The ASPCA Honors Animal and Human Heroes at the 2017 Humane Awards Luncheon

November 16, 2017

Humane Awards Luncheon 2017

Each November at our annual Humane Awards Luncheon, the ASPCA proudly recognizes special animal and human heroes who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion and commitment as animal welfare champions over the past year.

The Humane Awards honor inspirational animals and people across the country who are doing exceptional work in advancing the ASPCA’s mission of providing effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Following a nationwide public call for nominations, an ASPCA-appointed committee reviewed hundreds of entries and selected winners in six categories, including the brand new ASPCA Citizen Hero Award.

The 2017 ASPCA’s Humane Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday, November 16th in New York City and was emceed by NBC anchor Chuck Scarborough. Event sponsorship was provided by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group. Accommodations for honorees were generously provided by the Plaza Hotel, a Fairmont property. Additional support was provided by west elm and Studio Fun International. 

We are excited to share our 2017 Humane Award honorees:

ASPCA Dog of the Year: “Rescue,” Cambridge, MA

2017 Dog of the Year

Rescue, a service dog trained by National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS), provides essential support to Jessica Kensky, who became a double amputee as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Rescue’s assistance for Jessica includes opening doors, fetching objects, calling for emergency help, and many other tasks. Rescue also provides Jessica and her husband Patrick Downes with invaluable emotional support and comfort that has helped transform their lives after tragedy.

ASPCA Cat of the Year: “Flame,” Greenville, SC

2017 Cat of the year

Flame was a malnourished orange and white kitten when he strayed into the Belmont Fire Department in South Carolina in 2015. He attached himself immediately to the firefighters, who returned the affection, opening their home and hearts for him. Flame brings them companionship and comfort, even during the most stressful and tragic moments, and also participates in educational events with local children.

ASPCA Citizen Hero Award: Judy Obregon, Fort Worth, TX

2017 Citizen Hero

When Judy Obregon discovered that an area near Fort Worth, Texas, had become a dumping ground for abandoned, injured, and deceased animals, she knew she had to take action. Since 2010, Judy has visited this financially challenged, high-crime area to rescue animals, arrange veterinary care, and assist with their adoption. With help from a network of local volunteers she formed, Judy has rescued more than 300 dogs to date, inspiring animal-lovers across the country.

ASPCA Henry Bergh Award: Mission K9 Rescue, Houston, TX

Mission K9 Rescue

Mission K9 Rescue assists American retired military and working dogs who risk their lives in heroic service at home and abroad. While these animals are cared for during their tours of duty, some end up homeless, injured, and very vulnerable afterward. Mission K9 Rescue provides necessary care and rehabilitation, and facilitates reunion and adoption opportunities. Since its founding, Mission K9 Rescue has reunited more than 70 canine handler teams and rescued more than 100 dogs in need.

ASPCA Equine Welfare Award: Fleet of Angels, Evans, CO

Equine Welfare Award winner

When lifelong horse-lover Elaine Nash saw how badly horses needed help across the U.S., she launched Fleet of Angels, a program to manage large-scale equine crises and to move at-risk horses to safety through a network of thousands of trailer owners and service providers. Earlier this year, in the largest known horse rescue in history, Fleet of Angels took in a group of more than 900 starving and neglected horses that had been seized, and the group has now almost completed the mission of placing them all in good homes. Each year, thousands of horses are assisted by Fleet of Angels’ life-saving work, including horses recently displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year Award: Jessica Brocksom, Milford, CT

Jessica Brocksom

Eleven-year-old animal lover Jessica Brocksom won the job of 2017 Connecticut Kid Governor℠ on the strength of her inspiring animal welfare platform. Elected by fifth graders from across the state, Jessica works actively to help animals and owners in need, including advocating for legislation to allow children to have therapy animals with them while testifying in court, and helping increase awareness of the dangers of leaving dogs and other animals in cars during hot weather.

“The ASPCA Humane Awards demonstrate the life-saving impact both heroes for animals and animal heroes have on their communities and on society,” said President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “They also prove that anyone can make a difference in the welfare of animals, including a South Carolina firehouse, a Connecticut fifth grader, and a dedicated Texas resident. We’re honored to spotlight and support their outstanding efforts.”

Read more about this special event and how your involvement can further our mission.