There's a brand-new playing field for mixed-breed dogs, and it's offering their owners a long-awaited shot of pride.
The American Mutt-i-grees™ Club (AMC) is giving 50 million mixed-breed dogs the voice and the status they deserve. With its own Web site, AMC is committed to changing the perception of mixed breeds and promotes adoption as the responsible way to obtain a pet.
The site was created by the Pet Savers Foundation, the developmental arm of North Shore Animal League America (NSALA), the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. With Kathryn Erbe, co-star of TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," serving as spokesperson, AMC registers and provides personalized certificates to mixed-breed dogs.
"People are incredibly proud of their mixed breeds, and the time is right for there to be a way for them to communicate, share ideas and celebrate their choice," says J. John Stevenson, president of NSALA and managing director of the foundation.
Mutt-i-grees "occupy a very different space" from the existing registries and clubs, says Stevenson. "We want to rally the 25 million mixed-breed dog owners, many of whom own more than one dog, to raise awareness and promote regulation to diminish the stronghold of puppy mills and irresponsible breeders."
Stevenson believes AMC will not only be appreciated, but will change, over time, the way many view mixed-breed dogs in general. Mixed breeds make up more than three-fourths of the dogs that enter shelters and are the majority of the more than 3 million dogs euthanized in shelters every year.
The AMC Web site offers expert pet advice, dog adoption referrals, shopping, community and other member benefits. There's also a Mutt-i-grees Clubhouse where kids can log on with an adult and find ways to get involved with the program, even if they don't own a dog.
The Yale University School of the 21st Century is also involved with AMC in developing a Web-based school curriculum concentrating on humane education programs delivered in the context of core subjects, and will extend to community-based preschool and after-school programs.
For more information about American Mutt-i-grees Club, visit www.muttigrees.org.
TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" star Kathryn Erbe, with Lilah, her mixed-breed dog, is spokesperson for the American Mutt-i-grees™ Club