The 17th Annual Pets on Parade, which helps to fund spay and neuter efforts in the county, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gamble Park.Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber …
The 17th Annual Pets on Parade, which helps to fund spay and neuter efforts in the county, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gamble Park.
Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, said the chamber sponsors the event as an annual fundraiser for the Walker County Humane Society. The pets will be called to the stage and paraded around, much like at a dog show.
People can enter their pets for $5 per category, and those pets can be a wide range of animals, she said. Entry fees can be paid in advance or on the day of the event, just before 10 a.m.
In the most unusual category, the chamber has seen talking parrots, snakes, miniature pigmy goats, pot-bellied pigs and a chicken. "We have a little bit of everything," she said.
"All the animals must be current on their shots and your pets must be on a leash," she said.
Categories will include Cutest, Best Costume, Best Trained, Best Looking, Most Unusual, Owner Look Alike, and Best in Show. First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced, as well as honorable mention.
All the proceeds will go to the Humane Society's spay and neuter program, with $800 to $1,000 usually raised for the program each year.
"That goes a long way when you look at trying to help the community with their pets and spay and neuter. We're excited about it," Lewis said.
Essentially, the proceeds will help people "who struggle a little bit and who would like a pet but they struggle in dealing with the expenses to have that pet spayed and neutered," she said. "It helps the families out a little bit."
Hot dogs and soft drinks will be available at the event. "Normally the pets will eat the hot dogs," she noted. "The owners will normally buy the hot dogs for the pets, and that's OK, too."
Door prizes will also be available as well.
This will be a Junior Ambassador event, spotlighting the young people who help out the chamber and perform community service projects, Lewis said. The 59 Junior Ambassadors in the chamber program are representing each school in the county, including Sumiton Christian School. The Ambassadors help with a number of community projects, including the Daily Mountain Eagle Shoe Fund, canned food drives and helping New Beacon Hospice with their Angel Tree.
Susie Vann, board director with the Walker County Humane Society, said Thursday the animal problem that the fundraiser addresses is a major one. She said one female cat and all of her unaltered offsprings in seven years’ time can produce 420,000 cats. Cats do a heating cycle about three times a year, whereas dogs just go twice. A female dog and all of her unaltered offspring in the same length of time, will create 67,000 dogs.
She said the problem would be improved if they will just spay their female and neuter their males.
"So far this year, we've authorized 567" such procedures, Vann said. "There has been a cat explosion this year. I've never seen anything like it."
Veterinarians have been able to join forces with the human society to help do the procedures at a reduced cost, and funds raised for the program also help low-income people.
“If they make less than $18,000 a year, we pay the entire thing,” she said, although the owner would still have to pay the state-required rabies shot that runs from $12 to $15. Those who make more than $18,000 still have to pay a co-pay in the program of about $25, while the program pays for the rest.
She said about 400 to 600 procedures are done a year.
Vann said all the human society's fundraisers go for spaying and neutering needs to help Walker County residents. She was very pleased with the success of Pets on Parade.
"We will never be able to thank Linda and her ambassadors enough. They put on a top-rate show for us. We're thrilled to death to work with them. They are always a great group of kids, very professional. They enjoy it and we sure enjoy it," she said.
Anyone wanting more information may contact Lewis at the chamber at (205) 384-4571 or see her at the chamber office at the Jasper Civic Center. They may also e-mail email@example.com. They mail also mail her in care of the chamber at 204 19th Street East, Suite 101, Jasper, AL 35501.