Our Laguna: Animal Crackers fundraiser raises $22,000

June 28, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • A participant kisses “Monet” at the kissing booth during the Animal Cracker’s Fundraiser.
A participant kisses “Monet” at the kissing… (Don Romero )

Time is running out for a local pet rescue operation.

The lease is up in November and won't be renewed on Animal Crackers pet supply shop in theAlbertson'sshopping center. Animal Crackers helps fund the rescues and care for animals abandoned or due to be slaughtered and provides seniors with free pet food.

Another location must be found and supporters are desperate to find that location in Laguna.

Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger issued a personal plea on behalf of Animal Crackers owner Gina Katzenbedian at the June 19 council meeting, asking anyone who might be able to help find a new location in town to come forward with ideas.

About $22,000 was raised Wednesday at Mozambique Steak House from donations and bids by an estimated 275 "Friends of Gina" on auction items contributed by local merchants and supporters.

"It was amazing," Kaztenbedian said. "Could you believe the turnout? The funds will be set aside for finding and moving to a new location."


She expressed her gratitude to the people who attended the fundraiser and to the people who made it possible.

Event volunteers included Stacey Zee Brettin, Chris Vanderwerf, Claire LaRose, Johanna Falke, Fiona Sandlin, Devyn Hughes, Nadine Ashby and Marlene Dantzer; Thurston Middle School student Caterina Jacobs; and Laguna Beach High School frosh Liam Christiansen, Dylan Woolf, who distributed opportunity prize tickets, and Eden Young.

El Morro Elementary School student Quinn Butler, 7, Top of the World students Alessandra Nitoglia, 9, and Whitney Winefordner, 8, and her older brother Ian, all junior dog walkers for the store, also attended the fundraiser.

The Winefordners performed a song they had written in Katzenbedian's honor.

Catherine Helshoj organized the fundraiser, which included live and silent auctions.

The live auction included a week's stay at the Villa Del Palmar in Puerto Vallarta, donated by the law office of Mark F. Nelson, and Universal Vacation Club; 16 GB iPad with cover and two hours of geek time, from Linda Leahy and Jason Cotton; four Angels club seats and two nights at the Doubletree Hotel in Anaheim, donated by the Angels Baseball Foundation, the hotel and Henry Hang; and seven nights at the Marriott Desert Springs villa II from Karen Christiansen, David Scharff and Transworld Business Advisors. Rita Cote donated a deluxe set of Princess cookware and the Ritz-Carlton provided a one night stay.

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