Animal Planet Contestants

A Sheboygan woman who volunteers at the Sheboygan County Human Society as its community education and outreach coordinator is not the Animal Planet’s Hero of the Year, the cable TV channel announced this weekend.

Instead of the $10,000 prize going to the humane society, it will go to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., where Scott Lope, the contest winner, is director of operations.

“I’m disappointed not for myself but for the team effort at Sheboygan County Humane that makes what I do possible,” local finalist Louise Hansen said today. “That $10,000 prize would have done so much for our animals and our vets.”

One use for the money would have been to buy forensic tools and material – costing about $400 — to help in determining the cause of death in animal abuse cases, Hansen said.

“We were not sitting down and planning it, but you kind of think, ‘Oh if it happens,'” she said.

More than 4,500 people submitted nominations for the award, which is meant to honor people “who have demonstrated extraordinary service for the welfare of animals.” A panel of judges narrowed the field to 10 finalists, of which Hansen was one.

Animal Planet viewers cast votes online to help select the winner.

Lope cares for big cats such as lions and tigers that have been abandoned by their owners, retired from performing acts or saved from being slaughtered for their fur.

Hansen, 58, retired from the Early Learning Center in 2006 after more than 30 years of teaching and has volunteered at the humane society for three years. She brings animals to mobile adoption centers, and she teaches pet responsibility and safety programs to about 1,000 children each year.

Hansen and her husband of 30 years, Mike, also cruise the city to help rescue abandoned animals and transport them to shelters. They also have opened their home to foster abandoned dogs.

She noted that of the 10 finalists, she was the only one engaged in humane education.

“All the people who were up for this are certainly doing great things for animals,” Hansen said.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Vote for us at

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway! @BigCatRescue


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