The 2-mile walk is open to people and pets, as long as pets are on a leash, which is something that Diane Blankenburg, the development director for the Nevada Humane Society, said makes the event unique.
“Animals can actually participate, which makes it more fun,” Blankenburg said. “We even take out some of our own dogs.”
Blankenburg said the walk will also include music, raffle prizes, prizes for the person who helps raise the most donations and other contests.
This year the Nevada Humane Society is increasing its fundraising goal from last year’s $80,000 to $100,000.
“We are hoping to get 1,500 participants and make $100,000,” Blankenburg said.
Last year, the society’s Walk for Animals raised more than $80,000 and saw more than 800 people come out to the Sparks Marina to walk for the cause.
“Over 8,600 homeless dogs, cats and other animals came through our shelter last year and received care and a loving new home,” Nevada Humane Society executive director Bonnie Brown said in a press release. “The average cost to save each animal is $250. We rely on the generosity of the public to help save these precious lives. The animals need your support now more than ever.”
Blankenburg said the average stay for an animal in the shelter is between 15 and 20 days and that stay is normally shorter for dogs than it is for cats. She added that the average cost of $250 per animal includes the animal’s vaccinations and medical care, as well as spaying or neutering before being given to new owners.
In addition to the pets that are relinquished to the Humane Society under normal conditions, some families are facing the tough decision to give up their pet because of economic hardship.
“It’s not so much that we are seeing more of them (pets), but that we’re seeing more that are related to the economy,” Blankenburg said, adding that some pet owners also come to the Humane Society when an animal is injured in hopes of getting medical care.
Blankenburg also said that for families facing a hard time or thinking about giving up the family pet, the Nevada Humane Society has an animal help desk to assist owners with options besides relinquishing a pet.
However, Saturday’s walk will help raise money for pets that do find themselves in the shelter.
“It’s not too late to register,” Blankenburg said. “People can register at the event.”
Walkers can register for free from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and are encouraged to find sponsorships as a way to raise money. Other festivities at the event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include face painting, balloon art, pet photos and pet contests.
This year’s contests for pets include the most unusual pet trick, the best dressed pet and pets that most resemble their owners. A first, second and third place winner will be picked in each contest.
Participants will also have the opportunity to win prizes for the most money raised. Each walker will receive a t-shirt and walkers who raise at least $30 will receive a tote bag filled with goodies, as well. The top five money raisers can win a flat-screen TV, an Atlantis dinner and spa package for two, a Silver Legacy dinner and a show package for four, a Reno Air Races package for two and a Fig Tree catered dinner for eight.
For more information, visit www.nevadahumanesociety.org or call 856-2000.