Pet Clean-Up Innovator Backs Remodeling Project in Kentucky

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 22, 2011 ― Homeless dogs and cats in Eastern Kentucky will sleep, play and lounge more comfortably this summer thanks to a shelter makeover partially funded by BISSELL Homecare Inc. From May 25-June 1, volunteers from across the U.S. grabbed hammers, saws and drills to transform Kentucky’s Rowan and Menifee County animal shelters into homey accommodations for four-legged visitors to enjoy.

The 8-day rehabilitation mission was led by Rescue University, a cooperative effort of two non-profit animal welfare organizations – the Foundation and Animal Lifeline. The mission of Rescue University is to involve the next generation of Americans in volunteerism to benefit animal rescue and sheltering efforts. It engages college-aged students to travel to rural communities and provide support and resources that help improve the lives of homeless pets.

“As a longstanding supporter of pet adoption, BISSELL was honored to help make this shelter renovation possible,” said Rich Sorota BISSELL’s senior vice president and general manager of global marketing and sales. “Ultimately, we want to see more homeless pets welcomed into their forever homes, but we also believe they deserve comfortable place to live in the interim.”

To improve the living conditions for animals at the Eastern Kentucky shelters, student and professional volunteers undertook a series of building projects and repairs, including the following:

  • Pressure-washed floors and walls  and repaired cracked mortar in kennels
  • Cleaned kennel drain lines and painted building exterior and interior with mold- and mildew-resistant paint
  • Enhanced roofing to provide pets respite from Kentucky’s hot sun and heavy rains
  • Built raised pet beds to give cats and dogs a cozy, dry place to snooze
  • Replaced kennels and kennel grates, and improved fencing to keep pets safe in their home environment
  • Scrubbed cat rooms and refurbished play area with fresh paint, perching posts, nesting boxes and a flap door to the outdoor play area
  • Expanded exercise areas to allow animals more room to run and play
  • Created portable bathtub for dogs

Rescue University also supplied the shelters with dog food and treats, bowls, leashes, collars, crates and cleaning products and transported 65 animals from the Rowan and Menifee to various communities in the Northeast and Midwest to be placed in more permanent homes. In addition, the group held an educational seminar for shelter directors and volunteers from across the state, which addressed pet clean-up and other factors affecting adoption.

“BISSELL looks forward to the day when fewer pets check in to shelters because of the messes they make in homes,” said Sorota. “We support programs like Rescue University to help arm animal shelters and new pet parents with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure more successful adoptions.”

Pet lovers can view the Eastern Kentucky shelter rescue and rehabilitation efforts documented in photos and video by visiting BISSELL’s Facebook page or the Foundation blog. Plus, beginning June 27, BISSELL will donate $0.50 to the Foundation for every person who registers on BISSELL’s Facebook page in order to reach its goal of contributing $50,000 in 2011.

BISSELL supports the pet community through contributions to more than 100 U.S. pet charities totaling over $200,000 annually, as well as through partnerships with organizations like For more information on BISSELL’s pet programs, the complete line up of BISSELL pet products, cleaning tips and more, visit the online Pet Lovers Community at >

About BISSELL Homecare, Inc.

A 135-year-old company, Grand Rapids-based BISSELL Homecare, Inc., is the top-selling brand in floor care appliances in North America* with an expanding presence worldwide. As an innovator of cleaning products, BISSELL produces and sells vacuums, sweepers, deep-cleaning machines, bare floor cleaners and cleaning formulas at retail locations across the globe. The company is in its fourth generation of family leadership.

About the Foundation

The Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity, helps homeless pets by saving lives through adoptions, helping shelters prepare for and recover from disaster and working to make sure animal welfare organizations across the country are more sustainable. Its mission is to ensure no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a home. Since 2003 the foundation has provided over $15 million in grants to animal welfare organizations and member shelters and rescue groups.

About Animal Lifeline/Rescue University
Rescue University is a program of Animal Lifeline, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting animal rescues, shelters and municipal groups who advocate for homeless pets. The mission of Rescue University is to involve the next generation of Americans in volunteerism to benefit animal rescue and sheltering efforts. Since 2008, the program has allowed college-aged students to volunteer in local shelters, run supply drives and travel to rural communities to provide support and resources to animal rescue groups.

*based on NPD sales data

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