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Identity & Community

Dolly The Cat Wants To 'Fix America'

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Matt Nemeth
/
90.5 WESA
Dolly, a brown tabby cat and the poster child for a campaign to raise funds for spaying and neutering animals, rests on a seat in the women's clothing store and animal shelter advocacy WearWoof in the North Hills on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When Nancy Lee opened women’s resale store WearWoof in 2013, she contemplated getting a store cat. She fell in love with Dolly at a local PetSmart, but noticed a lump on the 10-year-old tabby when she picked her up.

Dolly had a hernia.

“I just felt like she was a part of my story, and I was a part of her story now,” Lee said.

Dolly, now healthy, was a natural fit for the North Hills shop, but Lee thought she would wield even more influence in another position: Cat President of the United States.

“She’s been a real ambassador for what we do at our shop,” Lee said. “It seemed to make sense to us to kind of put her out there in the spotlight.”

Dolly wants to “Fix America” by raising funds to support local low-cost spaying and neutering of shelter animals.

“In Pittsburgh, the two groups of animals that are of greatest risk of euthanasia are cats and bully breed dogs,” Lee said, which is why Dolly’s campaign focuses on spay and neuter programs for these demographics.

Dolly's handlers set a fundraising goal $250,000. So far, they've raised $5,925.

“We had a lot of folks writing to us from all over the country who wanted to get their own Dolly campaign yard signs,” Lee said. “We have contributions coming in from all over.”

https://youtu.be/08qwnDvxCJg" style="color: rgb(1, 143, 226); text-decoration: underline; line-height: 1.5;">Mayor Bill Peduto, who endorsed the tabby this July, said, "Dolly's 'Fix America' platform will save thousands of pets throughout Pittsburgh."

Western Pennsylvania Humane Society Communications Manager Caitlin Lasky said the shelter supports her, too.

The humane society takes in animals regardless of health condition, and Dolly's policies could ultimately decrease shelter populations, Lasky said. After the campaign, they plan to help by offering free or discounted spay and neuter procedures to pets of veterans, seniors, students and low-income owners. 

"We will also be doing outreach in our community to places that are 'veterinary deserts,'" Lasky said. "We can educate these populations of the importance of spay/neuter." 

The presidential campaign as a fundraising idea came from Lee, who noticed a disconnect in how much money is spent on pet products and how little is spent on homeless animals.

“If you look at the whole charitable giving pie in the United States, about $330 billion was donated last year... Only a couple percent go to animal causes,” Lee said. "So, our goal has been to raise awareness and to find new and interesting ways for people to contribute money to animal welfare in Pittsburgh.”

The campaign runs through Super Tuesday in November. Donations can be made on the WearWoof website or at supporting shelters like the Animal Rescue League and Western Pennsylvania Humane Society