New PSA Effort Promotes Shelter Pets

Adoption Campaign Tackles Pet Stereotypes

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People are being urged to adopt shelter pets in a new PSA effort, the Shelter Pet Project, from the Ad Council in partnership with the Humane Society of the U.S. and Maddie's Fund. The effort is the first PSA project to bring together the largest animal welfare organizations and many shelters to increase pet adoption.

The Shelter Pet Project seeks to change the public's perception of shelter pets and urges Americans to save a pet's life by adopting from a shelter or rescue group. According to the Humane Society and Maddie's Fund, 8 million pets enter shelters and rescue group facilities each year, and 3 million healthy and treatable pets are euthanized due to lack of adoption. There are about 75 million dogs and 88 million cats in U.S. households, and most are obtained from pet stores, the Internet, friends and breeders.

"By reaching a subset of the population uncertain about where they'll obtain their next dog or cat and convincing them that an animal shelter is the best source, we can end the euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats in this country," said Wayne Pacelle, president-CEO of the Humane Society, in announcing the effort. "The animal welfare cause has never had an advertising campaign with this creativity."

The PSAs, which were created pro bono by Draftfcb Chicago, look at the stereotypes associated with shelter pets and position shelters and rescue groups as a desirable place for people to find a pet. The TV, radio, print, outdoor and Web ads direct audiences to visit a new comprehensive website for more information on adopting pets from shelters. It includes a "Pet Personals" section, where users answer questions and are then matched with adoptable pets from local shelters and rescue groups through

Shelter Pet Project will also use social media strategies, including blog and online outreach, as well as social networking initiatives, through Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

A second series of national PSAs about pet adoption was developed with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and star characters from Disney's "Santa Buddies" to engage parents and their children.

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