Kitbull, Pixar’s masterpiece about a feral kitten and chained dog, was nominated this week for an academy award. It is well-deserved.

Kitbull explores the depths of human depravity, the potential embodied in overcoming stereotypes, the fallacy of “fates worse than death,” and most of all, the courage and kindness of the rescuer.

While any human with a heart will be touched by Kitbull, for No Kill advocates, its emotional impact is heightened by how accurately it reflects back the messages we have been working so hard to instill in the American public for the last two decades; namely, that:

  • Community cats deserve compassion, not death;
  • “Pit bulls” are just dogs and those exploited for fighting deserve a second chance;
  • Where there’s life, there is hope (whereas death is the end of hope);
  • A loving home is every animal’s birthright; and,
  • Rescuers deserve our gratitude and empowerment.

To see each of these themes rolled into a nine minute short from the world’s most esteemed animation studio is a complete and utter triumph. It shows just how mainstream our once “controversial” ideas have become. And when once controversial ideas move into the collective consciousness as Kitbull reveals they so clearly have, we can be sure that in our efforts to build a world that better reflects those values, we have the hearts and minds of the American people on our side.

Kitbull shows us that the time has come to fully reap that which we have been sowing and to institutionalize the American public’s love for our nation’s neediest companion animals. How do we leverage the complete penetration of our message into the public zeitgeist? In a democracy, we do so by giving those collective values the force of law.

Whether it is banning housing discrimination for families that include dogs, cats, or other animal companions as we are trying to do in New Hampshire, or ending the exploitation of dogs and cats in commercial breeding mills as we are trying to do in Colorado, or ending convenience killing in pounds as we are trying to do in Maryland, as we embark on a new legislative year and a new decade, I hope you will join me in my quest to ensure that those things that matter to our fellow (non-human) Americans as much as they matter to us are protected in law: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The academy award nod reaffirms this message as, I hope, will be its eventual win.

Onward and upward…

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