/PRNewswire/ -- Animal Planet is once again launching its annual search for HERO OF THE YEAR, a competition now in its fourth year. In partnership with the makers of Fresh Step(R) Litter, HERO OF THE YEAR is a nationwide search and celebration of animal advocates who demonstrate extraordinary effort, talent and spirit in support of animals in their community.
Beginning March 9, 2009, the general public is encouraged to nominate candidates for HERO OF THE YEAR using the Animal Planet website (www.AnimalPlanet.com). To nominate a hero, viewers must submit an essay (250-word maximum) that describes the cause that their nominee supports, the activities and actions that demonstrate the nominee's commitment, the impact of the nominee's actions, and how the nominee has inspired others to get involved. By nominating a friend or family member for HERO OF THE YEAR, the nominator is automatically entered to win a $50 PetSmart(R) gift card, one of which will be given out daily during the nomination window. Official rules, FAQ and entry forms are located online.
The nomination process ends on June 28, 2009, at which point a panel of judges will select ten finalists for HERO OF THE YEAR. The general public will then be able to choose their favorite finalist during People's Choice voting, which will be available on AnimalPlanet.com from September 14 to September 27, 2009 and ultimately decide the winner.
The winner of HERO OF THE YEAR will be recognized on-air and will receive a trip for two to a destination that supports their animal welfare passion. Additionally, Animal Planet will donate $10,000 to the recipient's favorite animal-related charity.
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