Cynthia Bathurst

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Cynthia Bathurst
Born [Albion, Michigan]
Education BA, Ph.D
Alma mater University of Alabama; University of Iowa
Occupation Animal advocacy, director of Project Safe Humane
Known for Animal rights advocacy; Safe Humane Chicago's Court Case Dog program
Website Safe Humane Chicago

Cynthia Bathurst (born in Birmingham, Alabama) is an animal welfare advocate, winner of a national veterinary award, and founder and director of Safe Humane Chicago, a nonprofit which includes the first of its kind Court Case Dog Program.


Bathurst is a 1974 graduate, with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, of the University of Alabama. While at Alabama, she was one of two students who in 1973 were given the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for “their excellence of character and service to humanity.”[1] In 1979 she received her doctorate degree from the University of Iowa.

Animal advocacy[edit]

After working full-time for 25 years in mathematics research and analysis while also volunteering in animal welfare, in 2007, Bathurst founded Safe Humane Chicago, a community-wide coalition of government agencies, religious groups, police, animal welfare groups that operates under the Dog Advisory Work Group, or D.A.W.G., a court advocacy program, also founded by Bathurst, to help curb violence against animals by focusing on the principle that a safe community is a humane one.[2]

In 2008, she was named national director of the animal welfare group Best Friends Animal Society's Project Safe Humane program.[3]

The Chicago Tribune, in a profile of Bathurst, wrote, "Over a quarter-century, she has built relationships with law enforcement and child and animal welfare officials, government and church leaders, and people in the business world, and she draws on that pool of expertise when there's a problem to be solved." The Tribune also reported that more than 60 groups have lined up behind Bathurst to get an anti-violence message out to citizens in high-crime areas.[4] She testified at Chicago's City Hall during a November 2009 licensing committee session considering a dog-limit ordinance, which was voted down that day.[5]

Tails Magazine described her as, "A legendary local community organizer (who) envisions a safer world for people through compassion for animals."[6] And a USA Today article quoted community leaders, including Bathurst, about their fight against dogfighting.[7]

In 2009, Bathurst was given the American Veterinary Medical Association's Humane Award for her efforts in preventing animal abuse.[8] She was also featured by the Alabama Press-Register in an article about her continuing fight against animal violence.[9]

In early 2010, the Court Case Dog Program, spearheaded by Bathurst, Safe Humane Chicago and with support from Best Friends and Chicago Animal Care and Control, was launched. Working with local judges, the program educates youth and rescues, trains and finds homes for dogs confiscated from owners in criminal court cases.[10]

Bathurst is also an advisor on the National Canine Research Council, is a member of Chicago’s Commission on Animal Care and Control, and is president of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance. In addition, she co-chairs the Task Force on Companion Animal Welfare and Public Safety for the Chicago City Council, and is a member of the Chicago City Clerk’s Dog Owner Task Force, as well as vice chair of the Cook County Partners Against Animal Cruelty Advisory Board.[11]

When Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle supported a stray dog, Bathurst, through her affiliation with Best Friends, screened foster homes for the dog.[12] She was quoted in a February 2011 article on Major League Baseball's news site,, in support of Buehrle and his wife's efforts to help people and their pets.[13]

In January 2012, Forbes' Web site featured Safe Humane Chicago's Court Case Dog program on its Crime, She Writes blog about the number of dogs who have gone through the program since it began.[14]

Bathurst co-authored, with four others, an instructional manual to help law-enforcement officers deal humanely with dogs in their communities. The guide, titled The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters, was published in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services.[15]


Bathurst spoke in February 2010 at the University of Illinois Humane Education Seminar about "Building a Safe and Humane Community."[16]

In 2011, she was a presenter at Chicago VeganMania, giving a workshop titled "Lifetime Bonds: At-Risk Youth and At-Risk Dogs Helping One Another."[17] She participated in April 2011 at the University of Kansas School of Law's symposium on prosecuting animal cruelty.[18]

She is a regular speaker each year at Best Friends' annual No More Homeless Pets Conference.[19]

She spoke before the Federal Communications Commission at a July 13, 2011, public hearing about consideration of a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal effecting TV coverage of Safe Humane Chicago's events and programs.[20] She has also appeared on Chicago's WGN Radio.[21]


  1. ^ The Tuscaloosa News, Sullivan Award Winners, April 12, 1973
  2. ^ Animal Law Coalition, "Court Advocates for Animals," Oct. 1, 2008
  3. ^ Best Friends' news site, "Safe Humane Chicago and Best Friends Partner for Safer Neighborhoods," March 31, 2008 Archived July 13, 2012, at
  4. ^ Deseret News (via a Chicago Tribune wire story), "Dogged determination: Cynthia Bathurst works to stop violence by helping animals and people peacefully co-exist," Oct. 29, 2009
  5. ^ ChicagoNow, "Just Arrest Me Now - Dog Limit Proposal Dies," November 30, 2009 Archived October 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Tails Magazine, "Local Hero – Dog’s Best Friend," September 2011
  7. ^ USA Today, "A fight to save urban youth from dogfighting," Sept. 20, 2008
  8. ^ AVMA Humane Award, list of recipients Archived 2012-02-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Press-Register, "Dog's best friend: Birmingham native tries to stop violence against animals," October 19, 2009
  10. ^ Chicago Sun Times, "Program gives court case dogs a new lease on life," October 20, 2010
  11. ^ Chicago Tribune blog, "Steve Dale Pet World," "Chicago Unites Against Dog Fighting"
  12. ^ The Telegraph, "Rescued dog to get special treatment: Truman's story of loyalty touched White Sox pitcher," March 16, 2009 Archived January 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Buehrles passionate about animal rights," Feb. 9, 2011
  14. ^ Forbes, Justice And A Safe Haven For Chicago's Court Case Dogs," Jan. 3, 2012
  15. ^ Yahoo! News (via, "New Law Enforcement Resource For Dealing With Dogs," Nov. 7, 2011
  16. ^ University of Illinois, "The 2010 Humane Education Seminar," Speakers and Topics
  17. ^ Chicago VeganMania workshop presenter, titled "Lifetime Bonds: At-Risk Youth and At-Risk Dogs Helping One Another."
  18. ^ KU News Release, "Symposium to gather experts on prosecuting animal cruelty cases," April 19, 2011
  19. ^ No More Homeless Pets Conference speakers list Dec. 30, 2009
  20. ^ FCC public hearing, July 13, 2011
  21. ^, "Steve Dale Returns to WGN Radio," January 2011 Archived 2012-02-19 at the Wayback Machine.

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