More than 200 animals lovers gathered at Rum Point Club on Sunday for the fifth annual PAWS In The Sand fundraising dinner.
PAWS, which stands for the Protection of Animal Welfare Society, cares for around 48 animals each month, providing boarding for injured, abused or neglected pets.
The evening included live and silent auctions, raffles, food and entertainment. Andre Visser was presented with a special Life-Saving Award by PAWS for his contributions to animal welfare.
Founded in 2010 by Giuseppe and Susanna Gatta, Alex Stewart and Marleine Gagnon, PAWS is a non-profit society that aims to alleviate animal suffering, particularly in the eastern districts.
Leading the auction was Master of Ceremonies, Andrew Bacon, who flew in from Canada to host PAWS In The Sand for the third time.
“Year after year, I come down, not only because of Giuseppe,” said Mr. Bacon, “but because of all these nice people. I look on the same faces year after year, and it’s a wonderful cause.”
Mr. Bacon auctioned off a villa stay in Jamaica, a deluxe barbecue grill, original paintings by local artists, a nine-pound wheel of Stilton cheese, and five slabs of salmon, as well as a dinner for eight.
Silent auctions and raffles saw guests outbidding one another for wine, gift certificates for local businesses, handcrafted accessories and artworks including jewelry, Talavera pottery, photographs and paintings. PAWS treasurer Julia Darvill acknowledged that this year’s event had had the largest turnout to date.
She has also acknowledged that the event helps to promote local artists and vendors, in addition to encouraging “people to bid on things that are either locally made or given.”
Other highlights of the evening were song performances by Angela Adams, who flew in from New York, followed by a dance act inspired by the movie “Magic Mike.”
Dressed in police uniforms, Radames Tognazzo, Ed Chisholm, Derek Haines, Andrew Kronick and Mr. Gatta got on stage, giving the dancers of “Magic Mike” a run for their money until they wore nothing but boxer shorts stuffed with donations from guests.
Additional entertainment was provided by DJ JR and the St. Matthew’s University veterinary students who carried posters of animals needing a home as they danced to ABBA’s “Take a Chance On Me.”
The night came to an end with several guests returning home via catamaran, provided by Red Sail Sports.
“It always touches me, year after year, to see so many people coming out for such a good cause,” Mr. Bacon said. “There are a lot of neglected animals on the island and the money that we raise goes a long way to making sure those animals have some care and compassion.”
The date for the next PAWS In The Sand fundraising dinner has already been set for Saturday, March 4 next year.
For more information about PAWS, contact Giuseppe Gatta at 916-1731, Susanna Gatta at 916-3957, or Alex Stewart at 925-4804 or email [email protected]