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KATRINA HEROES HONORED BY WKC

NEW YORK -- On Monday evening of The Westminster Kennel Club's 130th Annual All Breed dog show, the club recognized a number of individuals and organizations in the dog world that joined with Westminster in being active in the rescue and recovery effort after last fall's devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Westminster donated funds to the Louisiana State Veterinary Medical Association, the Louisiana SPCA, the Houston SPCA, and Take The Lead in support of the housing of family pets, the recovery of lost pets, and personal loss suffered by individuals and families.

Club President Peter R. Van Brunt and Show Chairman Thomas H. Bradley, 3d., hosted the presentation on the floor in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden and a national television audience.

Among those honored by the club Monday were: Diane Albers of Lake Mary, FL; Susan Blum of Norwich, VT; Dale and Kerrin Churchill of Macedonia, OH; Gloria Geringer of Denham Springs, LA; Ranny Green of Tacoma, WA; Greer Griffith of New York; the Good Dog Foundation of New York; Take The Lead; the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and the American Kennel Club.

DIANE ALBERS of LAKE MARY, FL is President of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs, an organization that has been doing disaster/relief for the past 16 years. Thousands of helpless, homeless animals were assisted by the FAKC during the hurricane season of 2005. Thanks to the support of breeders and kennel clubs and AKC CAR, the FAKC mobilized more than 200 volunteers, provided all the supplies necessary to ensure the well being of the animals, and coordinated airlifts of over 1,000 animals to safety.

SUSAN BLUM OF NORWICH, VT was offered the opportunity to help her fellow Americans through her active involvement in her local Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT. She worked with Katrina and Rita for two months evacuees as a FEMA employee through the deployment of hundreds of firefighters from across the country. She worked with disaster victims and did special needs assistance which at times meant helping them find pets they had to abandon during evacuation. Susan was a Glen of Imaal Terrier exhibitor here at Westminster today.

KERRIN AND DALE CHURCHILL OF MACEDONIA, OH are known in the dog world as DogPhoto.com - a professional writer/ photography team with a specialty in dogs. When Katrina hit the Gulf, they ripped the seats out of their motor boat and bolted down a dozen wire crates. Packing cameras and camping gear, the Churchill's spent the next two weeks pulling dogs and cats out of abandoned homes in New Orleans. Dale produced the photo montage that you saw to introduce this presentation.

GLORIA GERINGER of DENHAM SPRINGS, LA is an AKC judge spent two months working at LSU Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge where she assisted in receiving animals, helping owners picking up their pets, assisting veterinarians, and even feeding young puppies from a flat head screwdriver because they had no spoons. When she would finally get home, her phone never stopped ringing and she redirected truckloads of supplies from all over the country to shelters and drop off points in Louisiana and Mississippi.

RANNY GREEN of SEATTLE, President of the Dog Writers Association of America, traveled from Seattle to Slidell, LA, where he worked with Noah's Wish for 10 days, walking dogs, cleaning cages, unloading trucks, building shelters, and going through neighborhoods to rescue strays and pets from homes and to distribute food. After returning to Seattle, he wrote a diary-type story of his experiences in which he called it the most rewarding thing he has ever done.

GREER GRIFFITH OF NEW YORK CITY Is a member of the Battery Park City Community Emergency Response Team Animal Search and Rescue Unit. Greer and eight other CERT members traveled to New Orleans and participated in the animal rescue effort. They arranged to receive an RV transport in Battery Park City of eight dogs and four cats from the disaster area. Greer is the coordinator of Westminster's Angel On A Leash at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital New York Presbyterian.

THE GOOD DOG FOUNDATION OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED BY FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT RACHEL McPHERSON: The Good Dog Foundation has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to providing therapy dog services to people who have experienced disasters, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Last November, volunteers and therapy dogs from The Good Dog Foundation visited more than 300 people in 7 towns in Mississippi that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. A visit from Good Dogs reminded these people-who had lost everything-that the outside world still cared.

TAKE THE LEAD, REPRESENTED BY PRESIDENT EDD BIVIN, created a Disaster Relief Fund to provide immediate financial relief to help people in the dog show world who suffered losses from the devastation. Take The Lead was established in 1993 to provide financial support to individuals and families in the purebred dog community who are facing the realities of life-threatening and often financially devastating illness.

THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB, REPRESENTED BY PRESIDENT DENNIS SPRUNG, LAINIE CANTRELL AND STEVE ROBINSON: When Katrina struck, American Kennel Club President DENNIS SPRUNG immediately appointed a staff team that helped the AKC respond quickly to aid all canine victims. 545 AKC clubs and others generously donated $1.1 million to the effort. Working with AKC / COMPANION ANIMAL RECOVERY, this team of 30, led by Communications Director LAINIE CANTRELL, spent days, evenings and weekends fulfilling hundreds of requests for water, food and supplies. Director of Inspections STEVE ROBINSON spent weeks in the affected areas visiting shelters and staging sites, providing assistance where needed. The AKC also arranged numerous airlifts for more than 500 displaced animals.

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, REPRESENTED BY PRESIDENT ED SAYRES, JULIE MORRIS, JESSE WINTERS AND ALLISON CARDONA: The ASPCA dedicated about 200 employees to hurricane relief work, arranging shipments of supplies, dispatching staff and volunteers to the devastated areas, organizing transport of rescued animals to shelters around the country, and supporting the temporary pet receiving areas in any way necessary. Through the generosity of their donors, the ASPCA has been able to invest almost $10 million in the recovery and rebuilding of animal welfare institutions throughout the hurricane-affected area, including the Louisiana SPCA and the Humane Society of South Mississippi.

And of course, this is about the dogs. Here are some of those dogs who are still able to make their people smile because of the efforts of these individuals and organizations.

JOANIE D'AURELIO of the SPCA of Erie County adopted Ory, a male Chihuahua / terrier mix that she fell in love with while working in the rescue effort at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. STEPHANIE HALL of the ASPCA presents Dooley, a candidate for adoption. He is a male Miniature Pinscher, found at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center's VMAT area covered with medical burns. Dooley eventually needed his toe amputated, but Stephanie says he's absolutely perfect, even without the toe. And so she adopted him.

DAVID BENSON of the ASPCA is escorts Louie and his adoptive owner. Louie was relocated to New York City by his family after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home, and was adopted into his new permanent home by the ASPCA.

THE ST. HUBERT'S ANIMAL WELFARE CENTER in New Jersey also was quite active in support of the rescue and recovery effort in the Gulf State. Here are three people who led their effort with dogs that benefited:

ELIZABETH McCORKLE, President of St. Hubert's, has Hubie. Hubie was conceived in New Orleans, and after an AKC airlift, was born in New Jersey, where he was adopted by Nancy Dupree.

NORA PARKER of St. Hubert's has adopted Little Jennifer, rescued in New Orleans, and named for the woman who assisted AKC with chartering the plane.

NANCY DUPREE of St. Hubert's has Kacee, in season when rescued in New Orleans, and now being fostered by Nancy's family. Kacee has an impending reunion with her own family, who relocated to Fort Worth.

For more information about the continuing rescue and recovery effort in the Gulf states, log on to www.aspca.org, www.vetrelieffund.org, or www.akc.org.

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