Press Release

Animal Wellness Announces National Law Enforcement Council

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and District Attorney Joshua Marquis to Lead Group Seeking Robust Enforcement of Anti-Cruelty Laws

Washington, D.C.  — The Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF) and Animal Wellness Action (AWA) have announced the formation of a National Law Enforcement Council (NLEC), co-chaired by Drew Edmondson and Josh Marquis, and dedicated to enforcing our federal, state, and local laws against animal cruelty. Edmondson served for 16 years as Oklahoma’s Attorney General and Marquis as Clatsop County, Oregon District Attorney for 25 years.

“One measure of a civil society is how it treats its most vulnerable members, and few are as vulnerable as the animals,” said Drew Edmondson, who served as Muskogee County District Attorney for a decade before becoming Oklahoma Attorney General. “We have a moral duty to show mercy toward all of God’s creatures.” Edmondson, who had a major role in preserving the state’s 2002 ban on cockfighting, served as a former president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

There is a documented link between animal cruelty and other forms of human-on-human violence and criminal conduct. The FBI’s homicidal triad includes early-age acts of animal cruelty. Animal fights are often staging grounds for a range of other illegal behavior. In homes where a man harms a spouse or a girlfriend, he will often turn his violent instincts toward a child or an animal.

“Cruelty to animals is not some isolated, easily compartmentalized act of aggression,” added Josh Marquis, who prosecuted numerous cases of animal abuse and neglect that were widely cited in the successful effort to secure passage of Oregon’s felony anti-cruelty law. “When we stamp out animal cruelty and apprehend people who have lost empathy for the suffering of others, we make our communities safer for everyone.”

The Animal Wellness National Law Enforcement Council (NLEC) is focusing at the moment on enforcement of our federal anti-cruelty statutes, including laws against animal fighting, and offering assistance to law enforcement authorities as needed. The NLEC is also urging increased funding for anti-cruelty enforcement at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and also advocating for the passage of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which would create a national anti-cruelty statute to crack down on perpetrators of acts of malicious cruelty with a federal nexus.

The National Law Enforcement Council includes a number of prosecutors who have distinguished themselves in their public advocacy and continue to advocate for safer communities for people and animals.

Other members of the NLEC include:

  • Dave Aronberg, State’s Attorney in Palm Beach County, Florida, since 2012, before which he served eight years as the youngest member of the Florida State Senate.
  • Bob Butterworth, Florida Attorney General 1987-2002, former Broward County Sheriff
  • Steve Clark, former Attorney General of Arkansas, 1978-1989
  • Douglas Gansler, Maryland Attorney General 2007-2014 and State’s Attorney, Montgomery County, DA 1998-2007
  • Chris Gorman, Kentucky Attorney General 1992-1996
  • Richard Ieyoub, former Louisiana Attorney General 1992 – 2004, Calcasieu Parish district attorney in Lake Charles from 1984 to 1992.
  • George Jepsen, former Attorney General of Connecticut, 2001-2018, having spent 14 years as a State Senator and Representative.
  • Jerry Kilgore, Attorney General of Virginia from 2002-2005, Secretary of Public Safety, 1994-1998.
  • Peter Kilmartin, Attorney General of Rhode Island from 2011-2019, and a former police captain and member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
  • Barbara Lawall, the current prosecutor for Pima County. La Wall was recently re-elected to her sixth term for a jurisdiction center in Tucson.
  • Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of California, 1999-2007, and also served as State Treasurer, State Assemblyman, and President Pro Tempore of the State Senate.
  • Patricia Madrid, former New Mexico Attorney General, 1999-2007, having first served as that state’s first female district court judge starting in 1975.
  • Ray Morrogh, current Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney, Virginia, since 2007.
  • Jim Petro, Ohio Attorney General from 2003-2007.
  • Lee Polikov, Sarpy County Attorney, Nebraska, since 1999.  He served in the sheriff’s office prior to that.
  • John Sarcone, County Attorney of Des Moines, Iowa since 1991 and just re-elected to 8th term.
  • John Thompson, executive director of the National Animal Control Association and former deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs Association.
  • Gregg Totten, District Attorney of California’s Ventura County since 2002. Past President of California District Attorney’s Association and Vice President of National District Attorney’s Association.
  • Anthony Troy, Attorney General of Virginia, 1977-1978.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.