Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell’s Experience at New York City Animal Shelter Inspires “Shelter Stories,” Weeklong Mutts Comic Strip Series that Begins February 1st

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Story will be featured in national PBS series, Shelter Me. Award-winning artist and animal advocate Patrick McDonnell, creator of the MUTTS comic strip, has turned his experience at New York City’s only public, open-admissions animal shelter, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), into a week’s worth of MUTTS comics called “Shelter Stories,” which begin running today.

Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell’s Experience at New York City Animal Shelter Inspires “Shelter Stories,” Weeklong Mutts Comic Strip Series

ACC of NYC is rapidly becoming a role model for large-scale city shelters, and NYC should be proud of all that has been accomplished. It was an uplifting experience and led me to create a series of MUTTS strips based on my visit there. -Patrick McDonnell

Award-winning artist and animal advocate Patrick McDonnell, creator of the MUTTS comic strip, has turned his experience at New York City’s only public, open-admissions animal shelter, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), into a week’s worth of MUTTS comics called “Shelter Stories,” which begin running today. King Features distributes MUTTS to more than 700 newspapers.

To see the daily Mutts “Shelter Stories” comic, visit Mutts.com.

Patrick McDonnell takes a hands-on role with staff, volunteers and the hundreds of animals in ACC’s care. From participating in doggy playgroups to helping teach a cat how to give “high-fives,” Patrick experiences first-hand the ins and outs of one of the nation’s largest open-admissions animal shelters. He uses this experience to create his latest series of "Shelter Stories" strips to encourage people to adopt animals from shelters.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at ACC of NYC, but what I found was dedicated, driven staff and volunteers, actively involved rescue groups, a supportive community, and adoptable, loving animals,” said McDonnell. “ACC is rapidly becoming a role model for large-scale city shelters, and NYC should be proud of all that has been accomplished. It was an uplifting experience and led me to create a series of MUTTS strips based on my visit there. My hope is that by telling these stories, readers will be inspired to support their local shelters and to adopt a new best buddy.”

Patrick McDonnell was filmed during his time at ACC of NYC and will be featured in the national PBS series, Shelter Me. Episode six, “Shelter Me: Hearts and Paws,” is presented by the Petco Foundation and will debut in May. The film also features Oakland-based Cat Town Café, the first cat café in the country. They work closely with their local shelter, Oakland Animal Services (OAS), and have helped to dramatically increase cat adoptions.

"The Petco Foundation is proud to partner with the Shelter Me series which showcases transformational adoption stories," said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. "And, in turn, encourages people to get involved to adopt pets in their own community."

To see a clip from the film, visit ShelterMe.tv.

“We’re delighted that ‘Shelter Me,’ which does such a great job promoting pet adoption, is spotlighting ACC,” said Risa Weinstock, ACC’s Executive Director. “And we’re grateful to Patrick McDonnell, a true animal advocate, for spending time getting to know our staff and the wonderful animals they care for.”

The World Premiere of “Shelter Me: Hearts and Paws” will be held in New York City on April 7th. For tickets and more information, please contact Katy Hansen at: khansen@nycacc.org

The "Shelter Me" series was created by filmmaker Steven Latham to inspire people to get involved with their local shelters and to show that shelter animals are the best pets.

Reprint permission for the comic strips in the Mutts “Shelter Stories” may be obtained by contacting Claudia Smith at King Features: cmsmith@hearst.com

About Shelter Me
Shelter Me is an inspiring PBS series that celebrates shelter pets by telling positive and uplifting stories. The project also includes a website - ShelterMe.com - which enables anyone to create and share profiles of shelter pets to help increase adoptions. Shelter Me works closely with other animal welfare organizations to implement effective spay-neuter and humane education programs in communities and progressive initiatives at animal shelters. Halo, Purely for Pets is a founding sponsor of the Shelter Me series.

Follow ShelterMeTV on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About The Petco Foundation
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $135 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 4.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved.

About Patrick McDonnell
Patrick McDonnell is a New York Times best-selling author and the recipient of multiple awards from the National Cartoonists Society, including Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year and Newspaper Strip of the Year. A dedicated animal advocate and Genesis Award recipient, McDonnell regularly lends his talents to animal-protection groups and issues, including The Humane Society of the United States, where he serves on the national board of directors. McDonnell is also on the board of directors of the Fund for Animals and the Charles M. Schulz Museum. He resides in New Jersey. For more information, please visit: Mutts.com

About King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate is a member of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication Group, which combines Hearst cable network partnerships, TV programming activities, newspaper syndication and merchandise licensing operations. King Features is the world’s premier distributor of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games to newspapers, magazines, web portals, mobile outlets and news organizations worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.kingfeatures.com. Follow us on Twitter @KingFeatures. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KingFeatures. Check out our online entertainment destination at ComicsKingdom.com.

About Animal Care Centers of NYC
Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, taking in more than 30,000 animals each year. ACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that rescues, cares for and finds loving homes for animals throughout the five boroughs. ACC is an open-admissions organization, which means it never turns away any homeless, abandoned, injured or sick animal in need of help, including cats, dogs, rabbits, small mammals, reptiles, birds, farm animals and wildlife. It is the only organization in NYC with this unique responsibility. Visit http://www.nycacc.org for more information, and follow ACC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Animals available for adoption can be viewed online at http://nycacc.org/AdoptionSearch.htm, or on ACC’s free mobile app (available on Google Play and iTunes). ACC adoptions include vaccinations, a microchip, spay/neuter, a free office visit at a participating veterinarian and a free identification tag. Follow NYCACC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Shelter Me: Steven Latham, 310-751-6130, info@ShelterMe.tv
Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC): Katy Hansen, 646-468-6515, khansen@nycacc.org
King Features: Claudia Smith, 212-969-7542, cmsmith@hearst.com

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