published Monday, September 10th, 2012

National pet photo contest can benefit a local shelter

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    In this Oct. 26, 2011 photo, groomer Sara Ingram streaks the fur of Yorkshire terrier Betsey Johnson.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

So you think your pet is the cutest ever?

If others think so, too, you could win $5,000 for your favorite pet shelter by competing in the Humane Society of Shelter Pets national photo contest.

The HSSP encourages owners of rescue dogs or cats, as well as shelters with adoptable pets in need of homes, to submit photos of their favorite four-legged friends to its Shelter Sweetheart photo contest through Oct. 31.

The owner of the pet whose photograph earns the top score will get to designate a gift of $5,000 in his or her name to a local shelter or rescue group, and five first-prize winners will get to designate gifts of $1,000.

While the photo contest is a great way for all shelter-pet owners to earn bragging rights for their favorite dogs and cats, it's also an opportunity to highlight the achievements of pet shelters and rescues while raising awareness about the need for local support to help them continue to fulfill their missions.

According to HSSP director Diana Culp, 14 million Americans have adopted shelter pets, but an additional 3 million pets a year are still waiting to find homes.

"Unfortunately, many of the organizations that do the important work of rescuing and re-homing these healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are in chronic need of additional funding," Culp said.

Pet lovers over the age of 18 with a shelter pet, adopted or adoptable, can submit a photo online at Anyone with a Facebook account can log in and rate their favorite pet images posted in the HSSP photo contest gallery.

For more information, visit

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