Independence Animal Services will celebrate the American Humane Association’s 95th Annual “Be Kind to Animals Week” May 3-9.

Since 1915, animal shelters throughout the country have held special events during the one week period to raise awareness about animals in the homes and communities and to celebrate the unique bond between humans and animals. The American Humane Association created Be Kind to Animals Week to encourage compassion toward animals.

“Kindness toward animals is a building block of a humane and compassionate society,” Marie Blew Wheatley, president and CEO of American Humane, said in a statement. “We celebrate and encourage that all year long.”

Aimee Wells, Independence Animal Services manager, said the department will start the week off early by holding an adoption event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at PetSmart in Independence on Bolger Road.
“There will be a booth for activities for children and information for adults as well,” she said.

Be Kind to Animals Week is now one of the oldest special week-long observances in the United States. In 1952, Be Kind to Animals Week received the official endorsements of the United States and Canadian governments.

The Independence Animal Shelter also needs the public’s help trying to win a $20,000 grant. Now through July 26 residents can vote for their favorite participating shelter or rescue group in the United States or Canada.

The Animal Rescue Site $100,000 Shelter + Challenge is hosting a special challenge for eligible member shelter and rescue groups. Wells said residents can vote for the Independence Animal Shelter at

Prizes and the top five award winners will be announced July 29.

“In this difficult economy, donations to nonprofit groups are down, but the need for our services is on the increase,” Wells said. “It is more important than ever to help. Think how many animals we could help for $20,000.”

Voters can vote once a day, every day, through July 26.

To vote click on the “Vote Now” button in the “help your animal shelter win a prize  box.” When prompted, enter “Independence Animal Shelter” in the text box. Each week of the contest, a weekly award of $1,000 will be given to the organization that has accumulated the most votes for that week. 

Winners will also be posted on The Animal Rescue Site voting page.

“Every time you vote, or tell a friend to vote, you are making a huge difference for us,” Wells said. “Vote today and every day.”