Five individuals were awarded the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Henry Bergh Leadership Award today for unwavering commitment to ending the systematic killing of animals in shelters. The recipients are:

  • Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Austin Pets Alive, whose efforts to end the systematic killing of animals resulted in one of the highest save rates in the nation and the largest community in the U.S. to achieve save rates around 90%. She has also worked to expand that effort to neighboring communities. (Read more by clicking here.)
  • Larry Tucker, City of Austin Animal Advisory Commission, was not only one of the initial founders of Austin’s successful No Kill movement, he was also one of the primary architects and chief legislative proponent of the Austin No Kill Plan which resulted in save rates in around 90%, the largest community in the nation to do so. (Read more by clicking here.)
  • Aimee Sadler, Longmont Humane Society, is changing the concept of “adoptable” to include upwards of 98% of all dogs, redefining our relationship with America’s most maligned breeds, and working to end their killing in “shelters” across the nation. Her 97% save rate for dogs continues to set the standard nationwide. (Learn more by clicking here.)
  • Peter Masloch, No Kill Allegany County, helped spearhead the No Kill movement in Allegany County, MD, by walking in and announcing “There will be no more killing in the shelter.” Masloch worked diligently to reform a shelter that was killing 85%, resulting in a save rate of roughly 94%. Thanks to his unyielding advocacy, the shelter celebrated its first full No Kill year. (Read more by clicking here.)
  • Michael Kitkoski, Rockwall Pets, spearheaded a No Kill effort in Rockwall, Texas. Despite intense opposition and open hostility from shelter leadership and staff, he convinced the Council to pass a unanimous No Kill resolution and has seen save rates dramatically increase, at one point hitting 97%. (Read more by clicking here.)

The announcements were made in a special two-hour national radio program on Animal Wise radio.

Henry Bergh was a 19th Century animal advocate who launched the humane movement in North America. He gave the first speech on animal protection in the U.S., incorporated the nation’s first SPCA, and enforced anti-cruelty laws with passion. Every night, Bergh would patrol the streets of his native New York City looking for animals in need of protection. Upon his death, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of him:

Among the noblest of the land; Though he may count himself the least; That man I honor and revere; Who, without favor, without fear; In the great city dares to stand; The friend of every friendless beast.

To those who opposed Bergh’s attempts at saving the lives of animals, he was known as “The Great Meddler.” The recipients epitomize the unwavering commitment of Bergh to save lives, even in the face of criticism and opposition.

Past winners include Bonney Brown of the Nevada Humane Society, Ryan Clinton of FixAustin, and Robyn Kippenberger of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

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