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Rutgers-Camden Student Finds Homes for Dogs through Facebook Network
CAMDEN —Marissa Ionno takes the adage “a house is not a home without a dog” to heart.
A junior biology major at Rutgers–Camden, Ionno is dedicated to finding homes for unwanted dogs in animal shelters across the country. Last July, she created a Facebook page called “The TAILS Network” to save dogs from euthanasia and keep them out of shelters.
To date, more than 40 dogs have been adopted all over the United States thanks to the social media project.
“To even think that thousands of dogs are euthanized every day because of neglectful and irresponsible owners makes me sick to my stomach,” says Ionno, a resident of Laurel Springs in Camden County. “I knew I had to do something to make a difference.”
Ionno thought she could reach thousands of people through Facebook, so she established a page on which people could share photographs of animals in shelters that are in need of homes. Many of them have only days before they will be put to sleep.
“Since I’m on Facebook all day long anyway, I figured I should network some of the animals myself,” says Ionno, a graduate of Triton Regional High School in Runnemede. “I knew there was something I could do to contribute. There’s always something every one of us can do to make a difference.”
The TAILS Network (which stands for Transforming an Innocent Life by Sharing) has more than 5,300 members who share images of animals every day. Ionno also communicates with animal shelter volunteers who send her messages and ask her to post pictures of animals in their care, and she’s even shared cats, horses, and pigs in need of adoption.
Ionno spends hours each day responding to inquiries and connecting potential owners with their new pets. She runs the site all by herself.
This month, the project caught the attention of Glamour magazine, which named Ionno one of its top college women for 2013. Readers can vote for Ionno to win a $1,500 prize from Glamour on the magazine’s website.
“There are 5,300 people on the network who genuinely care and just want to do the right thing,” Ionno says. “By taking a photo of an animal in need and sharing it on the page, the right person can see it and say, ‘that’s the pet for me.’”
To view The TAILS Network on Facebook, visit facebook.com/TheTailsNetwork.
Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse