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People and pups come together to support Monmouth County SPCA Fur Ball Gala

The Monmouth County SPCA held its 2022 Fur Ball Gala on July 21 at the Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury. The event was held in honor of the life and community philanthropy of Larry Hesse and MCSPCA leadership described the evening as “an extraordinary success.”

Nearly 400 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with an array of passed hors d’oeuvres and creative culinary stations, and the opportunity to visit with MCSPCA rescue pets in the garden, according to a press release.

The evening’s live program was presented during dinner, which began with a heartfelt tribute to Hesse by MCSPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra and Board Trustee and Gala Co-Chair Lisa Stavola.

Appreciation for Hesse, who was an animal lover and a dedicated supporter of the MCSPCA, was exhibited in a moving standing ovation, according to the press release.

The program continued with highlights of several animals who were saved by the MCSPCA during the past year, showing how the support of donors has made such a difference in the lives of homeless, abused and abandoned animals.

While each pet’s plight was displayed with poignant photos and video on overhead screens, the guests’ favorite portion of the evening was when each featured rescue dog arrived in the flesh, healthy and happy with its new adoptive owner, according to the press release.

And, the MCSPCA unveiled plans to build a wildlife rehabilitation center in partnership with the Monmouth County Park System, a much-anticipated project that will serve county residents and wildlife.

Two live auction items rounded out the program, with spirited bidding taking place for a tarot card cocktail party in a haunted house, according to the press release.

Guests also perused a silent online auction which offered everything from two handcrafted dog and cat houses donated by Marianne Hesse to an electric guitar signed by 2021 Jingle Ball artists Ed Sheeran, Lil Nas X, Saweetie, AJR, Kane Brown and others donated by iHeart Radio.

“The Monmouth County SPCA was honored to celebrate Larry’s life, his leadership and his love for animals. Although Larry Hesse’s philanthropy touched many lives and many different organizations, we know none were as dear to his heart as were animals. At the MCSPCA, Larry’s legacy will live on for generations,” Licitra said.

The 2022 Fur Ball Gala was co-chaired by Lisa Stavola and Andrea Leland. The MCSPCA thanked the event’s sponsors for their support, specifically the 2022 Fur Ball Presenting Sponsor, the Cooper Voccola Family Foundation and Jack Morris of Edgewood Properties.

The Fur Ball Gala is the MCSPCA’s largest fundraising event of the year and proceeds allow compassionate care for more than 6,000 homeless and abandoned animals throughout Monmouth County and beyond, according to the press release.

The Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in 1945 to care for the community’s homeless, neglected and abused animals. The society’s mission is to protect and advocate for all animals. The society is based in Eatontown.

The society is dedicated to enforcing animal cruelty laws; providing a safe haven for homeless, abused and abandoned animals while they await adoption; reducing animal over-population through spay/neutering; and cultivating their humane treatment through education and advocacy services. In 2021, the society cared for more than 6,000 animals.

The Monmouth County SPCA relies solely on private donations and grants to fund its operation. The society provides services to the community that include pet adoptions, a full-service veterinary clinic, dog training and behavior, humane law enforcement, trap neuter and return for free-roaming cats, and humane education and pet therapy, according to the press release.

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