Merck Animal Health’s HomeAgain® Announces Finalists for Hero of the Year Award; Voting Begins


September 30, 2013 7:00 am ET

HomeAgain® Pet Recovery Service, a division of Merck Animal Health, today announced the five finalists for the HomeAgain Hero of the Year Award. Chosen by an esteemed panel of judges from the animal welfare community, each finalist was identified as having outstanding dedication to supporting the health and well-being of companion animals.

“We received hundreds of nominations detailing countless ways people are contributing to and making a difference in animal well-being,” said Linda Block, marketing director for HomeAgain. “These stories are a true testament to the amazing character of the people that make up the companion animal community. We are proud to be able to recognize these unsung heroes.”

The award winner will be determined by a public vote, which will run through October 21, 2013. Everyone is encouraged to read about the finalists and vote for their favorite on, as well as share these truly remarkable stories with friends, family and colleagues.

About the Finalists

  • Jeff Bennett, a volunteer pilot with Pilots N Paws, has used his time, money and personal airplane to transport nearly 2,000 animals from kill facilities to shelters and rescue groups in other areas. Because of his dedication of time and resources, these animals  have an opportunity to be placed in a permanent home, receive necessary medical care or become a service animal.
  • Joyce Gerardi, DVM, is the founder of Kindred-Canines In Motion Inc. and offers free veterinary services, including the latest in canine arthritis treatment, to companion and service dogs to keep them in motion and working with people with disabilities.  
  • Jennifer Leary is a Philadelphia Fire Fighter, Red Cross Emergency Responder and founder of Red Paw Emergency Relief. Red Paw works in conjunction with first responders to provide aid and services to pets involved in a fire or other disasters. The organization has responded to nearly 200 calls within the first year of service.
  • Vicki Phillips is a board member for Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue. She grooms, shelters, shuttles, cares for and helps find permanent homes for countless dogs endangered by human mistreatment and natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
  • Theresa Strader, founder of National Mill Dog Rescue, rescues, rehabilitates and finds homes for dogs rescued from puppy mills. She also educates the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry, and has rescued nearly 8,000 dogs since its inception.

In honor of these individuals’ efforts, HomeAgain will make a $10,000 donation in the name of the HomeAgain Hero of the Year award winner, as well as a donation in the name of each of the four finalists. Those donations will be made to Petfinder Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation, Assistance Dogs International or Morris Animal Foundation.

About HomeAgain

The national HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service reunites more than 10,000 lost pets with their families each month and has brought more than one million lost pets home. HomeAgain is more than just a microchip. Once enrolled, a pet’s microchip is registered in the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery Database for its lifetime and members receive additional services such as Lost Pet Posters and Alerts, a 24/7 Pet Emergency Hotline and travel reimbursement of up to $500 for dogs or cats found more than 500 miles from home. HomeAgain memberships are renewable annually for a fee of $17.99.  For more information, visit

About Merck Animal Health

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit

Merck Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. 

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

Media Contacts:
Kelly Goss, 913-422-6846,
Katie Burns, 201-843-5600,

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