theParklander

Walk for the Animals
By David Volz / March 2012

Animals often have it tough in the real world. With the economic slump, many people are abandoning once-beloved pets because they can no longer afford to feed them.

To provide more financial support for animals that live with humans, the Humane Society of Broward County is hosting the 22nd Annual Walk for the Animals at Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale on the morning of March 3. People and dogs walk for a mile and a half. Registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the walk at 10 a.m.

Last year, the event netted $470,000 and this year organizers hope to raise $500,000. Last year, about 4,500 people and about 2,000 dogs participated in the walk. This year, organizers hope that even more people will participate.

"It is a lot of fun to participate in the walk," said Cherie Wachter, spokesperson for the Humane Society. "We are asking that people help us raise money for our shelter and the programs and services that we offer. We provide adoption services for animals that don't have homes."
The walk is a fun event. People are encouraged to walk as individuals or as a pack or team. Teams provide an excellent opportunity for businesses to get their employees involved.

Teams are encouraged to raise $1,500. If they accomplish this goal, the organization will receive a team photo and signs to walk with. A team can be comprised of two people or more than 100. The team raising the most money will receive a plaque.

The top three individual fundraisers will receive a two-night, three-day stay in Aspen, Colorado, San Francisco or New York City provided by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. The highest fundraiser gets first choice of location, followed by the second and third highest fundraisers.

Those who participate in the walk will receive a pancake breakfast. There are vendors who set up games that include prizes. There will be face painting for children and the Purina Incredible Dog team will provide entertainment.

"It is amazing to see all these animal lovers come and support the shelter," said Wachter. "People who have come in the past are excited to see how the walk has grown every year. The first time attendee is wowed by the whole experience."

The Humane Society of Broward County was founded in 1944. It provides shelter to animals that can no longer be cared for by their families. This includes, dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. Three hundred to 400 animals per week are provided care. It is an open admission shelter, which means animals must be friendly and healthy to be placed for adoption.

"We are fortunate that the community supports us," said Wachter. "Last year, we placed nearly 10,000 animals into homes. We offer an extensive education department."

Kathy Tricomi, senior vice president and chief development officer for the Humane Society, hopes people realize the importance of the walk. "It is not only a fun day, it is the largest fundraiser for the Humane Society," she said. "This walk brings in almost ten percent of our annual operating budget. It is very important to the animals. It also creates awareness in the community of what we do."

The Humane Society is located in Dania Beach at 2070 Griffin Road. People can register online at www.walk4theanimals.com. The phone number is 954-266-6817.




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