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American Humane Association honors winners of American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian And Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis

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Search for America’s top veterinary professionals featured hundreds of nominees and tens of thousands of votes from the American public; Top American Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician will be part of national TV broadcast on Hallmark Channel on October 30

Beverly Hills, CA, September 20 – Top dogs were not the only honorees last night at the fifth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®. America’s first national humane organization also honored a couple of people – the top veterinary professionals in the country, actually – with the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis. After a nationwide search and tens of thousands of public votes, Annette Sysel, DVM, MS, the president of the Bauer Research Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida was named 2015’s American Hero Veterinarian, and Julie Carlson of Pima Medical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona was declared 2015’s American Hero Veterinary Technician. They received their awards during a special ceremony onstage at the Beverly Hilton during the Hero Dog Awards gala, which will be broadcast nationally October 30 on Hallmark Channel.

The American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards were born out of the idea that behind almost every hero pet (and millions more animals) is a hero veterinarian or hero veterinary technician. These often little-known benefactors save and improve the lives of our two- and four-legged best friends in many ways, and it is time to honor their achievements. Hundreds of worthy nominees were considered by a special blue-ribbon panel of celebrities and renowned veterinary and animal care professionals. After winnowing down the field to the top five in each category, the American public was asked to make the final determination.

“Dr. Annette Sysel and Julie Carlson are truly outstanding examples of the many dedicated animal professionals doing heroic work every day,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, group director of U.S. Companion Animal Marketing at Zoetis. “Zoetis has an ongoing commitment to the veterinary profession, and the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Veterinary Technician Awards are a perfect way to honor the work these remarkable professionals do every day to keep our best friends healthy and celebrate the human-animal bond. We thank them and all those who work on behalf of the nation’s animals.”

“To us, all vets and vet techs are heroes,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “Indeed, both Dr. Sysel and Ms. Carlson are tremendous animal welfare professionals aiding animals in need. Our deepest thanks go out to Zoetis for continuing to recognize and honor the achievements of the veterinary community.”

Dr. Annette Sysel is truly an outstanding veterinarian, who has done so much to help pet owners around the country. Dr. Sysel works full time as the President of the Bauer Research Foundation, which is dedicated to strengthening the human-animal bond. She does this without taking a salary, and answers thousands of emails from pet owners whose pets have cancer, directing them to oncologists and specialty pet clinics while identifying possible clinical trials tailored to each inquiry. Dr. Sysel has made a significant impact in fostering the human-animal bond by educating and working with pet owners to navigate the fearful process of treating pet cancers. In addition, she has been awarded several research grants and has conducted and published several studies identifying novel cancer biomarkers in canine, feline and human cancers. This work aids in diagnosis, treatment decisions, and monitoring of disease. 

Her study evaluating biomarkers in feline and canine cancers was published in the February 2015 issue of the prestigious cancer journal “Oncotarget. Dr. Sysel is currently working on a simple blood/urine test to help distinguish between cancer and inflammation, which will benefit pets by identifying cancers earlier, and by minimizing or eliminating invasive diagnostic procedures. She is also working to begin clinical trials on a promising, non-toxic anti-cancer drug for treatment of a variety of cancers in both pets and people. This drug has already been used successfully to treat several dogs with cancer, and none of the dogs experienced any side effects.

 “I am so truly honored to receive the American Hero Veterinarian award from an organization as historic and esteemed as the American Humane Association,” said Dr. Annette Sysel. “I would like to recognize the many other veterinarians across the country who are just as deserving of this award. I am incredibly grateful to my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances for their unwavering support and encouragement. I am hopeful that our efforts at the Bauer Research Foundation will help to bring awareness and assistance to the development of safe and effective diagnostics and treatments for animals, children, and adults afflicted with cancer. I will continue to work hard to fulfill the merits of this award and to honor the memory of those that I have lost to this terrible disease.”

In 2008, Julie Carlson met a homeless veteran who was living in his car with his German shepherd. He saved every penny he was given so he could take his dog to the veterinarian for regular exams and arthritis medications. Julie realized that there were many others like this man and decided to start Vets for Vets’ Pets, an organization of volunteers representing more than a dozen local hospitals, clinics, and schools. She works with her partner, Dr. Connie Anderson of Animal House Veterinary Clinic, to solicit donations and sponsorships all year long. She trains, organizes, and runs a group of more than 100 volunteers to provide pet boarding, foster care resources, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, wound care, grooming, and more. 

Pet supplies, including food, collars, leashes, toys, bowls, and beds are given away at the annual Arizona StandDown event for homeless and at-risk veterans. Julie organizes her volunteers and makes sure everything runs smoothly while at the same time meeting government leaders and policymakers. The 2015 event saw the disbursement of more three tons of pet food. Julie is also a teacher at the Pima Medical Institute in Mesa, AZ. 

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive the American Hero Veterinary Technician Award from American Humane Association,” said Carlson following the awards ceremony. “I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, including the entire staff of Animal House Veterinary Clinic and my friends at Pima Medical Institute.  I dedicate my work with homeless and at-risk veterans to my Uncle Tom Gibson who died as a result of injuries from his service in Vietnam. Through Tom I realized my desire to help the veterans who are living on the very streets they fought to defend.  For many of the veterans I work with, their pets are the only family they have; my work with Vets for Vets’ Pets at the Maricopa County StandDown will continue to provide care and support to the pets of these veterans.”

The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and will be broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel on October 30 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central. 

About American Humane Association

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2014, the company generated annual revenues of $4.8 billion. With approximately 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2015, Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)

As one of America's leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels.  She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation.  For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane Association in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated two Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region. 

Mrs. Pope recently saw the completion of a decade's long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington, DC on Sunday, October 5, 2014. The Memorial will forever stand as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million living disabled veterans and all those who died before them for the need to be vigilant in assuring their support, as well as being aware of the human cost of war.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

To learn more visit or call 561.582.8083. 

About Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 85 million homes. The country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand. In addition to its signature original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other original content, including scripted primetime series, such as Cedar Cove, Good Witch, and When Calls the Heart; annual specials like Kitten Bowl and Hero Dog Awards and; a daily 2-hour lifestyle show, Home & Family.  Additionally, in November 2014, Hallmark Channel became the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise. Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers such annual holiday programming events as Countdown to Christmas and Countdown to Valentine’s Day. Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are television’s most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Middle, Little House on the Prairie, and Frasier. Complementing Hallmark Channel’s light-hearted and comedic fare, sibling network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries presents a unique mix of content that is more dramatic in tone, including original movies and such acquired series Matlock, Murder She Wrote, and Hart to Hart.

Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN), owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.

For more information, please visit

Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter (Join the conversation at #HeartofTV), Pinterest, tvtag, YouTube

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