Merial Limited has set a goal of donating up to $550,000 through its Paws to Save Pets campaign to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation in 2007. Merial has already donated $400,000 to the Foundation from its 2006 campaign, and $500,000 from its 2005 campaign.
The Paws to Save Pets campaign supports animals affected by natural disasters by donating equally to the AVMF and the Petfinder.com Foundation. The campaign was launched in 2005 shortly after the hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast.
"For the third year now, Merial has chosen to support the AVMF and Petfinder.com Foundation because of the important work the organizations do to assist pets faced in disaster situations," said Elizabeth Fox, interactive marketing manager for Merial. "The AVMF helps support our veterinary customers through grants and the deployment of (AVMA) Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams while the Petfinder.com Foundation helps support shelters that are inundated with pets following a disaster."
Merial plans to raise $50,000 of the $550,000 through an online initiative at www.pawsribbonrally.org. Once logged on, visitors can place a virtual ribbon on their state. For each ribbon placed, Merial will donate 25 cents to Paws to Save Pets and if a visitor sends the Web link to friends, an additional 25 cents will be donated, for up to $100,000.
To raise the remaining $500,000, Merial launched a variety of initiatives this year. One initiative is a dog collar campaign. Pet owners can log on to the Paws to Save Pets Web site, www.pawstosavepets.com, and purchase a collar for $10—$7 will be equally split between the two foundations and $3 will go toward administrative costs.
Another initiative is a coupon campaign, which runs July 1-October 31. For each coupon redeemed from a six-pack of Frontline or a 12-pack of Heartgard, Merial will donate 50 cents to the campaign. Also with purchase of those products, pet owners are eligible to receive a free dog collar charm with a unique identification number that can be used to register their pet online at www.getmehome.com.
"In case the dog is ever lost, someone can log on to the Web site and get the pet owners information to call them," Fox said. "It has a dual purpose—showing their support for the cause but also providing an identification mechanism."
To promote the dog collar and coupon campaign to pet owners, Merial sent merchandising kits to 15,000 veterinary clinics. Veterinarians interested in displaying a kit can call Merial toll-free at (888)-Merial1 (637-4251).
"As a beneficiary of the campaign, the AVMF has received a notable amount of positive attention from pet owners and veterinarians," said Lisa Tommelein, director of development for the AVMF.
Hosting concerts at the AVMA Annual Convention and the North American Veterinary Conference is another way Merial raises funds for Paws to Save Pets. For every invitation handed in at the concert, Merial donates $5 to the campaign.
The funds that the AVMF obtains from Merial are directed toward the Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund, which was established in September 2005 to provide aid for disaster relief efforts in connection with Hurricane Katrina and future disasters. An upcoming article in JAVMA News will highlight how the fund benefited recent recipients. Meanwhile, to learn more about the Foundation, visit www.avmf.org.