Photo Release -- Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando Names Joel Slaven Animal Hero Award Winner

Celebrating Animals and the Heroic People Who Save Their Lives

Orlando, Florida, UNITED STATES

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando announced today that famed animal trainer Joel Slaven will receive the inaugural Animal Hero Award at its 23rd Annual Furball, presented by SeaWorld®. The presentation will take place at SeaWorld Orlando's Ports of Call® on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 6 to 10 p.m.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

With the presentation of the Animal Hero Award, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is establishing a new tradition, recognizing ordinary people among us who truly do extraordinary things to save the lives of animals. Joel Slaven was selected as the first recipient of the Animal Hero Award because of his dedication to rescuing homeless animals from shelters and giving them a second chance at life as animal actors.

Since 1997, Joel has adopted 350 dogs and cats from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando's two animal shelters to receive skills training and then become a part of the Pets Ahoy show at the SeaWorld park in Orlando. "Many of the dogs and cats adopted from our agency by Joel are difficult to place in traditional homes due to undesirable behaviors like excessive barking and jumping," said Kerri Burns, executive director for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. "It's truly amazing to watch these animals blossom into wonderful animal actors with expert training and the full-time dedication by Joel and his team. The Pets Ahoy show gives these adopted pets a second career and a second chance at life."

"I am very honored to receive the first Animal Hero Award from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando," said Joel Slaven. "When you save an animal's life it changes you forever. In every Pets Ahoy show from coast to coast we tell audiences to save a life and adopt a pet from your local animal shelter."

Slaven has rescued over 2,500 dogs and cats from animal shelters across America, including the San Diego Humane Society, San Antonio Animal Care Services, Peninsula SPCA in Newport News and the Humane Society of Delaware County. There are currently 160 dogs and 275 cats performing in Joel Slaven Professional Animal shows including Pets Ahoy at SeaWorld in Orlando and San Antonio, the Pets Rule show at SeaWorld San Diego, and Animals on Safari at the Columbus Zoo.

About Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

As the go-to pet experts across Central Florida, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando does good things for dogs and cats and the people who love them. Formerly the SPCA of Central Florida, our goal is to provide compassionate and knowledgeable services for pets and to be leaders in innovative animal care and veterinary medicine. More than 10,000 homeless dogs and cats will turn to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando for caring, compassion, and hope through our animal shelters this year. Our highly skilled veterinarians will help and heal an additional 45,000 animals in our veterinary clinics. Providing shelter for animals in crisis, disaster response efforts, and pet food pantry for dogs and cats in need, we will help thousands of additional animals this year.

Joel Slaven

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