SOURCE: Pedigree

February 08, 2006 12:03 ET

National Campaign Gives Homeless Dogs New "Leashes" on Life

Actress Minnie Driver Teams With PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs to Help Dogs Find Homes

VERNON, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 8, 2006 --Each year, approximately four million dogs are up for adoption at animal shelters and breed rescue organizations across the country. Sadly, only half of these dogs ever find homes, leaving two million dogs in a dire situation. Kicking off this February, actress Minnie Driver and PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs are giving millions of homeless dogs new "leashes" on life through the second annual The PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive. The national awareness and fundraising campaign rallies and rewards dog lovers nationwide who come to the rescue of the millions of shelter dogs waiting to find good homes.

As a dog owner and lover, dog adoption is a cause close to Driver's heart. "There's nothing more rewarding than coming home from a long day to the unconditional love of my dog," said Driver. "Dogs from shelters and breed rescue organizations make wonderful, loving pets, and I would encourage anyone contemplating getting a dog not to overlook their local pet rescue organizations."

As part of The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive, Driver and the PEDIGREE Brand hope to encourage adoptions and engage dog lovers in this important cause in four simple ways:

--  Support Fundraising Efforts -- The PEDIGREE Brand is committed to
    donating up to $1 million from a portion of all 2006 product sales to
    support qualified animal shelters and breed rescue organizations across the
    country.
--  Earn Free Food -- PEDIGREE will provide a free month's supply of dog
    food to every family/person who adopts a dog in February 2006. Log onto
    pedigree.com for further details.
--  Wear Your Own Dog Tags -- To show support of this cause, "Dogs
    rule®" fashion dog tags are available for free via a mail-in offer;
    PEDIGREE will make a $1 donation for every dog tag redeemed. Plus,
    celebrity-designed dog tags will be auctioned on eBay® from March 6-16,
    2006.
--  Learn About All Things Canine -- Educational information on what to
    expect when adopting a dog is available via a downloadable "Adoption Guide"
    at pedigree.com.
    
"As the brand that loves dogs we're proud to shine a spotlight on the dog adoption crisis and all those homeless dogs that deserve love in their lives," said Rob Leibowitz, Marketing Director, Dog Portfolio, Masterfoods USA, the makers of PEDIGREE Food for Dogs. "Any dog lover knows that it doesn't matter where dogs come from -- they'll love you just the same, so we're hoping that Americans will help us help dogs by getting involved, and ultimately welcoming these pets into their homes."

Dog Adoption Drive in February and Beyond

With love in the air during February, what better time to bring home a source of unconditional love than by adopting a canine companion. To encourage dog lovers to adopt, PEDIGREE will offer a special welcome home gift to anyone who adopts a dog from a shelter or breed rescue organization between February 1 and February 28, 2006 by providing the first month's supply of food free. (See fact sheet for complete details).

"PEDIGREE is not just about dog food, our love of dogs is the driving force behind all that we do," added Leibowitz. And that's why the brand is continuing its commitment to facilitate dog adoptions in 2006 through a fundraising campaign. "By purchasing PEDIGREE products, you'll do your part in raising funds, up to $1 million dollars, to be donated to shelters and breed rescues nationwide."

Make a Fashion Statement

Specially designed dog tags, emblazoned with personal causes and rally calls, are the hottest fashion accessories to grace the necks of Hollywood starlets and fashionistas alike. As a way to show support for homeless dogs, stylish PEDIGREE fashion dog tags can be obtained for free through a mail-in offer. Complete details can be found at www.pedigree.com. The set of chic metal tags are engraved with the official 2006 "Dogs rule®" rally cry and logo. View Images at http://www.newswire1.net/NW2006/A_WEB_CH/WEB3001696/pages/images.htm.

In addition, Driver and other A-list celebrities including Molly Sims and Nicollette Sheridan are lending a hand to the cause by personalizing one-of-a-kind fashion dog tags that will be auctioned on eBay for charity. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the American Humane Association, the nation's leading organization dedicated to animal protection. The celebrity tags will be unveiled on www.pedigree.com as they become available and links to the auction page are available at the site.

