Awards & Honors


“This is not a job to Steve Dale, it’s a passion.” – Karen Overall, VMD, MA, PhD. Dipl. ACVB, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

American Veterinary Medical Association Humane Award; 2001/2002

The highest honor bestowed by the AVMA to a non-veterinarian. Steve was at the time the youngest person to ever receive this award. Read the press release online. (pdf)

”His messages are compelling as he tackles tough issues and gets results,” said AVMA President Dr. James Brandt. “Because of Steve, ‘pet dumps’ -trash chute-type drop off facilities for unwanted pets were closed in one community. When a Chicago alderman announced plans to introduce legislation with breed-specific language after two dog-bite fatalities, Steve invited her on his radio program to hear the issues and changed the course to action to prevent those breed bans. Steve’s influence and passion are undeniable.”


CEO, president Marie Belew Wheatley

American Humane Media Award, 2007

For increasing public awareness of animal welfare issues. Read release.


ImageUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Special Service Award, 2007 

For making significant contributions to veterinary medicine and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Read press release. See presentation.

ImageAmerican Kennel Club Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award, 2007.

Presented at the Dog Writer’s Association of America Dinner at Westminster in New York for the pet journalist who uses his/her platform to consistently educate pet owners.

Humane Society of the United States PETS FOR LIFE AWARD from Cat Writers’ Association of America, 2006.

For Steve’s efforts on his radio show Pet Central highlighting the message of ‘Pets for Life.’ “Steve has done a great service for his audience and for the animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, ceo and president HSUS. Read the release.

Pet Industry Outstanding Media Representative of the Year, 2006

Awarded at the Global Pet Expo by the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association. Read the press release.


Steve is presented with the Winn Feline Foundation Award

Winn Feline Foundation Media Award, 2005

Dr. Susan Little, president of the Winn Feline Foundation surprised Steve when she presented this to him live on WGN Radio. She said, “For Steve’s tireless support and advocacy for the well-being and health of all cats.” Release on the award.

Dog Advisory Work Group (D.A.W.G.) Certificate of Extraordinary Community Service, 2005

Presented to Steve for his longtime local involvement, most recently helping dog owners to avoid paying a tax on the rabies and vaccine; and his general efforts to ‘educate’ the public on his WGN Radio show. Release on the Award

Top Dog Award, Pet Sitters International, 2005

For his long time support and endorsement of Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Shojai Mentor Award, 2004

For providing guidance, encouraging council and support that has had a direct and positive influence on colleagues who write about cats, given at the annual Cat Writers’ Association Awards.

Unsung Hero Award, WGN TV, 2004

For contributions to the community, particularly Steve’s involvement with animal assisted therapy.

American Kennel Club Distinguished Service Award, 2003

A particularly prestigious honor for extraordinary achievement and communications excellence, recognizing the person who, by word, deed or exemplary conduct; public communication and professional excellence, promotes the best interest of dogs. Read more about the award.

Chicagoland Stray Cat Coalition Feral Cat Action Award, 2003

Steve’s support Trap Neuter Return, and humane treatment for stray cats.

Syndicated General Feature Newspaper Writer of the Year, Editor & Publisher, 2001/2002

The first pet column ever so honored against a stable of nationally prominent newspaper columnists. According to Editor & Publisher editor David Astor, Steve’s 9/11 reporting figured significantly in his choice as Columnist of the Year. Within 24-hours, Steve was communicating by cell phone with search and rescue dog handlers at Ground Zero and at the Pentagon. Read the story from Editor & Publisher.

VetOne Illuminating Light Award, 2002

From industry leaders and veterinarians, presented by Dr. Mary Becker of Good Morning America.

Cat Writers’ Association Special Newspaper Writer of the Year Award, 1997 through 2000, 2002 and 2004

Presented to the writer who has done the most to promote the welfare, health and care of cats, honoring writing excellence and the ability to communicate technical information to the public.

Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallions:

  • Best Newspaper Column: 1997 through 1999, 2001 and 2003
  • Best Editorial/Opinion Newspaper Story, 2004
  • Best Online Feature: 2004, 2006
  • Best Radio Presentation: 1997 through 2006

Dog Writer’s Association of America Maxwell Medallions:

  • Best Newspaper Column: 1996, 1999, 2003, 2006
  • Best Online Feature: 2000 and 2007
  • Best Radio Show: 1996 through 2005 and 2007

Special Award: Best Newspaper Columnist/Publication of the Year, Dog Writer’s Association of America, 1996 and 1999

A dual award (no longer presented) to both the newspaper for supporting columns, as well as for the columnist.

Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago, Media Person of the Year, 1997

Pawlitzer Prize, 1997 and 1999

For supporting the sport of Canine Frisbee.

Cats Chicago, Special Award, 1992

Extraordinary Performance in Broadcasting, Animal Protection Institute of America, 1984

For daily “All About Animals” radio feature, which Steve produced.