'Place your bets on homeless pets' Feb. 16

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Continuing to bolster awareness and funds for the Etowah Valley Humane Society, Casino Night: Place Your Bets on Homeless Pets will return Feb. 16. Ongoing from 7 p.m. to midnight, the benefit will be presented at America’s Auto Auction, 444 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Cartersville.

"This is our 11th year hosting the event,” EVHS Director Bryan Canty said. “Initially, it was held at Stonewall Manor, but attendance outgrew the venue. It's still basically the same premise, but with larger accommodations.

"… It has always been one of the most fun events in Bartow County. Attendance is usually in the 250-350 range. Where else can you gamble —for fun — eat, drink and benefit a most worthy cause — animal rescue?"

Encouraged to don Vegas-chic attire, attendees will be treated to food and drinks at 7 p.m., followed by casino gaming at 8 p.m. The event also will feature a silent auction, DJ and door prizes.

Established in the mid-1990s as the Bartow County Humane Society, the organization changed its name to Etowah Valley Humane Society in 2006, the same year it opened the 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladds Mountain Road. The facility consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with about 24 cages, a puppy room with more than 20 cages, outdoor kennel runs and an on-site dog park.

"I joined the board in November of 2015,” said Meagan Bryson, EVHS board member and Casino Night coordinator. “I support EVHS because my husband and I are huge animal lovers who are passionate about rescuing homeless animals and re-homing them into their loving, 'furever' homes.

"When you go into the shelter and you see how hard the staff is working, and you see those sweet dogs and cats just waiting for someone to adopt them — how can you not want [to] roll up your sleeves and pitch-in any way you can? For the board, that means fundraising, community involvement and perhaps most importantly educating the public about the homeless pet challenges we face in this area, and what we as a community can do to alleviate the problem and prevent it."

Tickets, costing $60 for general admission or $75 for VIP, can be purchased at the EVHS, from one of its board members or online at www.betonhomelesspets.com.

"Proceeds from the event go into the general budget account and helps with operating expenses — vetting, utilities, etc," Canty said. "EVHS is a 501c3 nonprofit that derives no funding from state or national organizations. Companion animal rescue is not a self-sustaining endeavor. It requires the collaboration of our community and animal advocates everywhere.

"Without their assistance, EVHS could never have the success we've experienced over the last eight years. EVHS is making a profound impact on animal welfare in the Bartow County community as evidenced by over 17,700 lives saved and a 66 percent decrease in euthanasia at Bartow County Animal Control."

Further details on the EVHS can be obtained online at http://etowahvalleyhumane.org or by calling 770-383-3338.