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HomeNewsArchivesWagapalooza Raises Funds for Animal Center Programs

Wagapalooza Raises Funds for Animal Center Programs

May 5, 2006 – After struggling for years since its incorporation in 1993, the Animal Care Center of St. John now seems to be on firmer footing.
Board chairman John Fuller said that a new board of directors took over in January 2005, bringing new energy and direction to the organization.
This week members are getting ready for the May 13 Wagapalooza, the organization's annual fundraiser, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at Winston Wells Ballfield.
In addition to donkey rides, animals to adopt and just plain fun, the event features a contest in which dogs and their owners vie for prizes.
The categories are best trick, best costume, most look-alike and best island dog. Judges also pick the best in show and the Babe Award given to the best rescued animal.
Nancy Louis, who is handling Wagapalooza publicity, said that a dog they named Shipwreck was rescued by a couple of fishermen in a boat at Brown Bay.
Shipwreck was abandoned on the rocks, was starving and worm infested. When he couldn't swim to the boat, one of his rescuers jumped in, saved Shipwreck, and got him into their boat.
"After extensive heartworm treatment and lots of love and food, Shipwreck became the darling of the shelter and was eventually adopted into a loving home," Louis said.
Fuller said the Wagapalooza proceeds coupled with grant money and gifts from donors fund the annual budget that runs $150,000.
The Animal Care Center has numerous activities. It operates a shelter near the Elaine Sprauve Library in Cruz Bay, which has a full-time shelter manager and a part-time technician.
The organization also runs a successful spay and neuter program that has considerably reduced the island's feral cat population.
Volunteers keep feeding stations around the island stocked with food for feral cats deemed not suitable for adoption.
"We provided over six tons of food last year for the feeding stations," Fuller said.
Most of the cats that live at the feeding stations have been spayed or neutered.
He said the Animal Care Center spends $4,000 a month on veterinarian bills for the spay and neuter program and treatments for sick animals.
It also runs an adoption clinic on Wednesdays at the Marketplace Shopping Center.
Fuller said that while some cats get adopted while at the Marketplace, others are picked up at the shelter by people who first saw them at the adoption clinic.
Although Fuller said that the Animal Care Center doesn't have staff or volunteers to investigate and enforce animal cruelty cases, he said that just having the recently passed law on the books has helped. He said it seems to serve as a deterrent to people with an inclination to mistreat animals.
The center recently got a 20-year lease on the government-owned land under the shelter. The lease has two five-year renewal clauses, giving the Animal Care Center 30 years before it has to worry about its location.
"The lease enables us to get fire insurance on the building," Fuller said.
It also gave the organization 16 additional feet of land behind the shelter it put up in 2002 to replace a dilapidated shack that had served the organization for years. Fuller said the organization plans to build additional dog runs to provide shade and shelter.
However, accomplishing this will take a capital campaign to raise the estimated $30,000 to $60,000 needed for the project.
While Fuller said funding will always be difficult, the organization also faces challenges in finding enough volunteers to walk dogs, help at the shelter and organize activities. Much of that work now falls to the board.
"We have a very dedicated board of directors," he said.

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