microphone Susan Ashley ~ Animal Rights

Singing is extraordinarily important to me, but the thing I am most proud of, and that I would like to be defined by, has been my animal advocacy work.  Everything changed for me in 1990 when Betty came into my life.  Betty was a beautiful, 3 year old German Shepherd that my boyfriend at that time, brought home one day.  I never had a pet growing up, and I always thought that if I ever owned a dog, it would be one of those cute, cuddly types- not a 90 pound dog that shed!  Well, for 9 years Betty was my constant companion.  I took her everywhere!  If Betty was not welcome, we'd move on.  Twenty years ago restaurants, stores and hotels were not very animal friendly.

I was always on the look-out for animals in trouble.  I'd find myself romancing dogs off the streets and highways of New York City. In a way, to me, every dog was Betty.  Rescuing animals was becoming a weekly and sometimes daily event for me.

Rescue Work

dogRescue work is physically, financially and emotionally draining!  The capturing process can be extraordinarily daunting.  You're dealing with dogs that are often scared, cold, dirty or hungry.  I always keep a rescue kit in my car:  a lasso collar/leash, dog treats, a towel and a thick pair of gloves.  Now, living in Florida, I find a lot of injured wildlife so I keep a small animal carrier in my car...not the most glamorous life...

Rescue work can be expensive if you do it on a big scale.  Years ago I used to do "pound rescue." Each week I'd visit the local shelter and take out as many dogs as I could afford to save. If you can't keep the dog(s) in your home, there are boarding costs and vet bills to contend with. Newspaper ads to help place the dogs would cost me about $60 a month but I did place over 200 dogs this way!  Over the past several years I've become associated with a wonderful local non-kill shelter called Animal Aid in Boca Raton where I am a volunteer (www.animal-aid.com.)  Now any dogs I rescue can be placed in a loving home through Animal Aid where there is an established and steady flow of compassionate potential owners. Tamera Gibson, the owner and operator of Animal Aid, started doing rescue work at the tender age of 19. Each week she visits the “kill shelters” and has to walk down "death-row” to choose the lucky ones to save.  I could only do that for 2 years. She's been doing it for over 20 years!  I don't know how she keeps going!

The Animal's Crusade

Music by Dave Roppolo
Lyrics by Dave Roppolo and Susan Ashley
Dave Roppolo - vocalist

I am so proud to have written this song along with my songwriting partner Dave Roppolo. My "mission" in life is to be a "voice" for those who have no voice! This song was written to promote legislation to end or curtail euthanasia in animal shelters by a group called Pet's Trust Miami! The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, called our plan "a model for the nation"! On November 6, 2012, the Pets' Trust Miami secured more than 483,000 votes in support of creating a dedicated funding source for these preventive programs, however, the Mayor and the commissioners decided that the people did not know what they were voting for, and did not implement the will of the people. They denied the vote. The fight goes on!! We will never give up!!

Cecil the Lion

That Ain't Truth Talkin'... dedicated to Cecil the lion
Written by Susan Ashley and David Roppolo.


In 1990, through my associations in the animal rescue world, I learned of a fledgling animal rights organization named PETA.  Today PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is the largest animal rights organization in the world.  Joining this organization changed my life.  I learned of all the ways animals are exploited and abused, (i.e. in factory farms, laboratories, circus's zoos, etc.)  It was then that I realized I was complicitous in this abuse and decided to make my life a "statement of compassion."  I no longer eat or wear anything that "has a face"!

I am so happy that many of my "radical" ideas are not considered as radical today as they were 20 years ago.

As one of my heroes, Arthur Schopenhauer, the famous German philosopher once said:  "All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed.  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Let's all be a voice for the voiceless!

Another one of my favorite quotes is from Edmund Burke:  "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Susan Ashley
February 9, 2010

Favorite Organizations

These are just a few of my favorite organizations that work to eradicate animal suffering. Don't forget to be a "voice" for the "voiceless" by making a donation when you can! There are over 1 million charities in this country and just a little of 1% of the population donates to animal charities...

  • www.petstrustmiami.com - The Pets’ Trust Miami is a citizens’ initiative to improve animal welfare, increase adoptions and decrease overpopulation by providing free and low cost spay/neuter, and educational programs.
  • www.animal-aid.com - shelter in Boca Raton, Florida where I volunteer
  • www.peta.org - (of course!)
  • www.dogsdeservebetter.com - dedicated to rescuing "chained, backyard" dogs
  • www.aldf.org - Animal Legal Defense Fund- (network of animal rights lawyers)
  • www.koreananimals.org - working to end the brutal practice of dog-eating
  • www.farmsanctuary.org - dedicated to rescuing and advocating for farm animals
  • www.pcrm.org - Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine- (amazing animal rights organization!) Working to end vivisection (the use of animals in research) and is a great resource for learning about the food/disease connection.