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A Bipartisan Victory for Pets at the HSUS Congressional Photo Contest

Democrats and Republicans can agree on at least one thing: the importance of family pets

  • Congressional pets met face to face at the 2011 Humane Society of the United States' Congressional Pet Photo Contest.  Bill Petros

  • Arianna Brown (daughter of Sen. Scott Brown) introduced Koda to The HSUS's Connie Harriman-Whitfield and HSLF president Mike Markarian. Bill Petros

  • Ketcham, who came with Rep. Tom Petri, wasn't the only thirsty one at the reception. Bill Petros

  • “House Cat” winner Ike chose to stay home on the couch rather than attend the party.  Lindsay Hamilton

  • Staffer Christopher Schuler nominated Crimefighter because "Most Chuck Norris facts were actually written about Crime. Fact." Christopher Schuler

  • Rep. John Yarmuth declares that "Rice is a true example of an elder statescat who can stare down the toughest world leaders." John Yarmouth

  • Rep. Ken Calvert calls Cali "The quintessential Capitol Hill Dog."  Ken Calvert

  • Do you believe that behind Eva's "sweet eyes lies a beast that obviously lived for a year on the mean streets of D.C.?" Ashley Shillingsburg

Liberty was the winner when the American public took to the polls in The Humane Society of the United States’ 2011 Congressional Pet Photo Contest.

Liberty Belle, that is. The adorable labradoodle, a member of Rep. James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) family, received the People’s Choice Award after more than 1,500 votes were tallied. 

Rep. Lankford’s two young daughters, who were already planning a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit their father, were thrilled to accept the award for their beloved canine companion. “They have a tour of the White House scheduled for tomorrow, but they were more excited to come here and possibly win this award,” said a proud Rep. Lankford.

A canine caucus

At the reception on Capitol Hill hosted by The HSUS and its legislative arm, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Rep. Lankford was joined by dozens of other members of Congress, staffers, and congressional pets. There was pint-sized Koda, who won the “Canine Pawjority Leader” award, accompanied by Arianna Brown, daughter of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). Dachshund Cali attended with Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and accepted the “Barker of the House” award. Also in attendance was excitable Crimefighter, escorted by Christopher Schuler, a staffer for Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.).

"Elder Statesdog" Ketcham “Hopes to set a good example for the nation’s canines,” says Rep. Tom Petri.

A naturalized American

During the awards ceremony, Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) made a few remarks on behalf of the hefty Ketcham, an English bulldog who was awarded “Elder Statesdog.” “He hopes to set a good example for the nation’s canines,” Rep. Petri said. “And even though he’s an English bulldog, he’s 100 percent a [University of Wisconsin] Badger and 100 percent an American dog.”

Felines weren't forgotten

Winning cats included “Elder Statescat” Rice, named after the Hall of Fame NFL receiver Jerry Rice by Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.); “Rising Star Kitten” Eva, who was a stray in Washington, D.C., until she was taken in by her owner Ashley Shillingsburg, a staffer for Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.); and “House Cat” Ike, who can use his thumbs to operate both the remote and a Blackberry, according to Lindsay Hamilton, staffer for Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).

Bipawtisan contest

A total of 233 photos were entered in the bi-pawtisan contest by members and staff, who wrote short blurbs about why their beloved cat, dog, or horse should win. Gary Weitzman, CEO of The Washington Animal Rescue League, and Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of Washington Humane Society, were the guest judges for the contest. They awarded prizes to three cats, four dogs, and one horse among the member entries and to four dogs and four cats among the staff entries.

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