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To some people, Facebook might seem like a complete waste of time. After all, do you really need to know about your ex’s new girlfriend? Or your college roommate’s appendectomy? Or what your mom had for dinner last night? The site is full of useless chatter and lots of ways to waste time.
But the social networking giant has a global reach that can’t be ignored, and it’s actually proved monumentally effective for many animal rescuers and advocates. From shelters to vegan outreach groups to death row dog advocacy organizations, animal lovers of all kinds have utilized the site to help further these important causes.
Here are four Facebook campaigns that have actually resulted in lives saved and animals rescued:
1. Save Mickey
In a case that made national news, Mickey the pit bull was potentially facing a death sentence after he mauled a four-year-old Phoenix boy. The little boy, who was under the care of a babysitter at the time, wandered onto the property of Mickey’s owner and reportedly tried to take a bone out of the dog’s mouth.
A Facebook campaign was launched in Mickey’s defense, and animal lovers the world over came together to Support Mickey and raise funds. Advocates argued that he had been subjected to abuse and a lack of socialization, conditions which led to his behavior issues. A judge agreed and eventually spared Mickey’s life.
Instead of having him put to death, she ruled that he would be defanged and neutered before spending the rest of his life in the Maricopa County sheriff’s no-kill animal shelter: the MASH Unit. The shelter, founded by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is designed to care for and rehabilitate abused and neglected animals.
2. Haven Humane Society and the Clover Fire
When the Clover Fire decimated more than 8,000 acres and 68 homes near Redding, Calif., the local animal shelter sprung into action. The Haven Humane Society team worked tirelessly to make room for displaced pets and communicated to the public at large about animal status and unfolding events, as well as served as an information source for worried families and pet owners. During the crisis, they used their Facebook page to communicate crucial info, request donations, and share photos of rescued animals so they could be reunited with their owners.
They also used the page to post the names and phone numbers of businesses offering temporary boarding services. They asked for pet and livestock feed donations and posted happy, heartwarming reunion stories.
3. Landfill Dogs
Like most homeless pets, dogs at the Wake County Animal Shelter, near Raleigh, N.C., were faced with a grim chance at survival. But when photographer Shannon Johnstone and her husband Anthony started taking the dogs to a local landfill for photo sessions, they started a life-saving mini-movement.
The duo chose dogs who had been in the shelter the longest and were most in need of exposure. They then started taking one dog a week to the nearby landfill — a grassy, open area where the pups could run free.
The stunning pictures, which showcase the dogs’ joy, enthusiasm, and unique personalities, are shared on a Facebook page dubbed Landfill Dogs. The page has become a huge hit with potential adopters and now has more than 31,000 likes. The couple has helped save lots of lives, and shelter staff call Johnstone an angel.
Shelter dogs are put to death every day — many of them depressed, dejected, and utterly hopeless about life. But not all end their lives at the local pound. Some are saved, often thanks to Facebook.
Take Chelsea, a sweet but sad one-year-old pit bull who was locked up in San Bernardino Animal Control shelter. She was so depressed that she spent all her time in the corner of her cage, turning her back to potential adopters passing by — a heartbreaking sight.
A photo of the traumatized pup was posted by Save SBC Shelter Pups, and it viral right before her scheduled death date. People the world over shared the sad photo of Chelsea huddled in the corner, back to the camera. The result was a waiting list to adopt Chelsea. A truly happy ending, thanks to the power of Facebook.
Lead image source: mtaphotos/Flickr