DOGNY: America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs

Mayor Bloomberg and the American Kennel Club announce the DOGNY Public Art Program to benefit Canine Search and Rescue Heroes

Life-Sized Search and Rescue Dogs to Appear on New York Streets

June 25, 2002--Surrounded by live and fiberglass canine heroes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and The AKC Chairman of the Board, Ronald Menaker, announced today The American Kennel Club's DOGNY public art program to place up to 300 life-size dog statues on the streets and public spaces of New York City this summer, with all proceeds going to support America's Search and Rescue Dog organizations.

Artists will paint and decorate statues of Search and Rescue Dogs, to go on display in streets, parks and plazas throughout New York City beginning in August. The dogs will remain on display through November, marking the one-year anniversary of September 11th, before being sold at auction. All net proceeds to go to volunteer and professional Search and Rescue organizations throughout the United States through The American Kennel Club (AKC) Companion Animal Recovery Corporation Canine Support and Relief Fund, an established 501 (C)(3) charity.

"DOGNY is not only a honorarium for those teams, but a fundraising effort to provide essential funds to make sure that Search and Rescue canine teams in New York and throughout the United States will be able to continue their valuable work," said Ronald Menaker, AKC Chairman of the Board.

"The events of September 11 brought to the public's attention the valuable work that Search and Rescue teams perform on a regular basis," said AKC Vice President Dennis B. Sprung, the creator of DOGNY. "It is our hope that the DOGNY project will serve as a tribute to the tireless efforts of these canine teams and raise funds needed to help them continue their efforts."

Three hundred dog and handler teams from as far away as Washington, California, Texas, Utah and Puerto Rico participated in the search and rescue missions associated with the events of September 11th. A majority of these organizations are volunteer-based and rely on donations to fund their training, equipment and deployment needs. The AKC provided assistance to many of these organizations and established DOGNY to honor volunteer and professional Search and Rescue Dog teams throughout the United States.

"Our work in Canine Search and Rescue is more important than ever, " said Lt. Dan Donadio of the NYPD Canine Unit. "That is why we appreciate all the help and support we receive from great organizations like The American Kennel Club. Other SAR dogs will benefit from the AKC's DOGNY as well."

Honorary Chairs for the event include Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Professional and amateur artists have submitted more than 200 designs, which will be presented to sponsors for possible production. Some sponsors are directly commissioning designs from the artists of their choice.

Through a collaborative effort with Secaucus based The Hartz Mountain Corporation, a specially licensed Hartz® "Help a Hero" DOGNY Dog Toy was created. Starting this August, the toy will be sold wherever you shop for pet supplies throughout the US. Hartz will donate a portion of the proceeds to the AKC Companion Canine Support and Relief Fund. Founded over 75 years ago, Hartz is committed to enhancing the Human-Animal Bond by providing quality pet products with innovative and technological solutions developed with proven science and love for companion animals.

As a result of this collaboration, The New York Yankees have designated August 24, 2002, "DOGNY Day" at their home game versus the Texas Rangers. At this game, a specially designed Yankees version of the Hartz® DOGNY Dog Toy will be distributed to the first 25,000 children age 14 and younger who enter the stadium.

FedEx, a major corporate sponsor based in Memphis, TN, will be transporting the sculptures to each individual artist's studio and back to the warehouse after having been painted.

The FedEx company is a very familiar and trusted friend to many thousands of exhibitors in the AKC community. Our constituency makes use of their excellent service on a weekly basis and depends on their reliability to deliver on time.

According to Honi Reisman, Senior District Manager, World Service Center Network, Big Apple District, "FedEx is committed to assisting this charity as a way of helping Search and Rescue organizations throughout our nation." According to Daphna Straus, Project Manager of DOGNY, "The logistics support and commitment from FedEx is an integral part of the success of this project. We are delighted to have FedEx's support."

The Iams Company, maker of Iams and Eukanuba Dog and Cat Foods, is sponsoring over twenty sculptures as part of America's tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs. The designs will illustrate the many benefits dogs can bring to our lives.

"Our people were at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of September 11," said Lara Strazdin, manager of external relations at Iams. "We saw how much the search and rescue dogs did for the recovery efforts, and we know how much their dedication meant to the friends and family of the victims. It is our pleasure to support DOGNY and be able to give back to these magnificent animals and their handlers what they give to our country."

Contribute to the AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund

Mayor Bloomberg announcing the DOGNY Project at a City Hall press conference this morning. Left to right: NYC Department of Transportation, Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, AKC Vice President Dennis Sprung, AKC Chairman Ron Menaker, AKC President Al Cheaure, DOGNY Co-Chair Karen LeFrak.
AKC's signature DOGNY Dog sculpture at City Hall.
Mayor Bloomberg introducing Chairman Ron Menaker.
New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and AKC Chairman of the Board, Ronald Menaker shake hands to the wonderful start of the DOGNY Project benefitting search and rescue dogs in America.