Animal related

Animal Legal Defense Fund

aka ALDF   |   Cotati, CA   |  www.aldf.org

Mission

The Animal Legal Defense Fund's mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.

Ruling year info

1980

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Stephen Wells

Main address

525 East Cotati Avenue

Cotati, CA 94931 USA

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EIN

94-2681680

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to end animal cruelty. We do this by protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Animal Law Program

As part of its focus on animal law, the Animal Legal Defense Fund works to cultivate the next generation of animal lawyers. We do this through our Animal Law Program, which works closely with law students and law professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. Moving toward the day when animal law is part of the curriculum at each and every law school, the Animal Law Program collaborates with students, faculty, and school administrations to facilitate the development of animal law courses and assists students in forming Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

From filing high-impact lawsuits to providing amicus curiae briefs, our litigation work is a primary tool in our work to advance the interests of animals. Our team of expert staff attorneys may bring suit themselves, or we may retain outside counsel to represent us. We may file either as a named plaintiff, or as the attorneys for other organizations or individuals. Our civil actions on behalf of animals often include filing amicus curiae briefs arguing the case for recognition of the bonds between humans and nonhuman animals, and filing formal complaints against government agencies charged with enforcing laws meant to protect animals.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

Prosecutors and law enforcement often lack the resources or specific expertise needed to prosecute crimes against animals. To that end, our Criminal Justice Program provides free legal assistance to prosecutors, law enforcement, and veterinarians handling animal cruelty cases. We also work with state legislators to strengthen criminal animal protection laws.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

The Pro Bono Program collaborates with our Litigation and Criminal Justice Program to assign appropriate pro bono counsel to projects and cases. It also works with interested attorneys and law firms to create a robust pro bono network dedicated to helping animals.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the state and local levels to advance important legislation. We advocate for laws that promote or protect the lives and interests of animals, and we oppose legislation that would be detrimental to animals’ well-being. We also work closely with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s other programs to identify opportunities to create model legislation that address strategic legal issues in the areas of civil and criminal law, and monitor legislation that impacts animals at the federal, state, and local levels.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animal cruelty cases where ALDF provided direct assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement officers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Criminal Justice Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Each year, the Criminal Justice Program provides free legal assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the United States for 120 animal cruelty cases.

Opportunities coordinated for law students including student chapters, scholarships, and grants

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Animal Law Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Animal Law Program nurtures the next generation of animal lawyers by coordinating opportunities for law students: Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Chapters, scholarships, and project grants.

Number of civil litigation matters handled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Litigation Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year, our Litigation Program handles 100+ civil litigation matters.

Number of pro bono hours contributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Pro Bono Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Working to expand the practice and understanding of animal law in the legal community, the Pro Bono Program partners with attorneys and pro bono coordinators across the country.

Number of bills worked on

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Legislative Affairs Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Legislative Affairs Program works to advocate laws that promote or protect the lives and advance the interests of animals and opposes legislation that would be detrimental to animals' well-being.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Animal Legal Defense Fund was born of a bold vision: that one day the interests and legal rights of animals – in laboratories, on factory farms, in the wild, and in our own homes – would be recognized and protected by law. Since then, Animal Legal Defense Fund has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life.

Every day, Animal Legal Defense Fund works to protect animals by: <br/><br/>• Filing groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse and expand the boundaries of animal law.<br/>• Providing free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases.<br/>• Working to strengthen state anti-cruelty statutes.<br/>• Encouraging the federal government to enforce existing animal protection laws.<br/>• Nurturing the future of animal law through Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapters and our Animal Law Program.<br/>• Providing public education through seminars, workshops and other outreach efforts.

The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund is the preeminent legal advocate for the protection of animals. Since 1979, Animal Legal Defense Fund's unique mission has been to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. We use the full force of the law to ensure animals everywhere receive the justice they deserve. From small town cruelty cases to lawsuits against the federal government, we may be the only lawyers on earth whose clients are innocent.

We know we are making progress by looking at the results of cases and evaluating the positive impact for animals.

It has been over forty extraordinary years since the founding of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. In that time, we have helped establish greater protections for companion animals through the nation's first mandatory animal abuser registries, filed friend of the court briefs in animal custody disputes, assisted in the recovery of adequate damages for wrongfully killed companion animals, helped change the law to establish trusts for the care of beloved animals in our lives, and accomplished many other things. For example, in one of the largest civil animal cruelty cases in history, ALDF v. Woodley, we won a landmark victory for animals and were awarded custody of over 300 dogs rescued from nightmarish conditions from North Carolina dog hoarders. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has also stopped hunts of bears and mountain lions as well as the violent removal of burros from federal lands. We have tackled such diverse topics as challenges to the intensive confinement of farmed animals and the “patenting" of genetically altered animals, as well as cases under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and federal Animal Welfare Act. From our earliest cases, saving more than 5,000 wild burros from certain death and stopping the importation of 71,500 monkeys for use in laboratory experiments, to our most recent victories freeing Ben the Bear from a roadside zoo, advancing our case to free Tony the Tiger from a truck stop in Louisiana, and helping to shut down the cruel California-based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc., the Animal Legal Defense Fund is winning the case against animal cruelty. The fundamental problem facing animals in the U.S. is that the law often considers them merely property, in many cases no different than inanimate objects like tables and chairs. Only in the past few decades have vile acts against animals become felonies, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been central to such improvements. Yet, in some states, no matter how badly an animal is abused or harmed, animal abusers cannot be charged with a felony. Even when protective laws do exist, they are often insufficient, rife with loopholes, and inadequately enforced. For example, the federal Animal Welfare Act—the primary law governing the use of animals in laboratory experiments explicitly excludes birds, rats, and mice, even though they account for nearly 95% of animals used in laboratories. In addition, no federal laws protect the billions of farmed animals in the U.S. from egregious abuses on factory farms. In these ways, the justice system does not reflect the true values of society. This is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund focuses its animal protection work exclusively on the legal system and it is essential that Animal Legal Defense Fund's critical work continue. Truly, today's state of affairs for animals is dire—and Animal Legal Defense Fund is needed to win the case against animal cruelty.

Financials

Animal Legal Defense Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Animal Legal Defense Fund

Board of directors
as of 6/8/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Andrea Arden

Animal Trainer, Author, Dog Behavior Columnist


Board co-chair

Ms. Elizabeth Hess

Writer

Andrea Arden

Animal Trainer, Author, Dog Behavior Columnist

Elizabeth Hess

Writer

Morgan Mulford

Financial Industry

Susie Yoo

Business & Legal Affairs Lawyer

Katherine Stirling

Journalist

Heidi Hurd

Professor

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Keywords

Animal Rights, Animal Protection, Animal Welfare, Legal Protection for Animals, Animal Law, Animal rights law, animal advocacy