HAP Honors Pittsburgh’s Animal Protection Heroes

by | Oct 18, 2021

Imagine a world without animal suffering — a world where all beings are treated with compassion. That’s Humane Action Pittsburgh’s (HAP) vision and we can’t get there alone. 

On November 5, we’re celebrating six years of building ‘America’s Model Humane City’ together by honoring our community’s outstanding legislators and partners in animal protection. Join us at the 2021 Heroes Award Reception as we appreciate the efforts of three Pittsburghers making a profound and lasting impact on protecting animals.


Senator Roy Afflerbach Award for Lifetime Service to Animals Officer Christine Luffey

HAP will present the organization’s highest award given for monumental achievement in animal protection to Officer Christine Luffey, Pittsburgh’s best friend in animal law enforcement. An officer with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for 28 years, Officer Luffey also serves as the Community Relations Officer for Zone 3. She’s “Pittsburgh famous” for rescuing Effie from abuse and neglect, and arresting the man who starved the sweet pit bull down to just 14 pounds.  

Photo from @PghPolice Twitter

Known as the animal authority on the street and in the courtroom, Officer Luffey is training officers throughout the city to stand up as animal protectors. Her legacy will produce a ‘model humane police department’ both willing and able to help animals in need.

The Lifetime Service to Animals Award is named for Senator Roy C. Afflerbach, who served as a Pennsylvania state representative and mayor of Allentown. He now dedicates himself to helping animals and was the inspiration behind forming Humane Action Pittsburgh. The retired Senator worked to overhaul a pivotal animal abuse statute that increased penalties for neglect, cruelty and aggravated cruelty.


Compassionate Living Award Richard Butler

As HAP’s partner in the “Heart of a Hero” campaign, Richard Butler introduced ‘plant-strong’ eating into the vernacular of City of Pittsburgh employees. His innovative approach to reversing heart disease and diabetes with a sustainable and kind diet embodies what compassionate living is all about.

Photo from Scare Your Soul 

Richard serves as Manager for Talent and Wellness Development for the City of Pittsburgh, managing the professional development and wellness of the City’s 3,500 employees. Richard jumped right on board with HAP’s 2019 initiative, Heart of a Hero, recruiting public safety personnel to participate in a 7-day experiment that embraced a 100% whole-foods, plant-based diet. 

Richard knew Heart of a Hero would help the City save money on future healthcare expenses, but more importantly, he had a genuine interest in helping our emergency responders get as healthy as possible. In just one short week, the volunteers saw marked improvement in health markers, including an average drop in cholesterol of 22 points. 

In addition to his day job, Richard has enjoyed working as a fitness professional for nearly 40 years. He switched to eating plan-based himself after participating in Heart of a Hero. 


Legislator of the Year U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle

Ranked as one of America’s most bi-partisan members of the U.S. Congress, Representative Mike Doyle is widely respected for his humanitarian efforts and for giving a voice to animals.  For his exceptional pro-animal voting record, Congressman Doyle is Humane Action Pittsburgh’s Legislative Animal Champion.

Photo from U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle Website 

Currently serving his 14th term in Congress, Mike Doyle represents the 18th District of Pennsylvania, which includes the City of Pittsburgh and 53 other communities in Allegheny County.

He has been instrumental in recently reintroducing the Pet Safety and Protection Act, legislation designed to protect companion animals from illegal sale for use in laboratory experiments. The Pet Safety and Protection Act would prohibit “Class B” animal dealers from selling dogs and cats to researchers. “Class B” dealers sell abandoned or unwanted animals that they obtain from sources such as shelters, pounds, small breeders, and even free-to-a-good-home ads.


How to Order Tickets for the Heroes Award Reception

Celebrate Pittsburgh’s Animal Protection Heroes in person on Friday, November 5 at the Humane Action Pittsburgh Heroes Award Reception. Join us at the Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, for vegan appetizers and open bar at 6:30 pm. A vegan dinner and program follow at 7:30 pm. This is HAP’s annual gala and cocktail attire is suggested. The banquet hall is handicapped accessible and free parking is available. 

Please note that due to COVID-19 precautions, all tables will be safely distanced. To protect the health of all guests, we ask that attendees be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event.

Purchase your tickets by October 29 to attend what is guaranteed to be an enjoyable evening in honor of three amazing Pittsburghers who care deeply about protecting animals. Can’t attend HAP’s Award Reception on November 5? Please consider a donation.



Aimee Douglass is the Director of Compassionate Living. Aimee works in the healthcare industry and has a bachelors degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and a masters degree in Communications with a health care focus from Southern New Hampshire University.

Abhi Nadendla is a blogger at HAP and has been volunteering at the organization since late 2022. She is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and loves spending her free time helping out at animal shelters.

Hannah Lewis is a grant writer and blogger from Pittsburgh’s North Side who has been with HAP since 2020. In addition to writing and advocating for animals, she enjoys hiking, cooking plant-based meals, bouldering at her local climbing gym, and curling up with a good book and her long-haired cat, Freyja.

Kelly Frantz has recently joined the HAP family as a blog writer. She is passionate about animal protection and is excited to educate the community about animal welfare.