Putting the right paw forward: Friends of Burlington County Animal Shelter gears up for Paw Prints 5K


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For the nonprofit Friends of Burlington County Animal Shelter group, the opening line of their mission statement says it all: “We enhance the lives of shelter animals and help them find homes.”

With that goal in mind, the group is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser of the year with the “Paw Prints 5K and Fun Trail 1-Miler” on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Historic Smithville Park in Eastampton.

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From now until the day of the event, supporters are encouraged to solicit donations and help the Friends in the mission to reduce the number of homeless animals in Burlington County.

Supporters of all athletic abilities can have a good time for a good cause on Sept. 29, whether it’s signing up for an off-road 5K course that winds through Smithville Park or just keeping things simple with a one-mile trail walk.

According to Penny Legg, a member of the board of directors for the Friends, this family-friendly event is also open to four-legged family members, so runners and walkers are encouraged to bring their dogs and cats.

“Some people actually run with their cats in a baby stroller … and last year we also had close to 100 dogs,” Legg said.

Legg also noted last year was the first time holding the event at Smithville Park, which she said adds beautiful scenery to a fun day.

“It’s really nice. For those familiar with Smithville Park, the trails are well maintained,” Legg said.

In addition to the fun, Legg also noted the important work of the Friends and its role in supporting the Burlington County Animal Shelter, such as sponsoring low-cost spaying and neutering clinics and providing medical care for animals.

“We provide additional support to the animals at the shelter, such as advanced medical care,” Legg said. “The county has limited funds, so if a dog or cat comes in with a broken leg, our group will jump in to get that animal to an outside veterinarian to get it taken care of.”

To learn more or to register for the event, follow links through the Friends’ page on Facebook at

Those who register for the event by Sept. 24 will pay reduced rates, with a 5K fee of $30 ($20 for ages 17 and younger) and a fun trail fee of $20 ($10 for ages 17 and younger).

After Sept. 24 through the day of the event, the 5K fee is $35 and the fun trail fee is $25.

Numerous prizes and awards will also be available for individual participants and teams.

This year’s event will last from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 29, with the 5K and fun trail event starting at 9 a.m. Race day registration and packet pick up open at 7:30 a.m.

“What’s nice is it’s earlier in the morning, so you can come out, walk or run, and you can be home by lunchtime,” Legg said.

For questions, contact Legg at or (609) 367-6786.

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