PAWS in the Sand, an annual event that raises money for animals in need in the eastern districts, was held at the White House in Bodden Town on Saturday night.

More than 200 guests were on hand to raise money for the Protection of Animal Welfare Society, known as PAWS, first filling the waterfront patio to review silent auction and raffle items before enjoying a buffet dinner, live auction and entertainment under the stars, a press release states.

Founded in 2010 by Giuseppe and Susanna Gatta, Alex Stewart and Marleine Gagnon, PAWS works to alleviate the suffering of animals in need, particularly in the eastern districts, through a variety of charitable initiatives including community dog washes, a spay and neuter program, financial assistance to families with pets in need, heartworm treatment, animal rescue, feral cat shelters and a community thrift shop in Bodden Town, the release states.

Ticket sales were strong for this year’s fundraiser, organizers said.

“It just goes to show that the people in the community can see the value of the work we are doing and are keen to support us in our mission to promote animal welfare,” Mr. Gatta said.

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Andrew Bacon, who has served as auctioneer for the past four events, was unable to attend. Filling in for Mr. Bacon, Kelly Rooney did her part to promote the PAWS thrift shop by wearing a dress purchased from the store.

“I was thrilled to help out for such a worthy cause,” she said. “I was not great as an auctioneer as it was my first time. I now have even more respect for those who do it on a regular basis.”

The Roverdance troupe: from left, Christian Crescente, Keith Griffin, Andrew Kronick, Derek Haines, Ed Chisholm, Mark Edmunds, Giuseppe Gatta, Vico Testori and Radames Tognazzo. – Photos: Michelle O’Shea Hayes

Highlights of the live auction included a hanging piece of Talavera pottery in the shape of a parrot, a nine-pound wheel of Stilton cheese, thick cuts of sirloin, five slabs of salmon, and a dinner for eight prepared in-house by Chef Keith Griffin with the ingredients and wine provided by Ristorante Pappagallo and The Lighthouse restaurant.

Ms. Rooney said one of her favorite moments of the evening was her daughter attempting to bid on an item for her.

“She tried to help me out by bidding $550 for five salmon fillets – that was hilarious,” he said. “Those were difficult, I mean how much can you say about salmon?”

The crowd was entertained by the Paraguayan musical stylings of the Cayman Trio, a group consisting of Carlos Rodas and his daughters Daniella and Rosa.

And, once again, crowd favorite New York singer “Queen” Angela Adams joined the trio to deliver their rendition of the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” before shifting gears to perform “Cabaret” by Liza Minnelli. As always, the crowd waited expectantly for the live entertainment performed by Mr. Gatta and friends, organizers said in the press release.

“The music started low as a man spoke in thick, Irish brogue and the audience waited in silence until Mr. Gatta, Ed Chisholm, Derek Haines, Andrew Kronick, Keith Griffin, Vico Testori, Radames Tognazzo, Christian Crescente and Mark Edmunds ascended to the stage dressed somberly in black apart from their floppy ears and wagging tails,” the press release states. The troupe delivered a spirited, comedic and crowd-pleasing take on “Riverdance” in a performance directed by Sue Howe.

PAWS President Giuseppe Gatta

“It is always such an amazing feeling to have the crowd respond the way they do. It is a bit of fun on our part, and although we practiced seriously as always, we know that even if we mess up a bit here and there, the audience loves it even more,” said Mr. Gatta.

Noting the serious cause behind the event, PAWS board member Hannah Reid said that the previous year had been a difficult one for all local animal charities with a high number of animal abuse and neglect cases.

“There were a few terrible cases that made it to the attention of the media and the wider public but, unfortunately, that is only a fraction of what local animal charity volunteers see on an almost daily basis,” said Ms. Reid.

Mr. Gatta added, “PAWS stands together with the other local animal welfare groups working to make a difference because we all feel very deeply the pain and suffering of abused and neglected animals and we cannot stand by idly when the voiceless are in need.”

Currently, PAWS has several dogs in foster care waiting for “forever homes.”

Information on the charity and pictures of the animals PAWS is seeking permanent adoptions for can be found at WelfareSociety. PAWS can be contacted on 916-1731 or 916-3957, or by email at [email protected]

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