Animal lovers donate to northeast pet shelters in honour of Betty White

Animal shelters across the northeast said they have seen an increase in donations, all thanks to a campaign to honour and remember Betty White.

Late actor known for her animal rights advocacy

A black and white photo of the late Betty White with her cat, T.K., was sent by the iconic comedian and actress to a Halifax cartoonist in 1988 – to help celebrate Garfield's tenth anniversary. (Submitted by Adam McCarron)

Animal shelters across northeastern Ontario said they have seen an increase in donations, all thanks to a campaign to honour and remember Betty White.

White, an American actress and comedian, died on Dec. 31. She would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.

Known for her animal rights advocacy, a social media movement called the #BettyWhiteChallenge popped up, encouraging people to donate to local animal shelters.

Jill Pessot, the director of Pet Save in Sudbury, said she never imagined the death of White would prompt an increase in donations.

"We've raised over $9,000," she said.

"We were so surprised. We figured there might be $1,000 or $2,000. I think it just speaks to how much people love Betty White and how much they love their animals. When you put the two together, it was just amazing to watch it."

The North Bay and District Humane Society said it received $9,616 on Monday in donations.

"We rely on the generosity of the public to help animals in need," said shelter manager Janet Bredin.

"The donations we've received will go a long way to helping animals thrive so they can find forever homes."

'Costs up'

Pessot said the pandemic has had an impact on shelters. She said donations have typically been down but demand is up.

"You know, to have something like this come along is a real gift, especially in times where animal shelters have been so busy," she said.

Jill Pessot is the director of Pet Save in Sudbury. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

"We've been overwhelmed with the volume. The sheer volume we've experienced in the past year has sent our costs up by 25 per cent."

Pessot said the fundraising events they usually do haven't been happening.

"So there's some big numbers we have to cover and with COVID, you haven't been able to do our traditional events that were big income earners for us," she said.

"This is a great surprise and helps compensate for the money that charities lose, especially animal rescue."

Both the animal shelters in Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins posted on social media that they had an increase in donations, thanks to the campaign.


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