ASPCA logo. (PRNewsfoto/ASPCA)
Virtual event to honor people and pets from across the nation who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare
/PRNewswire/ — The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the recipients of its 2021 ASPCA Humane Awards. The annual Humane Awards honors animal heroes who have gone above and beyond their traditional roles to help humans, as well as people making significant strides to improve animal welfare, in line with the ASPCA’s humane mission. This year’s winners will be celebrated at the virtual Humane Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.
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, Dog of the Year, Cat Advocate of the Year, the Equine Welfare Award, the Corporate Compassion Award, the Public Service Award, and the Henry Bergh Award, which is given to an individual or institution exhibiting exceptional leadership, compassion, and commitment to animal welfare.
“Our 2021 ASPCA Humane Award winners represent the best of us—heroic people and organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable animals, and amazing animals who demonstrate the invaluable love and comfort they’re capable of providing,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “We’re proud to honor each of these recipients as outstanding examples of compassion and commitment who inspire their communities and animal advocates around the country.”
This year’s honorees include:
- KID OF THE YEAR: Evan Bisnauth (Bronx, NY)
Eleven-year-old Evan Bisnauth leads a busy life in the Bronx, but he doesn’t let his many interests—or even a pandemic—deter him from his primary passion: helping socialize adoptable dogs at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) by reading to them regularly. Always eager to help animals in need, Evan also creates amusing animations of ACC’s adoptable animals to help them get attention and ultimately be placed in safe and loving homes.
- CAT ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR: Sterling “TrapKing” Davis (Atlanta, GA)
A rapper and full-time cat advocate, Sterling “TrapKing” Davis uses his talent and tenacity to teach his Atlanta community about the importance of spay/neuter surgery and caring for community cats. In 2017, Sterling formed his own nonprofit organization, TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions, to engage and activate his community, combining his dedication to saving cats with his love for making music. When he is not trapping cats in Atlanta, Sterling speaks at animal welfare conferences and provides insights on topics including the intersection of cultural bias and animal welfare.
- DOG OF THE YEAR: Dogtor Loki (Baltimore, MD)
A sweet Rottweiler named Loki is a unique therapy dog and supporter of healthcare heroes at the University of Maryland Medical Center. When the COVID-19 outbreak brought severe physical and emotional stress to healthcare workers in the Maryland area, Loki’s owner, medical student Caroline Benzel, helped Loki deliver “Hero Healing Kits” containing vital health and nutritional supplies to these workers and first responders throughout the state. Loki also delighted workers and raised their spirits with her fetching “Dogtor” attire. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Loki has delivered more than 7,000 kits to local medical professionals and has helped raise more than $100,000 to deliver more kits and other resources to first responders and healthcare workers, including food and personal protective equipment (PPE). Loki also continues to provide meaningful support at her hospital, whether by raising money, improving morale, delivering food and supplies for staff, educating people about the importance of therapy animals, or making patients’ stays at the hospital a little brighter.
- EQUINE WELFARE AWARD: Retired Racehorse Project (Lexington, KY)
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium—the world’s largest retraining competition for retired racehorses—the RRP also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talents and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds).
- PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD: Christine Kim (New York, NY)
As the former Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, Christine Kim has been instrumental in laying the foundation for the first office of its kind in the county and advancing critical New York City animal welfare initiatives. She effectively united the animal welfare community and city government city leaders to tackle animal welfare issues in public policy issues including the construction of new animal shelters spay/neuter policies, animal hoarding, companion animals in shelter and housing, and crisis prevention. Christine also advocated strongly for the city’s animal shelter provider, Animal Care Centers of NYC, and played a key role in developing NYC’s COVID-19 Pet Response Plan and collaborated with the ASPCA to implement a COVID-19 pet hotline to help New York City’s animal guardians experiencing financial hardship or health emergencies during the pandemic. In 2020 alone, the COVID-19 pet hotline coordinated services for over 19,000 animals.
- HENRY BERGH AWARD: Oregon Humane Society (Portland, OR)
A longtime leader in the national animal sheltering community, Oregon Humane Society (OHS), based in Portland, Oregon, has always been an innovator of approaches and programs that most effectively meet the needs of vulnerable animals. The depth of OHS programs goes far beyond adoption, including dedicated work in behavior rehabilitation, veterinary education, government relations, animal crime forensics, and free and low-cost services for low-income residents. By conceiving, implementing, and demonstrating groundbreaking programs that respond to contemporary animal welfare challenges, OHS has become a model for the entire animal welfare field.
- CORPORATE COMPASSION AWARD: Subaru of America, Inc. (Camden, NJ)
The largest corporate donor of the ASPCA, Subaru of America, Inc., consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to protecting animals in need and supporting the loving bond between pets and their owners. In recent years, Subaru has elevated this commitment through their Subaru Loves Pets initiative, annual Subaru Share the Love® Event, and National Make A Dog’s Day celebration, which shines a light on our nation’s “Underdogs”— special needs and senior animals in shelters. These pet-focused initiatives substantially impact animals in need and make Subaru a brand that is more than a car company.
By participating as an event attendee, corporate supporter, or making a general donation, your involvement will help the ASPCA continue to provide local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals, and serving victims of animal cruelty. For more information on the 2021 Humane Awards, please visit www.ASPCA.org/2021HAL.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first animal welfare organization to be established in North America and today serves as the nation’s leading voice for vulnerable and victimized animals. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with more than two million supporters nationwide, the ASPCA is committed to preventing cruelty to dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA assists animals in need through on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources. For more information, visit www.ASPCA.org, and follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.