The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports:
"Phone calls, emails and postcards are all good communication tools, but most professionals agree that there is no substitute for the most effective way of communicating: letters. Faxed or mailed, letters go directly to the desk of the addressee and leave a paper trail...Use proper titles and salutations in your letters. For example, when addressing judges, use 'The Honorable Judge John Smith' in the address and 'Dear Judge Smith' as a salutation. For prosecutors, use their full name, followed by their title; for example, 'Mary Black, Assistant County Attorney,' with a salutation of 'Dear Ms. Black.' Other law enforcement, such as chiefs of police, should be addressed as 'Chief John Doe, Office of Chief of Police,' with the salutation 'Dear Chief Doe.'...In the first paragraph, state who you are and the issue you are writing about. If writing about a court case, include the case number (if available), the defendant’s name(s), what the charges are and a very brief description of the crime. Make sure your information is factually correct...[K]eep letters to one page. Choose several strong points and don’t let yourself get sidetracked from them. Develop the points to support your argument, but be concise — too much information will be distracting and may weaken your credibility...Tell the official exactly what you want to happen. For example, in
a neglect case where animals were found in terrible condition, ask the judge to ban the hoarder from owning, harboring or having any future contact with animals, with periodic checks by animal control, and mandatory psychiatric treatment. If an offender has proven to be violent and is ordered to community service at an animal shelter, ask the judge to rescind the order and find a more appropriate venue for the service, citing the danger to both animals and shelter staff...Tell them why the issue matters to you. For example, mention how a particular case or issue affects you or your community (which, of course, includes animal members), or how you have donated time or money to a humane society, or how an experience with an animal made a lasting impression on you or initiated your activism. If you live in the area of the crime, let the official know that the way the crime is dealt with may affect your future voting preferences. If you live outside the area, consider voicing your reluctance to visit that city or county, should the outcome be negative or inappropriate...[W]rite with confidence. If we want to be heard, we must come across as rational, educated and concerned, rather than enraged, naïve or upset. Angry letters work against what we are trying to accomplish with our communication and often put others on the defensive. Never write in all capital letters...Thank them for taking the time to read your letter and ask for a reply. Be sure to include your name and address on the letter (and the
envelope, if mailed)...Check your spelling and always [proofread] for grammatical and
punctuation errors...When judges come through with meaningful sentences, write to them and thank them for their actions. If other law enforcement go beyond the call of duty, be sure to thank them for their efforts too."
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