A European immigrant begins a grassroots animal rescue group by saving dogs and cats from the streets of L.A.
“I believe that humans are responsible to help the voiceless creatures around us,” says Agnes Kiss, a Hollywood-based animal crusader. Kiss, who moved to L.A. from Hungary in 1996, has been rescuing stray and feral cats from the streets almost from the day she arrived. She would trap them, get them spayed or neutered, and find them homes. Before she knew it, she was already a rescue group, a fact that got her evicted from her apartment (along with a few hotel rooms). Kiss resorted to living in her car with six rescued cats until she found her current living arrangement, which gives her the accommodations she needs to foster animals.
After visiting a shelter to adopt her dog, Emma, Kiss officially started her rescue organization and named it Silent Roar Pet Rescue. “After going to the shelter, I realized the epidemic we have, the backyard breedings, unspayed and unneutered animals, and the declining economy resulting in pets being dropped off at shelters on a daily basis,” Kiss says. “I saw all of the sad eyes and heard their silent cries. You and I—we are the voice of the silent roar.”
Kiss, who grew up surrounded by animals on a farm, now goes to shelters across California to save dogs and cats from being euthanized. With the help of an animal trainer, Kiss rehabilitates the animals with behavioral problems to ready them for adoption. She also makes it a priority to hike with the dogs at L.A.’s Runyon Canyon almost every day. She is currently fostering three dogs and four cats and says, “I feel so rewarded every day when I come home and my foster pets are so happy to see me. I know I am doing something very special.”
An advocate of the right breed for the right guardian, Kiss feels strongly about finding the correct fit for her animals. “People seem to be picking dogs by their appearance and not taking into consideration that different breeds have different personalities,” she says. “This is one reason why so many dogs end up in shelters.” Silent Roar raises awareness about the impact of spaying and neutering, irresponsible breeders and puppy mills, and animal cruelty cases. Kiss also harnesses the power of social media to arrange adoptions from afar, increase awareness of independent rescue groups, and raise funds for natural disasters. As she puts it, “There are many ways a rescuer can make a difference.”
One way Kiss made a huge contribution from a distance was by raising money for the animals affected by a toxic mud spill that occurred in Hungary in 2010. Three villages were destroyed when a sludge reservoir owned by the Hungarian Aluminum Producing and Trading Company gave way. Hundreds of animals, including outdoor-living dogs, pigs, horses, and chickens, were killed by the toxic mud slide. Kiss found a local group, the Noe Animal Sanctuary, that was working to save the surviving animals; however, the organization wasn’t set up to receive funds from the U.S. Kiss used her Web site and Facebook page to raise money, with donations coming from all over the world, including France, Spain, and Eastern Europe. She then went above and beyond and set up a Pay Pal account for the animal sanctuary to receive the funds.
Kiss became a U.S. citizen in May. She says, “I have been here for 14 years. It wasn’t always easy, but I never gave up. Just like I never give up on the animals. Never!”
For more information about Silent Roar Pet Rescue, visit SilentRoarPetRescue.org.