DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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."
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.
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SOURCE American Humane Association; The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc.