WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Humane Association, the country's first national humane organization, today announced the official start of the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. The annual, year-long campaign seeks to identify and honor America's bravest heroes on both ends of the leash. Beginning on January 27th at 3pm Eastern Time, dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at the September 10th star-studded, red-carpet awards gala hosted by Beth Stern and James Denton at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year – the most prestigious honor a canine can receive. The sixth annual Hero Dog Awards will air nationwide as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.
The eight categories for 2016 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program™ from Zoetis; Military Dogs, sponsored by the RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul (who is also the official Pet Food Sponsor for the campaign); Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, sponsored by Merial, maker of NexGard® (afoxalaner) Chewables; Arson Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Following the nominations period, which ends on March 2nd, 24 semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of public voting. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2016 American Hero Dog.
Over the past five years, Americans have cast millions of votes for nearly a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Alison Sweeney, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Michelle Beadle, Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Lea Thompson, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.
Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for their designated charity partner and the overall winner's charity partner will win an additional $5,000 prize. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane Association, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.
"Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of 'American Hero Dog' at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's President and CEO. "Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this contest is our way of saluting our best friends."
"To me, all dogs are heroes, and we cannot do enough to honor their achievements," said Mrs. Pope. "It has been my absolute honor to serve as the presenting sponsor for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards for five years, and I eagerly anticipate seeing this year's extraordinary nominees."
"For the past five years, Hero Dog Awards has been a focal point of Hallmark Channel's on- and off- air advocacy initiative, Pet Project, and has shone a spotlight on some truly remarkable dogs," said Bill Abbott, president & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. "We are honored to once again partner with American Humane Association on this special program and look forward to recognizing this year's eight finalists and their extraordinary stories of devotion, unconditional love, and bravery."
Key dates for the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards contest include:
- January 27-March 2: Nominations period
- March 16-April 27: Voting to determine 24 semifinalists
- May 11-June 22: Voting to determine the 8 category finalists
- July 6-August 24: Voting to determine 2016's American Hero Dog
- September 10: Sixth annual Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles
Nominations for 2016 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech Awards to Open Tomorrow
And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second contest – the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Starting tomorrow, pet owners and animal lovers across America will be invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 10. The nomination period for this separate contest will open on January 28.
More information about the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org. For more information about the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, please visit www.herovetawards.org. For more information on sponsorship opportunities email Mari Harner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-227-4645.
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 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.
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 90 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 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.
Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN), owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.
Zoetis (zô-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 with sales of its products in 120 countries. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.
About Merial, maker of NexGard® (afoxalaner) Chewables
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals. Merial employs 6,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2 billion of sales in 2014. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health. Our pharmaceuticals and vaccines focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals, and target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species.
Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com.
About Modern Dog magazine
Modern Dog magazine is a must-read for dog lovers! Get inspired with the best ideas and solutions for life with dogs. Each issue features cool finds, design, insight into your dog's behaviour, best buys, wellness, rescue, training, fun DIY how-tos, contests and more! Modern Dog is your guide to a better bond with your dog. A large part of Modern Dog's mission is to support rescue and the organizations that work tirelessly to help to dogs in need. www.moderndogmagazine.com
About Chicken Soup for the Soul
At Chicken Soup for the Soul, we are inspired by the thousands of stories we receive about the love between pets and people. The stories are of moments... moments of love, gratitude, laughter and even heartache. So many of these stories revolve around food. That is why we developed our line of wholesome pet food more than ten years ago – to help you turn your own moments into stories, because we know that when you love your pet, every moment matters. We pride ourselves on being a family owned and operated business that offers wholesome and balanced, super-premium pet food to health-conscious customers. Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food promotes overall health and well-being for dogs and cats. Our products are proudly made in the USA and are available in independent pet specialty stores nationwide and through online merchants.
SOURCE American Humane Association