Rep. Gruenberg Honored on PETA’s ‘Tree of Life’ Memorial

State Representative Shaped Alaska's Laws to Be Kinder to Companion Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 17, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – State Rep. Max Gruenberg is being honored by PETA for championing legislation to protect companion animals during divorce and domestic violence cases, a time when dogs, cats, and other small animals may be abused as tempers flare. He also supported and understood the importance of dog parks, and he served on the state animal control board. In recognition of these efforts, PETA is adding Rep. Gruenberg to its “Tree of Life” memorial—a monument at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, honoring those whose actions have made a positive difference for animals. Rep. Gruenberg’s leaf inscription will read:


“Throughout his career, Rep. Max Gruenberg took steps to ensure that Alaska’s laws recognized and sought consideration for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, companion animals,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is honoring the compassion he brought as a leader and encouraging others to follow his example of empathy for all living beings.”

At the time of his death in February, Rep. Gruenberg was working to pass House Bill 147, which allows judges to consider the welfare of companion animals when placing them in divorce cases and to protect animals targeted in domestic violence cases. The bill was unanimously approved by the state Senate and House. Rep. Gruenberg also co-sponsored previous animal-friendly bills or added his own amendments with animals in mind, such as an amendment that included animal abuse convictions as a sentence enhancer in crimes of violence against humans.

Rep. Gruenberg’s widow, Kayla Epstein, will receive a duplicate leaf with a note of appreciation from PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind