Tallahassee, FL - Thanks to the over-the-top participation and involvement of the Tallahassee community, the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center (ASC) won the $25,000 Community Engagement Award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The announcement was made by the ASPCA today. The award is part of the ASPCA’s $100K Challenge, a national contest designed to inspire animal shelters across the country to save more lives.
“It’s this type of award that makes me proud to be a Tallahasseean,” said Mayor John Marks. “From students and local businesses to celebrities and everyday citizens, every portion of our community stepped up and got involved. This is truly a community that cares.”
Over the three month Challenge period, the ASC saved 1,288 lives. It was able to increase lives saved over the same time period last year, but more impressive, it increased the number of animals adopted by 57 percent. This success is due in no small part to the community outpouring of support that included businesses creating their own collateral and events, unprecedented media coverage, the support of over 20 celebrity agents and more.
Below is a sampling of some of the community participation.
The Southeastern Community Blood Center held two blood drives in partnership with the ASC and included a write up and photos in its October newsletter.
Leon County schools and local private schools helped promote a special weekend for students by sending materials home via email distribution lists.
Fermentation Lounge made a silent film. It also teamed up with local artist Patty Maney to make t-shirts, which were sold at the Lounge during a special event, Dogtoberfest. All proceeds from the shirt sales were donated to the ASC.
Lucy and Leo’s baked cupcakes designed with paw prints and cat faces.
Opus Broadcasting, which includes Hot 104.9, 103.1 The Wolf, 99.9 Hank FM and Q106.1, sold advertising packages and matched them with Challenge ads.
Star 98.9 hosted a live remote.
Tallahassee Democrat editor, Bob Gabordi, not only blogged but also taped a video interview with his dogs, in addition to running numerous stories and editorials.
New Leaf Market sent out information in its newsletter.
Good Friends Group Fitness posted its Star on its website.
All the local TV and radio outlets invited animals on air to give examples of the animals the ASC cares for.
For a two-week period at the end of October, Tallahassee residents showed their love for the ASC by voting daily. In total, the ASC amassed 23,543, over double what the nearest other finalist received. Thanks to the community’s dedication, the ASC was the No. 1 vote-getter during the Challenge.
“This challenge has been an incredible experience. When a community steps up for a cause, like Tallahassee did for the homeless animals in the care of the ASC, it speaks to the values of that community,” said Erika Leckington, director of the ASC. “I echo the Mayor’s sentiments. This is a community that not only talks the talk, it walks the walk.”
The entire campaign was documented by WCOT, the City’s government access cable channel, in its special mini-series, Pet-ertainment Tonight. For this effort, the City also took to the Internet with its very first blog, which can be read at DaisysDiary.wordpress.com or on Tallahassee.com, where it was a featured blog. The City also enhanced its social media presence by creating the official City of Tallahassee – Animal Service Center Facebook page and sending over 265 tweets on its @COTStars Twitter account.
In addition to winning the $25,000 grant award, the ASC also won $1,000 thanks to one adopted dog’s sweet tale. Leckington entered her adoption story and a photo of her newest dog, Smellie, into the ASPCA’s photo contest. Out of all the entrants nationwide, Smellie was voted among the top six, which won the ASC an addition $1,000.
A special celebration will be held next Tuesday, Dec. 7. ASPCA officials will be in town to present the City with the grant. More information will be forthcoming.
In the end though, the ultimate winners of this Challenge were the newly adopted animals and their new owners. The ASC is operated and maintained by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department. For more information, please visit Talgov.com/animals. You can also receive information by calling the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service Center at 891-2950, stopping by the ASC (open Tuesday-Sunday) or finding the ASC’s official page on Facebook. For more information about the ASPCA’s $100K Challenge, please visit www.aspcapro.org/challenge.