PAWS Chicago hosts 10th fur-tastic fundraiser
PAWS development board member Amy Mick of Highland Park. | Lee A. Litas~For Sun-Times Media
1997 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago; (773) 935-7297 or pawschicago.org
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:03AM
The Event: Overcast and windy weather did not stop the fur from flying on July 19 at the 10th annual PAWS Chicago Beach Party held at Castaways Boathouse at North Avenue Beach. The pet-friendly soiree attracted an unprecedented 400 people and 100 dogs making it one of the largest pet-centric events of the summer. Founded in 1997, Pets Are Worth Saving Chicago is the city’s largest nonprofit, no-kill humane society.
Cause Célèbre: “The first year my daughter and I went to the city pound, 95 percent of the animals were being killed there,” said PAWS founder Paula Fasseas. “Today, 15 years later, we’re down to 50 percent. It’s not good enough, but we’re getting there.”
PAWS obtains 80 percent of its animals from Chicago’s city pound with only 20 percent from individuals. The group guarantee the life of every animal, spending in excess of $500 dollars on each animal until he is adopted. In its first year, PAWS adopted out 60 animals. This year, the organization anticipates placing 5,000 homeless animals. In addition, PAWS will provide about 18,000 free spay/neuter surgeries.
“There are so many wonderful animals out there that need homes. They don’t have a voice so we need to be their voice,” said benefit co-chairman Virginia Stafman. “It feels so good to rescue an animal.”
Currently reaching out to the Chicago communities of Englewood and Pullman, Fasseas hopes to travel to Southern Illinois “where animals suffer terribly,” she said. “I am very pleased at where we’ve gone but we have a long way to go. Animals need a lot of help and adoption is a Band-Aid. Spay/neuter solves the problem,” said Fasseas.
Bottom Line: The annual summer gala raised more than $215,000 for Chicago’s homeless animals.