To get law enforcement officials to treat animal abuse seriously is an important part of the fight to enact animal cruelty laws.

There’s reason to be optimistic about animals’ legal status — many states (like Massachusetts) have recently enacted laws that create stronger penalties against animal abuse, and some states have even created laws that protect farm animals.

Getting the right animal cruelty laws on the books is only half the battle.

For anti-cruelty laws to have an effect, the people who enforce the law — police, prosecutors, judges and other government officials — must take animal cruelty laws seriously.

An anti-cruelty law will not have an effect if it allows for the imposition of high penalties on abusers, but prosecutors refuse to enforce it, or courts do not impose adequate penalties upon people who abuse animals.

Unfortunately, some law enforcement officials still do not believe that animal mistreatment is a real crime worthy of their time and attention.

That’s Where You Come In

Law enforcement officials care about what citizens think.

Many government officials serve in elected positions and want to keep the public’s approval. Others simply want to enforce the animal cruelty laws that citizens believe are important.

To find the name and address of your local District Attorney or prosecutor, check this list of U.S. prosecutors.

To help show law enforcement officials that people do care about animals, consider using these tips to help you write an effective letter to a police officer, prosecutor or judge who is involved in an animal abuse case.

Keep it Short

You’re writing a letter to a law enforcement official, not a novel, so try to keep it short.

Law enforcement officials are very busy and often handle many cases at once.

To keep the government official’s attention and to be sure that they will read your entire letter, try to keep your letter under a page.

Organize Your Thoughts

You should identify the animal cruelty law or case your letter is about at the beginning of your letter.

Provide as much information about the case or incident as you have, including the offender’s full name, case number, and date and description of the crime.

You should also briefly describe yourself a