NORWICH – More than 200 people gathered at the Canasawacta Country Club Saturday evening with hopes of helping out the Chenango SPCA in its biggest fundraising night of the year.
The annual Valentine Fur Ball acts not only as a benefit for the shelter, but also as an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and voice any concerns to the CSPCA board, said Courtney Sullivan, past CSPCA president and current board member.
The CSPCA provides shelter for more than 1,000 animals each year and it is an open admission shelter – in that it never turns an animal away.
Completely separate and independent from the ASPCA, the CSPCA provides care and shelter to animals in the local community and relies solely on individual and corporate support, and receives zero government assistance.
The shelter vaccinates, de-worms, and provides preventative flea medication and care for all of the sheltered animals, which costs more than $30,000 per year. Additionally, the cost of dog and cat food per year exceeds $13,000.
In order to provide all the care offered at the CSPCA, events are held throughout the year to garner both funds and support. Saturday’s event – while not sold out and at maximum capacity – showed community members and businesses are supportive of the CSPCA’s efforts.
Music, dancing, food and drinks were abundant, and various four-legged friends were guests at the event.
The band Splash provided entertainment once again, and numerous items were up for auction.
All funds raised go directly to supporting the animals at the CSPCA, said executive director Annette Clarke.
“This year, we also started our in-house spay/neuter surgical unit and with the volunteer assistance of two area vets, Dr. Caitlin McIntosh from New Berlin Veterinary clinic and Dr. Jen Jones from Paris Hill Cat Hospital. They have spayed and neutered over 70 cats and dogs this year,” said Clarke.
Information was on hand at the Fur Ball regarding the CSPCA’s new venture, membership opportunities for the general public. A membership offers special pricing on all events, e-newsletters, and free use of the Mary Elizabeth Macksey Humane Center.
Membership includes the options of “Friend,” – priced at $25 – which provides food and shelter for 30 days; “Animal Lover,” which provides food, shelter, and some testing for one month for $50; and other incremental levels up to “Guardian,” which provides shelter, food, spaying or neutering, and emergency care for one full year.
Those in attendance at the Country Club attested to the positivity of the event.
“It was yet another great example of the community coming together to rally for a fantastic cause,” said guest John Kampe. “It was a perfect blend of class and fun. There were smiles everywhere you looked. It’s important to keep smiling.”
The semi-formal event offers an opportunity for guests to dress up and “shake the winter blues,” said Sullivan.
Last year’s total of funds raised exceeded $19,000. This year’s totals are not yet finalized; but hopes are high for another successful year. The shelter’s annual operating costs exceed $100,000 per year.
While the Fur Ball remains the CSPCA’s largest fundraiser, there are various other options for providing assistance to the shelter. Those interested in volunteering time, donating funds, or assisting with food, toys, or paper products can visit the CSPCA website at chenangospca.org or call 334-9724.