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ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day® 2012

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ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day® 2012

From International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR)
November 2012

International Homeless Animals' Day 2012 was commemorated for the twenty-first consecutive year on August 18th with Candlelight Vigil observances in more than 20 U.S. states, Canada and involvement in at least 10 foreign locations including Australia, China, Cyprus, France, Guam, Malaysia, Panama, Russia, South Africa, and Switzerland.

Introduction

On Saturday, August 18, 2012, animal protection organizations and compassionate individuals from all over the world joined together to commemorate ISAR's 21st annual International Homeless Animals' Day. Since 1992, the year ISAR conceived and began International Homeless Animals' Day, dedicated vigil coordinators have orchestrated events on the third Saturday of August, shedding light on an epidemic that sadly claims the lives of millions of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens on a global scale each year: pet overpopulation. Events that often accompany International Homeless Animals' Day observances promote pet overpopulation's simple solution: spay/neuter, educate individuals and communities about responsible pet care, and increase shelter pet exposure and adoptions. Low-cost spay/neuter clinics, adopt-a-thons, microchip clinics, information stalls, special guest speakers, volunteer appreciation ceremonies, animal shelter open houses, and candlelight vigils are just a few of the activities held on International Homeless Animals' Day around the world. ISAR is extremely grateful for the hard work our devoted vigil coordinators put forth every year leading up to our August event. Because of their loyal commitment, ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day observances result in the placement of companion animals into loving new families and the performing of countless spay/neuter surgeries.

ISAR offered its online virtual vigil for the 11th year in a row, allowing people who could not physically attend an International Homeless Animals' Day observance the option to participate. Visitors from all over the world including Canada, Colombia, New Zealand, Philippines, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States lit candles online in memory of victims of pet overpopulation, thus further driving home the importance of spay/neuter.

2012 Vigil Highlights

While ISAR encourages all vigil coordinators to contact us with feedback, due to space restraints we are not able to acknowledge the many events that took place on August 18, 2012. Some representative examples follow.

The Warwick Valley Humane Society hosted their third annual International Homeless Animals' Day Candlelight Vigil on August 18, 2012. Pictured from left to right are: volunteers Steve and Dina Feneck, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Councilman Russ Kowal, Warwick Valley Humane Society President Suzyn Barron, Councilman Floyd D'Angelo, Justice Nancy D'Angelo and The Animal Rights Alliance, Inc. founder, Steve Tardiff. Photo By: Roger Gavan

The Railroad Green in the Village of Warwick, NY was the setting for the third annual International Homeless Animals' Day Candlelight Vigil observance hosted by the Warwick Valley Humane Society. Elected officials from New York's Orange County, the Town of Warwick, the Village of Warwick and the Village of Greenwood Lake all issued proclamations based on ISAR's designating Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 as "International Homeless Animals Day." Special guest speakers, including Village of Warwick Mayor, Michael J. Newhard, Town of Warwick Supervisor, Michael Sweeton, Councilman Floyd D'Angelo, Town of Warwick Justice, Nancy D'Angelo, Councilman Russ Kowal and founder of The Animal Rights Alliance (T.A.R.A.), Steve Tardiff, took the stage to discuss the importance of community involvement when it comes to our animal companions, spay/neuter and adoption practices, and to acknowledge the important work of the Warwick Valley Humane Society and its dedicated staff and volunteers. Earlier that Day in conjunction with International Homeless Animals' Day, T.A.R.A. set up their low-cost spay/neuter clinic fixing close to 50 animals helping to combat pet overpopulation.

The Humane Society of Elkhart County in Bristol, Indiana, commemorated International Homeless Animals' Day 2012 with approximately 220 people in attendance. Ms. Anne Reel, Executive Director, said of their annual International Homeless Animals' Day observance, "the event continues to be a huge success for our shelter as a way to raise awareness about homeless animals and to celebrate successful home connections with owners and their loving companions." Media coverage leading up to their event included television spots and local newspaper articles, while a local news anchor from an ABC affiliate acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. To reinforce the spay/neuter message, the Humane Society of Elkhart County hosted organizations working on behalf of feral cats and a local low-cost spay/neuter clinic. A moving blessing of pets rounded out the event, shedding light on the homeless animal epidemic.

Commemorating their 18th annual International Homeless Animals' Day Candlelight Vigil observance on August 18th, Defenders of Animals, RI, once again turned on the spotlight to educate others about the pet overpopulation epidemic and its simple spay/neuter solution. This year, Defenders of Animals honored members who were instrumental in assisting the enactment of crucial animal-friendly legislation, including those who fostered shelter animals, or went above and beyond the call of duty helping animals throughout the year. Live music and a candlelight vigil ceremony in memory of those affected by pet overpopulation closed out the evening.

Clutching vibrant signs boasting the spay/neuter message, members of Cats Angels, Inc. SPCA of Fernandina Beach, FL held their 11th annual International Homeless Animals' Day two mile walk and candlelight vigil on August 18th. Mayor Filkoff of Fernandina Beach declared the entire month of August as International Homeless Animals' Month and Saturday, August 18, 2012 as International Homeless Animals' Day. Throughout August 2012, Cats Angels performed 138 spay/neuter surgeries, preventing the births of hundreds more unwanted kittens. When asked why Cats Angels observes International Homeless Animals' Day, President, Beth Hackney said, "We participate in International Homeless Animals' Day every year because we feel it brings attention to the plight of all the homeless animals who have nobody to speak for them. Cats Angels has so many spay/neuter surgeries in the summer months, because that is when we see the most animals coming in. Sometimes I get real discouraged wondering if we are truly making a difference, but I just look in the eyes of some of the babies we help, and I know we can't give up, even if we help just some of them."

