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Captiva resident encourages islanders to participate in LCDAS ‘Doggy Dash’

By Staff | Oct 6, 2010

The second annual Doggy Dash will take place in Estero, but one Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS) volunteer and Captiva resident, Mimi Schwartzel, says island animal lovers are more than welcome — and encouraged — to attend the fundraising event.

The Doggy Dash, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Miromar Outlets, is an opportunity for pets and people to socialize, walk and shop while raising awareness for the many homeless pets that are currently in the County shelter. It’s also the biggest fundraiser of the year for LCDAS.

“Funds raised from the event go to The Animal Care Trust Fund — a tax deductible, non-profit that improves the well being of the thousands of sick, injured or abused animals that enter our community’s shelter. One hundred percent of the funds raised are used on the cats and dogs,” Schwartzel said.

The Animal Care Trust Fund supports adoption programs, spay/neuter

programs and assists homeless pets that need medical care before they can be adopted into new homes. The Fund also supports the LCDAS Community Pet Pantry, which provides food for pet owners on public assistance so they can keep their pets rather than surrender them to shelters because they can’t afford to feed them.

“These are only a few of the things that the Animal Care Trust supports and the money we raise is critical in seeing that these programs and services continue,” said LCDAS Public Information Specialist Ria Brown.

While basic funding from the county pays for LCDAS field operations to rescue stray, injured and abused animals, many lives would be lost if it weren’t for the resources of the Animal Care Trust Fund programs, made possible only through the generous donations of the community.

After researching events from shelters across the country, LCDAS found that fundraising dog walks were proving to be very successful.

“Since you have an unlimited number of people collecting pledges from their friends, families and associates, the ability to raise a lot of funds is expanded from what only a few fundraisers may be able to accomplish on their own,” Brown said. “But even if you can’t attend the Doggy Dash, you can still make a donation to support the cause.”

You can donate online at www.LeeLostPets.com or mail a check to:

Animal Care Trust Fund/Doggy Dash

5600 Banner Drive,

Fort Myers, FL


The shelter also offers many volunteer opportunities.

“I volunteer at out county shelter because this is our last chance to find these beautiful cats and dogs their forever home,” Schwartzel said. “Although we have many wonderful no-kill shelters and kind people who foster pets in their homes, when these shelters are full and can not accept any more cats or dogs, they come to our county shelter. Last year we took in over 9,400 dogs and cats! This is why my main priority is to educate people about spaying and neutering their pets and to adopt from non-profit shelters when their family is ready for a pet.”

If you and your dog would like to participate in the Doggy Dash, or if you would like to organize a team to walk in the event, go to www.LeeLostPets.com for a complete list of instructions on how to raise pledges and organize your team. Participants that raise $100 or more in pledges are eligible to win Miromar Outlets gift cards.

If would simply like to participate in the event without collecting pledges, the cost is $20 per person to enter the Doggy Dash.

“We would love for our Sanibel and Captiva pet lovers to join us for this fun event. The Doggy Dash is not a race but a walk and shop event that will have activities like a pet photo with a Victorian dressed Santa that is just gorgeous, a raffle, a pet mystery riddle contest and, for you serious shoppers, when you register for the event with a $20 donation, we will give you a Miromar VIP savings brochure! Shelter pets will also be available for adoptions and you may also donate pet food and cat litter for our Pet Pantry,” Schwartzel said.

Walkers will register on the day of the event, beginning at 10 a.m., and if applicable, will bring their pledges with them to registration.

For a complete listing of rules and instructions on how to participate, raise pledges or build a team for the Doggy Dash, go to www.LeeLostPets.com and click on “Doggy Dash.”

For more information about Lee County Domestic Animal Services, how you can adopt or for volunteer opportunities, go to www.LeeLostPets.com or contact Ria Brown at 533-9202 or brownra@leegov.com.