The Guardian Campaign
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The Guardian Credo

The Guardian Promise

I promise to:

  • Make a lifetime commitment to my animal companion
  • Adopt animals only through responsible rescues and ethical breeders
  • Spay or neuter my animal companion for their health and to prevent overpopulation
  • Provide nutritious food, fresh water and daily exercise for my animal companion
  • Care for the emotional needs of my animal companion
  • Understand and work through my animal companion’s behavioral issues
  • Treat my animal companion with compassion and gentleness
  • Report suspected animal abuse or neglect
  • Call myself and others "guardians" rather than “owner”
  • Encourage others to embrace guardianship

The Guardian Campaign - Mission Statement

The Guardian Campaign strives to bring about a more just, humane world by modeling responsible, caring and respectful language and behavior toward the animals and the people we encounter at home, in school and in our community.

The Guardian Campaign Goals

• To reinforce and improve levels of respect, responsibility and compassion toward all beings by encouraging children and adults to consider themselves and others as "guardians" of the animals in their community, rather than "owners" of property.

• To acknowledge through this verbal change the deep bond that forms between people and their animal companions.

• To recognize and appreciate the persons who consistently provide a safe, healthy, and loving environment for animals.

• To raise a new generation of children who have strongly internalized these ideals, and who will in turn better serve their communities as responsible guardians and citizens.

• To reconnect neighborhoods by restoring the values of empathy, protection, care and consideration toward family members, neighbors, children and animals in each community.

• To accomplish a historical shift toward a more humane public standard regarding animals by incorporating the term “animal guardian" into local and state ordinances.

• To render animal abuse, neglect, and abandonment socially unacceptable and to help increase child abuse and animal abuse case cross-reporting.

• To affect: an increase in the number of animals rescued and adopted into good homes, a sustained reduction in the number of animals killed in shelters, and a sustained reduction in the number of animals sold for personal and/or commercial profit.

The Guardian Campaign - Information

In the past, animals were recognized in legal terms as mere commodities or property, not as individual beings, and often their exploitation and abuse was ignored, rationalized and even justified.

The Guardian Campaign was created in 1999 as a nationwide platform to reflect growing public support for a redefined public standard of relating to animals.

As more people consider using the updated term "animal guardian," evidence of society's deep personal relationship with dogs, cats and other animal companions comes to light.

Society's views change over time and every so often, society calls for a language facelift. It is not so long in human history that women, children and others were seen, in legal terms, as merely property. It appears that society is ready to acknowledge that animals, too, are worth something more than their price tag.

It is important to note that this update in language must supplement and strengthen, not replace, other animal welfare and protection efforts. For example, many professionals have chosen to use the term “animal guardian” to supplement existing humane education, character education and juvenile restitution programs. Animal shelters, schools, child and animal welfare organizations, local governments and community groups have also endorsed using the term “guardian” as an inexpensive, enduring educational tool that can help supplement adoption and spay/neuter programs by communicating the value of animal care and protection to the whole community.

There will be those who oppose the term animal guardian due to economic interests or fear of losing past ways of thinking. However, it is the majority who decides where the world is going. The majority is clearly moving toward compassionate, responsible animal guardianship.

Start a Guardian Campaign in Your Home Town

Help your community by working with your elected leaders to incorporate "guardian" language into city ordinances, charters, by-laws and other official documents.

See for a listing of Guardian Cities and check whether your city is there. If not, you can make a huge difference for the animals in your community by becoming one of IDA's Guardian Angels. To get involved, contact Dr. Katz at or (415) 388-9641 ext. 225. He will send you a Guardian Pack with step-by-step instructions, and is also available to personally guide you through every stage of the process.

For more helpful information, visit

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