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Lucy Pet Foundation’s Rose Parade float promotes pet spay/neuter – Features Daniel

Joe Dwyer with his dog, Daniel, on the Lucy Pets Foundation Float at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Daniel was rescued from a gas chamber.

Pasadena Star News: IRWINDALE>> Tillman the skateboarding bulldog has hung up his gear for the 2014 Rose Parade, and it’s for a good cause.

Joey Herrick, former president of Natural Balance pet foods who organized the last five years of Tillman Rose Parade floats, has changed gear. He left the pet food company to start his own nonprofit . His hope is to reduce the amount of unwanted pets that end up in the gas chamber.

“I’m determined to make a change in the way things have been done,” Herrick said. “Once you get in the shelters and you see what’s going on, it’s horrific. They are putting animals to sleep because there are just so many coming in.”

Herrick founded The Lucy Pet Foundation three months ago with former Los Angeles SPCA director of veterinary services and well known pet health activist Karen “Doc” Halligan. The organization is named after Herrick’s dog Lucy, whom he found on the side of the road with tire marks on her back – and already pregnant with five puppies.

The foundation uses a “spay/neuter mobile” to drive around and perform low-cost surgeries for those who can’t afford it otherwise or don’t have the resources to get to a veterinarian. The one surgery truck has already spayed or neutered more than 250 dogs and cats in Southern California and as the organization continues to grow, Herrick said he hopes to one day have 50 trucks, one for every state in the country.

And he said the Rose Parade is the perfect launching point.

“There’s no better way to create awareness for anything than the Rose Parade,” Herrick said. “My floats have been very successful the last five years and this year is no exception.”

Herrick has already put in $500,000 of his own money to get the foundation up and running, and pledges to never take a salary or use donation money for anything but helping animals. The funds for this year’s Rose Parade float came completely out of his own pocket.

“A lot of charities raise money but not a lot of it goes to animals,” he said, adding he hopes to raise enough money to also give grants to other animal welfare groups.

Halligan, the director of veterinary services for the foundation, said her partnership with Herrick has been a “match made in heaven.”

“We are really focusing on the solution, instead of still euthanizing animals in a shelter, which I did,” Halligan said. “The mission for The Lucy Pet Foundation is to reduce pet overpopulation by having mobile spay/neuter clinics all across the country and to also work with causes that benefit animal welfare.”

The Lucy Pet Foundation Float will be a three-ring circus with five performing dogs from Stunt Dog Productions, which features rescued shelter dogs. Founder Chris Perondi, of Stockton, said his mission fits right in with The Lucy Pet Foundation.

“I just realized that there are so many dogs out there that are getting euthanized every day, you walk through a shelter and you cant help but tear up knowing the dog you’re standing in front of it might be his last day and it might be the greatest dog ever,” Perondi said. “I made it my mission to adopt dogs and I really got into dog training and teaching them how to do tricks.”

Also on the float will be Daniel, the beagle who survived an Alabama shelter gas chamber when he was six months old. Daniel and his owner Joe Dwyer, of New Jersey, now travel across the country advocating for an end to shelter gas chambers as a method of euthanasia.

Southern California resident Jose Pila and his dog Ranger will also ride on the float. Pila won the “How a Rescue Dog Changed My Life” contest for the float slot; Pila served in Iraq and has relied on Ranger to help him cope with PTSD.

“The whole float is quite meaningful,” Herrick said. “There are unbelievable stories this year.”

For more information, visit www.lucypetfoundation.org

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January 2, 2014 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Health, Pets, Stop Euthenization | 6 Comments