Event to benefit Relay for Life, pet rescues

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, March 31, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — Area animal lovers are gearing up for an event that will benefit pet rescue organizations and Relay For Life.

While the event is mainly a feeder event to raise money for Relay For Life, several organizations will be in attendance to raise money to save stray animals that end up at area animal shelters.

The third annual Run for Life event, hosted by the Chocowinity Pet Resort, will feature three dog rescue organizations — J&J Pet Rescue, Freedom for Friends and Out of the Woods Rescue — and three cat rescue organizations — Washington Cat Rescue (WCR), Paws of Love and Feline Outreach, according to Sue Reikard, the event’s coordinator and manager/co-owner of Chocowinity Pet Resort. The organizations will be bringing cats and dogs that are up for adoption, as well as information to educate attendees about spaying and neutering and other topics related to domestic animals. The event starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday. A rain date has been set for April 3, according to Reikard.

Leslie Steele, founder and president of WCR, said she has been working for the past three years to advocate for stray animals that end up in county kill shelters, and has rescued over 600 cats from the Beaufort County Animal Control Facility. Through participating in the event, Steele’s organization hopes to raise money and awareness, as well as showcase a few animals that are up for adoption.

“We’re considering this our annual fundraiser,” Steele said. “WCR is a rescue that takes our cats from kill shelters, and we try to adopt them out. I spend a lot of time at PetSmart on the weekends and Tractor Supply in Washington, trying to find homes for the cats. That’s what I’m about. I hope to spread the word (about WCR). A lot of people don’t know we exist. It’s an expensive undertaking to get the cats vetted so we need as much support as we can get.”

Steele said she also hopes to educate people about domesticated animals, including how many kittens are born and then sent to kill shelters, how many times a cat can get pregnant and the importance of spaying and neutering. A cat can have a litter of five or six kittens, and then 65 days later become impregnated again, thus showing the importance of spaying or neutering, according to Steele.

Reikard said the event has gained attention and grown over the past three years. Arts and crafts vendors will be in attendance, as well as superheroes such as Spiderman, who will be available to take photos with attendees, courtesy of Gregg Ward Photography, according to Reikard. The event will also feature an array of baked goods for sale, in addition to cat and dog toys and other items that have been donated.

Reikard’s team, dubbed “Fierce and Furrious,” a nod to Relay For Life’s movie theme this year, will be there accepting donations from vendors and selling luminaries to raise money for Relay For Life, she said.

“It’s very important to me and my team because I lost four family members in one year (to cancer),” Reikard said. “I’m just really excited. We just want people to come out and support us. In a roundabout way, our event benefits everybody.”

Chocowinity Pet Resort is located at 89 Maple Court in Chocowinity.