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Obamas' dog? Try a shelter, animal advocates say

  • Story Highlights
  • Animal group launches adoption campaign as Obamas search for dog
  • Group shows off dozens of shelter dogs near White House
  • American Humane Association: 7 million animals end up in shelters yearly
  • AHA representative: Obamas "can go online" to find hypoallergenic shelter dog
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From Laura Haring
CNN
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama family may be a couple months away from moving into the White House, but dog advocates already are trying to capitalize on the Obamas' search for a puppy to join them there.

The American Humane Association, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox's upcoming comedy film "Marley & Me," kicked off an animal adoption campaign Wednesday in the nation's capital, showing off dozens of dogs from local rescue organizations.

Organizers placed the dogs, sporting bright orange "Adopt Me" jackets, near the White House. The AHA says 7 million animals end up in the shelter system each year.

"We're really hoping to change people's perception of where they need to go to get a dog -- especially if they want a purebred dog -- and go to a shelter and rescue a dog that doesn't have a home," AHA animal safety representative Sandi Buck said.

The campaign will hit 16 cities, ending in Los Angeles on December 25 for the opening of "Marley & Me." The movie's title character, Marley, is an adopted dog. iReport.com: What kind of puppy should new first family get?

President-elect Barack Obama, in his election victory speech last week in Chicago, said his daughters had "earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

On Friday, he told reporters that the dog must be hypoallergenic, because one of his daughters is allergic. Obama also said: "Our preference would be to get a shelter dog." Learn more about some of the popular hypoallergenic breeds »

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"There are actually around 15 different breeds that are hypoallergenic so they have quite a range to choose from," Buck said. "They can go online and they can find a local breed rescue and go from there."

During Friday's post-election news conference, Obama said he thought the dog issue "generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything."

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