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The Gene Fields Humane Awards
A Gene Fields Humane Award recognizes individuals who have done something special to help a pet in need. Please alert us by email if you know of an individual who might be eligible for an award. (Full- or part-time humane professionals are not eligible for this award.)
- Carmel L. Travis / Washington
Carmel rescued a injured dog from a highway during a vacation and arranged for surgery. She cancelled her return flight home and rented a car to transport the dog to her home 1300 miles away where the dog could recuperate for a 6 week period. She is committed to finding the dog her perfect forever home. Read the story here.
- Christine / Arizona
Christine and her family lived next door to a family that left their dog tied out without shelter year around, so Christine convinced them to give their dog up to rescue since they didn't have time for her. Christine contacted rescues in her region, soon finding a rescue that would take the dog. Christine is a wonderful example of what one person can do to save one dog from continual neglect. Read the story here.
- Paul Samartgedes / Arizona
Samartgedes rescued an abandoned dog from a foreclosed-upon home that he discovered while consulting at the home. He found a foster home and raised money for the dog's veterinary care. He found a rescue to take him and the dog was adopted into a loving home. Because of him, a starved and lonely dog is now greatly loved. Read the complete story here.
- Maxon McCarter and Joey Arbour / Montana
McCarter and Arbour found a cat enclosed in a carrier that had survived being thrown from a bridge, landing on treacherous river ice. After climbing down the river bank and attempting to walk on thin ice in an effort to rescue the cat, they called 9-1-1 for assistance. The cat was rescued by firefighters.
- Linda Matthews / Texas
Matthews rescued a very large, badly-injured stray dog, "Duke," from a roadside ditch and delivered him to a veterinary clinic for emergency care. Her actions enabled the dog's life to be saved. Read the full story.
- Marshall Harless / Tri-State Used Cars, West Virginia
The car repair team rescued a stray kitten from inside an engine cavity of a vehicle at no charge to the car owner. The team worked all afternoon to remove and replace the engine. The kitten suffered only an injured paw.
Humane societies and law enforcement may submit the name of an individual to the Sunbear Squad for consideration. Please submit names of candidates by sending an email to the Sunbear Squad administrator. Explain what this person did to save a pet in trouble. Include the mailing address of the individual.
Individuals who are selected for the award will be mailed a beautifully-designed color certificate on quality paper suitable for framing. In addition, the individual will be listed on this page as a Gene Fields Humane Award recipient, along with a brief recap of their story.
Gene Fields was a Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association Humane Officer in Charleston, West Virginia with an outstanding career record of 229 wins and 7 losses in court. He was in charge of Sunbear's case, and tracked Sunbear's owner across several states to bring him to justice. He never gave up trying to locate Sunbear's owner. And his persistence paid off. Because of Gene, Sunbear had his day in court.
The poem that follows is authored by Clarence Carte, and dedicated to Gene, whom he called "my mentor, co-worker, and friend." Carte wrote, "Gene Fields is the best of the best of humane officers."
The Humane Officer
I am disliked by most
It is because I remind them of their pet's ghost
They think I am unkind
I wish they could look into my mind
I think they would be surprised at what they find
Instead of a heart so cold
It would look much older than I am old.
For each animal I take in
It is someone else who has committed the sin
Of not loving the animal that has loved them
It was your pet you did not feed
You did not give him help when he was in need
He sits by your side with such delight
He would be so happy if you would only hold him tight.
Now I am here to take him from your home
Because you have neglected him for so long
You rant and rave, cuss and spit
I'm doing my job, I will not quit
You blame it on me now—it's the same old sad song
You think because of me, your pet won't live long
You still say I'm to blame
But the cruelty complaint has your name.
When its all over and I go home
I lie in my bed and cry while I'm alone
It's because of your pet I hide my head and bawl
Because you really didn't care for it after all
If you had, you would have fed, watered and
loved him most of all.
By Clarence Carte
© 2005-2016 The Sunbear Squad; All rights reserved.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Gene Fields, the Humane Officer who relentlessly tracked Sunbear's owner.