Paws for Peace walk in Orlando tackles heavy topic with lighthearted event

12th-annual event benefits domestic violence survivors

Paws for Peace walk at Blue Jacket Park in Orlando (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It was sunny skies and good vibes Saturday morning for the 12th annual Paws for Peace walk at Blue Jacket Park in Orlando.

The event benefits domestic violence survivors and their pets.

The annual event is hosted by Harbor House of Central Florida to raise money for its emergency shelter and the Paws for Peace Kennel.

“We have a kennel, so when someone is fleeing domestic violence, they can come in with their entire family and that means their furry family members as well,” said Harbor House of Central Florida CEO Michelle Sperzel.

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News 6 has partnered with Harbor House. In fact, our “Paws for Peace” phone bank earlier this week raised more than $7,000 in just a few hours.

“The unconditional love that you get from your pet is part of the healing process and part of the healing journey when someone is leaving a domestic violence situation,” Sperzel said.


Brittany Hebert and her friend Meghan said they couldn’t miss it.

“I couldn’t ever imagine being separated from my dog and I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to be either,” Hebert said.

“It’s a good cause and I love dogs and it’s a fun time,” said Meghan Albee.

Our News 6 traffic safety expert Steven Montiero was the host and emcee for the event.

“You get to tackle such a real heavy topic with such a lighthearted event,” Montiero said. “Any animals, Harbor House is ready to accept that so that victims can escape their violence.”

Many of our News 6 family and their furry friends were also on hand, including Anchor Julie Broughton and Meteorologist Troy Bridges.

The event also honored Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, awarding him with the first Ted Maines Volunteer of the Year award.

It’s in honor of the late Ted Maines, a long-time philanthropist and former co-chair of the Paws for Peace walk.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, Harbor House’s hotline is always available.

You can call or text: (407) 886-2856.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.