By Donna Swicegood
A coalition of area rescue groups and Iredell County Animal Services are joining forces for an event focused on adoption and education.
The Rescue Roundup will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Iredell County Fairgrounds, 630 N. Main St., Troutman.
“It’s going to be great,” said Kristian Hernandez, director of animal services for Iredell County.
The Rescue Roundup will feature 10 rescue organizations and four shelters, said Donald Gullett, director of development for Piedmont Animal Rescue, one of the rally’s sponsors.
Gullett said the roundup will also include eight food trucks and more than 200 vendors.
And entertainment is on the bill as well as K9s in Flight, a Florida-based group that features rescue dogs catching Frisbees and other agility-type displays. K9s in Flight started in 1990, said founder John Misita, and it was thanks to a pit bull/retriever mix he adopted.
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CJ, he said, was the runt of the litter and he learned that the owners were planning to take the dog to the pound. A year later, Misita said, he noticed CJ’s skill at catching tennis balls. Eventually, CJ’s prowess led to Misita launching K9s into the air, and he vowed to use only rescue dogs.
And it’s fitting that rescue dogs be featured at an event that aims to educate about adoption.
There will be plenty of animals for those who attend the roundup to examine and possibly adopt, Gullett said.
Any adoption will be subject to the normal policies of the organization in question, Gullett said.
He said the event is open to almost all animals. “It’s not just for cats and dogs,” he said. PAR, he said, currently has one horse and two donkeys in its program.
As the roundup unfolds in hopes of finding forever homes to shelter and rescue animals, organizers also hope to educate.
Tracy Dixon, public outreach coordinator at Iredell Animal Services, said information will be available about foster and volunteer programs at the shelter.
And, Hernandez said, he hopes the event can lead to a better public understanding of what the shelter does. “We want to push public education and let people know what we do and why we do it,” he said.
Hernandez said he believes the Rescue Roundup can achieve that goal and help animals find homes. He was involved in a similar event in California, he said. “It was a great success,” he said.
And Gullett is optimistic that this inaugural roundup will also be a big success.
Joining as many rescue groups and shelters as possible in one place, he said, means more animals can be saved. “It puts everyone on the same page,” he said. “We all have the same mission.”
The response from these organizations, Gullett said, convinced him that this event should become annual.
Anyone planning to attend is encouraged to bring their own dog.
Admission will be $2 and parking at the fairgrounds will be $5, these fees being collected by and for the Lake Norman High School group.
Anyone interested in a supplier location can contact Gullett at 704-662-2904.