A Duty to Care: The Importance of Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is a pressing issue that is persistent across the globe. The way in which an animal is treated should be considered and prioritized by tending to both the physical and mental needs of the animal. By neglecting your duties as a pet owner, you are drastically affecting the life of another being in a cruel way. People all around the world are mistreating animals, leaving them helpless and forced to fend for themselves. These animals do not have a voice, so it is our duty to have one for them.

So, what’s really going on? A countless number of animals, well into the millions, across the globe are being abused or mistreated. The definition of abuse tells us that this treatment of an animal is cruel and violent. This includes, but is not limited to: neglect, underfeeding, beating, dogfighting, and film making. Not only is direct contact abuse important, but also actions such as letting an animal go on the streets because you are unable to care for it anymore. Simply forgetting to feed an animal for the day is considered mistreatment. Something to think about while attempting to understand animal abuse is: how would you treat another human? If you wouldn’t even consider doing this to human, it is almost always abuse to an animal.

The issues with animal welfare lead to broader implications about a society who abuses animals. It has been statistically proven that individuals who abuse animals have a higher chance of living a life involving abusing others and other severe crimes, including murder. While this is not the case for every person who mistreats an animal, it is extremely common and says a lot about who we are as a society. By improving how we treat animals, we are setting society up for an improved and more promising future. If being nicer to animals who deserve to be treated equally can make the world a better place, there should be no question as to whether or not we should take this action.

There is a value that I see in animal welfare that goes beyond my love for animals. I have been extremely interested in animal welfare since I was a child, always finding a piece of my heart with animals in need. This passion stems from the loss of my beloved dog at a young age. Ever since, I have made it my mission to help animals who need it by raising money and awareness. Society as a whole is in a perfect position to help and should do so because a little goes a long way. Although animal abuse across the world may never be completely stopped, there are so many ways to help that could drastically improve animal welfare as a whole. These include donations of food, money, and supplies, as well as raising awareness and having a voice. By spreading the word about animal welfare and acting on the issue, we can see immense changes to our world as a whole. Animal welfare matters not only because the animals deserve to be treated fairly, but also because it is our duty to care for the other creatures on this earth. By helping animals in need, we are also improving society in many ways, and this is extremely important.

There are so many amazing animal rescue organizations across the world; however, a primary focus of my fundraising efforts has always been with Best Friend’s Animal Society. This is an amazing non-profit organization that has a sanctuary in Utah, housing over 1,600 homeless animals. Their advocacy includes ending puppy mills, protecting community cats, ending breed discrimination, and taking action for all animals. They have an amazing group of volunteers and supporters nation-wide who all want the same thing: to save the lives of animals. When considering making a donation for animal welfare, it can be extremely overwhelming because there are so many different organizations that you can help. I love Best Friends because they rescue animals nation-wide and bring them to a little piece of heaven on earth. By visiting the sanctuary, you can volunteer your time or even adopt an animal. Other ways to help include donations of food, toys, and money to the organization. Any amount helps, and I encourage you to take a moment out of your day to support these animals who need it most. A little donation goes a long way, and as Best Friends so rightly puts it: save them all.


If you have any questions about animal welfare, donations, or Best Friends, please feel free to email me at: ciara.reidlawalabama@gmail.com

Or, visit https://bestfriends.org for more information.


This article was written by Ciara Petronzio, the chief legal assistant at the Reid Law Firm. Ciara is a junior at the University of Alabama and is pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice on the Pre-Law track. She plans to graduate in May of 2019 and attend law school following graduation.

Scott Dawson at Samford University



Scott Dawson, alum of Samford University and Alabama gubernatorial candidate, has spent many years in ministry and has earned his Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School. Throughout his career in ministry, Scott has helped to spread the Gospel to numerous people through conferences, new ministries, and several of his authored books. Scott is adding to his list by running in the upcoming 2018 Alabama gubernatorial election.


