Our Laguna: Annual event cooks up funds for Laguna's animals

September 15, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • A girl and her dog participate in Laguna Beach's 15th Annual Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off on Sunday at Tivoli Too.
A girl and her dog participate in Laguna Beach's… (Courtesy Faye Chapman,…)

Recipes, booths, dogs and one cat were judged Sunday, but the real winners were Laguna's three animal shelters.

The 15th annual Pet Parade & Chili Cookoff raised $18,000 for the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

All three facilities are located in Laguna Canyon and suffered damage in the December deluge, but all are now operating at full bore.

The city shelter cares for lost, stray, sick or injured animals rescued by Animal Services officers in Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods. Every effort is made to reunite pets with their owners. Unclaimed animals are treated by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered and put up for adoption in a compatible home.

The shelter is open from 11 a.m to 4 p.m., seven days a week. The staff is assisted by volunteers.

Friends of the Sea Lions volunteer their services and raise funds for the marine mammal center next door to the shelter. There is nothing the staff and volunteers love more than being able to release healthy sea mammals they have rescued and rehabilitated back into the ocean.


Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the center welcomes visitors.

Ailing, aging and special-needs cats in Laguna have a haven at Blue Bell. About 50 cats live there, some for the rest of their lives, although some are adopted.

More than half the proceeds of the event were raised by the auction of some amazing pet houses designed by leading architects and built by Laguna Beach contractors.

The highest bid was for architects Marshall and Matthew Ininns' whimsical cottage inspired by the Witches House in North Laguna. Valerie Heinstra bid $2,600 for the wired and plumbed structure built by Ken Fischbeck.

"Put it in your front yard and the Design Review Board would probably pass it," Marshall Ininns said.

Montage Laguna Beach owner Alan Fuerstman bought two of the houses. He bid $1,000 for Anders Lasater's design, which was built by Al Oligino.

Morris Skenderian's penthouse built by Don McKeehan cost him $2,200 — he had to outbid Stefany Skenderian for it .

"Of course I am going to bid on it — it's a masterpiece," said the architect's wife.

Jim Ardery bid $650 for the "Cattage," designed by Leslie LeBon and built by Tom Simpson, and is donating it to Blue Bell Foundation.

Kelly Muller was the high bidder for Kirk Saunders' design, built from 90% salvaged materials by his son Rory.

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