RAISE THE WOOF - The annual Raise The Woof event in Red Deer is in its fourth year and raises money to help support the care of animals. photo submitted

Raise the Woof helps animals in need

Event can be a sponsorship opportunity, a night out with friends, a corporate Christmas party and more

Raise the Woof is coming into its fourth year, helping to support animals in need.

An event put on by the Central Alberta Humane Society, the event is Central Alberta’s biggest comedy night for a cause.

The event started off having a little over 100 people at the Curling Centre to last year having over 500 guests at the Sheraton.

“This year we’re expecting growth again. We’re going to be moving to a different part of the Sheraton, so we can have as many as 800 people in attendance, and it seems to be a very popular option for people to have a corporate Christmas party,” said Tara Hellewell, executive director for the Central Alberta Humane Society.

She said comedians come in who are of great quality, with a headliner that’s been on Comedy Central or an HBO comedy series.

“There’s usually one local, one from Alberta or Saskatchewan, so it’s just a great night,” said Hellewell, adding that they end with music and dancing, with a DJ coming on at the end.

There is also a silent auction, raffle, prizes and draws.

All of the funds raised go to helping support the care of animals at Christmas.

“We raised about $37,000 net last year from the event, so we know that the event has a lot more potential. We try to keep the ticket pricing pretty affordable.”

Tickets are $100 per person, and a discounted price of $85 each for a corporate table of eight.

With the tickets, people will get a full three course meal made by the chefs at the Sheraton, along with entertainment.

“That’s the big focus of it. It’s really a fun night full of laughter and the comedians have all been awesome. For the last four years, they’ve never disappointed us,” she said, adding that a group out of L.A. organizes the tour that comes around.

This year, she said, their hope is to raise over $50,000 if possible.

She said this year will be challenging as they’ve got lots of animals in care.

“We’re completely full, absolutely full again with cats specifically. We’ve got a bit of a cat crisis going on for sure in Central Alberta right now.

“We have over 200 cats in care at the moment and kitten season just didn’t seem to end this year, and we have now over 400 cats on the waiting list to come into the shelter.”

Hellewell said every rescue they know of is full with cats, so they are working on some programs right now and will have to come together with their region and start talking to some municipalities about how they can address the issue.

“Obviously spay/neuter is one thing that we can do to help reduce the populations of cats out there because we know they’re prolific breeders.

“Litters and litters of kittens have been coming into the shelter, so these are unfixed animals, so we’re looking right now at low income spay/neuter programs in the shelter.”

She said the biggest problem they face is they need more funding as they are already struggling to meet their budget, and they don’t receive any government funding.

“There is a perception out there that we receive a lot of money from government. We do not receive money from government. We rely on donations, fee for service and events like Raise the Woof.”

She said they have paid staff helping to care for over 240 animals in shelter.

“We have a qualified veterinarian, animal health technicians and we’re spaying and neutering all of our animals, we’re vaccinating all of our animals, we’re giving them health checks, so we equate the work that we do here to being like a hospital.”

Raise The Woof can be a sponsorship opportunity, a night out with friends, a corporate Christmas party and more.

The event takes place Dec. 1st at the Sheraton Hotel.

Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with dinner taking place at 7:15 p.m. A comedy show will follow.

People can book their tickets online at www.cahumane.com or by emailing development@cahumane.com.

carlie.connolly@reddeerexpress.com