Scott Dawson will be speaking at Samford University about important policies, his campaign, and what made him want to take on Governor of Alabama. He aspires to lead Alabama in the right direction while maintaining his strong faith and applying previous success achieved from his ministries. To come hear about his experience and journey on the way to the 2018 gubernatorial election, come to Brooks Auditorium, room 134 in Brooks Hall, on Samford’s campus. He will be speaking this Thursday, February 1 from 10-11am organized by Samford’s College Republicans. 

Does the New Alabama Marriage Law Undermine Traditional Christian Values?

The Alabama senate recently approved a bill that changes the way marriage is legitimized within the state. Traditionally, a couple seeking to get married would have to receive a marriage license from a probate judge and hold a ceremony to legitimize the marriage. However, the new bill proposed by Senator Greg Albritton removes the ceremony requirement and allows for the couple to submit affidavits to a probate judge, which will immediately legitimize the marriage.

Sen. Albritton’s first attempt to change Alabama marriage law was in 2015, after the state legalized gay marriage. Albritton has proposed this bill and ones similar to it ever since, saying that the bill would, “truly separate church and state.” Albritton argues that this bill will allow for the removal of the probate judge’s discretion and create a more fair system when it comes to legal marriages. Alabama is known for it’s conservative values and it’s deep rooted Christian principles. Albritton states that this can sway probate judges to make unfair decisions due to their personal beliefs - such as their opinion on homosexuality - and the removal of the mandatory license and ceremony will create a more even playing field for couples. 

The bill has been met with minimal push back, with only one vote in it’s opposition. Senator Phil Williams argues that this bill will “water down the meaning of marriage.” With the affidavits equating to the same cost as a marriage license, and with every other aspect of marriage (divorce, child custody, etc.) remaining the same, Williams’s main concern is with the expulsion of the wedding ceremony. Without requiring an “official” ceremony, Alabama is essentially removing the mandatory Christian/religious aspect of marriage, which is exactly what Senator Albritton thinks is necessary to completely separate religion from state law. 

Those who are seeking to obtain a legal marriage must still be at least eighteen years old (or sixteen, if parental consent is provided) and must not be related through blood or adoption. Albritton’s bill seems like a logical step in secularizing the law, yet for many individuals that maintain their Christian values, this can seem like a pointless edit to the reverence of marriage. 

As a Christian, it is disheartening to see the true portrait of marriage simply become an option. Marriage is meant to be a vow of your life to the person you are marrying, and additionally, to state your intent to maintain the sanctity of your bond until “death do you part.” By completely removing the church from marriage, this bill in turn completely removes God from marriage. 

Many in today’s secular culture argue that it is not right for the state to require an aspect of religion to be present in a legal matter. Consequently, many non-Christians reject Senator Williams’s. However, the removal of such a requirement ends the age-old tradition that marriage is a pact held higher than the law itself, and puts it on the same level as every other legal matter than individuals participate in. Fortunately, couples who still want to follow the tradition of a Christian marriage, are still perfectly able to do so. 


This article was written by Emily Atwell, an intern at the Reid Law Firm. Emily is studying linguistics at the University of Alabama Birmingham and is interested in pursuing a legal career in education, criminal, and family law. For comments and questions, Emily can be reached at emily.reidlawalabama@gmail.com








Amazing Women, Achieving Amazing Things

Over the last few years, women have made incredible advances in the workplace, particularly in the business world. It is unfortunate that women are greatly underrepresented in the corporate world; however, the advances that they have made are significant and should be recognized. A particular individual that has made amazing advances in the business world is my mom, Barbara. She is the most hardworking person that I know, and the advances she has made are astounding.

