American Humane Association and Hallmark Channel have announced that sports legend, broadcaster, and actor Terry Bradshaw will join forces with TV personality and renowned animal advocate Beth Stern to shine a spotlight on some of America’s top dogs as co-hosts of the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.

Celebrating the country’s most courageous canines, the Hero Dog Awards will tape at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 27 and will be broadcast nationwide as a two-hour special this fall on Hallmark Channel.

Presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards program seeks to identify and recognize America’s canine heroes – dogs who do such extraordinary things as rescuing the lost and injured; protecting our armed forces overseas; guiding the seeing-impaired; lending comfort to the sick; exposing arson; detecting cancer; acting as loyal K-9 partners to our police men and women; and simply enriching countless lives every day as our loving, faithful friends.

Hero dogs across the country have been nominated in eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Arson Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs (for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things). Following the first round of voting in which more than 1 million ballots were cast, 24 spectacular semifinalists (the top three in each category) were chosen to advance to the semifinals, in which eight finalists will be named to compete for the title of 2014 American Hero Dog.

“For thousands of years, dogs have protected us, comforted us, and given us their unconditional love,” said Mr. Bradshaw. “The least we can do is to honor them on their special night every fall. I’m proud to do my part for our best friends.”

“I’ve been an animal lover my whole life and these animals deserve an extra-large helping of love,” said Ms. Stern. “After all they’ve done for us, it is finally time for every dog to have his day, and I’m here to help.”

Finalists in each of the eight categories will be flown to Hollywood with two of their human friends to the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards gala in Los Angeles, where they will walk the red carpet, conduct VIP interviews, and be honored at the awards show and black-tie gala, culminating with the announcement of the 2014 American Hero Dog. Each of the eight finalists will win $1,500 for their chosen charity selected from the contest’s list of 15 charity partners. The top winner will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.

“We’re thrilled to have two American heroes – a sports hero and a hero to animals in need – serve as the voices for those courageous canines who change and even save lives every day,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “Thank you for helping us turn a spotlight on these remarkable animals.”

“Terry Bradshaw and Beth Stern share a deep love of animals and are passionate advocates for their welfare, making them the perfect co-hosts of the 2014 Hero Dog Awards,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “Each of them will bring a unique talent and sensibility to the program and we are so pleased they will help us honor this year’s very special dogs, while also raising the overall profile of our canine heroes everywhere.”

This star-studded Hero Dog Awards draws dog lovers and celebrities from all over the world. Celebrity presenters and the celebrity judges who work with the public on the final two rounds of voting to determine the semi-finalists and winner have included Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Joey Lawrence, Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, Candy Spelling, and many, many more.

“We are delighted to have Terry Bradshaw and Beth Stern as the two newest humane heroes on our team,” said philanthropist and Hero Dog Awards supporter Lois Pope. “It has been my honor to serve as the presenting sponsor of the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards for the past three years and this show of support from some of America’s most recognized personalities will help bring these four-legged heroes the recognition they so richly deserve.”

More information about the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules, voting information, and ways to buy tickets to the September 27 event can be found at www.herodogawards.org.

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