This year, so far, the save rate for dogs is 92.2 percent and 68 percent for cats. This is thanks to the No-Kill Utah Initiative that is spearheaded by the Best Friends Animal Society and comprised of 43 animal welfare organizations that are working to end the killing of dogs and cats in Utah by 2019.
Friends of Animals Utah is one of the coalitions, and has successfully helped make Summit County a no-kill county. But work still needs to be done.
That's one of the reasons why Friends of Animals Utah (FOAU) is hosting its annual Miss Kitty's Barking Ball at the Montage Deer Valley on Saturday, Sept. 13, said Sharon Cantwell, board secretary for Friends of Animals Utah.
Registration will run until the tables are sold, and there are a few spots open. Reservations can be made by visiting www.foautah.org.
"This is our biggest event of the year," Cantwell said during an interview with The Park Record. "Its mission is critical to us."
Earlier this year, FOAU was selected as Park City's favorite nonprofit organization in The Park Record's Park City's Best poll for the second time and that's not a title it takes lightly, Cantwell said.
"Our commitment to the community is to be excellent custodians with their donations to us and to apply those funds as broadly as possible to rescue the largest amount of adoptable, wonderful, sweet-and-furry little creatures and pair them with forever families," she said.
The evening will begin with mingling and a silent auction and will also include a dinner and live auction.
"The live auction is the biggest we've ever done," Cantwell said. "One of the packages will include seven rounds of golfing at seven private golf courses led by seven head pros."
Marty Bauer of Glenwild Golf Club, Jake Hanley of Jeremy Ranch & Country Club, Bobby Trunzo of Park Meadows Golf Club, Mike Manning of Promontory, Jon Paupore of Red Ledges Golf Club, Eric Hastings of Tuhaye Golf Course, and Greg Stephens of Victory Ranch will share home course advantages and golf tips as winners play their courses, Cantwell explained.
"This has never been done before, and all the pros will be in attendance at the gala," she said.
Another big auction item will include a ride in the KSL news chopper.
"We finally have the ability to put our auction online," Cantwell said. "So we will give opportunities to people who can't come to the event can go online and bid and then we will have bid-buddies who will sit in during the live auction to continue their bids."
Some of the silent auction items will include both fine food and casual dining packages. They are still receiving some new items as well.
"This is our second year in a row with Montage and we're delighted to be there," Cantwell said. "They take so good care of us. Last year's fundraiser was the largest in the history of Friends of Animals Utah."
The returning title sponsor is M Space and Zion's Bank made a significant donation this year, Cantwell said.
In addition, presenting sponsors include Advanced Veterinary Care, who are critical-care specialists in Salt Lake City, and a new business in town, called The Barking Cat, a high-end pet boutique.
Another key sponsor is the realty firm Chin, MacQuoid, Fleming and Harris, according to Cantwell.
"We just love their support," she said. "Steve, Ann, Dena and Suzanne have been loyal supporters forever, and we don't know what to do without them."
The emcee will be Jen Hardman of KSL and Larry Flynn will be the auctioneer, and the night will also feature a video presentation by Eclectic Brew Productions.
"Because of our Rescue and Rehab Ranch, which is a wonderful 16,000-square-foot facility situated on 100 acres, we can pull animals from more rural shelters and offer many of these overwhelmed rural shelters much needed help," Cantwell said. "Many animals in rural locations—where there are shelters—will be euthanized simply because the shelter has to make room for more animals. When we pull animals, we relieve that pressure and free up more room."
FOAU has already helped Tooele and other more outlying areas in Salt Lake County free up space in their kennels.
Lindsay Ortega, rescue and rehabilitation director for Friends of Animals Utah, led the Tooele mission.
"We received a plea from the Tooele City Animal Shelter," Ortega said. "She had more than 50 cats and kittens in her shelter. Utah law mandates they had to have kennels available for stray animals, so the county shelters don't want to euthanize, but if they don't have any kennels, they have to. So we went out that night and pulled 29 cats to free some space for the shelter."
Last Monday, the crew returned to Tooele and rescued 13 dogs and nine cats.
"My belief if there is one empty cage here at our rescue ranch, we will prevent one animal from being euthanized," she said. "We'll go pick them up."
Since the No-Kill Initiative is already a reality in Summit County, FOAU feels a responsibility to help other areas of Utah attain that goal, Ortega said.
"A difference will be made in the next few years, with the help of coalition members, when Utah becomes a no-kill state," she said.
Other presentations during the gala will include FOAU's Purple Paw program, which helps take care of animals whose owners are victims of domestic abuse, Cantwell said.
"We have helped 50 women through the program so far and almost all the animals were able to go back to live with their animals," she explained. "Then we'll show a video about how cool cats are."
Friends of Animals Utah will host its annual Miss Kitty's Barking Ball gala fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Montage Deer Valley at 6 p.m. Tickets are $250 per person. Sponsorships are also available. For more information or to register, visit www.foautah.org .