SPCA to hold 19th annual benefit auction Feb. 9

Jennifer M. Snyder, Lowville, checks a message from her husband giving her the OK to adopt Buddy the kitten last week at the SPCA of Jefferson County. The agency will host its annual Bark & Wine Valentine’s Day Auction on Feb. 9 at the Flower Memorial Library. Photo by Amanda Morrison/Watertown Daily Times.

A two-month-old black male kitten named Buddy might not have been adopted by Jennifer Snyder on Tuesday at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Jefferson County if it weren’t for the good care the agency provides for its animals and its rapport with its visitors.

Mrs. Snyder said she had a wonderful experience 13 years ago when she adopted her first animal, an orange tiger cat named Simba, from the agency, 25056 Water St. Simba died in November after a battle with diabetes.

“These pets really need homes,” she said as she petted Buddy before having the adoption paperwork processed.

There were other kittens, adult cats, birds and dogs up for adoption as well. Jennifer S. Schnabel, agency volunteer, said that without the support of people such as Mrs. Snyder who adopt animals, and people who support the agency through donations of money, supplies and their time, the agency wouldn’t have as many success stories.

Mrs. Schnabel, Elizabeth R. Weldon and Julia R. Bonisteel are working to make sure the SPCA can continue to support animals that come in to the shelter by organizing the agency’s 19th annual Bark & Wine Valentine’s Day auction from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 9 at Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St.

SPCA Executive Director Douglas J. Marlow said the 18th annual event grossed $20,000 toward daily care of the agency’s animals and help in covering the costs of spaying or neutering cats or dogs and making sure they are vaccinated.

“This is the major fundraiser of the year, and it gives us an opportunity to partner with many people in the community,” Mr. Marlow said. “It also gives us a chance to network with our members and volunteers. It’s a great way to support the SPCA.”

“I love the challenge to beat last year’s goal,” Mrs. Schnabel said.

Mrs. Schnabel said there will be both silent and live auctions, with a total of about 200 items up for grabs. The silent auction will feature gift baskets, restaurant and business certificates and animal-related items, among many other highlights. The live auction will feature bigger, more valuable items, such as an African safari for two valued at $5,000.

June DeLair of the Constableville Auction Hall will be the event auctioneer. Mr. Marlow said Mrs. DeLair brought additional ideas as to how the Watertown nonprofit can bring in extra money during the auction. He said, for instance, that attendees may participate in a game of Heads and Tails, where people put their hands on their head or their “tail” and, when Mrs. DeLair flips a coin, whichever side the coin doesn’t land on, those people are out of the game. The game continues until one person is left standing, and he or she will win a new iPad mini, valued at $324.

Another way for the SPCA to raise funds at the event is for people to support the mini Fund-a-Need campaign. Mrs. Schnabel said the SPCA hopes to create an educational segment at the shelter through that initiative. The auctioneer will start out looking for a volunteer to pledge $2,500 and will work her way downward, giving everyone a chance to participate in the campaign.

Event sponsors include Watertown Savings Bank, Carthage Savings & Loan, AmeriCU Credit Union and Leo J. Spink. People or businesses interested in sponsorship of the event can call the shelter at 782-3260.

Tickets to the event, which include admission and food, are $30 each or two for $55. Tickets are sold in advance at the shelter.

-Rebecca Madden, Watertown Daily Times staff writer