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SPCA Tampa Bay Awarded $25,000 ASPCA 'Angels in Top Hats' Grant

Humane education programs provide abuse prevention for at-risk youth
December 12, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that the SPCA Tampa Bay has been chosen to receive a $25,000 'Angels in Top Hats' grant from the ASPCA for its exceptional humane education programs and work with at-risk youth.

"The SPCA Tampa Bay's outreach in the community is commendable, and our grant will help them continue their valuable work in humane education," said Michael Barrett, vice president of grants management for the ASPCA. "All of the applications we received were inspiring, but SPCA Tampa Bay's story garnered the most attention - and the most votes - from our staff."

SPCA Tampa Bay's winning submission described the organization's efforts advocating for cruelty prevention by working with at-risk children who choose violence as a way to solve their problems. Since 1994, SPCA Tampa Bay has worked with a local Juvenile Diversion Program to address juveniles who have been arrested for battery and assault on peers at school and/or at home on family. These individuals attend an 'Against Cruelty Together (ACT)-Abuse Link' presentation, which provides insight about the connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty and introduces positive, non-violent behaviors that are appropriate for everyday living.

In 2009, SPCA Tampa Bay partnered with PACE Center for Girls, Inc., which serves girls ages 12 through 17--more than half of whom are victims of physical or sexual abuse and many who are failing or have dropped out of school. The goal of the partnership is to introduce compassion for animals, increase the girls' knowledge of responsibility toward pets, and understand the role their personal compassion for animals plays in the community. The role of the therapy animals--who were also once victims of abuse, cruelty or neglect--is critical, and helps the  girls to open up emotionally.

The ASPCA's 'Angels in Top Hats' grants council is a pilot program designed to award worthwhile grant funding to organizations in need. The council's name pays tribute to the ASPCA's founder Henry Bergh, a dapper, 19th century gentleman with a fondness for side-whiskers and top hats. The ASPCA is among the top providers of grant funds to local animal welfare organizations across the country, supporting its mission of providing effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. Since 2008, the ASPCA has awarded more than $26 million in grants for animal welfare and anti-cruelty assistance in all 50 states as well as other regions. Grant support is provided to a variety of animal welfare organizations through cash awards, sponsorships, executive and technical assistance and training.