If you travel I-45 south through downtown you can’t miss the bigger-than-life billboard just feet from the Pierce elevated freeway. The outdoor board features a sad looking, innocent cat in a police line-up with the headline “Does the punishment fit the crime?” It’s not a perplexing question when his punishment could be the death penalty and his only crime is being unwanted and unloved.

The billboard is one of two boards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor and just one of many examples of how the Houston advertising and media community has stepped up to support AAF-Houston’s public service campaign for Friends of BARC. Consisting of TV, radio, print and outdoor in Spanish and English, the campaign hopes to encourage more Houstonians to support Friends of BARC, by volunteering, donating money and adopting from BARC, the city animal shelter.

“The campaign has been well received by the media with major TV, radio, print publications and outdoor companies on board,” says Dwight Douthit, who heads up the initiative for AAF-Houston. “We are hoping to see the campaign get more air time after the political season passes and are asking stations to commit space throughout the 2011 calendar year. We feel our creative is timeless and the problem of animal over-population in Houston is not going away anytime soon so it is important that we have the continued support of the media to help get our message out,” adds Douthit.

A new web site created for the group is launching next week. The new site will make it easy to volunteer, donate or get information about adopting. The committee is planning for a special audience with Mayor Annise Parker later this month as the campaign is very much in keeping with the Mayor’s citywide volunteerism initiative. A segment about the Friends of BARC will air on Great Day Houston on KHOU, Channel 11, October 12th.

To view the campaign, please go to friendsofbarc.org/adcampaign.html.