WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, today announced the official start of the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast in the fall as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel. The annual, year-long campaign seeks to identify and honor America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash. Beginning on January 25th, dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at the September 16th star-studded, red-carpet awards gala hosted by Beth Stern and James Denton at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year – the most prestigious honor a canine can receive.
The eight categories for 2017 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program™ from Zoetis; Military Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; Therapy Dogs; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things; Arson Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Following the nominations period, which ends on March 8th, two dozen semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by celebrity judges and the public. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2017 American Hero Dog.
Over the past six years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Mickey Rooney, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Lea Thompson, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.
Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional $5,000. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.
“Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘American Hero Dog’ at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and CEO. “Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this contest is our way of saluting our best friends.”
“For thousands of years, dogs have protected us, comforted us in times of need, and selflessly saved the lives of those around them,” said Mrs. Pope. “We need to recognize their extraordinary achievements and heroism, and I am pleased to serve once again for the sixth year as the platinum presenting sponsor for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. I wish all our remarkable nominees luck and look forward to reading their stories of valor and courage.”
“Hallmark Channel is proud to have the American Humane Hero Dog Awards serve as the focal point of our Pet Project,” said Bill Abbott, the President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “The Pet Project is our on- and off-air advocacy and awareness initiative designed to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, shine a spotlight on the wonderful animals in shelters across the country, and promote adoption.”
Key dates for the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:
Nominations: January 25 – March 8
1st Round Voting: March 29 – May 3
2nd Round Voting: May 17 – June 28
3rd Round Voting: July 12 – August 30
American Humane Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles – September 16
Nominations for 2017 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech Awards to Open February 2
And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second campaign – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Starting February 2 at 12pm Pacific Time, pet owners and animal lovers across America will be invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 16.
More information about the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org. For more information about the 2017 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards, please visit www.herovetawards.org.