Animal shelters flooded with donations in honor of Betty White's birthday
By Caitlin O'Kane
Updated on: January 18, 2022 / 4:17 PM / CBS News
Betty White would have been 100 – and proud – Monday when fans flooded animal groups with donations in her honor. The donations were encouraged by the popular "Betty White Challenge" on social media, which asked fans to donate to shelters on January 17, what would have been the animal-loving star's 100th birthday.
White, who died just shy of her birthday, was an animal activist and a volunteer and board member of American Humane, the first national humane organization in the U.S. and the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world. Web traffic and donations supporting American Humane have quadrupled since White died in December, a spokesperson for the organization told CBS News.
In Boston, the Newhouse Wildlife Rescue in Chelmsford said it was "blown away" after $17,000 was donated on White's birthday. The group, which helps rehabilitate orphaned or injured local wildlife, now has the funds needed "to prepare for the coming baby season and the orphans that will flood through our doors," they wrote on Facebook.
Another animal group in Boston, MSPCA-Angell, set a goal of donating 100,000 pet meals to those in need of assistance during January. Thanks to donations, the veterinary and advocacy group has already distributed 101,172 pet meals and counting.
Pawfect Life Rescue, another local animal rescue in Massachusetts, set a goal of raising $3,000 and raised more than $8,000. Several other groups in the state also helped raise thousands of dollars in White's honor, according to CBS Boston.
And it wasn't just Massachusetts shelters and animal groups that reported an influx of donations on January 17. Dog Days Rescue in Kennesaw, Georgia, said they received more than $4,000 in Betty White's name, founder Tina Lee told CBS affiliate WGCL.
FurKids, a dog shelter in Alpharetta, Georgia, received over $10,000 in donations for the Betty White Challenge, said Talley Davidson, social media marketing specialist with FurKids.
Nashville Humane said it raised $1,100 in just 17 minutes on Monday. At last count, more than $30,000 had been donated to the local animal protection group, according to CBS affiliate WTVF.
And in Kentucky, Ashland Animal Rescue Fund said they raised $5,100 so far – plus mail-in donations they have yet to count.
The Betty White Challenge even went international, with Calgary Humane Society in Canada raising a whopping $91,845.81 and counting. "We're speechless!" the organization wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for all the support! We know Betty White would be proud."
It wasn't just monetary donations that helped shelters. The San Diego Humane Society began waiving adoption fees for all adult animals with a hope of finding homes for 100 pets before January 17. They ended up adopting out 253 adult pets as of Monday afternoon.
CBS News has reached out to ASPCA, Animal Humane and other large animal organizations for comment and is awaiting response.