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Nuzzles & Co. film fundraiser examines the no-kill animal shelter philosophy

‘Stray’ screening set for March 5

Elizabeth Lo's documentary "Stray" follows dogs who live on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey. The March 5 screening and panel discussion will serve as a fundraiser for Nuzzles & Co., the Summit County-based no-kill animal rescue nonprofit.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Each year Nuzzles & Co., the Summit County-based no-kill animal rescue nonprofit, spends $1.5 million on its rescue, medical and adoptions programs. So Executive Director Lindsay Ortega was grateful to hear from Magnolia Pictures, which proposed an online film-screening fundraiser featuring Elizabeth Lo’s documentary “Stray.”

The film will be available at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 5. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by visiting Nuzzlesandco.com. Proceeds will be divided in half, with 50% going to Nuzzles & Co.’s life-saving efforts, according to Ortega.

Last year Nuzzles & Co. rescued 1,759 at-risk and stray cats and dogs, and through its rehabilitation programs 1,700 of those animals were placed in caring homes or other rescue organizations, while 59 remained in Nuzzles’ care, she said.



“We were grateful to Magnolia Pictures for this opportunity,” Ortega said. “This film falls in line with our mission, and we can use it to speak to the struggle we’ve had trying to raise awareness of the no-kill movement.”

In addition to purchasing tickets, the public will have an option to donate more through the end of March, according to Ortega.



“Stray” takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, and follows three dogs who live on the city’s streets.

“Turkey is the only country in the world where it is illegal to hold a stray dog against its will or kill them, so it has a government program where they (spay and neuter) these animals and put an ear tag on them so they know they are community dogs that aren’t supposed to be harmed,” Ortega said. “Much of the film takes place in parts of the city that people don’t see much of.”

Not only will audiences see these unique nooks and crannies, they will also get a glimpse of how animals touch people’s lives, according to Ortega.

“There’s a scene that takes place at a port, where a fisherman is taking care of a stray dog,” she said. “When the dog gets stolen, you see how upset that fisherman gets.”

Another scene focuses on some refugee addicts who are caring for some of these stray dogs.

“It shows how they would rather give the dogs their food, rather than eat the food themselves,” Ortega said.

One of the more powerful scenes takes place when a non-neutered male dog tries to mate with a female dog.

“This woman swears and shoos the male dog away, and yells, ‘Not unless she wants to,’” Ortega said. “It shows this woman defending the rights of this female dog, rights that many women may not have.”

“Stray” speaks to the laws Turkey has for animals, and Ortega hopes the United States can catch up with its laws sometime in the near future.

“For 100 years our answer for stray animals has been euthanizations, and it’s only been in the past couple of decades we’ve been trying to change that,” she said. “Thousands of animals are euthanized daily in the U.S., and then you have the country of Turkey who is a leader in this no-kill movement.”

Volunteer Robin Arnold, left, assists Dr. Alyssa Hughes give routine vaccinations to a rescue pup that is being checked in to the Nuzzles and Co. Rescue Ranch after traveling from a Navajo Reservation near the four-corners area in 2018. Last year Nuzzles & Co. rescued 1,759 at-risk and stray cats and dogs.
Park Record file photo

In addition to the access to the online screening, ticket buyers will also be able to tune into a pre-recorded panel featuring the film’s director Elizabeth Lo, Nuzzles & Co. Medical Director Dr. Alyssa Hughes, Nuzzles & Co. Board President Tamra Gray, and Sundays Hunt, Utah director for The Humane Society of the United States.

The panel will be moderated by Sarah Young, Nuzzles and Co. development manager.

Ortega hopes the screening and panel will help continue the discussion of no-kill animal shelter philosophy in the community.

“I think films like this can show how we can grow as a community and society in better treatment for our at-risk animal population,” she said. “It’s high time that our own government gets involved and sets some high standards in the care of animals in our country.”

Special screening of Elizabeth Lo’s “Stray”

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, March 5

Where: online

Cost: $20 per ticket

Web: nuzzlesandco.org.


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