Prince Lorenzo Borghese, is a member of the House of Borghese and is known to the public for his television appearances in shows such as ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Selling New York.’
The aristocratic in him doesn’t deny his noble origins, he has for instance published a book on his ancestor ‘The Princess of Nowhere’ on Paolina Bonaparte Borghese, but cherishing the nobility of the soul he has focused on the world of our four-legged friends with a wagging tail.
He is the founder and president of Royal Treatment Italian Pet Spa, and started a luxury pet shopping site, Royal Pet Club. His concern to pets has led him to come up with an event that will spread awareness on the sufferances inflicted to pets.
On July 12 2012 a very special life changing journey will take place, would you like to explain all about it?
It’s called ‘The Amazing Grace Caravan’ it’s July 12th through the 15th. The caravan will travel from New Jersey to Georgia. It’s named after a dog, Grace, who survived the gas chamber in Georgia six years ago in July. Grace is alive and doing well. She and her owner Phil will be joining us in the caravan. So we’re celebrating not only the fact that she survived, but that Georgia banned the chambers used to euthanize animals, because of Grace, it’s called the Amazing Grace Law. To celebrate the end of the gas chamber is Georgina, we’re going down in memory of what happened and our goal is to convince everyone that when looking for a pet, the first thing they should do is look to adopt. There are an abundant amount of animals that need homes and there is no need to buy them. Unfortunately what happens is that when there isn’t enough demand from shelters many are forced to euthanize them and there’s no need for that, we’re just bringing awareness to adoption.
Who is supporting this initiative?
We have some of the largest animal welfare organisations involved on this caravan, including the American Humane Association and Dogs on Death Row, as well as the organisation I co-founded, Animal Aid USA. So to get together as a big group we’re going down, making this huge epic journey for what we believe will be the largest animal awareness caravan in the world.
How is the trip planned?
We plan to visit at least two shelters and get as many animals adopted as possible. We’re also raising money for spay and neuter which will enable individuals that are in financial distress to get their dog spay or neutered for free. Studies have shown that neglecting spay and neuter is a big cause of the over population. So if you spay and neuter your dog or cat it’s less likely to have this increase of population. We’re also raising attention for some of the laws we want implemented. One is on the inhumane ways animals are euthanized which includes the gas chamber (which is no longer allowed in Georgia but is allowed in approximately 30 states), and cardiac heart sticking (where they take a stick with a needle and try to puncture the heart. Many times these animals are still alive when thrown in dumpsters). So we’re trying to outlaw these two ways of euthanizing animals while promoting adoption.
Why have you chosen the itinerary New Jersey-Georgia?
My partner, Karen Talbot, started a programme two years ago called ‘Paws for a Cause’ for PTSA (Parent-Teacher-Student Association) she was head of the PTSA of her son’s
school in Hammonton, New Jersey. She wanted to do a special fund raiser and instead of getting food for the homeless, which is very common, she said why not do ‘Paws for a Cause’ and have an adoption? So they agreed to do it. At that point, she started to do research online and found out that the most inhumane states where animal were treated were the Southern ones, one being Georgia. She decided to work with a shelter in Georgia and drive down there in an attempt to save lives. Dozens of dogs were adopted. She then took it a step further, to allow the children to see where these animals came from. To do this she created a caravan from NJ to Georgia two years ago and emptied out an entire Georgia shelter. Right after this journey she realized she couldn’t stop after achieving such a positive response, so she started doing this trip from NJ to Georgia every month. I met with her in October and suggested we do this whole thing but on a bigger scale: attempt to have the world’s largest rescue caravan and get all these organizations involved.
How will the organizations’ contribution be different from any previous?
My whole philosophy is that any time an animal is put down, because of ‘overpopulation,’ it’s an emergency. So why not just make this caravan an emergency situation where animals are dying for no cause, except for overpopulation? That’s how I was able to get all these large organizations to come together as one, to be part of it. We have the American Humane Association driving down their Red Star rescue truck, we have donated empty tractor trailers that will stop along the route to get donations, food and supplies for the animals and we have families with their children driving down as part of this caravan. I’m driving one of the buses, with a bunch of my pet-loving friends as passengers.
The awareness campaign will also have a dog representative…
Clark G. is a famous dog on YouTube who has had over a 100 million views in under a year. He’s a shelter dog, he’s two years old and was rescued. He’s the voice of this caravan, as he’s actually a talking dog. He’s on a Presidential campaign running for President: his campaign is to change the way animals are treated. And then of course there is Grace, who is the face of our anti-inhumane ways animals are euthanized.
The artist Ellen Strack is ready to paint the bus…
People can actually get caricatures of their dogs painted on the bus for a $50 donation. I will be having my dog Belle’s caricature created.
So how can one ordinary people lend a hand for this expedition?
They go to www.animalaidusa.org and there’s different areas where they can give contributions as well as joining us on our journey. This event is open to the public, so if you want to be part of the caravan you can join us and drive down with us. We’re getting police escorts leading us out of NJ. We really want this to be the largest animal awareness event in history, which I think it can be.
What is the message you want to send to the general public?
A lot of people don’t realize that many state and city shelters are run by the department of health and animals are treated as a health problem: so they try to get rid of as many of them as possible, for it’s sometimes easier to kill them than to keep them alive. It’s an “economic” problem. That’s the sad reality of it. When you turn your back on kill shelters you turn your back on those animals that need your help the most. They legally have to take in every animal that comes in their door and when they run out of room, loving adoptable animals are killed.
Could you be considered the Prince of dog’s rights?
I’m just trying to spread awareness and I think that when you have the knowledge of what’s happening and you don’t like it, it’s your duty to change it. It’s an easy fix, it’s not as if we’re trying to deal with the US economy. These animals really really love us and we’re killing them, we’re being mean to them and I don’t understand it. And if people saw these videos of gas chambers which we’re going to show, you start thinking of wanting to make a change. When I went on TV as ‘The Bachelor’ I first started and knew that if I built my name I could make a change. Just because you’re on TV you get credibility, people start listening to you. I did TV not because I like to be on reality TV, but because I wanted to make a change and if I found my wife doing it, even better!