WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action have announced the formation of a National Law Enforcement Council, co-chaired by Drew Edmondson and Josh Marquis, and dedicated to enforcing 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 Attorney Generals.

"Cruelty to animals is not some isolated, easily compartmentalized act of aggression," said 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 NLEC is focusing on enforcement of federal anti-cruelty statutes, including laws against animal fighting and offering assistance to law enforcement authorities, as needed. The NLEC is urging increased funding for anti-cruelty enforcement at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and advocating for the passage of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture 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 Connecticut attorney general, 2001-2018, having spent 14 years as a state senator and representative.

• Jerry Kilgore, Virginia attorney general, 2002-2005, secretary of public safety, 1994-1998.

• Peter Kilmartin, Rhode Island attorney general, 2011-2019, and a former police captain and member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

• Barbara Lawall, current prosecutor for Pima County, Louisiana; recently re-elected to her sixth term for a jurisdiction center in Tucson.

• Bill Lockyer, former California attorney general, 1999-2007, 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, 2003-2007.

• Lee Polikov, Sarpy County attorney, Nebraska, since 1999, served in the sheriff's office prior to that.

• John Sarcone, Des Moines, Iowa, county attorney since 1991, just re-elected to an eighth 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 Attorneys Association and vice president of National District Attorneys Association.

• Anthony Troy, former Virginia attorney general, 1977-1978.

The 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. The group organizes rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver.

The group 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. It also supports policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. It champions causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals and wildlife and advocates for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. The group promotes enacting good public policies.