2015 in Pictures: Victories for America’s Children and Animals

Caucus of the Humane Bond

2015 was a remarkable year for America’s oldest national humanitarian organization – one in which we touched more than 42,000 lives every minute with lifesaving, life-affirming programs that made a difference for hundreds of millions of children and animals.  Here are just a few highlights of our work that you made possible this year:

Transcontinental Transport Saves Animals

For hundreds of dogs and cats, a second chance at life was just a road trip or flight away. In late May, American Humane Association took part in two dramatic transcontinental transports to save more of the 3-4 million animals relinquished to shelters who are euthanized each year. Working with North Shore Animal League America, Pilots N Paws, celebrity animal advocate Beth Stern, philanthropist Lois Pope, and others, this week-long, cross-country event was captured in a dramatic film that aired nationally on Hallmark Channel during the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.


A Huge Victory for America’s Military Dogs – and Their Handlers

It took more than a year, but Congress finally passed and President Obama signed a law featuring language we advocated, guaranteeing a ride home for all military working dogs and giving their former human handlers first right of adoption. In this way, the heroic dogs who save lives on the battlefield can continue to do so on the homefront, helping our brave veterans coping with PTS.


Millions More Farm Animals to Live Better Lives

American Humane Association works to help ensure the humane treatment of more farm animals than any other organization, and over the past 12 months we made sure millions more will be helped. In major victories, Taco Bell announced its 5,500 restaurants nationwide, which use 130 million eggs per year, will switch to 100% American Humane Certified cage-free eggs by 2017. Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, and Einstein Bros. Bagels all announced they will switch to cage-free eggs, and will be working with our Humane Heartland team to improve farm animal welfare policies across their supply chains, benefiting millions more animals. Now, those companies are some good eggs!

“State of America’s Children” Study Published

To help better understand what challenges young people face today, American Humane Association published the results of our first “State of America’s Children.” This in-depth qualitative research study of a diverse sampling of adults found that fewer than half of the respondents thought America’s children are healthy, receive a good education, or are safe.


“Be Kind to Animals Week®” Turns 100

It was the animal story of the century as we commemorated 100 years of the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history, one that taught generations of Americans the value of treating our animal friends with kindness and compassion. We took this message to millions of school kids with our national Kindness 100™ K-6 educational curriculum, a national tour of schools, complete with special animal ambassadors, and the publication of a special historical retrospective featuring highlights and famed supporters from a century of “Be Kind to Animals Week,” including President Warren Harding, Shirley Temple, Eleanor Roosevelt, Milton Berle, Doris Day, Porky Pig, Dennis the Menace, John Wayne, Lorne Greene, Carol Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Betty White and many others. 


A Powerful New Voice for Animals…and People

We supported the formation of the congressional Humane Bond Caucus, a new bipartisan caucus focused on strengthening the humane bond between people and animals in working environments, our homes, hospitals, educational settings, the wild, and agriculture, and unleash the power of our connection to benefit both and create healthy, sustainable and humane communities. The caucus was launched on Capitol Hill featuring a star-studded lineup of prominent animals and prominent animal advocates, including author, Broadway producer and philanthropist Candy Spelling; country singer Naomi Judd; movie director Jon Turteltaub; Crystal the Capuchin monkey from the “Night at The Museum” movies; Hudson the dog from “Our Idiot Brother” and SNL; and the 2014 Service Dog Team of the Year KK and JJ.


Stepping in to Stop Cruelty

In June we sent our Northeast-based Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicle and a team of staff of volunteers to Posey County, Indiana to provide around-the-clock care for more than 80 dogs seized from a local home by county officials as part of a cruelty investigation.


Hero Dogs “Speak” to Congress

It was a dog day afternoon on Capitol Hill as our eight 2015 Hero Dog Awards winners and our 2015 American Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician all spoke at a special event hosted by the Humane Bond Caucus about the importance of working dogs in our lives.


Helping Starving Animals in Tennessee

Our Red Star Rescue team traveled to Fayette County near Memphis to take part in a raid that seized seven horses, two mules and a minihorse from an owner who was neglecting and starving them. We provided around-the-clock care, including IV fluids and oxygen to those in the worst condition. One of the worst was a colt named Toby who had tried to bond with another mare after his mother had passed away some time before. Weak and malnourished, Toby required isolation in an ICU unit so he could regain his strength. Our team remained there until the animals were strong enough to be transported to a rehabilitation facility. Thankfully all of the animals are now doing much better thanks to our Red Star team, Dr. Jennifer Dunlap and Dunlap Equine Services, and Horse Haven. Toby was recently adopted and now has a forever home where he receives the love and attention he deserves.


Study Shows Value of Pets in the Classroom

Phase I of the two-phase “Pets in the Classroom” study, performed in collaboration with Pet Care Trust, features surveys and interviews of nearly 1,200 teachers and reveals that having a class pet can teach children important values like compassion, empathy, respect, and responsibility for other living things, as well as give them much-needed leadership skills and stress relief.


Honoring Animal Heroes and the Human Heroes Behind Them

One of the country’s smallest dogs took home the biggest prize a dog can receive. Harley, the one-eyed Chihuahua who survived 10 years in a puppy mill and is now a spokesdog for reform efforts, was named the year’s “American Hero Dog” at the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, and broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel. The second annual American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis, honored Dr. Annette Sysel as the 2015 American Hero Veterinarian and Julie Carlson as 2015’s American Hero Veterinary Technician. Be sure to click the links to watch the inspiring tribute videos of these eight Hero Dogs and two extraordinary veterinary professionals!

Rescuing Animals from the South Carolina Floods

Our Red Star team deployed twice to multiple locations in the Palmetto State to rescue frightened pets caught in what weather experts dubbed a “Thousand-year flood.” Our teams did everything from distributing vitally needed pet food and supplies, to setting up and maintaining temporary shelters, and performing dramatic rescues of animals trapped by the floodwaters.

Thanks to you, millions of our most vulnerable found help in times of need in 2015. Please continue to support our lifesaving, life-affirming work in 2016. Together, we will continue to build a better world through compassion.

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