Richmond, California becomes 19th Guardian City by Unanimous Vote

City also passes resolution urging Contra Costa County to adopt Guardian language

On both June 19th and July 10th, 2012, Richmond, CA made history. Richmond is the first city ever to not only change their own animal related ordinances to completely replace “owner” with “guardian” everywhere the term appears in relation to an animal companion, but to additionally recommend that the county of which they are a part, Contra Costa County, adopt the change as well. We applaud the Richmond City Council for voting unanimously on the final reading of the ordinance change for the progressive and positive impact this will have on residents of all species living with a person entrusted with their care. IDA’s Guardian Campaign Director, Anita Carswell, who lives in Richmond, initiated the effort by meeting with Councilmember Jeff Ritterman earlier this year.

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4th of July in Parma: Guardian City Looks Ahead

In Parma, Ohio, thousands of people and their companion animals were on hand to watch 97 floats and hundreds of policeman, firemen, city officials, organizations, and citizens wind their way through the streets of the 7th largest city in Ohio. Sirens blared, candy was thrown, and people cheered for one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in Northeast Ohio. The Parma Jaycees Annual 4th of July Parade has become a tradition in the Parma community. This year, for the first time, In Defense of Animals was a part of the festivities.

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New Guardian Video -- a Labor of Love

"The use of the term "guardian", says Dr. Elliot Katz, Founder of IDA, "will ultimately end so much cruelty and abuse, and save so very many lives."

Here is a heartfelt video produced by IDA supporters, Carlyn Montes De Oca, Ken Fischer & composer, Gary Malkin. It beautifully captures the importance of language, in this case the use of the term "guardian" when referring to our relationships with the very special beings with whom we share our lives, our homes and our planet.

Please watch and feel free to share your thoughts at

Guardian Awarded!

Parma City Council Recognize Guardian Brandon Yanak

News Coverage from Monday, December 5th, 2011 at Parma City Council when they recognized Brandon Yanak as Citizen of the Month.

Posted with permission from Fox 8 News, Cleveland, Ohio.

New Guardian City!

Parma Becomes Ohio's First Guardian City!

Parma becomes the first in the state to recognize pets as part of the family and change a term on all animal-related ordinances.

City Council members approved changing the phrase pet "owner" to pet "guardian" on all animal-related ordinances.

Holy Name High School student Brandon Yanak pushed for the change. "As more people begin to think and act as 'guardians' of their animal companions, I expect to see higher levels of animal care and appreciation, thus helping to end many animal-related problems such as people breeding animals and keeping too many in inadequate conditions on their property in Parma," he said in a news release.

Parma joins 17 other cities in officially recognizing the value of the term "animal guardian" in reference to cherished animal companions.

The Guardian Campaign was created in 1999 by In Defense of Animals (IDA) to reflect and nurture the growing sentiment that "owner" does not reflect the bond that develops between people and animals. IDA believes "guardian" denotes a higher level of responsibility, caring and respect toward the animals with whom families share their lives. They feel as more people use the term "animal guardian" more animals will be adopted instead of purchased, and fewer dogs and cats will be killed in shelters.

Responsible Guardian Month

"What are you doing for Responsible Animal Guardian Month?"


We asked and really appreciate the heartfelt stories you shared. Here is a selection of your responses to our question. We are pleased that so many of you are going out of your way to help animals not only during May, but year round.

Guardian Awards

February 2011  Vince Faltis  Full story here >>>

March 2011  Brenda Pane  Full story here >>>


Be A Guardian, Not An Owner - Dr. Katz and Elaine Hendrix

Dr. Katz and Elaine Hendrix explain what it means to be a Guardian.

Guardian Campaign and You

Bring IDA's Guardian Campaign to Your City

Help IDA Reach Our Goal of Five More Guardian Cities in 2012

"Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it," wrote the famous American Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. This timeless sentiment remains as true today as when Emerson first penned it in 19th century Massachusetts. Where respect for our beloved animal companions is concerned, thought, language and action all start with one word: guardian.

Full story here >>>

Guardian Pack

Read and Download The Guardian Pack

It is filled with inspiring and educational materials including letters of support, sample city ordinances, quotes from animal welfare enthusiasts, the Asilomar Accords, samples of Guardian Language usage, a step-by-step "How to…" guide and much more to help you spearhead the movement in your own community. Please take a moment to read and download the contents. Click here to contact us with your request, name, address and phone number and a hard copy will be mailed to you.

Suggested Steps For Codifying Guardian Language in Your Community

IDA's Animal and Child Help Center

The Guardians For Life Education Program

Calling all Teachers!

Have we got the materials for you! We give you a reason to teach kindness in every season.

You Can Address Violence in Schools.
"Guardians For Life" Can Help!

 More information here >>>

Guardian Campaign Twitter Contest

Guardian Campaign Twitter Contest Winners Announced!


IDA is thrilled to announce that its Guardian Campaign has some brand new slogans, thanks to your highly creative and thoughtful entries to our Twitter Contest. The top three entries are as follows:

First Place – Owners invest in property. Guardians invest in love. Be a guardian.

Second Place – You play with me, talk to me, feed me, love me and protect me. You are forever my guardian.

Third Place – Me: Cat You: Guardian. What part of compassion don’t you understand?

Three esteemed judges, renowned author Jeffrey Masson, New World Library editorial director Georgia Hughes, and IDA’s founder and Chairman of the Board Dr. Elliot Katz, examined all of your wonderful entries and selected these three winners.

Look for all three to be Tweeted around the world over the coming weeks! They may also be used in various ways such as on T-shirts, bumper-stickers and buttons. We hope that all who have become inspired by this important campaign will consider sending a donation to help us promote its important message.


Please submit any questions you may have about this contest or about IDA’s Guardian Campaign to On our website,, you will find many ways that you can help the effort to make “guardian” a household word, replacing the misleading term “owner” when referring to our treasured animal companions. All of us at IDA extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this vital effort to change the way we think and act by changing the language we use. Creativity abounds in the hearts of those who love animals!


Note: all entries have become the sole property of IDA and can be used in any way and at any time IDA deems fit.

Read the Guardian Campaign Mission Statement & Goals