Canines strut their stuff; The goal is to raise funds for no-kill animal shelter

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Approximately 100 people showed off their dogs for the first annual Strut Your Mutt fundraiser for Lee's Paw and Claws Animal Shelter on Saturday at the Fort Scott Community College walking track. The event raised $568 for the yet to-be-opened facility.(Angelique McNaughton//Tribune)

A rather large contingent of animal lovers brought their furry, four-legged companions out to the Fort Scott Community College walking track for the first annual Strut Your Mutt fundraiser for Lee's Paw and Claws Animal Shelter on Saturday.

Event organizers estimated about 100 people left their foot -- and paw -- prints during the four-hour event. About 20 types of canines in varying shapes, sizes and breeds -- many in costume -- graced the venue with their presence.

Fort Scott residents Sara and Kendra Hasenaur brought their 3-month-old golden Labrador retriever, Marley, who was decked out in a multi-colored hoodie jacket.

Sara said they came out to show their support for the shelter.

"We're here just to help," Sara said. "I want to see this animal shelter get open."

With a donation of $20 per family or dog, attendees received a free, baby-blue shelter T-shirt and a chance at the grand prize drawing -- a large basket filled with pet toys and snacks. Laura Nation took home that basket of goodies.

The fundraiser brought in $568 for the shelter from donations and on-site sales.

FSCC English professor Harold Hicks, who also helped organize and set up the event, said he thought everyone had a good time.

"We were very pleased," Hicks said. "Everybody had a good time and we had lots of activities around."

Employees with the local restaurant, The Dog House, sold hot dogs and chips for pet owners while local 4-H members merchandised homemade toys and biscuits for the canines that raised more than $100.

The FSCC mascot, Gizmo, greeted families and posed for pictures.

Event co-organizer Martha Smith said she, too, was pleased with the walk.

"We had a steady stream of visitors, most of them with pets, and a lot of costumes and generous donations," Smith said. "It's all building toward the goal."

Smith said an anonymous donor will match up to $2,000 for all proceeds raised during the month of April. The shelter is also scheduled to get another $600 from a local community agency, Smith said.

The yet to-be-opened animal shelter, located at 721 240th St., has been in the works since 1998. Although it's built and paid for, volunteers and donations for basic operating expenses are still needed to open the doors. Lee's Paws and Claws is associated with Shirley Yeager Animal Friends Foundation but only the annual interest from the foundation may be used to pay ongoing expenses.

Smith is expecting to get the annual interest soon and while the amount depends on fundraising efforts throughout the year, the money could range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.

Strut Your Mutt was one of several fundraisers planned to raise money needed to open the shelter.

"This definitely will be an annual event," Smith said.

Those involved with the shelter said they have more fundraisers planned for the next few months, including a rummage sale in May and a booth at the Good Ol' Days festival in June.