Shelley Rizzotti is the Co-Founder of The Animal Protectorates (TAPS)

Shelley Rios, Attorney at Law is the co-founder and treasurer of The Animal Protectorates™ (TAPS), and proudly serves as the vice-chair of the Animal Law Guild, the advocacy arm of The Animal Protectorates. She previously served as vice-chair of the Animal Legal Defense Fund – Los Angeles, and she is a member of the American Bar Association's Animal Law Committee.

The Animal Law Guild is a nonprofit think tank of attorneys and law students who are committed to making the world a better place for animals through legal advocacy. The Guild partners with law firms, bar associations, law schools, animal protection groups, and others to forward its mission.

In February of 2011, Christy Schilling met Attorney Shelley Rios and enlisted her help to get legislation passed in Burbank to ban the importation and sale of puppies from puppy mills. After a mass-pouring of community support, Citizens for Rescue-Only Pet Stores (CROPS) was born.

With ordinances successfully passed in Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles, CROPS realized that it needed to do more for animals. The decision was made to form The Animal Protectorates™ (TAPS). The four pillars of TAPS are:

  • T for Teach
  • A for Advocate
  • P for Protect
  • S for Support

TAPS ultimately absorbed the CROPS name, mission and volunteers and transformed it into a larger, expanded vision. On May 19, 2013, TAPS established official tax-exempt status.

TAPS has many purposes, all aimed at protecting the welfare of all animals. Just a few of the aims of the organization include: 1) to protect animals in every possible way, 2) to promote increased awareness about animal cruelty, 3) to promote a legal reclassification of animals other than property, 4) to financially support programs and organizations involving animal welfare, and 5) to carry on charitable activities aligned with these goals as allowed by law.

Attorney Rios's message about the animal protection movement, "Effective animal advocates come from all different backgrounds and walks of life – political, religious, economic – the most important thing we can remember as a whole is to present ourselves professionally and focus on our commonalties and not our differences in order to move the law forward for animals."

In 2013, The Burbank Leader recognized Attorney Rios as " Burbank's Best Attorney" for her work in animal welfare.

Attorney Rios and her husband enjoy fostering orphaned animals regularly, and Attorney Rizzotti currently serves as the vice president of the Burbank Police Foundation.

Categories: TAPS