SALT LAKE CITY -- FOX 13 Studios was filled with four-legged friends Sunday afternoon for the annual Hope for the Holidays Telethon. This year the community combined to raise more than $131,000 for the Humane Society of Utah, which is a new record for the event.
“On any given day at the Humane Society of Utah, we will have 400 to 500 animals in the building,” said Jamie Usry, Director of Development for the Humane Society of Utah.
Thanks to this telethon, most of these animals will be cared for, and maybe even taken home to loving families.
“Without the support of the community, organizations, individuals, out here around Utah, we could not save the 11,000 lives we will save by the end of this year,” Usry said. “We do not get tax dollars, we’re not a government organization, and we’re not a part of any national organization. Every dollar you donate to the Humane Society in Utah stays here in Utah to save lives.”
Behind the scenes, dozens of people volunteered their time to make the telethon a success, including some local celebrities answering the phones, like the Utah Utes Basketball Team.
“It’s great, it’s always great for us to give back to the community,” said Utah Ute Jakob Poeltl.
Coach Krystkowiak said his family has always had a special connection with shelter animals.
“We’ve done some rescuing from some different shelters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had another dog or two by the time this telethon is over,” Krystkowiak said.
FOX 13’s most recognizable faces were also in full support, shaking paws with our fury friends throughout the day.
Chief Meteorologist Brett Benson’s family has three adopted pets, but he said you don’t have to bring an animal home in order to help.
“A lot of times people have allergies, and they can’t have pets, so this is a great way to support a pet, to donate to the Humane Society if you can’t have a pet in your home,” Benson said.
The Humane Society says every donation, whether two dollars or $2,000, is equally important, and in 2015 it was history making.
“For the first year ever in our 55-year history: we will end this year as a no-kill shelter,” Usry said.
By putting these furry faces on TV, the real hope for the holidays is that all these new friends find loving homes by Christmas. In the past three days, 172 animals have been adopted.
“What we hope is people see the spirit or personality behind that animal, it’s not just an animal that’s left at that shelter because there is something wrong with that animal: it’s usually an owner problem, so what we want people to realize is this is a great pet,” Usry said.
If you missed the telethon, it’s not too late to donate as you actually have until midnight Sunday. For more information or to donate, click here.