WASHINGTON -- Congressional staffers might come to blows over their loyalty to elephants and donkeys, but when it comes to puppies, there's little to fight about.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals brought more than 50 puppies and kittens to Capitol Hill Tuesday to teach hundreds of congressional staffers about the benefits of animal adoption.
"The 50 cats and dogs with us today represent the over five million pets that end up in shelters across the country each year," Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Moran, who represents Arlington County, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, co-chairs the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, which hosted the event.
"These animals provide companionship and comfort to Democrats and Republicans alike," Moran said. "Caring for these creatures is something we can all come together on, raising awareness about the vital services provided by our local animal shelters.”
The kittens and puppies were lost in a sea of khakis and high heels, but the staffers seemed unconcerned with keeping their clothes neat. They chose instead to roll around on the floor with whichever puppy was nearest. All of the animals had a steady stream of staffers clustered by their sides, and the room was filled with a constant chorus of barking amid the usual Hill chatter.
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Reps. Elton Gallegly (D-Calif.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) joined Moran at the event, taking turns cuddling with pups as they spoke about the benefits of adoption and celebrated a new House measure that would ban gas chambers as a form of animal euthanasia. Quigley, who is not listed as a member of the Animal Protection Caucus on its website, joined staffers on the carpet to snuggle up to a beagle puppy.
The event was intended to celebrate the animals and allow staffers to destress, though volunteers and staffers from nearly a dozen area animal shelters were on hand to provide adoption information while they kept the puppies in line.
Patrick Cole, the communications director for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, said the animals in the room were able to capture quite a few hearts.
"Just by overhearing conversations and talking to a couple of people, there was a lot of interest and I expect a lot of applications either later today or later this week," Cole said.
At least one puppy-love-struck staffer found a new best friend: After the event, a legislative staffer in Moran's office filled out all the paperwork to adopt a Chihuahua named Bunker.