As part of its nonprofit animal rescue efforts in San Benito County, Pet Friends of Hollister put on its annual Pizza for Paws fundraising event Sunday, Aug. 26 at Hacienda de Leal in San Juan Bautista.
With animals for adoption on site, raffle prizes and a live auction of local goods and services, Pet Friends exceeded their $6,000 goal by raising $10,000.
“It’s a very heartwarming effort for what we do for animals,” said Pet Friends CEO Jack Schutchall. “We get no financial support from Hollister or San Benito County. We have to have these fundraisers to cover monthly costs.”
According to Schutchall, Pet Friends’ yearly financial requirement to keep their doors open is about $110,000. Costs include maintaining the rescue facility and services that include a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
Pet Friends also works with the city of San Juan Bautista to reduce the population of feral cats. In this effort, volunteers catch feral cats and bring them to the facility to be spayed/neutered and to receive needed shots. When they are ready to be released, the cats are returned to their colonies. If a feral cat that is caught has kittens, the organization will keep the kittens and work on socializing them in hopes of finding them a forever home.
Lara Lichten, who attended the event, is a volunteer at Pet Friends who walks dogs and socializes kittens. “I get more out of it than animals,” she said. Lichten also praised Pet Friends and the community for their joint efforts in the county.
“You look around here and there are people from all different social circles,” Lichten said. “All people are here knowing about and supporting a common cause.”
Sue Bruner was another attendee who supports Pet Friends and their mission to bring awareness and help animals in need in San Benito County.
“I’m very passionate about pets and rescuing pets rather than purchasing them through breeders,” she said. “[Pizza for Paws] gives the shelters the funds and exposure they need. It’s heaven for our animals to not be in a kill shelter.”
Aiming to reduce the amount of animal euthanasia in San Benito County, Pet Friends also works with Hollister Animal Control to help adopt as many dogs as possible.
“We select animals from the Hollister Animal Shelter that are ‘pet worthy,’” Pet Friends board member Susan Carpenter said.
Kara Ells, animal care and services supervisor for the Hollister Animal Shelter, was also in attendance. Following her introduction by Schutchall, Ells highlighted the work of both organizations to save as many animals as possible and to help educate the public.
According to Ells, the joint effort has resulted in 100 dogs being rescued from the Hollister Animal Shelter within the last year.
“We’re all on the same team,” she said.
For more information on Pet Friends, visit their website or call (831) 634-1191.
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