Zoetis Petcare Congratulates Winners of the 2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – October 20, 2020 – Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis) is pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Veterinary Nurse Awards™, Dr. Katherine Polak and Julie Nettifee. Zoetis is a proud ongoing sponsor of the seventh annual American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards, which honor the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives through delivery of outstanding veterinary care. This year’s winners were announced last night during the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards® national broadcast on Hallmark Channel.

“We are honored to recognize two outstanding veterinary professionals who go above and beyond to provide essential veterinary care to animals in need across the country and internationally,” said Tara Bidgood, DVM, PhD, DACVCP, Executive Director, Veterinary Professional Services, Zoetis Petcare. “Dr. Katherine Polak has an extraordinary commitment to animal welfare around the globe, as well as to improving veterinary training so more animals can be cared for and more lives saved. Similarly, Julie Nettifee demonstrates exceptional care and compassion for the animals she dedicates her life to every day. They are both truly heroes.” 

2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian Award Recipient 
Katherine Polak, DVM, of Boston, Massachusetts is dedicated to animal welfare, both in the United States and around the world. Dr. Polak, a specialist in shelter medicine and an Iowa State graduate, manages a variety of stray animal care programs throughout Southeast Asia. Dr. Polak has established a unique partnership program in the region that provides capacity-building support to local charities in Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. One of Dr. Polak’s programs in Vietnam, “Cats Matter Too,” provides medical care for thousands of cats in addition to education programs for children in the area. Previously, Dr. Polak was the Medical Director at Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, where she trained local veterinarians and launched a program in Bangkok to neuter upwards of 80,000 dogs per year. In addition, Dr. Polak is the founding Medical Director of Spayathon in Puerto Rico, a groundbreaking initiative that plans to neuter more than 85,000 dogs and cats over the next three years. In an effort to improve veterinary training, Dr. Polak also teaches in the Maddie’s Online Shelter Medicine program at the University of Florida, and conceived and co-edited a textbook, “Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine,” for veterinarians working in limited-resource environments. Dr. Polak continues to improve the lives of all those she helps, human and animal alike. 

2020 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award Recipient 
Julie Nettifee of Raleigh, North Carolina has always been committed to the betterment of the health and well-being of animals. Julie has an extensive history with rescue, wildlife, and animal shelter work, as well as veterinary medicine and animal-based nonprofits including animal-assisted therapy. After a devastating hurricane hit the east coast, Julie volunteered to help people and animals in need and befriended an elderly couple whose house had flooded. Due to the damage, the couple was placed in interim hurricane housing in Raleigh, and unfortunately lost one of their two dogs during the move. Julie compassionately offered to take the couple back to where their dog had last been seen, which was an hour away. After searching for countless hours, Julie found the dog and reunited him with the couple. Aside from going the extra mile for pets and their owners, Julie fosters pets during her off time and helps them find their forever homes. Julie’s compassionate care for animals is inspiring to the next generation of animal lovers and her story truly spotlights the importance of the human-animal bond. 

During the awards broadcast, American Humane also announced that Zoetis is the inaugural sponsor of the American Humane Scholars Fund grant, which is being made to Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Seventy percent of African-American veterinarians in the United States are graduates of Tuskegee, a historically black college.1 To learn more about the award, please visit www.americanhumane.org

About American Humane 
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org

About Zoetis 
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately 10,600 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For further information, contact: 
Colleen White 
Zoetis 
908-666-5050 (c) 
colleen.white@zoetis.com

Jamie Siburn 
Coyne PR 
973-588-2254 
jsiburn@coynepr.com 

References
1 Tuskegee University. TUCVM Historical Legacy. https://www.tuskegee.edu/programs-courses/colleges-schools/cvm/cvm-about-the college#:~:text=The%20TUCVM%20has%20educated%20about,Indians%2C%20Asians%2C%20and%20Caucasians. Accessed September 2020

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