Salty Paws Festival
Carolina Beach Lake
10/15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. • $5 donation
(Rain Date: 10/16)
Calling all animal lovers! Saturday, October 15th will welcome the third Salty Paws festival around the lake at Carolina Beach. Everyone—kids, pets, even granny—is welcome to revel knee-deep in fur, fluff and fun. The best part: The cause supports over 70 animal welfare organizations.
Among the lengthy score of events, folks can have their pets micro-chipped for only $30 or nails clipped for a donation, all the while enjoying spectacular police-dog demonstrations. There will also be plenty of animals looking for a forever home for folks wanting to add to their family with a rescue animal.
Jeannie Mintz, the tower of strength behind this inspiring day, promises nothing shy of a good time. “We have so many things planned for the festival, it’s going to be a blast,” she enthuses, as her King Charles Spaniel, Bourbon, lies at her feet and barks in agreement. Clearly a woman on a mission, Mintz is the founder and dedicated president of the non-profit organization, Saving Animals During Disasters. Saving Animals was born the day after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. Mintz then raced to New Orleans, determined to do whatever she could to help. It was only once she arrived, amid the “holocaust of the animals,” that she realized no one had the equipment or the resources to rescue the terrified and abandoned creatures.
“It was just heart-breaking,” she remembers, “and the lack of facilities for any kind of animal rescue made me realize what a huge need there was for an organization which focused on helping the animals within these terrible situations.”
From that pivotal day forward, Saving Animals has worked tirelessly to fill the gap. They have raised thousands of dollars to help with food, veterinary care and shelter for many different kinds of animals rescued from disasters. Since, Mintz has pioneered animal fostering schemes, animal adoption programs and manages scores of volunteers, one of which has been hand-feeding 89 baby squirrels since Hurricane Irene. She is completely hands-on when it comes to animals which are struggling to survive within dire circumstances.
“We quickly learned that not all disasters are due to ‘natural’ causes,” she notes. “We rescue animals from abusive situations, in addition to helping people who are unable to financially care for their animals correctly.”
One of the nonprofit’s most fundamental campaigns has been to spread awareness about the unspeakable cruelties within the brutal puppy mill businesses. Saving Animals defines a puppy mill as a “commercial dog-breeding facility that is operated with profit as the central motivation, with little to no concern for animal welfare.” They highlight the fact that one of the worst practices is the debarking of helpless dogs.
Callous kennel owners jam metal rods down the dog’s throats which ruptures their vocal cords and results in broken jaws, which never get treated. Saving Animals strongly advises people to adopt their dogs from rescue centers rather than buying them from places which may well have been supplied by a puppy mill.
The organization’s proudest achievements to date is their own uniquely designed 18-foot mobile care unit, which is used for emergency medical treatment. They also transport vital supplies and animals within a climate-controlled atmosphere, as well as shelter human volunteers. It is available for countless other animal welfare groups to use for fund-raising, educational and emergency purposes, too.
“We work closely with New Hanover County Animal Control who are very supportive of the work we do,” Mintz notes. Wilmington can be proud of the fact that it has passed some of the most progressive animal-rights laws in the state. For example the No Tethering Law prohibits owners from leaving their animals endlessly tied up—a simple but humane piece of legislation that does not exist in nearby counties.
Salty Paws is a guaranteed fabulous and educational family day out. Last year it attracted crowds of up to 3,000 people. Thus, they are expecting an even bigger turnout this year. It is a $5 entry fee, and children under 10 years of age are admitted free. There will be music, children’s games and competitions, pet activities, delicious food and, of course, animals of every shape, size and color to stroke, adore and adopt!
All proceeds go toward supporting the vital work of Saving Animals During Disasters and other animal welfare groups. It will also support an exciting new venture: Saving Animals will be opening a thrift store in the spring in order to raise much-needed funds year round.