Feb. 9, 2005 It's time once again to don your finest, graciously take the arm of your escort and proceed to Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort for an elegant dinner dance to help the island's doggies and other four-footed friends. Of course, you'll have lots of fun, too, because it's the Doggie Ball!
Last year's event, which drew 453 animal lovers, was the largest ever, the Society says, and this year's already has topped that number. Joe Elmore, Society executive director, said Wednesday that 500 tickets have been sold so far. Elmore wasn't certain exactly how many of the fund-raisers have been held. "I think this may be about the 25th one, but we're not certain," he said.
No matter. Each and every one of the dances seems to be more popular than the last.
Saturday night will feature the Starlites band and a few numbers by Broadway star Jessica Hendy. Hendy has appeared in CATS, Miss Saigon, Amour, and, most recently, Aida.
There will also be a silent auction, a raffle, and, one of the most popular fund-raisers, pluck-a-duck. Though you can't actually pluck the ducks they have no feathers and are made of rubber – you can purchase a duck from one of three ponds for $25, $50 or $100. Prizes are lined up behind each pond, and everybody wins. Your duck will have a number corresponding to a prize of equal or greater value than your purchase. However, there is a catch you have to return the ducks.
The raffle grand prize this year is a $2,000 shopping spree at Cardow Jewelers, and about 150 other prizes will be awarded throughout the evening.
The Doggie Ball is the key fund-raiser for the shelter's operating budget. Last year the shelter provided care for more than 2,000 unwanted animals.
Elmore said there will be a move at the event to encourage new members to join the Society and help to raise $500,000.
In the last week of 2004, the Humane Society surpassed the enrollment challenge of 1,000 active member issued in 2002 by Randolph Knight, Knight Quality Stations owner and philanthropist. Knight pledged $500,000 in matching funds for the society's new Animal Care Campus. The campus will be located off the Weymouth Rhymer Highway across from Marketplace East.
In January, Knight upped the ante with two new challenges: If the Society has 1,500 members by July 31 this year, he will pledge $250,000, and if the Society reaches 2,000 members by Dec. 31, there will be antoerh $250,000, making his total contribution $1 million.
Tickets for the ball can still be purchases at::
– The Humane Society of St. Thomas in Nadir,
– Home Again in Red Hook,
– Soft Touch Boutique at Port of Sale mall,
– Jan and Michael's Hair Studio at Frenchman's Reef Resort,
– and interiors from MSI in Fort Mylner.
Tickets may also be purchased over the phone with a credit card at 775-0599 or 776-0100.
The Society got a boost this week from Senate President Lorraine Berry, who issued a memo Tuesday to all senators and division heads encouraging them to become Society members. She told them about the Society's membership drive, and included a membership application with each memo.
Berry urged them to join her in a renewed commitment. "We, as a law making body, cannot let the atrocities committed against our animals continue," she said. "Let us, the 26th Legislature, pass the necessary laws to end the horrible cruelty to animals that has existed far too long in our beautiful Virgin Islands."
The animal anti-cruelty bill is slated to be heard Thursday in the first day of a two-day session scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The bill has had a long, painful and checkered career, most recently being vetoed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull last December.
For further information on the ball, call 775-0599.
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