PETA Awards Teen Who Raised $17,000 for Animal Shelters

For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Corry, Pa. – A Hero to Animals Award is on its way from PETA to 14-year-old Pennsylvania resident Avery Sontheimer, who has raised over $17,000 for animal shelters across the country—all while battling cancer. So far, Avery’s Pawsitive Change has sent 2,000 letters to shelters with $5 to $10 gift cards, while encouraging Avery’s nearly 7,000 Facebook fans to support shelters, too.

“Thanks to Avery’s extraordinary courage, kindness, and commitment, animals in shelters are getting some much-needed support,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “PETA honors her efforts and wishes her a cancer-free life. We also hope she’ll achieve her goal of one day operating her own shelter.”

Around 70 million dogs and cats are homeless in the U.S. at any given time. An estimated 10% of them end up in animal shelters, where many must eventually be euthanized for reasons including injury, illness, old age, emotional and psychological damage, and a lack of good homes. That’s why PETA advocates for adoption and urges guardians to have their animal companions spayed or neutered.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind