Alex Aliksanyan, 56
New York City
Big Jim, a 2-year-old 80-lb. Rottweiler, was about to be destroyed due to overcrowding at a West Virginia animal shelter last October when, with just 12 hours to spare, a lifesaving call arrived. The next night, new owners Jonathan Scott, 26, and Ashley Zimmerman, 24, treated their hungry dog to a steak dinner at their Herndon, Va., home. The reason for bringing Big Jim into their lives? “We saw that he was going to be killed,” says Scott, “and that broke our hearts.”
Score another victory for Alex Aliksanyan, creator of dogsindanger.com, which claims to have saved more than 3,100 canines since its launch Oct. 1. The site features pictures of condemned dogs from 324 cooperating shelters—and notes how much time they have left. “I want the truth in people’s faces,” says Aliksanyan, 56. “The dog is going to die.”
Amber Holmes, the Hampshire County Animal Control adoption coordinator in Slanesville, W.Va., is a huge fan: “It’s pretty much the last hope for these dogs.” But the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has concerns. “Guilt or emotional blackmail is never a good reason to bring a dog into your home,” says Gail Buchwald, ASPCA senior vice president.
Still, Big Jim’s saga convinces Aliksanyan he’s on the right track: “It makes me realize I’ve made a difference.”
Know a hero?
Send suggestions to HEROESAMONGUS@PEOPLEMAG.COM