The Chautauqua County Humane Society is gearing up for its annual photo contest.
The sixth annual Hot Dogs, Cool Cats pet photo contest, sponsored by Media One Group, began Wednesday and will run until 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31.
Community members are invited to enter their pets into the contest by uploading a favorite picture of their animal and including a short story about the pet. There is no fee to enter and the contest is not limited to dogs and cats - any animal may be entered.
Entering the contest and voting will be handled through gogophotocontest.com/chautauquacountyhumanesociety, where a full list of rules is available. Click "login" at the top-right of the page and create an account to participate.
There is a minimum of $5 for each online transaction, which will create a bank of votes you can use. Each vote costs $1. There is no limit to how many votes you can place on a specific animal and the site does not show who has voted for each animal, only the running total of votes for each animal.
The top 12 entrants with the most votes will have their pet's photo displayed in a 11-by-17-inch calendar, to represent each month of the year. The third place entrant will win a John Bartlett pet bed, a $50 PetSmart giftcard and five pet photo calendars. Second place will win a John Bartlett pet bed, a $75 PetSmart giftcard and five pet photo calendars. First place will win the title of Pet Of The Year, 10 pet photo calendars, a 47-inch Seiki LCD flat-screen television and a pet photo session with Panebianco Photograph, including a 16-by-20-inch canvas print.
"The Humane Society doesn't get any county, city, or state funding," said director of community relations, Edwin Rodriguez Jr., "So all of our money comes from community donations, like the photo contest."
He also said that in the first three weeks of December, an exceptionally large number of animals were adopted. Still, there are hundreds of animals in need of a forever home, according to Rodriguez.
The past month has been difficult for the Humane Society.
The Humane Society's thrift store, Second Chances, was burglarized last week. An unknown amount of cash was taken and the investigation is ongoing.
Also, a few weeks ago, Tinkerbell, a Chihuahua, was found in a cooler bag on the side of Southwestern Drive in Lakewood. A city man was charged with animal cruelty for the crime.
According to Rodriguez, roughly two weeks before the Tinkerbell incident, a mother cat and her four kittens were found in a snowy local cemetery, trapped inside a cardboard box covered with a rock.
Rodriguez noted that recent publicity of animal cruelty cases has helped shed light on the Humane Society's goals, which include preventing animal cruelty, sheltering homeless animals and educating the public about the humane treatment of animals.
To learn more about the Chautauqua County Humane Society, visit www.spcapets.com, or call, 665-2209.