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Stretch those legs and flex those paws for the 17th annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash June 5 in William Land Park.
Approximately 4,000 people and their canine companions are expected to attend, and will gather in the Village Green Area of the park. Festivities begin at 8 a.m. and will continue until 1 p.m. Participants may register with or without a dog.
The SPCA hopes to raise $250,000 through Doggy Dash.
"This is our largest fundraiser of the year," SPCA public relations director Lesley Kirrene said in an e-mail. "All funds raised go to help us care for the more than 12,000 homeless animals that will come to the SPCA this year alone. We have had such a terrific response to the event in the past — it grows every year — that we set a loftier fundraising goal each year."
So far they have raised about $128,000.
The SPCA is a non-profit, independent organization that relies on private donations and fundraising events, like Doggy Dash, to support general operations.
Participants may choose from a 2K walk, 5K walk or a 5K run.
"We urge people to be very aware of what both they and their dogs are capable of physically before entering," Kirrene said. "We do have water stations and people checking throughout the course."
After Doggy Dash, join the SPCA for the free Bark at the Park Festival. Register for Pup Shows (which include contests for the ugliest dog, best smile, best kisser and best costume), watch the high-flying frisbee contest and the Sacramento Police Department's K-9 unit demonstration. Stay for the Pug Races, visit booths of pet-friendly businesses and learn about other Sacramento animal rescue organizations. A pet psychic and pet photographer will be on hand. Dog DNA testing and canine heart testing will be available. The SPCA will have adoptable dogs at the festival as well.
Dogs are required to be current on vaccinations and be at least six months old. Dogs must wear current ID and license tags at all times. The SPCA prefers one leashed dog per person, but will allow two well-behaved leashed dogs. Leashes must be six feet or shorter. The SPCA asks that if your dog is not sociable, please do not bring him/her.
Contest registration is $5 per contest and will be available at the Doggy Dash event.
"Doggy Dash is the largest event of its kind in Northern California, and has become a 'don't miss' event for animal enthusiasts," Kirrene said.
In light of the Sacramento County animal shelter's potential closure due to further budget cuts, local animal rescue organizations may face a torrent of homeless animals and veterinary needs. Fundraising and donations are needed across the board.
"The SPCA is doing all we can to assist Sacramento County Animal Care & Regulation," Kirrene said. "We are completely separate entities, however we are very supportive of them and their efforts to stay open and avoid further budget cuts."
Registration is $25 per individual and $30 per team participant until Friday. Late registration is $30 per individual and $35 per team participant from Friday through June 5.
Online registration closes June 2. Registration is available June 2 through 4 at the Arden Petco store from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1878 Arden Way. Otherwise, registration at the event starts at 7:30 a.m.
Photos courtesy of Lesley Kirrene and the Sacramento SPCA.
Agnus-Dei Farrant is an intern for The Sacramento Press.