Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free the fur!

Fundraising ball aims to care for, help find homes for, shelter animals

Express Staff Writer

“Luna the Party Cat” by Sandra Hesselbacher and 10-year-old Evan Hesselbacher won the photography contest this year attached to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley’s upcoming second annual Fur Ball. The first person to contact Sheila Liermann at 481-0450 for tickets that mentions this article gets two free tickets to the ball!

Sheila Liermann knows that many people have lost their homes and, when she goes through the empty houses as part of her job as a realtor, she can see the evidence that a family pet had once lived there too.

She's also been on the receiving end as a volunteer for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.

"We've had an uptick in surrendered animals," Liermann said.

While those animals are embraced until stable homes are found for them, another program that the shelter is putting its energy and money into is a collaboration with The Hunger Coalition called Paws for Hunger.

"We have this great program with The Hunger Coaltion where people who are having a hard time can go to them for pet food that we supply," she said. "What's really cool is that it helps animals stay with their families and also helps the coalition identify families in stress, so more help can be offered."

Meagan Ryan Stasz, communications and development manager for the coalition, said anyone can come in for a pet food card just as they can a regular food card.

Stasz said no proof of finances is necessary, and if people can be encouraged to come in for their animals, they may also find other ways that the coalition can help.

"Need is up," she said. "We distributed 400 bags of dog and cat food in 2010 and already we have as of August given out 448 bags. Need is up, but the program is able to keep up with the level of need."

To keep the coffers full, and to appeal to a wider audience of potential shelter supporters, Liermann said the Fur Ball was conceived "as an affordable fundraiser, and every dime goes to the shelter."

This year's event will be held Friday, Sept. 30, at 9 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques' in Ketchum.

Last year, Steve Miller and his band needed a practice run before heading out on tour, so he provided entertainment and the shelter raised $10,000.

This year, other local favorites have stepped up, including DJ McClain, The Heaters and Up a Creek.

There will be a costume contest, raffle and a cookie count for a cord of wood as well.

"The Heaters were a fixture in the '80s, so it's kind of a reunion for them," Liermann said. "Up a Creek, they are a fabulous and fun guitar band that come with their own antics."

Fur Ball

l Friday, Sept. 30, 9 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques' in Ketchum.

l For $20: Music by DJ McClain, The Heaters and Up a Creek.

l Costumes: Encouraged, but not required. Contest categories include "Dressing like your cat's attitude" or "Your dog's antics" and prizes.

l 50/50 Raffle: Tickets $1 or six for $5, winner gets half the pool.

Jennifer Liebrum:

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