ASPCA Honors Bellamy Young with 2023 ASPCA Compassion Award

Actress Bellamy Young has been awarded the ASPCA Compassion Award for her outstanding dedication to helping a broad range of animals personally and publicly.

Through public service announcements, social media advocacy, personal visits to animal care facilities and a long history of fostering and adopting animals herself, Bellamy has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to animal welfare causes, including protecting dogs in cruel breeding facilities, supporting legislation to end horrific farm animal abuse, encouraging animal adoption and fostering and supporting efforts to help abused and neglected animals recover from their trauma.

Bellamy received the award—which recognizes noteworthy individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to impact the lives of vulnerable and victimized animals in the United States—from ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker at the ASPCA Adoption Center on March 29.

Best known as the award-winning star of the ABC drama series Scandal for six seasons, Bellamy has had recurring roles on television shows including Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami and Scrubs, and has appeared in more than 20 feature films, including A Wrinkle in Time and Mission Impossible III. In 2015, Bellamy released her debut album Far Away So Close—a collection of contemporary covers influenced by her North Carolina roots—and performed at the White House for President Obama and his family in the National Christmas Tree Lighting telecast.

Despite her successful acting career, Bellamy’s favorite role is being an advocate for animals in need, making her 2022 visit to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center—which is very close to her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina—especially meaningful.

“The team of behavior experts there is doing such important work to prepare fearful dogs for their second chance at happy lives with new, loving families,” Bellamy told us about her visit. “The work the ASPCA does to rescue, rehabilitate and place animals who experienced some of the most horrific forms of abuse is so badly needed, and witnessing it first-hand was an honor and an inspiration.”

Bellamy has three rescued pets of her own, including Bean, a chihuahua mix, and two cats, Button, and Sadie. She has also fostered several animals from local shelters and encourages friends and family to do the same.

During her recent visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City, Bellamy participated in an Instagram Live, with a dog named Sunshine, who has been with the ASPCA since November 2022. Sunshine was rescued from a suspected animal cruelty situation, and after receiving specialized medical and behavioral support from the ASPCA, she is ready to find a new home in a single-dog household outside of the city. (If you’re in the tri-state area and want to give this deserving girl a loving home, check out her profile to complete an application!) 

“Pet adoption is very important to me because I am also an adopted person, so I want us all to be able to stay safe until we’re able to find our true homes,” Bellamy tells us.  “We can’t give up on each other—that’s why fostering and rehabilitation are so vital. Sunshine is full of light and love, and she will be such a devoted companion for the person who is lucky enough to adopt her.”

Finding creative ways to use her celebrity status to help animals, Bellamy donated her Celebrity Jeopardy winnings in 2015 to Operation Blankets of Love, an animal welfare organization that improves the well-being of homeless animals. That same year, she and her rescued animals filmed a public service announcement encouraging potential pet owners to make adoption their first option.

Previous recipients of The ASPCA Compassion Award include Hilary Swank, Drew Barrymore, Edie Falco, Beth Behrs, Martha Stewart, and Cecily Strong.

Bellamy, on behalf of the ASPCA and the countless animals for whom you provide such a strong voice, thank you and congratulations!​

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