The Betty White Challenge raised more than $136,000 for these Milwaukee-area humane societies, shelters and rescue groups

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Betty White, a longtime animal rights activist, shares some quality time with a furry friend, in a scene from "Betty White: A Celebration," a documentary by Wisconsin filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. In honor of the late actress Betty White's 100th birthday on Jan. 17, people made donations to various animal shelters, rescue groups and agencies.
Betty White, a longtime animal rights activist, shares some quality time with a furry friend, in a scene from "Betty White: A Celebration," a documentary by Wisconsin filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. In honor of the late actress Betty White's 100th birthday on Jan. 17, people made donations to various animal shelters, rescue groups and agencies.

The Betty White Challenge was pretty straightforward: In honor of the late actress' 100th birthday on Jan. 17, people would donate to a local animal shelter, rescue group or agency in White's name.

And boy, did people respond.

The Wisconsin Humane Society reported on its Facebook page that the Betty White Challenge raised more than $60,000 and involved more than 1,600 donors. The Washington County Humane Society raised more than $10,000 from about 200 donors.

More: Washington County Humane Society looking for people to provide outdoor shelter to cats

More: The #BettyWhiteChallenge: Fans honor late actress on the day she would have turned 100

This was phenomenal," said Kay Amland, executive director of the Washington County Humane Society.

The Humane Animal Welfare Society, serving Waukesha County, raised more than $50,000 for Betty White's birthday with several different donors.

Maggie Tate–Techtmann, director of organizational development at HAWS, said that a $1,000 donation from the Emma Loves Dogs Foundation kicked off the Betty White Challenge. Big donors were Waukesha Sobelman's Pub & Grill with a $5,000 donation; Boscos Social Club matched that donation with $5,000.

She said the money would be used for its rescue program and its efforts at giving animals a "second chance" to be adopted.

Elmbrook Humane Society raised about $7,000 from 180 donors. "We were amazed," said Anita Alfaro, the annual giving and special events manager.

"We never thought we would have that great a turnout with so many supporters. It speaks volumes to her (Betty White)." She said the money will help the organization's medical fund, which helps animals with medical issues such as ACL or dental issues.

The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission reported about $4,000 was raised through the Betty White Challenge. And Happy Endings No Kill Cat Shelter, Milwaukee, raised about $5,200 from about 160 donors.

"Donations started to come in the day after she died," said Darlene Rager, board president of Happy Endings No Kill Cat Shelter.

Amland said that these kinds of donations ensure a small euthanasia rate at the Washington County Humane Society. The euthanasia rate at the shelter is about 4%; euthanasia is only used if animals are very sick, Amland said.

Donated funds cover more expensive surgeries so animals can be adopted.

For instance, she said that an animal had a cyst inside of its nose, had that surgically removed, and will soon be eligible to be adopted. Dental surgery is another thing the shelter is able to do because of donations, said Amland.

With the Betty White Challenge, for people to donate to animal shelters and rescue groups on or before White's 100th birthday on Jan. 17, the Washington County Humane Society promoted senior pet adoption.  As a result,  Harriet, the 13-year-old yellow lab and Bradley, a 11-year-old black lab were adopted..=
With the Betty White Challenge, for people to donate to animal shelters and rescue groups on or before White's 100th birthday on Jan. 17, the Washington County Humane Society promoted senior pet adoption. As a result, Harriet, the 13-year-old yellow lab and Bradley, a 11-year-old black lab were adopted..=

"We do everything to keep our animals adoptable," she said.

White, who is known for her lifetime dedication for animal welfare, has received the National Humanitarian Medal from American Humane, the first national humane organization founded in the United States. She also received the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 2017.

Amland said in honor of what would have been White's 100th birthday, the shelter promoted the adoption of three of its senior-aged pets — Harriet, a 13-year-old yellow Lab, Bradley, an 11-year-old black Lab and Jake, a 10-year old cat. As a result, Harriet and Bradley were adopted, and people have shown more interest in adopting Jake.

With Betty White's Animal Challenge, the Washington Humane Society has been promoting the adoption of senior animals.  Jake (pictured), age 10, has received a lot of interest in being adopted.
With Betty White's Animal Challenge, the Washington Humane Society has been promoting the adoption of senior animals. Jake (pictured), age 10, has received a lot of interest in being adopted.

"Many Facebook friends posted photos of their adopted animals and thanked Betty White," said Amland. "It is impressive how one person can make a difference nationwide. She was truly inspirational."

To donate

Here is how to make a donation to an area animal shelter:

Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or cathy.kozlowicz@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kozlowicz_cathy.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Betty White Challenge raised $136,000+ for Milwaukee animal shelters

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