"We're honored to be the beneficiary of The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive auction," said Marie Wheatley, president and chief executive officer of the American Humane Association. "Dog adoption is an important cause, and in addition to doing what we can to raise awareness, we're thrilled to partner with a brand like PEDIGREE that is as committed to loving and helping dogs as we are."

Responsible Pet Ownership

It's important to note that adopting a pet is a very important decision that should not be taken lightly. Caring for a pet is a big responsibility, but most dog lovers will tell you that adding a canine to your family will bring a great deal of joy and happiness.

To help educate potential dog owners, www.pedigree.com offers a special dog adoption microsite providing a wealth of information all about dogs, from how the adoption process works, to training and everyday care and nutrition. A downloadable Adoption Guide is a resource for those considering adoption and offers tips and checklists that are handy for first-time animal shelter visits, vet trips and even shopping.

"For the Love of Dogs" Event in New York City

To help jump-start dog adoptions during the Valentine's Day weekend, Driver will be on hand in New York City on February 11, 2006 from 1:00 to 3:30 PM (EST) at Gotham Hall for The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive "For the Love of Dogs" event. This event will feature more than 25 dogs from local shelters that are available for adoption. The event is open to the public, entry is first-come, first-serve, and all guests are required to provide proper documentation necessary for the adoption process, including valid identification.

Onsite event activities will include: a special "Meet my mate" area hosted by Driver to help potential owners meet their perfect dog; an interactive "SELECT-A-DOG®" quiz to help potential owners identify what dogs are right for them; a "Tricks of the trade" station, where renowned dog trainer and author Andrea Arden will demonstrate basic but important dog training techniques; an "Ask a Vet" area for on-the-spot advice and answers to common questions; and much more.

More "Paws" for Consideration -- Dog Owners Give Their Thoughts

If Driver's plea isn't reason enough for considering adopting a shelter or breed rescue dog, results from a recent PEDIGREE-sponsored national survey of dog owners may give even more motivation to adopt a homeless dog:

--  More than three-quarters of dog owners (77.7 percent) believe that
    adopting from a shelter is the right thing to do
--  Six in 10 dog owners (61 percent) agree that shelter dogs make good
    pets
--  Almost nine in 10 dog owners (86.3 percent) say their dog makes them
    feel better about themselves -- both emotionally and physically
--  Nearly two-thirds (64.8 percent) of dog owners say their dog is a good
    source of unconditional love
--  Most dog owners consider their dog part of the family, showcasing
    their pets in family portraits and even on holiday cards (60 percent)
    
PEDIGREE Brand products are available at grocery, pet specialty and mass merchandise outlets nationwide. For more news about PEDIGREE, log onto www.masterfoodsnews.com. For more information on PEDIGREE® products and The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive®, log onto www.pedigree.com. To find a local animal shelter, call 1-800-DOGS-RULE.

About PEDIGREE

PEDIGREE is the number one brand of dog food in the world, offering a wide variety of products for different dog life stages. As an innovative market leader, PEDIGREE is at the forefront of pet nutrition and understands pet owner needs by providing a range of innovative products and resources.

About Masterfoods USA

Masterfoods USA, the United States food, snack and petcare operations of Mars, Incorporated, is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. The combined food, snack and petcare segments are a symbol of excellence for quality brands with more than $5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Hackettstown, NJ, Masterfoods USA employs more than 7,000 associates in the United States, with 15 manufacturing facilities nationwide. The company owns some of the world's favorite brands, including M&M'S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food For Dogs and WHISKAS® Brand Food For Cats.

About the American Humane Association

Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the nation's only organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal welfare and protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curriculum, and trainings to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between animal abuse and other forms of violence, as well as the benefits derived from the human and animal bond. American Humane's regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed..."™ End Credit Disclaimer on TV and film productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, DC, is an advocate for child- and animal-friendly legislation at the state and federal levels. Visit www.americanhumane.org to learn more.

About Kompolt

Kompolt was retained to manage the listing. Kompolt is the highly regarded "go-to" online auction agency for creating successful, high value, and high profile promotional and charity auctions for top brand companies and nonprofits. For more information, go to www.kompolt.com.

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