Stamps can be ordered at http://www.stampstotherescue.com or by calling 1-800-STAMP24.
Dogs and cats curl up next to each other in Carol Dunn's Old West End home. Ms. Dunn's menagerie consists of two canines and nine felines, all of them rescue animals.
Shelter pets and rescue animals needing homes are the focus of the "Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet" stamp series the Postal Service plans to unveil April 30.
"These stamps continue a 50-year Postal Service tradition of bringing attention to serious social issues of the day … one letter at a time," said Postmaster General John E. Potter in a statement. "Our goal is to increase public awareness of the number of sheltered pets in this country, to encourage pet adoption, and to promote humane and responsible pet care."
For Ms. Dunn, president of Planned Pethood, which advocates spaying and neutering and holds pet adopt-a-thons, the stamps can make a difference by raising public awareness of the millions of dogs and cats needing homes.
"This is great," she said of the stamp series. "People need to understand there are a lot of animals needing to be adopted."
Jean Keating, co-founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, feels the
"This is a fantastic idea. The more public awareness you can create about the state of animals in shelters, the better," she said.
The stamps feature photographs of five cats and five dogs taken by veteran stamp photographer Sally Andersen-Bruce. All 10 animals were adopted from a shelter in New Milford, Conn.
Every year, 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters, and of that number, nearly half are euthanized. Although the problem seems overwhelming, the key to the solution is adopting a shelter pet when seeking a new companion and ensuring the animal is spayed or neutered, animal welfare advocates say.
Cats and dogs have been featured on other U.S. postage stamps. A 13-cent stamp of a kitten and puppy was issued in 1982 for use on holiday postcards; in 1998, images of a cat and a dog were included in the "Bright Eyes" set of five pets, and most recently, in 2002, photographs of a kitten and puppy were featured on the "Neuter or Spay" stamps.
The commemorative shelter stamps were introduced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Postal Service is working with DeGeneres and Halo, Purely for Pets, a holistic pet care company she co-owns, to promote the campaign and bring attention to the cause.
"Pet adoption is something I'm extremely passionate about," she said. "I believe that by working together, we can find good homes for the millions of homeless and abandoned pets out there. And until they get adopted, I'm happy to say that Halo and I are giving one million meals to shelter pets that are waiting for you."
Ms. Keating said the attention is welcome. "Anything that brings information about this to the public can only benefit the animals."
Stamps can be ordered at stampstotherescue.com or by calling 1-800-STAMP24.