In June 2014, professionals from thirteen organizations, including those in adult protective services, domestic violence, animal protection, veterinary medicine, public health, social work, mental health, substance abuse, academia, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, met in Oklahoma City to form the first Link Coalition in Oklahoma. The Link refers to the connection between animal cruelty, domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and other forms of interpersonal violence. Once viewed by law enforcement as a tangential concern better left to animal welfare organization, animal cruelty is now becoming recognized as part of a larger network of violence and crime including domestic violence, child abuse, drug trafficking, gambling, illegal firearms possession, rape, and murder. Based on the galvanizing mission of the National Link Coalition, the Oklahoma Link Coalition was founded to provide a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to these issues.
Since that initial meeting, the Coalition has grown and evolved. Membership now includes representatives from over 70 organizations, united in the goal of making Oklahoma safer for both humans and animals. The Coalition meets quarterly, typically in Oklahoma City, although outreach to other parts of the state is a major goal.
The Oklahoma Link Coalition is supported by the Kirkpatrick Foundation as part of its Safe and Humane initiative to make Oklahoma the safest and most humane place to be an animal by the year 2032. This initiative seeks to elevate the standards of treatment, care, and welfare for all animals in Oklahoma while building on a strong framework already in place throughout the state.
JOIN the COALITION
Does this mission speak strongly to you? Do you see evidence of The Link every day in your work and want to spread awareness so these issues can be addressed before they escalate? Join the Coalition today! It's completely free, and the only commitment required is to receive a monthly newsletter with information about The Link, upcoming events and meetings, and opportunities to get more involved. Learn more about joining and its benefits here!
ABOUT the COORDINATOR
Kathleen Romero and "Penny"
Kathleen Romero came to the Coalition with experience in a variety of areas, including domestic violence, health and safety, and social science research, and had spent most of her career in the child welfare and child advocacy arena. The Coalition is the perfect marriage of social work and her lifelong love of animals.
Kathleen received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Oklahoma. She is passionate about genealogy, loves sewing and other crafting, and has been vegetarian for many years. Kathleen was raised in Norman, and lives there with her husband Brian and their two kitties, Delta and Eve.
The Oklahoma Link Coalition promotes collaboration, cooperation, public awareness, and education to end violence against people and animals by recognizing the link between human and animal abuse. It is a project of the Kirkpatrick Foundation.