(Delray Beach, FL, October 11, 2012) – The South Florida region is particularly prone to disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. And amid all the turmoil of these emergencies, the safety and care of dogs, cats, and other domesticated and wild animals might sometimes be overlooked as families struggle for survival. But thanks to distinguished Florida philanthropist Lois Pope, American Humane Association will now be able to expand its on-the-ground efforts in the immediate aftermath of such disasters, providing rescue, medical, and shelter services for these animals.
Mrs. Pope, founder and chair of the Delray Beach-based The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., has made contributions totaling nearly $100,000 to expand American Humane Association’s renowned Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services efforts in South Florida. The funding, made in the form of matching gifts to American Humane Association through both Animal Planet’s R.O.A.R. campaign and TV legend and longtime supporter Betty White was announced this past Saturday at the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. It will enable American Humane Association to fully outfit a Red Star Animal Emergency Services mobile unit to provide on-site rescue and medical services, as well as conduct humane education and animal cruelty seizures in South Florida. The vehicle will be based at American Humane Association’s new Palm Beach office.
“Lois Pope is a true champion of animals in need,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “She is unwavering in her compassion and commitment to protecting them, and because of her fabulous generosity, even more will receive the care and services they need in times of emergency.”
She noted that Mrs. Pope’s commitment was affirmed with her “transformational” gift of $1 million last year to American Humane Association to launch the Red Star National Centennial Campaign, which celebrates the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the Red Star Animal Emergency Services program. Red Star Rescue services were founded during World War I, when the organization was invited to serve as the “Red Cross” for animals by providing care for horses injured in battle. Since that time, Red Star’s expert staff, trained volunteers, and mobile emergency resources have deployed to emergency and disaster scenes to find, rescue, treat, and shelter tens of thousands of animals until they can be reunited with their families. Over the next five years, the Red Star National Centennial Campaign will raise funds to boost the nation’s capacity to prepare for—and care for—animals in emergencies, as well as assist the recovery of communities through the healing power of animal-assisted therapy.
Mrs. Pope, a longtime benefactor of American Humane Association and presenting sponsor of the organization’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards, said that, “working with American Humane Association is one of the great causes in my life. I’ve had the privilege to rescue 13 dogs and experience the profound impact that they had had on my life. There is a human-canine connection that is based on the universal language of unconditional love. This connection is one that should not be broken because of disaster or emergency. And, thanks to American Humane Association and its Red Star program, it doesn’t have to be. Animals affected by disasters can be rescued, cared for, and reunited with their families.”
P. 2—Lois Pope Gifts to American Humane Association
Today, American Humane Association Red Star Animal Emergency Services includes a fleet of emergency response vehicles customized to help animals in disasters, and containing specialized rescue equipment designed specifically for animal search and rescue. Most recently, the program has been on the ground providing services following the floods in North Dakota, the tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as animal cruelty cases in Memphis, Tennessee, Spokane, Washington, and Billings, Montana, among others.
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 www.americanhumane.org today.
About the American Humane Association Hero Dog AwardsTM
Now in its second year, the Hero Dog Awards competition searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or simply the tail-wagging welcome a pet owner relishes at the end of a hard day. Dogs compete in eight categories for the Hero Dog Awards: Law Enforcement & Arson Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Emerging Hero Dogs (the category for “ordinary” dogs).
About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
Lois Pope is one of America’s leading philanthropists and humanitarians. Through her various charitable mechanisms, including the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., she is devoted to saving lives, helping people help themselves, improving the quality of life for families in need and encouraging young Americans to become leaders by helping others. Her foundations also provide awards for medical research, college scholarships, humanitarian relief, the performing arts, and animal welfare. Among the many organizations that benefit from her leadership are American Humane Association; the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation, which she founded to spearhead the development of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, the nation’s first and only permanent public tribute to the three million living disabled American veterans and the thousands who have died; the University of Miami, where her major contribution endowed the Lois Pope LIFE Center, the top catastrophic neurological research facility in the world and home to the renowned Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Leaders in Furthering Education, which has provided a summer camp experience for more than 15,000 disadvantaged and special needs children, as well as college scholarship support to dozens of disadvantaged high school students who aspire to careers as physicians/researchers; Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s Red Cross, for new ambulances; and the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League for a new mobile pet adoption unit.
About Animal Planet’s R.O.A.R. Campaign
Established in 2006, Animal Planet's R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.) is dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our communities and in the wild. The R.O.A.R. partners benefiting from this program, including American Humane Association, help wild and domestic animals in the U.S. and abroad. The campaign aligns Animal Planet with a powerful roster of leading animal and environmental organizations. R.O.A.R. is a key component of Discovery Communications' overall Impact initiative which strives to celebrate, support and sustain the majesty of the earth's people, animals and natural beauty through innovative programs and events. For more information about how Discovery is making an impact, please visit: impact.discovery.com.