Lethbridge Animal Service's celebrity pet names a social media hit

By Lara Fominoff @fomsy1
February 11, 2017 - 6:30am Updated: February 11, 2017 - 8:57am

LETHBRIDGE - What began as a unique way to name animals brought in to Lethbridge Animals Services, has turned into a local internet sensation.
Around Christmas time, Officer Skylar Plourde says someone brought in a dog, and rather than give it a number or a run of the mill name, someone on staff suggested something a little bit out of the ordinary.
"One of the staff members suggested 'Ozzy Pawsbourne, Prince of Barkness,' and it just kind of went from there. So it was something we put on the file and put it up on the Facebook page, and people just went nuts. It was flying all over the internet."
He says they then began putting a list together of more names related to an actress or actor, movie star or singer.  Soon they had a list of more than 200 names like "Katty Purry," "Chris Furrley," "Brad Pitty,""Billie Howliday and "Fleaoncye." Their "Likes" on Facebook increased from 7,200 to more than 8,000 in less than one month, and some people have even shared posts with the Ellen Degeneres Show.
"Just with these names, it's been attracting people who would otherwise have no other reason to come to the page, because they don't have the pets; they like to see the funny names. We've even started working the names into a small story to go along with the profile of the animal that are associated with whatever name we choose. We didn't do it for any particular kind of attention. It just happened."
But Plourde admits that it's a wonderful thing to garner so much attention. It helps them to re-unite pets with owners, and for animals who might not otherwise be adopted, find a new homes. He emphasizes that even if the cats and dogs aren't adopted out right away, the shelter is open to people who just want to come and spend some time with the animals. 
And staff are also using their new-found attention to educate people about responsible pet ownership.
"It's just that many more people we can reach out to. It's a positive in every way."

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