Celebrating Unconditional Love

Jean Shafiroff, Georgina Bloomberg==Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation's 7th Annual Unconditional Love Dinner Dance 2016==Private Residence, Southampton, NY==July 16, 2016==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC====

The ninth annual “Unconditional Love” gala to benefit The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation will be held this Saturday, July 21, at a breathtaking waterfront estate in Southampton. This is the signature event for the animal lover community in helping four-legged friends find their “fur-ever” homes.

The event will kick off with cocktails at 6:30 PM followed by dinner catered by Robbins Wolf Eventeurs at 7:30 PM. Guests will experience an evening of music by The Chris Norton Band and a live auction featuring items such as five-star European hotels, golf outings, and more.

Gala chairman this year, Gregory D’Elia, splits his time between the Hamptons and Florida. D’Elia has undertaken efforts to switch up the gala this year, he said. “It’s going to be fun but we’re here to honor the animals,” D’Elia explained.

The gala program is doing away with traditional speeches while still celebrating all the organization does. New this year will be a compiled video of the shelter’s efforts, including finding furry companions for veterans. “When they go out and rescue animals, they’re able to identify ones that are potentially available for adoption for the veterans’ organization. It’s a great thing,” D’Elia added.

Clifton Knight has been on the board for three years and, as of August 2017, is now co-president, alongside Beau Hulse. “It’s a terrific philanthropy that has a long history of amazing care for animals and serves the community broadly,” Knight said, noting the seven incorporated villages and 16 hamlets of Southampton that the shelter serves. Knight himself adopted two cats from the shelter five years ago, Mila and Xenia.

“Gregory’s vision of the event is going to make it quite spectacular, a true party and celebration of the animals,” he said. Knight aims to expand the donor base of the year round, no kill shelter.

With a 96 percent adoption rate thanks to professional match-making skills, SASF is unique on the East End with an “open admissions” policy, accepting animals of all kinds, despite their behavioral problems or physical condition. In addition, the SASF provides low-cost, mobile veterinary services throughout the area, along with educational classes on humane animal care.

Jerry Rosenthal, executive director, stated, “This year, Southampton Animal Shelter’s Unconditional Love Gala honors the over 1500 animals that come through our doors every year, and will highlight the life-saving work we perform in finding them forever homes.” One of the event honorees includes Mason, the first shelter dog in New York State to be accepted into the K9s for Warriors program. Mason was rescued and trained by the shelter.

Rosenthal added, “Funds raised from this event will provide needed resources to continue our mission: ‘To rescue, heal and rehome and promote the human-animal bond.’”

“The shelter never stops. Whether caring for strays found wandering the streets, rescuing neglected and abandoned animals, or saving dogs from the horrors of the puppy mill industry or from overcrowded NYC shelters, our shelter is a safe haven for all animals and for some, a last resort,” explained Kate McEntee, director of adoptions, and junior chair of the Unconditional Love Gala.

“Without the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, these pets would not be able to survive,” McEntee added. “The shelter acts as a stepping stone to find pets a loving home. We offer them housing, food, medical attention, training and rehabilitation when necessary. As a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization we rely on the generosity of donors and volunteers. Your support makes all this possible and together we help save more lives!”

There are 20 members of the junior committee, including The Independent’s very own Jessica Mackin-Cipro and Nicole Teitler, alongside the junior co-chairs Merrit Piro, Jenny Dwork, Kelly Deneny, Marissa Epley, Elizabeth Shafiroff, and Charles McConnell.

Honorary chairwoman, Jean Shafiroff, will also be in attendance.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Adrienne Walter at 631-488-800 or visiting www.southamptonanimalshelter.com.

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