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Economy slows but does not deter Animal Shelter Renovation Inc.

Date: 7/7/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- The economic crunch has slowed the progress but certainly not stopped the non-profit Animal Shelter Renovation Inc.'s (ASRI) multi-year mission to establish a no-kill animal shelter.

The organization is moving full-steam ahead this summer with three of its signature events, including the Anything's PAWS-able Poker Run, the Animal Shelter Scramble and the PAWS for a Cause Walkathon, which will hopefully allow the volunteers to reach their financial goal.

"We have a long way to go in order to reach the monetary amount that we feel is necessary to construct our shelter," Laura Maceyka, acting president and director of public relations for ASRI, said. "The announcement that Dakin would be taking over the former MSPCA building has helped alleviate [our] urgency in building the shelter. Our goal is not to rush into this; we will look at animal statistics, conduct feasibility studies and incorporate best practices of similar facilities in our area ... We are currently exploring a couple of property options but nothing has been firmly decided."

Joanne Perry, treasurer of ASRI, noted that several local businesses have partnered with the non-profit to aid those who are forced to surrender their pets.

"We created PAWS-itive Options, our border-less shelter and food bank, [and] we are working with Century 21 A-1 [Realty] and their No Pet Left Behind program created by Dan Bugli," she explained. "The food bank has [also] helped many that may have had to surrender their companion animals to keep them. This gives you a good feeling ... they are a part of a family after all.

"For those that unfortunately do have to surrender them it gives them some peace knowing that their pets will not be euthanized," Perry continued. "I don't know if you can imagine how hard it is, though, to go and take someone's pet from them because they are forced out of their home and they are bawling their eyes out. It is heart wrenching ... it makes your stomach turn. You think to yourself, 'What if that were me?'"

Maceyka noted that Dave's Soda and Pet Food City has also included ASRI in its membership card program, which donates two percent of each purchase made with the card to the non-profit.

She explained that monetary donations were slow at last month's Rocky's Ace Hardware fundraiser, but yielded several bins in food donations.

Maceyka said ASRI anticipates that this summer's events will produce greater profits.

The second annual Anything's PAWS-able Poker Run will take place July 11 at 11 a.m. The motorcycle poker run will begin at the American Legion Post 338 in Southwick, followed by entertainment and raffle prizes. Cost is $20 for single riders and $30 for those with a passenger.

The second annual Animal Shelter Scramble will take place Aug. 2 at Oak Ridge Golf Club in Feeding Hills. The cost is $85 and includes golf, cart, buffet and prizes.

The third annual PAWS for a Cause Walkathon will take place on Sept. 12 at Stanley Park at 11 a.m. A donation of $10 per walker is suggested.

Donations to ASRI can be made online at or by mail to P.O. Box 1815, Westfield, MA 01086.

For additional information, e-mail