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Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Holds Sixth Annual Unconditional Love Dinner Dance

Lee Fryd

Beth Stern, honoree Dr. Dominic Marino, Chairwoman Jean Shafiroff, and SASF President Jonathan McCann. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)

Southampton Animal Shelter's Board President Jonathan McCann was shocked to find that there were so many feral cats in Yonkers that people were hanging them from trees. The only acceptable way to control unwanted animals? Neutering. Thanks to a 2012 grant from the ASPCA, SASF built a mobile spay and neuter van, to provide low cost service to the NY State area. The Shelter spent four days in Yonkers, neutering wild cats caught for release; domestic pets at a minimal cost.

Bridgette Fitzgerald and honoree Dolie Fitzgerald. (Photo: Rob Rich/SocietyAllure.com)

The cost: $1,500 a day. The source: private donations. The party that helps: Southampton Animal Shelter's Sixth Annual Unconditional Love Dinner Dance, at a seaside home.

Ever since the Shelter lost public funding, animal lovers such as Susan Allen, Jean, Martin, Elizabeth and Jackie Shafiroff, Sandra McConnell, Chuck and Ellen Scarborough and Georgina Bloomberg have stepped up to the plate.

Jean Shafiroff once again chaired SASF's Unconditional Love Dinner Dance gala, with Susan Allen as Chairwoman Emeritus. Leslie Alexander and Elizabeth Brown, Brigid Fitzgerald and Michael Katz, and Dominic J. Marino, DVM, DACVS were honored. Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ferguson Cohen, LLP Sequin Jewelry were Corporate Chairs. Beth Stern, Jill Rappaport, Sharon Bush, Southampton Mayor Mark Epley, John and Margo Catsimatides, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Jean Remmel, Liz Brown, Ginny Frati, Shelley Berkoski and Henry Buhl were among the guests.

Thanks to them, a committed board, staff and volunteers, the Shelter has become a recognized model for others across the country. Animals are not only housed, but cared for medically and socialized. The cat or dog you bring home from this shelter will be a true pet.

Ever watch Jon Stewart switch to kitten videos when the news gets too nasty? It's kitten season now. Your feel good moments are waiting at the Shelter. "We've taken in 50 kittens in the last three weeks," McCann noted. "Giving us a grand total of 150 cats, which is all we can accommodate."

Or put a mature cat to work? McCann is fostering out long term cats in the shelter to farmers, stables, and gardeners to chase away voles, moles and field mice. "It's ideal," he said, "because they can live in the barn, control the rodents and have a life of freedom. I've already brought two cats to my barn."

Puppy mills remain an issue. Often animals born to mills come to the Shelter without ever having human contact. "It's extraordinary to see how quickly these animals come to trust and love people when given half a chance," McCann sighed. The Shelter is giving them that chance.

For more information, visit www.southamptonanimalshelter.com.


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