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Every year on the last Tuesday in February, The Humane Society of the United States marks World Spay Day. While most owners may have heard of spaying and neutering their pets, not enough are taking action. “A lot of people I don’t think realize the offspring of their pets end up in shelters,” says Vicki Stevens, World Spay Day coordinator for The Humane Society. “People think they’ll find good homes…but in reality it’s the reason shelters are full of too many puppies and kittens.”
According to Stevens, there are too many animals breeding and not enough resources to care for the offspring. By spaying and neutering their pets, owners are saving animals’ lives.
To increase awareness of the issue, a number of events are taking place around the world to get people involved. From a Valentine Pet Fair in Anchorage, Alaska, to a spaghetti dinner benefit in Lake Placid, N.Y., hundreds of events have taken place across the country this month to support World Spay Day efforts.
One of the newest events to take place this year is the 2013 World Spay Day Pet Pageant. The pageant is the brainchild of Kelley Barr, online fund-raising strategist for the Humane Society’s communications department. The pageant started Feb. 4 and ends on March 15.
“We thought a pet pageant would be a fun way for proud pet owners, many of whom have already spayed or neutered their pets and recognize the importance of spaying and neutering, to participate in World Spay Day online,” Barr says.
There are six categories in which owners can enter their pets. Pets can be entered into the main category, Miss or Mister World Spay Day 2013, for free, and pay $5 per category to enter in any of the others, which include Best Hair, Best Smile, Most Photogenic, Best Personality and Ugly-Cute.
“When a pet guardian enters his or her pet in the online pageant, they instantly become an ambassador for spay/neuter and can spread the message — and the adorable photo of their pet — to all of their contacts, friends and followers,” Barr says.
All fees will go to a spay and neuter grant fund and will be divided among 25 participating organizations.
“That’s one of the things this pageant is doing, raising money to feed programs to help,” Stevens says.
Popular Pet Awards winners will be chosen in each category by an online vote, while a panel of celebrity judges will choose Judges’ Choice Award winners. The winners of each category will be able to select a participating organization to receive a $1,000 grant for their spay and neuter programs. Winners will also receive a personalized pet collar, and their winning photo will be featured on the Humane Society’s homepage.
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