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Fur Ball Benefits St. Croix Unwanted Animals Next Week

Staff at the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center pose with some of the puppies at the Five Corners location. (Photo provided by SCAWC)

To feed, medicate, neuter and find homes for St. Croix’s stray and unwanted dogs and cats, the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center is hosting the Fur Ball next week after a hiatus of a few years.

Most of the financial support for the AWC is through donations for the 3,000 or so homeless animals they care for each year. Since their policy is not to turn away animals in need, funding is always needed and the Fur Ball is the center’s largest fundraising event.

As before, the Buccaneer Hotel, the major sponsor, will host the event on Feb. 11 in the Brass Parrot Reception Hall from 6 to 11 p.m.

“The mission is to help the community’s unwanted animals, but also to offer affordable medications for the community’s pets. All ticket sales, and auction prizes go to help animals in need in our community,” said Becca Hughson, AWC director of public relations and marketing.

Guests will be greeted with a glass of champagne or a signature cocktail at the door and a photo booth will be nearby to record the island elegant-dressed partygoers, Hughson said.

In addition to cocktails, champagne and fine dining, the guests will be treated to music and dancing with the Songbirds and the AWC-sponsored Christmas Carnival troupe, Royal Dynasty, will make an appearance in full costume.

A member of the Royal Dynasty troupe, sponsored by the St. Croix Animal Welfare center, plays with a puppy from the animal shelter. (Photo provided by SCAWC)

For those who don’t dance or who want to support the AWC more, a silent auction will allow guests to bid on sailing trips and cruises, a gym membership, golf at the Buccaneer, jewelry, gift baskets, scuba gear and more.

Raffle tickets ($20 or six for $100) will be available at the door, as well as Pet Place, the AWC Flea Market and the main facility at Five Corners. The prize is a romantic four-night stay for two at Divi Carina Bay Hotel and Casino, dinner at Savant, a sunset sail with Caribbean Sea Adventures and jewelry donated by Fantasea Jewelry. A variety of door prizes will be announced throughout the event as well.

Tickets to Fur Ball are still available on Eventbrite. Individuals pay $161.90 (with an Eventbrite fee) for dinner, champagne or a theme drink and cash bar. For $200, bar is included. Special tables for eight are available for $500 that include dinner, drinks, gifts and bar service. For “Big Dogs” ($7,500), eight people will enjoy personal bar service and one room for the night at the Buccaneer.

This year’s menu for the SCAWC Fur Ball on Feb. 11. (Photo provided by SCAWC)

In addition to caring for homeless animals, AWC educates the community on humane treatment, protection and care of animals and the veterinarian staff provide affordable services to pet owners in the clinic and at neighborhood pop-up clinics.

The center frequently provides traps to residents to catch feral cats, who bring them to the facility where the vets neuter or spay, clip an ear — which indicates they have been fixed — and then the resident releases the cats in their original neighborhood.

Another AWC program, Paws from Paradise, is a study in logistical planning with scores of staff and volunteers working to save lives. The statistics of young dogs and puppies are screened by stateside shelters and when accepted, the canines are vaccinated and neutered according to the receiving state’s regulations. When a flight is found to deliver the pups, they are put into foster care for a little more socialization and, on the given day, delivered in travel crates to the airport. Usually, a volunteer in Puerto Rico picks up the dogs and lets them play outside during a long layover there before the flight to the mainland. When they land, the receiving organization greets the puppies. The AWC receives many videos of the speed with which Crucian dogs are adopted.

On a smaller scale, travelers frequently accompany a dog to their hometown, where a shelter of adopters is waiting. A staff member will meet the traveler at the airport with a dog and someone at the receiving airport will accept the pet and transport it to a shelter or adoptive home.

The humane education program has been suspended in schools since the hurricanes of 2017. Once the schools have been rebuilt, AWC hopes to restart the volunteer-driven program.

The St. Croix Animal Welfare accepts donations on its website as well as in person at the main facility, Pet Place or Flea Market. Call 340-778-1651 for information.

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