Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson hosted the 5th annual Michelson Found Animals Leaders in Animal Welfare awards and gala on October 8, 2016 at the W Hotel in Hollywood, CA. Held to raise awareness for animal causes and celebrate those who work in the trenches of animal welfare each day, the Michelson Found Animals gala attracts a wide variety of attendees and honorees, from local rescues and city government, to national pet food manufacturers and politicians.
Among the honorees this year, most notably, was Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a vegan and animal welfare advocate. Senator Booker's support for animal issues while in the senate include:
- Co-sponsorship of the 'Prevent All Soring Tactics Act', which strengthens existing laws against "soring" show horses (the painful method employed to encourage a high-stepping gait).
- Co-sponsorship of the 'Safeguard American Food Exports Act', which bans horse slaughter for food export overseas.
- Opposition to the 'Sportsmen's Act.', which would have reduced protection of federal lands and wilderness areas and encouraged hunting of polar bears. This Act would also have blocked checks on lead ammunition, which is toxic to animals and the environment.
In Senator Booker's personal life, he has also found opportunities to be a hero to pets. He has personally been involved in the rescue of three dogs: one he saved from being exposed to freezing temperatures; another from imprisonment in a crate for four days. A third, a pit bull named Patrick, had been starved, tied up in a garbage bag and thrown down a trash chute when he was rescued. Senator Booker took up Patrick's cause in a column he penned for the Huffington Post in 2011, entitled, "My Birthday Wish to End Animal Cruelty," where he outlined his plans to build a no-kill, state-of-the-art, animal shelter in his home state of New Jersey. He urged citizens to join the cause of spreading awareness of Patrick's story and animal abuse in general, and contribute towards the construction of the animal shelter, which he planned to name, Patrick's Place.
Other honorees of the evening included Best Friends Animal Society for their work toward making Los Angeles a no-kill city, and Halo Purely For Pets, a holistic pet food company that donates food to shelters with every purchase. Cat Town Oakland, a Saving Pets Challenge participant, was also in attendance and got special mention for their excellent progress in reducing euthanasia of shy, senior and other at risk cats in their community.
The Michelson Found Animals Foundation's mission of saving pets and enriching lives is made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson.