Cynthia Bathurst

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Cynthia L. Bathurst (born in Michigan) is a former mathematician and the founding director of Safe Humane Chicago which advocates for safer communities and reduced violence against animals. From 2008 to 2012 she managed the national Safe Humane program through the Best Friends Animal Society.

Bathurst grew up in Birmingham and earned her bachelor's in mathematics and computer science at the University of Alabama in 1974. She went on to complete a master's and doctorate in narrative and rhetoric at the University of Iowa in 1979.

She began her career as an analyst and consultant for Horrigan Analytics in Chicago, Illinois in 1980 and also volunteered in the community as an animal welfare advocate. Through her participation in the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) she also became aware of the relationship between violence and animal cruelty.

Through her Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association, Bathurst founded the Dog Advisory Work Group (DAWG) in 2000 to advocate on behalf of animals in courtroom proceedings. The program works with judges to find homes for confiscated pets and to educate youth to respect animals. The program has been credited with greatly improving the enforcement and prosecution of animal laws in Chicago courtrooms.

In 2007 she founded Safe Humane Chicago which brought together government agencies, law enforcement, religious groups, and child and animal welfare groups to coordinate efforts with the idea that communities that are safe for animals are also safer for children and other residents.

In 2009, Bathurst was given the American Veterinary Medical Association's "Humane Award" for her efforts in preventing animal abuse. She is an advisor to the National Canine Research Council, a member of Chicago’s Commission on Animal Care and Control, and vice chair of the Cook County Partners Against Animal Cruelty advisory board.

Bathurst co-authored a 2011 guidebook for law-enforcement officers, The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters, distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice.


  • Hageman, William (October 18, 2009) "Dogged determination: Cynthia Bathurst works to stop violence by helping animals and people peacefully co-exist." Chicago Tribune
  • "An Interview with Cynthia L. Bathurst PhD" (Fall 2014) Lex Canis No. 14, pp. 1-5

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