The International Fund for Animal Welfare recently held its Animal Action Awards for the first time in the United States on World Animal Day, Oct. 4, in Santa Monica, Calif. The organization recognized six individuals who work toward protecting wild and domestic animals and their habitats. The recipients were:
• Steve Smith and Alayne Marker, founders of Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Ovando, Mont. Smith and Marker’s 160-acre ranch cares for almost 80 rescued disabled animals, including blind and deaf dogs, blind horses and blind cats.
• Glenda Davis, manager of the Navajo Nation Veterinary and Livestock Program in Window Rock, Ariz. In addition to developing and implementing an animal disease response plan for the Navajo Nation, Davis has worked to amend the Nation’s 40-year-old livestock code to include an animal cruelty provision.
• Richie Moretti, founder of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, Fla. Moretti has treated and released more than 750 sea turtles since the hospital opened in 1986. The turtles have been rescued from fishing line entanglements, boat collisions and man-made objects.
• Congressman Nick Rahall, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. House of Representatives (D-West Virginia). Congressman Rahall has supported the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act as well as co-sponsoring the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act.
• Ed Hogan, founder of 15 Hands Horse Rescue Sanctuary and St. Francis Rangers in Hidden Valley, Calif. Hogan’s Family Foundation established a 22-acre sanctuary devoted to the care and rehabilitation of wounded, abused and aging horses. The foundation also developed a rangers program, which gives disadvantaged children an opportunity to bond with the horses and learn to respect animals.
• Marcelo Hoynowski, an eighth grader that created Mypointis.net, a Web site that opposes Canadian seal hunting. It generates 2,500 visitors a month.
In addition, John Garamendi, Lieutenant Governor of California, received the IFAW Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to the environment, conservation and animal welfare throughout his service in the California legislature and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Actor and writer Ben Stein received the IFAW Animal Advocate Award for his leadership on issues affecting animals in crisis. He is also an advocate for the California Health Pets Act, a statewide bill to address the pet overpopulation in California.
The award ceremony took place during IFAW’s Animal Action Week, which takes place the first week of October. The theme was “To the Rescue: Emergency Relief for Animals.”
IFAW distributed free educational materials to schools and youth groups on this topic.
“This year’s theme highlights the need for emergency relief for animals as well as people when disasters strike,” said Fred O’Regan, IFAW president. “For the people caught in tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami, rescuing livestock, pets and local wildlife is a vital part of their recovery.”