GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- BISSELL Homecare, Inc. today announced the winners of its fourth annual Most Valuable Pet (MVP) Photo Contest, which fetched more than 69,500 entries from the U.S. and Canada. Bailey, an English Shepherd, captured the 2011 MVP Grand Prize Winner title and a $10,000 donation to the pet charity of her choice. Runners-up prizes were awarded to Vincent D. Cat, a domestic short-hair alley cat; Shelby, a purebred Siberian Husky; Jerri, a Bengal mix cat; and Fee, a Pug from Canada.
From January 5 to April 5, pet parents submitted photos of their furry pals and rallied family, friends and contest followers -- mostly via social networks -- to vote for their photogenic pets to claim the title of MVP and the chance to be featured on BISSELL pet product packaging. In addition to $10,000 for charity and a starring role, Bailey also will receive a BISSELL pet clean-up product for her home and a $500 shopping spree. An additional $8,000 combined will be awarded to the runners up to benefit four other charities.
"This is a great time of year at BISSELL as the MVP contest winners are selected and we learn which hard-working charities in the U.S. and Canada will be awarded the prize money," says Rich Sorota, BISSELL's senior vice president and general manager of global marketing and sales. "We are proud to support the pet community year after year."
Grand Prize: Bailey
Grand prize winner Bailey, from Greer, SC, has a special affinity for senior citizens and recently began visiting nursing homes with her pet parents, Dana and Dianne Kuhl. Bailey is an English Shepherd with a touch of Rough Collie who loves to play ball, catch the frisbee and eat string cheese. She enjoys herding squirrels, goats and sheep. In 2009, she earned her Junior Herding Dog title from the American Herding Breed Association.
The Kuhls plan to donate their $10,000 grand prize to the National English Shepherd Rescue organization. This non-profit group works to place English Shepherds in new homes, and will use the prize money to expand training and education assistance programs for current and prospective English Shepherd families, in addition to continuing its current rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Second Place: Vincent D. Cat
Vincent D. Cat, a domestic, short-hair alley cat, is the second prize winner and lives with his owner, Kerry Hilliard. A resident of Rapidan, Va., Vincent is friendly and loves playing with all sorts of animals including dogs, horses and goats. He has even been known to curl up with chickens and rabbits. Vincent will donate his $5,000 prize to Rikki's Refuge Animal Sanctuary in Orange, Va., the organization that took him in after his owners left him at the vet to be euthanized. Vincent is the official "spokescat" for the animal sanctuary, where Kerry also volunteers. Both Kerry and Vincent travel to schools and groups to raise awareness about animal care and adoption.
Third Place: Shelby
Full of energy and very playful, Shelby is a Siberian Husky who lives in Alpena, Mich. Shelby loves to run, pull a kick sled through the snow in the winter and follow along on bike trips in the summer. Shelby lives with her pet parents, Jaime and Jessica Hatch, and another husky named Shiloh. The dogs have their own YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/gonetothesnowdogs, which helps to raise awareness about their local shelter. Shelby and her owners will donate their $1,000 prize money to the Huron Humane Society where Jessica volunteers. The Huron Humane Society relies on private donations to keep its shelter operations going, and the Hatches' prize money will help the group continue to serve its community.
Fourth Place: Jerri
Jerri, a Bengal mix from Raleigh, NC, amazes everyone who meets her. She plays, jumps and cuddles, and most people don't realize at first that she is blind. Jerri's parents say she is a living example of how happy and loving visually impaired cats can be and why they should not be euthanized. She was rescued after her previous owners moved away and abandoned her. Jerri's pet parent, Kaye Brady will donate her $1,000 prize to Blind Cat Rescue, the organization through which she found Jerri. Based in St. Paul, NC, Blind Cat Rescue is a safe place for visually impaired cats that have been deemed unadoptable by regular shelters.
Fifth Place: Fee
Fee, a Pug from Pickering, Ontario, is BISSELL's first Canadian MVP contest winner! Fee has an enormous personality, and anyone who meets him falls under his spell. His puppy-like appearance and enormous heart brings an instant smile to those who make his acquaintance. Fee was rescued as a puppy with severe medical problems that could have led to vision loss. He is a healthy pug today thanks to Pugalug Pug Rescue in Toronto, which funded multiple surgeries that helped save Fee's eyes. Karen Wright and David Jones, Fee's owners, will donate the $1,000 prize money to Pugalug Pug Rescue so that other Pugs in need can receive the same love and care that he did.
Since 2008, the MVP photo contest has garnered more than 221,000 entries. The contest is one of BISSELL's many efforts to support the pet-loving community across North America. BISSELL supports the pet community through contributions to more than 100 U.S. pet charities totaling over $200,000 annually, as well as through partnerships with organizations like Petfinder.com. For more information on BISSELL's pet programs, the complete line up of BISSELL pet products, cleaning tips and more, visit the Pet Lovers Community at www.bissell.com/pets.
About BISSELL Homecare, Inc.
A 135-year-old company, Grand Rapids-based BISSELL Homecare, Inc., is the top-selling brand in floor care appliances in North America with an expanding presence worldwide. As an innovator of cleaning products, BISSELL produces and sells vacuums, sweepers, deep-cleaning machines, bare floor cleaners and cleaning formulas at retail locations across the globe. The company is in its fourth generation of family leadership.
SOURCE BISSELL Homecare, Inc.