Arson Dogs are a Hot Category in the 2012 Hero Dog Awards WASHINGTON, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Farm, one of America's largest insurance companies, joined forces with American Humane Association, one of America's oldest humanitarian organizations, to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people with the sponsorship of the "Law Enforcement & Arson Dog" category for the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. Dog lovers across the country are nominating their favorite canines in all eight of the categories for the Hero Dog Awards at www.herodogawards.org. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101108/DC97343LOGO) The Hero Dog Awards were created by the American Humane Association to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people. Presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast nationwide on Hallmark Channel, the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are produced by Emmy® award winning MRB Productions. The annual national competition searches out and recognizes America's Hero Dogs – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, whether it's saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or just welcoming a person home at the end of a hard day. Each year billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of arson-related fires. Since 1993 State Farm has provided funding for the acquisition and training of special dogs who detect accelerants and the cause of fires. State Farm has placed more than 250 arson dogs in the U.S. and Canada over the last two decades. "Dogs enrich and protect our lives every single day and we use the Hero Dog Awards to tell the powerful story of the human – animal bond," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the 135-year-old American Humane Association. "We are deeply gratified that our corporate partners like State Farm recognize the important role that animals play in our lives every day and join with us in celebrating dogs and the people who love them." "State Farm was very proud when Arson Dog Sadie won in the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards' Law Enforcement & Arson dog category last year, given that Sadie and her handler, Jerry Means, are graduates of the State Farm Arson Dog Program," said David Beigie, State Farm Vice President – Public Affairs. "We are thrilled to join American Humane Association in celebrating the unconditional love and commitment that dogs bring to our lives." Dogs may be nominated in eight categories for the Hero Dog Awards: Law Enforcement & Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; Hearing Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs (the category for ordinary dogs). Finalists in each of the eight categories will be selected by the public from the pool of contestants, and flown to Hollywood with two of their human friends to the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California on October 6, 2012. There they will walk the red carpet, attend the show which will be broadcast on Hallmark Channel, and will be recognized in a video tribute at the black-tie gala where the winning American Hero Dog will be announced. Nominations close on March 26, 2012, and voting by the general public will begin on April 1, 2012. Visit www.herodogawards.org to nominate a dog today!