For the Animals
Paws-Ability’s BandFest raised money for animal welfare in the community.
Chihuahuas, boxers and mixes of every breed frolicked, rested and socialized with their caretakers in Sunset Beach Town Park at the fifth annual Paws-Ability BandFest on June 5. The Sea & Sand Band energized the crowd of 800 to 1,000 with rock hits before the Jan Michael Fields Band took over.
“Everything is fabulous,” said Anita August, president of the Paws-Ability board, as she orchestrated the various activities at the fundraiser. “We’re raising money to support animal welfare in the community. We have wonderful volunteers and delicious food.”
The all-volunteer nonprofit organization donates its proceeds to nonprofit, no-kill shelters.
Major Tommy Tolley from Brunswick County Animal Protective Services told the crowd that the live-release rate in Brunswick County went from 19 percent to 92 percent since the facility on Green Swamp Road in Supply became a no-kill shelter in 2012.
“We are committed to a high-release rate,” he said and added that Brunswick County is steps ahead of other counties in North Carolina. “We partner with rescue groups. We love this event. We’re glad to be included.”
Major Brian Chism praised the volunteers who come to the shelter. “We can’t do what we do without volunteers,” he said.
Belinda Musgrove, the shelter manager, said the shelter accepts 4,800 animals every year. “We can’t thank you enough for what you do for us,” she said.
Mary McGee of Klinton’s Flooring in Ocean Isle Beach, the title sponsor for BandFest, brought her two mixes, Abby and Snoopy. “[Paws-Ability] benefits our homeless dogs and our community,” she said. “It’s good to raise money for a good cause.”
Several shelters attended the event and brought cats and dogs for adoption. Cheri McLain of Shallotte founded R.A.C.E. (Rescue Animals Community Effort) in 2010. “I started it because we wanted to have the euthanasia rate drop,” she said. She was delighted because four adoptions from the agency were preapproved at BandFest.
Lexci Duff of Conway, South Carolina, is event coordinator for Kind Keeper Animal Rescue in North Myrtle Beach. This nonprofit only accepts puppies. Duff showed the official report stating in 2020 the agency adopted out 1,002 animals, 577 dogs and 425 cats.
Trish Kelley, executive director of Cat Tails in Ocean Isle Beach, held River, “everybody’s favorite cat,” she said. She explained that River was hit by a car and left on the side of the road in Little River. “Two boys found it and brought it home. They wanted to keep it, but the father brought him to Cat Tails.” River is ready for adoption having been X-rayed, stitched and healed.
Chihuahua and boxer rescue nonprofits also had rescues ready for adoption.
At least 20 vendors displayed their wares, from honey to fresh fruits and vegetables to jewelry and pottery. Four food trucks provided a variety of dishes.
August explained that this year’s BandFest was different because more vendors and sponsors supported the event. The 501(c)3 nonprofit, established in 2007, also supports spay and neuter programs and Fix-A-Friend.
“Trapper Jim” Baumgarten of Shallotte is responsible for trapping cats, taking them to Fix-A-Friend and then returning them to their natural habitats. “Without Fix-A-Friend we would have a problem,” he said.
Michael and Meredith Roberts of Ocean Isle Beach brought Remi, a bull terrier/pit bull mix, and Sally Mae, a Chinese crested, and planned to adopt a kitten. Randy and Kathy Lipscomb of Carolina Shores brought their three Pomeranians.
“They are all rescues,” Randy said. “We’ve been rescuing for 25 years.
Debbie Gaulin of Ocean Isle Beach volunteers at Brunswick Animal Services three to four days a week. “It’s a purpose,” she said. “There is no greater feeling in the world than to find a home for a dog.” She owns two rescues, a poodle mix and chihuahua mix.
“We help active, responsible pet owners keep their pets in a healthy condition and maintain the ownership of their pets,” August said.
Her own Boston terrier had to be put to sleep three weeks before BandFest. She adopted two cats from Cat Tails about six months ago and is fostering 12 kittens.
“We are a fundraising organization,” she emphasizes. “We are not the ones rescuing. We are connecting the resources among the rescues and helping them.”
How to help the animals
Brunswick Animal Services