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February 13, 2013

NBC Today Show Puts Spotlight on Pet Adoption

The Shelter Pet Project, a collaborative public service advertising campaign between The HSUS and Maddie’s Fund, and the leading producer of PSAs, the Ad Council, has partnered with NBC’s TODAY Show for a series of television ads featuring TODAY’s anchors advocating on behalf of four social issues — shelter pet adoption, fatherhood involvement, hunger prevention and emergency preparedness. As part of a weeklong series, “TODAY Takes Action,” The Shelter Pet Project PSA features a personal look at TODAY show anchor Natalie Morales and her adopted shelter dog, Zara, voiced by Jenna Elfman. Morales adopted Zara after doing a pet adoption segment for TODAY in April 2011, and she’s become a passionate advocate for pet adoption.

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Natalie Morales' adopted dog Zara.

The full segment, which aired on TODAY this morning, includes a behind-the-scenes “making of the PSA” segment on the brainstorming effort during the campaign development process and the premiere of the PSA, created pro bono by the Draftfcb ad agency in Chicago.

The Problem: While the percentage of pets adopted has risen since 2009 (from 27 percent to 29 percent), approximately 2.7 million healthy and treatable pets are still euthanized each year due to a lack of available homes. Despite the many loving animals available for adoption, with only 29 percent of household pets adopted from a shelter or rescue group in 2012, the remaining 71 percent were obtained from friends, pet stores, breeders or other sources. If we just had a modest uptick in adoption and rescue – in concert with continued efforts on spaying and neutering and information for new pet owners to make sure they can address some of the behavioral challenges that dogs and cats present – we could solve the problem of euthanasia of healthy animals.

The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council launched the Shelter Pet Project PSA campaign in late 2009 to help drive up pet adoption numbers. The campaign emphasizes the loving relationship between pets and their owners and encourages people to make shelters and rescue groups their first choice when seeking a beloved companion. All of the PSAs direct people to theshelterpetproject.org, an interactive website with a search tool to help users find their new companions at a nearby shelter or rescue group.

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