Photo of a woman holding a black cat she just adopted.
A humorous anti-Valentine’s Day campaign is raising money for an Alabama shelter and has resulted in love matches for several of its adoptable cats. Photo by Kaitlyn Newell/Lee County Humane Society

We’re not sure what romantic misdeed Brandon, Jesse or Patricia committed, just that it earned them a spot on the bottom of a litter box at Lee County Humane Society in Auburn, Alabama.

It’s all part of the shelter’s CrappyEx campaign, which promises, for a $5 donation, to write the name of the person who did you wrong in a space where they’re sure to get … well, dumped on.

In previous years, the shelter has celebrated Valentine’s Day in more traditional ways, says digital marketing coordinator Kaitlyn Newell, including creating Tinder-style profiles for its adoptable cats and dogs and hosting matchmaking events to help people find their furry soulmate.

This year, Newell wanted to try something different, something that would resonate with Auburn’s college students and raise some much-needed money for the shelter. She borrowed the idea for CrappyEx from another animal welfare organization and put her own spin on it, creating what she describes as a “super cheesy” video and plenty of silly puns to promote some harmless but somehow satisfying revenge to the lonely-hearts club.

“There are times where our posts need to take on a more serious tone,” she says. “However, I think that to connect with more people, you need to have fun, and that’s what this promotion is all about. It’s fun and silly.”

Social ad from Lee County Humane Society advertising their crappy ex campaign. Image shows a cat in a litter box with names on it.
Lee County Humane Society promises a scoop of retribution for victims of love. Photo by Kaitlyn Newell/Lee County Humane Society

The irreverent approach paid off. Just days after the CrappyEx campaign debuted in late January, the shelter had received the names of more than 200 cheaters, ghosters and other romance miscreants. “Everyone has loved it,” Newell says. “Social media engagement has skyrocketed.”

Photo showing a litter box with names written on the bottom.
By popular demand, the shelter shares photos of the litter boxes on Facebook. Photo by Kaitlyn Newell/Lee County Humane Society

Many praised the shelter’s creativity, sense of humor and recognition of the fact that Valentine’s Day isn’t chocolate and roses for everyone.

“This is the best idea ever!” exclaimed one person in a Facebook comment. “Will be donating, not for an ex but for a few people that have karma doses needed!”

“I can’t wait to see my [ex’s] name in a litter box ...” added another. “So glad this awesome fundraiser is bringing in money to help the animals!”

By early February, the shelter had raised more than $1,900, and the submissions keep coming in, so many that Newell has had to enlist the shelter’s administrative staff to help her add names to about a dozen litter boxes every morning.

“It’s been a lot of fun, a good team-building thing for us,” she says.

And while some submissions have included details about bad dates, bitter breakups and lingering heartache, Cupid hasn’t been completely absent: Videos and photos of the hardworking cats filling the litter boxes have resulted in several adoptions—and the promise of a love that won’t turn sour.

About the Author

Julie Falconer

Julie Falconer is a senior editor at the Humane Society of the United States. She’s passionate about a wide range of animal protection topics, which she writes about for HumanePro, All Animals magazine and She is a longtime volunteer with rescue and animal advocacy organizations and spends much of her free time immersed in trap-neuter-return for community cats—which means her car is perpetually filled with traps, carriers, cases of canned food and cat hair. She lives in Maryland with her partner and they share their home with a neurotic hound mix, three cats (one of whom they can pet) and an assortment of foster animals.


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