My mom has always been an inspiration to me. Growing up, she lived in a low-income household, with little to no opportunity to experience any of life’s luxuries. Her parents had very little money and three children to support. Her mother was a house wife who encouraged my mom to follow in her footsteps, but my mom decided on her own that she was going to be a pharmacist. By taking out a large number of student loans, she was able to attend Rutgers University. After completing both undergraduate school and pharmacy school, she graduated with a PhD and began her journey as a pharmacist. To pay off her loans, she began to work long hours at retail pharmacy stores. Starting off in New Jersey where she grew up, she worked at Pathmark, a grocery store and pharmacy near her house. Not only was my mom paying off loans and trying to support her family at this time, but she also decided to move across the country with her husband and five-year-old daughter. She had finally paid off all of her student loans and had saved enough money to travel across the country and settle down in Scottsdale, Arizona. She eventually became the pharmacy manager at a local Walgreens pharmacy, exceeding what many thought she would be able to do. But that was not even close to the end for my mom.

Over the next few years, she was growing tired of working in retail. She was approached by a family friend who wanted her help starting a mail-order pharmaceutical company. She took a large risk by leaving her job and trusting in this company, but everyone around her knew what a hard worker she was and that if anyone could do it, it was her. She worked incredibly hard every day to build this company from the ground up. I am so proud to say that just a few months later, my mom became the president of this nation-wide pharmaceutical company, building it up from one employer to over 500 in Arizona alone. She is successful in so many different things in her life, and has proved to me that you can do anything you set your mind to. Now, my mom is no longer working with this company, but is so proud of how much of it she grew and expanded. She is focused on personal projects, such as getting licensed to be a pharmacist in many more states and creating products of her own.

As a junior in college, I am extremely determined to follow in my mom’s footsteps. Although I am doing law instead of pharmacy, her success and worth ethic is something I am so proud of. The advances she has made are monumental, and it is incredible to compare where she is now to where she started. Women are very wrongly underappreciated, especially in the business world. They have so much potential and together have made incredible advances. There are many women in this world just like my mom. She is just one amazing example of a successful businesswoman, and if you look around, you will be able to see so many amazing women achieving similar things. 


This article was written by Ciara Petronzio, a future intern at the Reid Law Firm.

What Would it Take to Reform Our Criminal Justice System?

Criminal justice reform, a reform aimed at fixing errors in the criminal justice system, should be considered. Like every government system, the criminal justice system has many errors that could, and arguably should, be fixed. Specifically, the way in which we prosecute and punish non-violent drug offenders. Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Corey Booker constructed a bi-partisan legislation that aimed at keeping non-violent criminals, e.g. drug offenders, out of prison. In addition, it aimed to avoid pinning permanent criminal records on these offenders. Is it fair for a person caught using drugs to be imprisoned and left with a criminal record, similar to a murderer?

There are many “pros” to this new legislation and criminal justice reform. First, they allow individuals who, for example, got caught using marijuana, to not be labeled as a criminal with jail time and permanent records. It allows for a fairer system, with murderers and drug users not being treated similarly. Second, this new legislation is beneficial for offenders in the long run. Not only will it allow people to understand their mistakes, but it will prevent them from having issues such as not being able to get a job or rent a house. Without a permanent criminal record, people will have more opportunities, instead of dealing with a small mistake for the rest of their lives. Next, it allows for our nation to not live on the edge at all times. Someone who uses drugs for anxiety might be filled with more anxiety when constantly being worried about being caught and all of the awful repercussions. This increased anxiety could potentially lead to more drug use, which is not what the criminal justice system wants. With criminal justice reform, these issues could potentially be avoided.

Although there are many pros to criminal justice reform and this new legislation, it is important to consider the many cons. What is meant to be a way for offenses to be treated fairly could turn into people thinking they can do things, like get caught smoking marijuana, and not necessarily be reprimanded. Yes, they would be punished; however, people would be more likely to do things like this if they knew that they would not spend time in prison or have a criminal record. It could lead to an unhealthy cycle of people using drugs and thinking it is okay. Another downfall to criminal justice reform is a lack of support from families and friends of criminal offenders, as well as the criminal offenders themselves. There is an attitude from this group of people that is negative and based off the system being unfair. They feel that they, or someone they love, has committed a crime and is paying the price, so others should too. It allows us to address the question: is criminal justice reform really fair? There are two very opinionated sides to this debate, with strong arguments on both ends.

