Doing her paw-rt! Animal advocate Cathy Kangas is on a mission to help shelter animals find their forever homes.
The Humane Society Board of Directors member spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about launching Free the Shelters in May 2017 to aid adoption efforts.
“Animal shelters should be temporary foster homes rather than long-term jail sentences for animals, many of whom languish in shelters for two years or more. Each year, more than 3.3 million healthy shelter animals are euthanized. Shelters have puppies, pure breeds and fabulous older dogs,” Kangas told Us. “People view these animals as damaged goods and don’t want to pay adoption fees as much as $200 for a shelter animal. This bothered me and I decided to act.”
Kangas took matters into her own hands by covering shelter adoption fees through her cruelty-free skincare line, PRAI Beauty. “The first shelter I partnered with was the SPCA Tampa Bay in May of 2017. The result was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me,” she recalled. “People lined up early in the morning to adopt a pet. Every single dog, cat and pocket pet found a home. I thought if something as simple as paying adoption fees could help move animals out of a shelter and into a home, that this model could be replicated around the country.”
The entrepreneur has worked with more than 62 shelters across the U.S. and Canada since launching Free the Shelters, with thousands of animals being rescued. “To date, PRAI Free the Shelters campaign has found homes for over 5,000 animals,” she said. “A percentage of proceeds from the sale of all PRAI Beauty products goes to supporting animal causes.”
Even more, Kangas is helping save horses through her self-titled foundation. “I have paid for and rescued more than 7,000 horses from kill pens in Texas and Louisiana, sending them to sanctuaries,” she said.
Kangas’ “overall goal” for the Free the Shelters movement is to generate publicity to “encourage people to choose a shelter pet over buying one in a shop,” she shared. “Since starting the campaign, the shelters we’ve worked with have seen an increase in donor support and an influx of new volunteers. We won’t stop until every shelter is emptied and all the animals find a home.”