Wednesday, October 19, 2005

SPCA To Hold 3rd 'Top Hat & Tails' Gala

Briarcliff Manor, NY - The SPCA of Westchester will hold its exciting third annual Top Hat & Tails fundraiser this year on Saturday, November 19, from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Tarrytown House in Tarrytown, NY.

The elegant black-tie event, for humans and their canine companions, hopes to raise $250,000 to help support the SPCA’s life saving animal rescue programs including: cruelty investigations, shelter and rehabilitation of abused and abandoned dogs, cats and horses, low cost veterinary services and community outreach programs. The SPCA receives no federal, state, or county funds, and relies solely on the financial support of people who care about the welfare of animals.

The Trotta family of Mount Kisco will be honored at the event for their continued investment of time and funding to the SPCA. The family includes Bonnie, Tom, James and Johnny Trotta and their two dogs Chewy and Angel, along with Peter Guernsey, Katama and Jay Eastman and their children Merrill and Jack. They will receive the “John Beach Memorial Award,” named for John Beach, a 30-year SPCA Board member who passed away last April.

“I got involved with the SPCA because of John Beach,“ said Bonnie Trotta. “For John, it was an honor to be able to help the less fortunate. He cared and he gave, and he asked others to do the same. I am honored only to be trying to stay in his footsteps.”

With her prominent and generous parents as role models, Bonnie Trotta learned about philanthropy at an early age, and since became a volunteer and continued benefactor for local hospitals and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Westchester. Her husband Tom, who lost his parents at a young age, helped to support his siblings and ran several family businesses. He later became a drug and alcohol abuse counselor.

“Other than loving animals and having dogs, cats, chickens snakes, hamster, guinea pigs, fish and hermit crabs as pets, my biggest association with the SPCA is our dog, Rocky, that we adopted there,” added Ms. Trotta.

The “Top Hat and Tails” Gala will also feature noted "Horse Whisperer" Tim Hayes and his horse Austin, as well as pet photographer, Liza Marguilles, to capture a portrait of people and their pets. “It’s going to be a great evening of fun and entertainment for both two-legged and four-legged party goers,” said Shannon Laukhuf, Director of Development, “In fact, we’re not sure who enjoys the evening more – the people or their pets!”

The cocktail hour will be followed by a formal sit-down dinner for humans, doggie delicacies from Cleo's Barkery for canines, and both silent and live auctions with fabulous items such as exciting trips and excursions, golf outings, jewelry, fine dining gift certificates, and more. Flowers are being donated by Michael George of Hybrid.

Westchester’s favorite weatherman, Joe Rayo from News 12 Westchester will be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

The honorary Celebrity Committee includes Catherine Crier, Stefanie Powers and Betty White. More than 50 volunteers work to make the event a success each year and many corporations lend their support as well.

“This year promises to be even more exciting than last year – it’s a special evening where people are able to share a gala evening with their best four-legged friends,” said Lisa Rockefeller, Benefit Event Committee Chair. “It’s also our biggest fundraising event of the year, and we’re hoping to exceed our goal so that we can continue to provide not only shelter for these animals, but also a safe haven from abusive situations.”

Individual tickets are $250 and sponsor tickets range from $1,000 for a “Patron” with two seats and special recognition in the Gala journal to $15,000 for a “Best in Show” with a table for 10 seats in the VIP section, full page color Gala journal ad, and logo on sponsor credit display. For more information on purchasing tickets, please call (914) 941-2894, ext. 19.

Founded in 1883, the SPCA of Westchester is a not-for-profit humane organization chartered as the primary animal cruelty prevention and intervention agency for Westchester County. Each year its agents investigate over 1,000 cases of suspected animal abuse, resulting in steps to correct the problem if evidence of cruelty is found.

Currently, the shelter is equipped to house over 150 dogs and cats, and its Simpson Spay/Neuter Clinic, offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations in an effort to help keep pets healthy. Each year the animal shelter adopts more than 800 homeless companion animals into loving new homes and reunites another 300 lost pets with their families. The SPCA never euthanizes an animal except in cases of terminal illness, extreme aggression or the inability to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a shelter environment.

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