June in animal news: Five questions with American Humane's Amy McCullough
We recently introduced a new feature here at Unleashed: Five questions with prominent members of the animal protection community. Here, Amy McCullough, an expert in animal-assisted therapy and the human-animal bond with the American Humane Assn., shares her take on the most important news stories for animals in June and what American Humane will be doing on behalf of animals in July. McCullough's responses represent her own views and not necessarily ours.
Amy McCullough: June has proved that animals, both domesticated and wild, are helpless victims in all kinds of disasters, whether they be natural or man-made. From catastrophic environmental disasters like the Gulf oil spill, to wildfires in Arizona that threaten animal shelters, to heartbreaking situations like the one we recently responded to in Pennsylvania, where nearly 400 cats were being housed in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, American Humane stands ready to help protect, rescue and care for these vulnerable members of our society.
Unleashed: What were American Humane's biggest projects in June?
McCullough: American Humane's volunteer animal-assisted therapy teams completed a successful pilot program that provided animal-assisted therapy to military veterans experiencing homelessness. We also launched our biggest effort to date for Adopt-A-Cat Month®, to encourage cat adoption during "kitten season" and help reduce the tragedy of pet overpopulation.
Unleashed: What will American Humane be working on in July?
McCullough: We plan to expand our Therapy Animals Supporting Kids (TASK)™ program, which incorporates therapy animals into the legal process to help children who have been abused or neglected.
Unleashed: How can interested animal lovers help in July?
McCullough: In July, enter the PAWS and Doodles contest by submitting a short essay and a doodle about your pet to Paws4Claws.com. Paws4Claws™, the sponsor, will donate your $5 entry fee and more to our Pets and Women's Shelters (PAWS)® Program, which helps domestic violence shelters allow women fleeing abusive relationships to bring their pets with them.
Unleashed: What do you think is the most common misconception about your organization?
McCullough: People think we are a local humane society or an animal shelter. We are actually the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals from abuse and neglect through a variety of programs.
Amy McCullough is the Manager of Program Development with American Humane's Animal-Assisted Therapy Program, part of the organization's Human-Animal Bond Division.
Photo: McCullough with her therapy dog, Bailey. Credit: American Humane