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More Than 2,300 Dogs, Cats, Puppies and Kittens Find New Life During Tour For Life® 2016

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After 10 weeks of saving lives across this great nation, North Shore Animal League America’s 16th annual Tour For Life® came to a rousing conclusion on Friday, May 13, 2016. Sponsored by Purina, the world’s largest mobile pet adoption crusade spanned 26,000 miles of American soil and helped to find responsible, loving homes for more than 2,300 homeless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens.

Traveling through 53 cities in 32 states, 10 dedicated offsite drivers navigated four of our state-of-the-art, climate controlled Mobile Rescue and Adoption Units across the country to find homes for Mutt-i-grees in need and spread awareness of the plight of homeless shelter pets. With approximately half of the six to eight million animals entering shelters each year being euthanized nationwide, Animal League America knows it’s imperative that we shine a spotlight on a pressing need in our communities – the need to stop the destruction of highly adoptable shelter animals.

“I get to work with shelters and other rescue organizations throughout the entire world who all share one common goal; to find loving homes for homeless animals in need. It’s a great feeling to know how many people around the world share our passion for rescue,” said Animal League Offsite Manager, Matthew Carroll. “Sixteen years ago when we first started Tour For Life we used one van and went from New York to San Francisco, helping to find homes for 200 homeless animals. It’s an amazing feat, but to see how far it’s come since 2001 is really special.”

16th Annual Tour For Life® Wraps in New York City’s Columbus Circle

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The weather in New York City last Friday may have been rainy and dreary, but the atmosphere in Columbus Circle was vibrant and full of life as North Shore Animal League America celebrated the grand finale of its 16th annual Tour For Life®. The tour kicked off back in March when the iconic Empire State Building was emblazoned with our signature blue and white colors, so it was only fitting the finale be celebrated in the Big Apple as well.

The day was chockfull of special guests, heartwarming moments, and of course plenty of adoptions! In fact, 13 animals were adopted on site out of our brand new Mobile Unit graciously donated by premier sponsor, Purina. But before our four-legged friends could find their perfect human matches, a celebration this big had to be kicked off in style. After NYPD Officer Lauren Leggio performed a beautiful rendition of our national anthem, it was time for the master of ceremonies, PIX-11 Weather Anchor and dedicated Animal League America supporter Linda Church, to greet the crowd. Standing at the podium with her rescue dog, Arty, sitting at her side, Linda spoke about the day she found her perfect match and expressed her excitement for all the people across the country who were lucky enough to experience the same unforgettable moment.

“I’m not the only person who’s had this amazing experience. Right now, across the country, there are thousands of people celebrating their own love matches thanks to Animal League America’s incredible Tour For Life,” said Linda, who adopted Arty, as well as her previous dog, Sam, from Animal League America. “What a brilliant idea, perfectly executed. What an amazing way to save lives, celebrate the joy of rescue, and transform families across the country. I’m honored to be today’s Master of Ceremonies because I believe so deeply Animal League America’s no-kill mission.”

Keeping with the life-saving spirit of the event, Animal League America took the opportunity to thank two New York residents who heroically saved the life of a helpless kitten on the brink of death. Last New Year’s Eve, Michelle Pyrka found a small kitten in the middle of the street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Cold, hungry and alone, it was obvious the kitten needed her help, so without hesitation she stopped her car and saved its life. Not knowing who to call, she reached out to her friend, NYPD Officer Ross Garner. Officer Garner brought the kitten along to his shift that night at the 81st Precinct in Bedford Stuyvesant, fed him, kept him warm and safe for the night. Not even a day later, after getting word of this heartwarming story, Animal League America Volunteer, Foster Parent, and National Spokesperson Beth Stern came to the precinct, named the kitten Brooklyn, and took the little guy home to foster him. To thank Michelle and Officer Garner for their selfless acts of heroism, Animal League America honored each of them with special rescue awards.

“Immediately after I brought the kitten in every cop in the precinct wanted to help and take care of him. It took a group effort by a lot of people to give this kitten a second chance,” Officer Garner said. “He was in rough shape when Michelle brought him to me, so it’s great to know he’s happy and healthy now.”

“I was just trying to save the kitten from being killed in the middle of the road,” said Michelle. “Who would have guessed he’d be fostered by Beth Stern, become an Instagram celebrity and we’d be here being recognized for doing something that you’d think most people would do if they were in the same position?”

Tour For Life 2016 may have ended last weekend after thousands of lives were saved and 26,000 miles were covered, but here at Animal League America the mission to rescue, nurture and adopt homeless animals in need will never cease.

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