TAFT – Goliad native Kayla Denney has done a lot for not only the Taft Animal Control facility, but for San Patricio County in general.

Denney left her job as an accountant to pursue her passion for pets and traded in her office for the kennels and got to work. Denney knew that a job in animal welfare would be tough, but she was committed to saving lives.

She agreed to lead the City of Taft Animal Control Department on a lifesaving journey as nearly all animals in the city were being euthanized. Within a few months, despite serious underfunding, she transformed the department and now pets have the chance to be adopted, rescued and loved.

Last Christmas she reached out to other animal rescues and concerned pet lovers for help in getting much needed supplies to keep the animals protected during the cold months and got way more than she bargained for.

The shelter received more than 500 packages from as far off as Canada, Ireland and Holland.

In February of this year, internationally renowned dog trainer and Animal Planet  celebrity Victoria Stilwell showed up at the shelter and presented Denney with a check for $10,000. She was also entered into the running for the Petco Foundation’s national Unsung Hero Award where anyone could vote online.

Not only did she win, she also brought home a $25,000 check.

So now, on November 14, Denney will be honored along with six other organizations and individuals at the Petco Foundation’s Lifesaving Awards in San Diego, CA, where she will be presented with the 2019 Unsung Hero Award.

The award recognizes a special individual whose commitment and story of dedication exemplifies their love for animals. 

At the event, 500 pet-loving guests will come together to honor extraordinary animal welfare heroes, like Denney. The awards will bring together some of the pet industry’s top brands to celebrate and recognize seven organizations and individuals from across the country for their dedication, determination and daily actions to create lifesaving impact for pets in need.

“The Petco Foundation’s Lifesaving Awards is a celebration of love that saves animal lives and represents our gratitude to animal welfare heroes who put their love into action every day,” President of the Petco Foundation Susanne Kogut said in a statement. “We are excited this year to celebrate our 20-year history of saving lives and recognize and honor exemplary performance of these seven organizations and individuals whose dedication and commitment to solutions and achieving success creates a significant lifesaving impact.”

The local community can watch Denney accept her accolade during this year’s Lifesaving Awards while it streams live on the Petco Foundation Facebook channel at facebook.com/PetcoFoundation, with the Red Carpet kicking off at 7 p.m. CT and the awards show beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. 

Paul Gonzales is the editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at mathisnews@mySouTex.com.