With a major fundraiser around the corner and a recent parting of ways between the city-run animal shelter and the nonprofit, Friendswood Animal Advocates President Melanie Reyes has had her hands full.
“We are full speed ahead with the fundraiser,” Reyes said of the March 7 Bets for Pets casino night, which serves as FAA’s main source of revenue. “We just want the community behind us.”
The group formed in 2009 to advocate and support a new animal shelter, and has since provided both funds and volunteers for medical care and adoptions for the city’s unwanted animals.
But the FAA board recently announced a decision to withdraw its support of the city-run shelter after new policies went into effect, a decision that Reyes said had been a long time in the making.
“It didn’t just start two weeks ago,” she said. “There were a lot of things leading up to it.”
Moving forward, the group now aims to keep as many animals as possible from ending up with Animal Control though its ongoing spay-neuter assistance, adoption and re-homing efforts that include training and medical care of hurt and sick animals.
Some many issues between the two entities involved how long animals would be allowed to remain in the facility.
“I keep telling them the right family will come along – these dogs are good,” said Reyes, who went on to describe ‘Big Red,’ a large breed whose 54 days had expired when the city informed her he needed an exit plan. “Sometimes it just takes a little extra time.”
Big Red was eventually adopted by a family, but timing remained an issue on which the city, constrained by budget requirements, and the nonprofit, whose priority is to save animals, didn’t always agree.
“We just weren’t on the same page,” she said.
About 40 members volunteer with FAA, which is now seeking new opportunities to expose its adoptable animals to potential owners.
The group last year paid out $5,000 in supplemental adoption fees, she said offering “specials” that made the regular $85 to $100 adoption fees – which include shots and spay/neuter procedures – more affordable for families.
One ultimate goal of FAA is its own storefront, similar to the one in League City.
“It’s not as simple as walking up to a shopping center and unloading cages,” she said. “League City’s storefront is donated to them by the owner of the (shopping) center – and that makes a huge difference.”
Because they work closely together, League City’s animal services has offered FAA an opportunity to bring adoptable animals to their storefront location once per week to promote them – an offer that was too good to refuse, and is being coordinated now.
In addition, an April 11 “Yay for Life!” event will include an area for FAA’s adoptable pets. A fundraiser for a cancer patient assistance organization, the event will be held at Walter Hall Park in League City. For information, visit yay4lifetexas.org.
The fourth annual “Bets for Pets” Casino Night is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2320 Hatfield Road in Pearland. The fundraiser, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., includes gaming, a live and silent auction, entertainment, appetizers and cocktails.
Auction items thus far include a wine tasting tour in New Braunfels, autographed sports and music memorabilia and gift cards from local businesses.
Pre-sale tickets for the FAA fundraiser are $25, and include $5 in chips and a door prize entry. Tickets at the door will be $30. Sponsorships begin at $150.
For information, visit friendswoodanimaladvocates.org, or email [email protected]