Join the THLN Junior Advocate Program!
Then this is the program for you!
How do I know if the THLN Junior Advocate Program is for me?
The program is right for you if you are:
When you join the Junior Advocate Program, you will:
As a THLN Junior Advocate, what tasks will I be required to complete?
Click here for the requirements. Upon completion of the program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion as well as a letter of recommendation (admittance to high school or college).
About the THLN Junior Advocate Program
This one-of-a-kind program allows students to take their passion and love for animals and affect positive change in various ways. The Junior Advocate teaches the students how to become knowledgeable regarding trending animal welfare issues in Texas. They also meet their legislators and help raise awareness about animal welfare statewide among their peers. Teaching kindness to animals through our children will lead to a more humane future.
Join the THLN Junior Advocate Program and become a champion for animals TODAY!
How did the THLN Junior Advocate Program Begin?
Landon James Pemberton, 8, testified before the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice in April 2015 for a bill requiring Texas peace officers to undergo canine encounter training. Landon’s dog, Vinny, was shot by an officer outside their home, and according to his mother, Valerie Bowling, her son was playing just several feet away from where the dog was shot. Vinny miraculously recovered despite the bullet going through the dog’s neck, side, and stomach. Landon said that didn’t stop him from wanting to prevent this from happening to other dogs.
He surprised everyone when they asked if anyone had anything to say about the bill. Landon stood up and asked to speak. It is heartwarming and unforgettable that such a young child would have the courage to do this, and his testimony was so emotional for all of us that have worked so hard to see this pass.
(Landon Pemberton and Vinny with a Special Commendation and Medal from Senator John Whitmire and Landon testifying before the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice)
The bill made its way through the process and was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Landon’s bravery sparked the idea that a child’s voice is just as important as an adult’s and that we need their help passing important humane legislation.
In 1933, the National PTA Congress issued a statement saying, “Children trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their relations with each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women of braver sympathies, more humane, more law-abiding in every respect, more valuable citizens.”
Since then, more of our Junior Advocates have demonstrated similar bravery. Ziggy Aigen’s dog Fern was chained her whole life until the Houston Humane Society rescued her. Ziggy brought Fern’s chain to the hearing and testified in the Texas House on State Affairs in October 2021 on SB 5 after the Governor vetoed the original bill. Ziggy memorized his speech and said he did it to be Fern’s voice.
To apply for this program, please complete, sign, and email your application to [email protected]
THLN Junior Advocates Madeline and Isabelle Cospolich advocating on behalf of THLN in Senator Royce West’s office and with Representative John Bryant (Texas House District 114) on Humane Lobby Day.
THLN Junior Advocates Dominick and Ariana Patermo enjoy time with a therapy dog before meeting Representative Morgan Meyer (Texas House District 108) on Humane Lobby Day.
Rep. Morgan Meyer (Texas House District 112), and THLN Junior Advocates Finley Peterson, Olivia Sanders, Emerson Hickox, and Genna Flourney.
THLN Junior Advocates Zarley Aigen, Genna Flourney, Finley Peterson, and Emerson Hickox at the SPCA Strutt Your Mutt Event.
THLN Junior Advocates Genna Flourney, Emerson Hickox, and Finley Peterson reading books to dogs at Dallas Animal Services.
THLN Junior Advocate Zarley and Ziggy Aigen with Rep. Matt Shaheen (Texas House District 66) and Rep. Venton Jones (Texas House District 100) during different legislative sessions.
Rock the Vote 2020 featuring THLN Junior Advocate Bella Grace Burgan, and Ziggy Aigen.
Rep. James Talarico (Texas House District 52) and THLN Junior Advocate Bella Grace Burgan.
Rep. Morgan Meyer (Texas House District 112), and THLN Junior Advocates Emerson Hickox, Zarley Aigen (standing) and Ziggy Aigen (sitting) on the house floor.
Former Rep. Jason Villalba and THLN Junior Advocate Addie Higgins and her mother Amy Higgins.