THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: Gary Weitzman

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DC,People,Erica Redmond
Weitzman, proud owner of German shepherd and a pit bull mixes, has been CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League for the past four years.

What are some benefits of having a pet?

Pets can give you everything that money can't buy. Honestly, they give love, loyalty, affection ?-- everything intangible that we really need in life.

Where does your pet-passion come from?

I think I fell in love with them when I was about 3 years old. I was born with it. Animals are the best thing the Earth has to offer. I like other things too, but I really do love animals!

What is Project Rescue?

We started it at the end of 2008 when the economy really went bad, and it was the extension of a holiday food drive that we never ended. We built a permanent pet food bank and pet supply bank, so people that demonstrate need can be supplied with food and supplies for their animals. We also have a low-cost vaccination clinic, a free spay and neuter clinic, free behavior education and subsidized veterinary care.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You need any kind of disability statement or tax statement that demonstrates your financial capability, a note from your doctor. With all of our programs, we serve around 6,000 people. It's big.

How is that funded?

All private donations. It's kind of tough. It costs us close to about $2.5 million, and we fund-raise and tell people about the programs. We emphasize that we are there to keep animals in their homes, and I think Project Rescue is one of the best ways to do that. We're qualified for the ASPCA's $100,000 challenge grant, and the goal is to help us with our animal rehab programs and partner the support for our programs. Please vote for us until Friday at warl.org.

- Erica Redmond

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