Creating a new program can be costly. However, with the support of citizens and government officials, it can be easier to implement. With proper advertisement and discussion of the legislation, people would be able to get a better understanding of the benefits and would be more likely to support it. However, not all people will be supportive. This can lead to increasing cost and it being harder to pass the new legislation. No matter what, there can be a high price for any type of criminal justice reform. It can be expensive due to programs such as treatment programs for drug offenders. However, many individuals look at criminal justice reform as a money-saver. This is due to less individuals being incarcerated and taking up room in prisons due to smaller offenses. Whichever way you decide to view criminal justice reform, there are going to be pros and cons. Fixing errors in the criminal justice system does come at a price, although many believe it to be worth it.  


This article was written by Ciara Petronzio, a future intern at the Reid Law Firm.

When It Comes to Adoption, the Benefits Exceedingly Outweigh the Challenges

Adoption is a large system with many benefits, as well as many challenges. There are currently over 400,000 American children in foster care that are looking to be adopted. With a little over 100,000 children adopted each year, this number of children in need is slowly climbing. Adoption has many benefits, both for the child and for the adopter. Once adopted, the child will be able to be part of a family and have parents to look up to. He or she will hopefully be loved, looked after, and given incredible opportunities in a new home. For the adopter, the fact of having a child to call your own is the largest benefit there is. Whether a first-time parent or a parent of five, adopting a child is extremely rewarding. Not only is the adopter saving a child from an orphanage or the foster care system, but they are gaining a child to look after and call their own. Of course, like any family, there are going to be challenges and bumps in the road; however, it is extremely important to remember just how lucky each person is in this process. There is a heartbreaking number of children who need to be adopted, many of which who do not deserve to be in this position in the first place. By adopting a child, you are impacting someone’s life in the best way possible.

Before adopting a child, it is important to remember just how much it takes to go through this process, as well as to be a parent. The adoption process involves extensive research and learning, and is extremely rewarding to both parties involved. Often when people are looking to adopt, they are unsure of where to start. The first step in the adoption process is to educate yourself. Having a child is a big responsibility, and adoption adds its own challenges. It is crucial that someone interested in adopting does a lot of research before deciding that adoption is the right decision for him or her. Following research, one should contact an agency. This allows the future adopter to get information and learn about what adopting in his or her state is like. Attending an orientation meeting furthers the adoption process by allowing more information to be conveyed to future adopters. After this, the future parent(s) can start to meet children and hopefully form connections that will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the adoption system can be very expensive. These expenses include adoption fees, legal and court fees, and transfer costs, as well as miscellaneous fees such as travel expenses. These lead to mainly wealthy parents adopting children, with parents with lower income having little to no chance. These low-income parents can turn out to be excellent parents, and that should not be missed out on simply due to the expensive cost of the system. However, there are ways in which adoption can be made less expensive. First, all information and seminars/orientations regarding adoption should be free of charge. If a person or family is seriously interested in adopting a child and changing someone’s life, they should be able to learn more about it without having to pay. Second, financial assistance is offered on a case-by-case basis in regard to adoption. By researching these assistance programs and applying for whatever is necessary, costs can significantly decrease.

Overall, the benefits of adoption heavily outweigh the negatives. Adoption is a need all around the world, with international adoption being important as well. However, there are so many American children that need our help every single day. Adoption, although expensive, is something that people should always consider when wanting to start or extend their family. There are many ways for costs to be reduced, and it should not scare potential good parents away. Adoption is extremely beneficial, and is something that every future parent should look into. 


This article was written by Ciara Petronzio, a future intern at the Reid Law Firm.