Several A-list celebs and high-profile New Yorkers came together to honor the lifesaving work of the Humane Society of the United States at a fundraising gala held at Cipriani 42nd street in New York City. Following a gourmet vegan dinner and luxury silent auction, guests watched a tear-jerking video about the organization’s ongoing rescue effects, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The Humane Society rescued more than 200 animals during the devastating storm and reunited dozens of pets with their owners during the aftermath. The team also opened emergency shelters to accommodate animals who needed shelter when their owners were evacuated. But those numbers pale in comparison to the thousands of animal lives the Humane Society saves every year from cruelty, animal fighting, puppy mills and natural disasters. Over the past two years alone, the team has rescued and cared for over 11,000 animals.
The night’s presentations included speeches by President and CEO of the Humane Society Wayne Pacelle, Mayor Bloomberg, co-chair Georgina Bloomberg, Friends of Finn founder and co-chair Amanda Hearst and actress and animal lover Rose McGowan. The Humane Advocate Award was presented to two-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat for raising awareness of puppy mills, which she humbly accepted over video. Philanthropist/animal advocate Cathy Kangas received the Compassion in Action Award for her ongoing dedication to the animal protection causes.
Event co-chair Georgina Bloomberg says that the foundation is important to her because of the message it delivers to the community. “I adopted my first dog in 2008 and that really made me see that being an animal lover just isn’t enough,” she explains. “You have to stand up for them and be their voice.”
Fellow co-chair and childhood friend Amanda Hearst couldn’t agree more. Hearst founded the organization, Friends of Finn, after purchasing her beloved dog at a pet store in NYC. “I kind of knew a little bit about the issue of puppy mills,” she reveals. “I asked them where the dogs came from and they said they only used breeders, so I got him.” Soon after, Hearst began working with the Humane Society and learned more about puppy mills. “When I realized that 99 percent of animals from pet stores come from puppy mills, I tracked where Finn came from, and it turned out that he was from a puppy mill,” she says.
Since then, Hearst and Bloomberg have worked towards raising funding and awareness about animal cruelty through various benefits. “Every event like this opens up people’s eyes,” insists Bloomberg. “They really learn things. Raising money is very important in the long run, but if you can just change one person’s opinion about going into a pet store and buying a dog, that’s important too.”
The Humane Society of the United States exceeded their fundraising goals this year and raised 1.5 million dollars by the end of the evening. Check out pics from the event below!