Along a major highway in Tamuning, Guam, Fur-Ever Kinda Love displayed 10,000 twinkle lights, representing the number of animals killed by shelter euthanization or on local roadways in 2011. Informative banners promoting the spay/neuter message and a push for companion animal adoptions accompanied the touching light display. According to Fur-Ever Kinda Love volunteer, Shirley Miller, on the week prior to International Homeless Animals' Day, a proclamation was signed by 19 mayors of the Guam Mayors Council declaring August 18, 2012 as "Guam Homeless Animals' Day." Senator Judith Guthertz, a long-time animal supporter, also introduced a Resolution based on ISAR's Proclamation to the Guam Legislature where it was signed and presented during the ceremony. Also, in honor of International Homeless Animals' Day, the Guam Mayor's Council has agreed to work with Fur-Ever Kinda Love to implement spay/neuter campaigns in Guam's villages as well as promoting animal adoption from local shelters.

Spay/Panama and Angeles De Los Animales in Bethania, Panama, commemorated International Homeless Animals' Day once again by performing more than 100 spay/neuter surgeries on August 18th bringing their total number of animals sterilized to just over 44,000. A big supporter of International Homeless Animals' Day and promoting spay/neuter, Congressman HD Victor Juliao is not only working on creating and enacting the Animal Protection Law for Panama, he is also working with Spay/Panama to provide a spay/neuter mobile unit to travel and perform cat and dog sterilizations in several locations. A candlelight vigil comprised of 500 attendees took place in Parque Urraca after the Day's spay/neuter clinic to memorialize the animals that lost their lives due to pet overpopulation. When asked of their overall effectiveness in educating others about pet overpopulation and spay/neuter on International Homeless Animals' Day, Patricia Chan of Spay/Panama said, "International Homeless Animal's Day brought us all together. Each attendant will now become a spokesperson."

Pawlooza, also known as "the ultimate dog party" of London, Ontario, Canada, surpassed last year's attendance record this year by hosting a whopping 25,000 attendees, some of whom brought with them as many as 6,000 dogs, on International Homeless Animals' Day at the Plunkett Estate. On this Day, rescues and animal shelters from across Canada were invited to educate the public about pet overpopulation and spay/neuter, bring adoptable animals seeking new homes, fundraise for their cause, and network with others. With approximately 200 vendors and rescue organizations on hand, attendees and their pooches spent some quality time together for a good cause while enjoying games, contests, demonstrations, information stalls, and much, much more.

Special Thanks

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the humane-minded elected officials who recognized August 18, 2012 as International Homeless Animals' Day in their communities by signing ISAR's Proclamation, acknowledging the plight of cat and dog overpopulation while encouraging the public to be part of the simple solution: spay/neuter. A special thanks to Mayor Arlene Filkoff of Fernandina Beach, Florida, for declaring the entire month of August 2012 as International Homeless Animals' Month, and August 18, 2012 as International Homeless Animals' Day. ISAR would also like to express our deepest gratitude to the Mayors' Council of Guam for signing ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day Proclamation and a special thanks to Senator Judith Guthertz for introducing a resolution based on ISAR's Proclamation that was adopted by Guam's Legislature highlighting the importance of spay/neuter and pet adoption and further emphasizing, "Pet owners who neglect to have their pets spayed or neutered are accountable to taxpayers of Guam for the financial burden the community incurs as a direct result of the over-population crisis." Thank you to all elected officials from New York's Orange County, the Town of Warwick, the Village of Warwick and the Village of Greenwood Lake who issued proclamations based on ISAR's designating Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 as "Homeless Animals Day."

ISAR would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many media outlets as well as all individuals who helped to publicize the plight of homeless animals by promoting ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day 2012. Articles and interviews focusing on ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day circulated in newspaper publications including Russia's St. Petersburg Times, and on television and radio stations around the globe. Countless websites, including The Voice of Russia, petmeds.org, PetMd.com, and Jane Goodall's rootsandshoots.org helped advertise the importance of International Homeless Animals' Day along with many blogs, and tweets on Twitter, including one from screenwriter Brian Lynch who encouraged others to visit an animal shelter if they were considering adding a companion animal to their family. ISAR is also grateful to those compassionate individuals who took the time to help publicize International Homeless Animals Day 2012 on their social media networks, by writing letters-to-the-editor, and simply by encouraging others to work for positive change for unwanted animals by adopting from shelters and promoting spay/neuter.

Organize a Vigil for 2013

ISAR extends a heartfelt invitation to all of our veteran International Homeless Animals' Day event coordinators, as well as to a host of new ones, to join us on Saturday, August 17, 2013 in commemorating ISAR's 22nd annual International Homeless Animals' Day. We encourage you to be part of something special and band together with us in solidarity to raise awareness of the plight of homeless animals.

ISAR offers free International Homeless Animals' Day packets to all who are interested in coordinating an event, whether it is a small modest event or a large public gathering.

ISAR's informational materials will assist you in organizing an effective observance with suggestions for site selection, reaching target audiences, speakers, sample press releases, ISAR's proclamations, and much more.

Please contact ISAR by mail, phone, fax or email to receive your International Homeless Animals' Day 2013 packet.

Together we will continue to be a voice for the animals and continue to demand an end to the suffering and exploitation inflicted on animals each day.