A Merritt dog rescue will get its wish for an expanded dog care facility thanks to a $100,000 grant from soft drink giant Pepsi.
Angel's Animal Rescue Society received the most votes in the national Pepsi Refresh Project, a contest offering cash prizes for the best ideas from humanitarian and welfare groups across the country, winning the top cash prize, it says will be used for a Canadian version of Utah's "Dogtown."
Angel's rehabilitates and cares for dogs and became known in Canada last year through its help for a dog, April Rain, who was widely reported in the news for being abused by her owner.
"It was actually just confirmed on Monday," says Judanna Dawn-Caros, founder of Angels Animal Rescue. "We're the official winner of the $100,000."
Voting ended June 30 after several months of competition between competing groups.
Pepsi's Refresh Project webpage breaks down the use of the funding as follows: $50,000 for indoor housing and a rehabilitation centre, $25,000 for a spay and neuter program, $5,000 for spay and neuter education, and $20,000 for veterinary expenses.
"It can be spent in no other way," says Dawn-Caros, who urges the public to continue with their support.
Angel's rescue, which sits on an 11-hectare parcel of land, is located in the Sunshine Valley west of Merritt.
Pepsi has also awarded smaller grants to similar groups in Canada as well as a Refresh Project grants in the U.S.
"We launched the Pepsi Refresh Project because we wanted to encourage Canadians to refresh their world and lead to positive change," says Robb Hadley, director of marketing of PepsiCo Beverages Canada.
"The program is focused on inspiring optimism and helping communities and society by refreshing the world one idea at a time ... our goal is to foster positive change with the Pepsi Refresh Project. It can be something small that only affects a specific community or something big that makes an impact in culture."
Through the Refresh Project, Pepsi Canada says it has awarded $1.2 million in grants, engaged 500 communities, and received millions of votes through its online polling.
In May, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District enlisted its support to help Angel's obtain a 60-hectare parcel of land.
"It was a unanimous vote by the TNRD to obtain Crown land and expand the facilities where neighbours will not be bothered," says Dawn-Caros.
She adds that the new facility purchased with the award money will be portable and can be relocated once the shelter finds a new home.
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