NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) honors animal heroes who help humans or other animals in extraordinary ways, as well as people who demonstrate great commitment to assisting at-risk animals. This year's Humane Awards Luncheon, which takes place on Thursday, Nov. 14 in New York City, will honor many worthy recipients, including fashion icon, author, and performer Isaac Mizrahi, a ten-year-old boy named Brady who is raising funds to buy ballistic vests for K9 officers, and former U.S. President George H. W. Bush's official service animal, Sully.
"This year's ASPCA Humane Award winners cover a wide variety of issues – from dogfighting and kitten advocacy to equine safety and protecting pets from poverty – but what unites them is a deep commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and communities," said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. "We congratulate and commend the winners, and hope their stories inspire compassionate advocacy and action across the country."
The Humane Awards Luncheon honors animal heroes who have gone above and beyond to help humans, as well as people who are making significant strides to improve animal welfare aligned with the ASPCA's mission of providing effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Following a nationwide public call for nominations, an expert ASPCA committee reviewed hundreds of entries and selected winners in seven categories including Kid of the Year, the Equine Welfare Award, Cat Advocate of the Year, Dog of the Year, the Public Service Award, the Henry Bergh Award and the Presidential Service Award.
"As a longtime animal welfare advocate and supporter of the ASPCA, I am honored to be receiving this year's Presidential Service Award," said Isaac Mizrahi, award-winning designer, performer and animal advocate. "I'm humbled to be recognized among an impressive group of recipients who have dedicated their lives to ensuring the well-being and safety of the animals we all love."
NBC anchor Chuck Scarborough will return this year as the host of the Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street. The ASPCA's annual Humane Awards Luncheon is sponsored by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group. Accommodations for honorees are being generously provided by the Loews Regency New York Hotel on Park Avenue and additional support is being provided by west elm.
This year's honorees include:
• KID OF THE YEAR: Brady Snakovsky(Strongsville, OH) Ten-year-old Brady Snakovsky and his mom founded Brady's K9 Fund after Brady learned Ohio's K9 officers could not afford potentially life-saving, but expensive ballistic vests. Brady committed himself to raising funds to protect the animals who so loyally protect us. Since it was launched, Brady's K9 Fund has provided vests for 126 K9 officers in multiple states, and his GoFundMe page has brought in nearly $130,000 to advance the mission of protecting all police dogs from gun violence. For identifying a life-threatening vulnerability for local police dogs and committing himself to their protection, Brady Snakovsky is the 2019 ASPCA Kid of the Year.
• EQUINE WELFARE AWARD: Tinia Creamer(Shoals, WV) Tinia Creamer is the founder of Heart of Phoenix (HOP), which operates in four states as one of the largest equine rescues in Appalachia. Focusing on rescue, rehabilitation, and equine law enforcement training, HOP has developed innovative methods to increase equine adoption and improve the welfare of at-risk equines in this severely under-resourced area. Under Tinia's passionate watch, HOP has saved the lives of nearly 500 horses. For courageously committing herself to the needs of vulnerable and victimized equines in underserved communities, Tinia Creamer is recipient of the 2019 ASPCA Equine Welfare Award.
• CAT ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR: Hannah "Kitten Lady" Shaw (San Diego, CA) With nearly one million Instagram followers, Hannah Shaw – also known as Kitten Lady – is an influential hero for vulnerable cats, kittens, and animal shelters. In addition to advocating for felines in need, Shaw creates and shares educational media, training resources, instructional workshops, and consulting services that help individuals and animal shelters elevate their efforts to save more cat lives. Hannah and her partner Andrew Marttila also operate Orphan Kitten Club, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which provides rescue and adoption services to orphaned kittens in the San Diego area. For being one of the country's most powerful allies for vulnerable cats and kittens, Hannah Shaw is the 2019 ASPCA Cat Advocate of the Year.
• DOG OF THE YEAR: Sweet Pea (Camden, NJ) Sweet Pea is a former dogfighting victim rescued in 2015 by NJ Aid for Animals in Camden, New Jersey. Despite her brutal past, Sweet Pea maintains a friendly and playful disposition that has surprised local police, animal welfare professionals, the community, and even local leaders. In 2018, Sweet Pea was named the Official Face of Dogfighting Awareness for New Jersey and in 2019 began appearing in public awareness campaigns which featured her image on billboards. Sweet Pea's owner, Kathy McGuire, oversees the Sweet Pea Fund, which since 2015 has been raising funds for dogfighting victims and other abused and abandoned animals. For bringing attention to the persistent crime and brutality of dogfighting, busting breed stereotypes, and inspiring donations for animals in need, Sweet Pea is the 2019 Dog of the Year.
• PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD: Sully of America's VetDogs (Washington, D.C.) An extraordinary yellow Labrador, Sully was former U.S. President George H. W. Bush's official service animal, bringing not just assistance but love and joy to the former President in the last months of his life. Trained and placed by service dog provider America's VetDogs, Sully was immortalized in iconic images during President Bush's funeral last December – at one point laying down in front of the President's casket. Following his Presidential service, Sully was appointed to the rank of hospital corpsman second class and now works with patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. For demonstrating outstanding dedication to President Bush and veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Sully is the recipient of the 2019 ASPCA Public Service Award.
•HENRY BERGH AWARD: Felines & Canines' Hunter Stephenson Rescue Center (Owens Cross Roads, AL) Recognizing the heartbreaking plight of Alabama dogs and cats not medically qualified to participate in life-saving relocation, Chicago-based Felines and Canines created a rescue center to fill that vital community need. The Hunter Stephenson Rescue Center, named in honor of a young animal lover who died tragically, provides medical care, housing and emotional support to these vulnerable animals as they prepare to move from overcrowded and under-resourced facilities across Northern Alabama to parts of the country where their chances of adoption are dramatically improved. Since July 2018, the innovative center has assisted nearly 2,900 dogs and cats. For effectively addressing a life-threatening challenge for homeless animals in Alabama, Felines & Canines' Hunter Stephenson Rescue Center is the recipient of the 2019 ASPCA Henry Bergh Award.
• PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE AWARD: Isaac Mizrahi (New York City, NY) Isaac Mizrahi is a world-famous fashion designer, author, performer and television icon. He is equally passionate about animal rescue and for many years, including 2019, has hosted the ASPCA Bergh Ball, a cornerstone of the ASPCA's fundraising efforts to save and rescue homeless, abused and neglected animals across the country. He currently lives with two rescues: Dean, a 12-year-old Beagle/Jack Russell mix and Kitty, a two-year-old Border Collie mix. For continuously being a powerful voice for animals in need, Isaac Mizrahi is the recipient of the 2019 ASPCA Presidential Service Award.
About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.