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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrating Congressional Pets

It was a "bi-paw-tisan" event that brought "Re-pup-licans" and "Demo-cats" together last evening on Capitol Hill. Hundreds of people and dozens of dogs gathered in suspense as we handed out awards—and treats—and announced the winners of the second annual Congressional Pet Photo Contest, sponsored by HSLF and The HSUS. (Click here to see video.)

With all the critical policy issues facing animals in Congress, including votes this week on federal funding of lethal predator control and horse slaughter, it was a pleasure to take time to celebrate the human-animal bond and the wonderful pets who bring joy and enrichment to the lives of members of Congress and their staff. More than 230 beloved dogs, cats, and horses were entered into the photo contest, and every single one of them touched our hearts.

I loved hearing the stories of how these pets came into the lives of their families and brought so much happiness to the people around them—from Eva and Oberon, cats rescued from the streets of Washington, D.C., to Cali and Koda, dogs who come to work and brighten the days of their coworkers in Congress.

I’d like to thank our judges—Lisa LaFontaine of the Washington Humane Society and Dr. Gary Weitzman of the Washington Animal Rescue League—and all of you who voted online for the People’s Choice Award.

Here is a list of the winning entries. (Click on each name to see the picture.)

People's Choice Award Winner: Liberty – Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.

MEMBER CATS

MEMBER DOGS

  • Rising Star Puppy: Bandit – Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
  • Elder Statesdog: Ketcham – Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wisc.
  • Barker of the House: Cali – Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
  • Canine Paw-jority Leader: Koda – Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.

HORSE AWARD

  • Steed of State: Silent Thunder – Amy Smith, House Transportation Committee

STAFF CATS

  • Rising Star Kitten: Eva – Ashley Shillingsburg, office of Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa.
  • Elder Statescat: Oberon – Barbara Pryor, office of Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
  • Feline Paw-jority Leader: Jack – Leah Seigle, office of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
  • House Cat: Ike – Lindsay Hamilton, office of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y.

STAFF DOGS

  • Rising Star Puppy: Baci – Ray Zaccaro, office of Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif.
  • Elder Statesdog: Shadow – Cherie Homa, office of Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa.
  • Canine Paw-jority Leader: Buckley – Josh Brekenfeld, Senate Rules Committee
  • Barker of the House: Crimefighter – Christopher Schuler, office of Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C.

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