Few Days Left to Vote for Animal Planet Award
Viewers can vote for finalists in Animal Planet's third Hero of the Year Award now through Oct.13. (Pet Pulse Illustration by Mike Lloyd)
NEW YORK -- The finalists devote their lives to animals -- whether they be horses, greyhounds or bats. But which contestant deserves the Animal Planet's Hero of the Year award?
Viewers now have four more days to vote in the third annual contest, choosing from 10 nominees across the country.
The contest, which launched on March 31, will grant the selected "Hero" $10,000 for his or her favorite charity and a trip for two to the winner's choice destination.
Animal Planet received 8,200 nominations this year for the award, Animal Planet publicist Erin Pryor said.
"The Hero of the Year award honors outstanding animal heroes in communities across the country that have made a difference in the lives of countless animals," Pryor wrote in an e-mail to Pet Pulse.
The roster of finalists includes a former deputy sheriff who once lost part of her leg saving a dog's life -- she now runs a big cat sanctuary.
Then there is the head of a non-profit organization, Project POOCH, which matches incarcerated youth with unwanted shelter dogs, the leader of a bat rescue group and the founder of a wild horse rescue organization.
Advocates for abandoned greyhounds, low-cost spay-neuter programs and service dogs are also represented in the nominee list.
Voters can cast their choice online at AnimalPlanet.com until Wednesday. The winner will be announced sometime in late November, publicist Tahli Kouperstein says.
Last year's award went to Jean Beasley, founder of The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabiliation Center.
The North Carolina resident founded the organization in 1997 in memory of her daughter's efforts to save wild sea turtles.
"Jean's around-the-clock dedication and devotion to saving turtles is shown in the tireless number of hours she devotes to their rescue and care. Her efforts have brought international attention to the uncertain future sea turtles face," a statement read.
The center recovers 12 to 20 sea turtles a year.
The competition also includes another element, the Fresh Step Cat Hero Award, which grants recipients $5,000 for their charity of choice.
The award went to Cimeron Morrissey, a California resident, last year. She was nominated for her work as founder of Project Bay Cat, which helps the stray cats that live in the rocks along San Francisco Bay.
To learn more about the contest or to vote online for a finalist before Oct. 13, visit
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