Kayla Denney recently won the Petco Foundation's Unsung Hero award

By Helen Murphy
November 08, 2019 03:36 PM

Kayla Denney, an animal control supervisor in Taft, Texas, is being celebrated for bringing the kill rate of the city’s animal shelter down to zero.

Denney recently won the Petco Foundation’s Unsung Hero award for her work at the animal shelter in Taft, KZTV reported. According to the outlet, Denney took over the shelter last November. Ever since then, none of the dogs or cats in the shelter have been euthanized — and all of them have found forever homes.

“As of November 1st, we have saved 565 dogs and cats out of Taft,” Denney told KZTV.

“The shelter was a real mess,” John Cornish, the Taft chief of police, said in a video published by the Petco Foundation. “Every Wednesday was a kill day. It was horrible.”

“The shelter looked like a very hot mess,” Denney added. “I didn’t have any support systems set up, there’s no volunteers here, we didn’t have a Facebook page.”

Denney reached out to her personal Facebook friends for help, and began receiving donations. She ordered “over 800 boxes” of new supplies for the shelter, and made sure volunteers were available to keep the animals entertained.

Kayla Denney
The Petco Foundation

“She goes out of her way to help the animals,” Cornish said in the video. “And anything she can do for them, she will find a way to get it done.”

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Denney won $10,000 for being one of the five finalists for the Petco Foundation Unsung Hero award earlier this year, and received an additional $25,000 when she won the top prize. On Monday, she will fly to San Diego, California, to accept her award, according to KZTV.

“There are thousands of applicants, I didn’t know I was nominated,” she told KZTV of finding out she had won. “It still just blows my mind that that’s still a thing.”

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Denney told the outlet that the $35,000 prize money will go towards improving Taft’s animal shelter.

“It’s an older shelter and it’s run down,” she explained. “We got lights thanks to a donor who put in electricity for us, but I want indoor-outdoor kennels with a guillotine in between so when it’s raining we can put them inside.”

“We want an area where they can have meet and greet out in the field and somewhere they can have grass time rather than just cement time,” she added.

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