke discussion.
We believe animal neglect and cruelty are cultural problems (i.e., beliefs and behaviors by individuals) and institutional problems (i.e., outdated systems and processes governing animals at state and local levels).
Our mission: To protect animals and help prevent animal neglect and cruelty by creating a modern system of animal protection in Minnesota.
This will be accomplished by working collaboratively with state and local authorities so as to help 1) improve governance and "systems" that oversee animal issues and 2) improve enforcement of animal laws, including the creation of new laws or rules if needed.
Our vision: For the State of Minnesota to be the recognized leader in animal protection and welfare.
To achieve the above, we have two nonprofit organizations:
Animal Folks (AF) is a 501c3 research-based animal protection organization. The purpose of our research is to lay a foundation for systemic change (i.e., processes, tools, training) involving animals in Minnesota, so to help improve enforcement of these laws. As part of our efforts, AF also files animal cruelty complaints and conducts considerable research on the pet trade. Donations are tax-deductible.
Animal Folks Minnesota (AFMN) is a 501c4 animal protection organization and is the legislative arm of Animal Folks, working to protect animals through legislative action, education and advocacy. Due to direct and unlimited lobbying, donations are not tax-deductible.
Some current initiatives
All of our efforts start with data. We believe credible data helps diagnose and define a problem, which allows for the creation of effective, long-term solutions.
We have numerous initiatives underway. Below are a few examples.
• Education: General
We believe people make better choices and become fully engaged in a cause when they are informed — when they have information about an issue, which includes an understanding of electoral, legislative and governing processes. Our website is designed to be used as a resource.
• Education and Advocacy: Emails and Facebook
Animal Folks MN sends out emails regularly to our database (and posts on Facebook) to make supporters aware of animal issues impacting Minnesota and ideas or concerns from other states or countries. In regards to legislation, we also post alerts for action.
• Legislative: Support of Dog and Cat Breeder Bill
Animal Folks MN supports the regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. We are part of a large coalition to pass breeder regulation in Minnesota, and will continue to support legislative efforts through legislative materials, lobbying, petitions, advertising, design/printing of hand-outs, events, and other activities.
• Enforcement: Animal Cruelty Complaints
Enforcing animal anti-cruelty laws starts with a complaint. Law enforcement cannot act without first being made aware of the situation. Based on credible data received, Animal Folks submits complaints to law enforcement. We encourage the public to file complaints of suspected or known animal cruelty; contacts can be found at Report It.
• Enforcement: Animal Cruelty Cases
Animal Folks is collecting and analyzing data of animal cruelty cases in Minnesota, including complaints, charges, convictions and sentencing orders. To gather input and ideas for improved enforcement, we're also interviewing law enforcement and prosecutors throughout the State.
• Enforcement: Interstate Commerce
Animal Folks tracks animal sales and shipments from Minnesota breeders and dealers to pet stores throughout the United States. If data is questionable, we submit it to authorities to investigate. We coordinate with representatives in other states who request confirmation of dog sales and transport.
• Enforcement: Sales Tax
In 2010, Animal Folks MN conducted a study that showed 74% of sampled dog/cat breeders did not have a sales tax permit. Based on this data and sales formulas, the Minnesota Department of Revenue estimated that the State of Minnesota was losing over $2 million per year in uncollected sales tax revenues (reflecting only 400 breeders).
• Enforcement: Consumer Protection
Animal Folks collects stories from consumers who have purchased a sick dog or cat from a Minnesota breeder or pet store. If you've been misled and purchased an unhealthy dog or cat, please tell your story.
We welcome donations. If you have any questions, please contact us.