'Betty White Challenge' raises more than $39,000 for local animal rescue groups

Local animal rescue groups saw an increase in donations this week, in light of Golden Girl Betty White’s birthday challenge to donate to animal shelters.

“It seemed like such an appropriate way to recognize a woman who had made a difference throughout her life,” says Melanie Coulter, executive director of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society.

The challenge went viral across North America, with many animal welfare organizations hoping for a boost in donations on the day that would’ve been the actress’s centennial birthday.

White was a renowned supporter of animal welfare causes.

“The original post I remember seeing was asking people to just give $5 to the organization of their choice,” says Coulter.

“We received donations as high as $500.”

More than $28,000 was raised for the local Humane Society.

“That money goes to support all of the different programs we offer. our adoption program, our spraying/neutered services, our rescue and relief for animals in need,” Coulter says.

She says the donations came at the right time, as contributions tend be lower this time of year.

“This would be what we would raise at a large event like a gala or one of our larger fundraiser like Strays on Street Corners when we used to be able to do those,” Coulter says.

Second Chance Animal Rescue say they’re still working on a final total, but as of this morning, raised $4,500.

President Cherie Smith says more dogs are expected to arrive at the end of the month.

“For one person to be able to do this much for many, it’s an honour to have been able to part take in that,” says Smith.

In Chatham-Kent, The Pet and Wildlife Rescue saw nearly $7,000 in donations.

Manager Myriam Armstrong tells CTV News Windsor the money will help with animal care and vetting.

“Back in the day, pure breads were all the rage and mutts were left out of the picture so she really pushed people to consider adopting a mutt and I’m sure that she’s made a huge difference for a lot more people and animals than we think about,” Armstrong says.

Armstrong hopes the group will see a boost in funding, every January 17.