Doris Day, world-renowned actress
and singer, is the founder of the Doris Day Animal Foundation,
formed to promote animal welfare. She is also the president of the
Doris Day Animal League, a nonprofit, lobbying organization
dedicated to advancing the humane treatment of animals through
passage of legislation designed to diminish their mistreatment and
Two acclaimed features, instigated to raise children's awareness,
are part of the Foundation. They are AnimalsAloud, the country's
first reading program emphasizing the humane treatment of animals,
and Comics for Compassion, designed to highlight the heroism of
Animal News Center: How did you get
started working to promote animal welfare?
Doris Day: A sad and very personal
experience grew over many years to expand my concerns about animal
welfare issues. Tiny, my dog, was my invaluable companion when I was
a teenager and I was on crutches for more than a year after a car
accident with a train. Tiny never left my side. He understood my
moods and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can
That began my lifelong love
affair with dogs, a sentiment known only to dog lovers, and cat
lovers, too. Their affection and caring is a relief from tensions
Tiny used to walk beside me on the pavement as I eased myself
along on my crutches. One day for no reason, he scampered away from
me and into the street. Tiny was hit by a car and killed instantly.
From that day forward I always felt deeply and passionately about
dogs needing to be on leashes when in the street. That began my
lifelong 'education' about how much needed to be done to help
animals and the people who love them.
ANC: What prompted the creation of The
Doris Day Animal Foundation and The Doris Day Animal League?
had an organization called the Doris Day Pet Foundation for many
years. We placed individual animals in good homes and raised money
for spaying, neutering, and even feeding the animals in need. It was
limited to California, and I realized that we could help so many
more animals with a national organization. First came the Doris Day
Animal League in 1987, and the Doris Day Animal Foundation followed
later. We now work on the issues that affect all animals.
ANC: What legal protections are offered
to animals used in the production of films?
DD: There are no laws specifically
governing the use of animals in the production of films. All animal
breeders or exhibitors licensed with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture are subject to the regulations set by the federal Animal
Welfare Act (AWA), which stipulates minimal acceptable standards for
things like cage size, sanitation, and access to food and water.
© 2003 Animal News Center,