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Edinburg, TX – Hurricane Hanna ripped through Palm Valley Animal Society’s (PVAS) two centers, damaging roofs, fences, trees, and dog kennels. To raise funds for repairs, PVAS is kicking off a Wag-A-Thon. Runners, walkers, bikers, and swimmers can pledge miles and laps for support. PVAS has a goal to raise at least $30,000 for repairs.

“Thankfully, no animals or staff were hurt. But our roof at Trenton needs repairs - that building houses dogs and cats, and that’s where we do adoptions,” said Adam Ricci, Director of Operations.

The community stepped up to help foster, and for the first time ever, PVAS' team was able to get all pets into the main buildings at Trenton and Andrews. While both the Laurie P. Andrews Center and Trenton Center suffered, most damages hit the older Trenton Center.

"It’s important to understand that we have 163 outdoor kennels that are roofed and tarped during severe weather and having animals in foster and inside is much safer,” said Ricci.

The Wag-A-Thon will kicked off on August 1, and is open to the entire community. PVAS invites walkers, runners, and bikers, and swimmers to join their furry friends, form teams, or set their own challenge to collect pledges for miles. The competition is open to the entire community.

With safety a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, PVAS sees a Wag-A-Thon as a way to bring people together while staying physically distant. Waggers can collect miles at home too, on treadmills or stationary bikes. PVAS invites sports teams, community and church groups, schools, and businesses to join in the community effort.

“The damage from Hurricane Hanna is devastating,” said Donna Casamento, Executive Director. “We were just starting to plan for renovations and this hit us hard, especially with the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

With its intake of over 23,000 dogs and cats each year, PVAS is one of the largest animal shelters in the state and in the entire country. In comparison, the average Texas shelter takes in 1,800 dogs and cats yearly, according to Shelter Animals Count, which tracks national animal shelter data. PVAS has worked with the community and national organizations, like Best Friends Animal Society, the Petco Foundation, the Million Cat Challenge, and Maddie’s Fund in the past three years to turn its save rate around, from 23% in 2016 to a historical 92% save rate year-to-date.

“This change is rooted in the community,” said Casamento. “To see how the animal welfare landscape is transforming, look no further than PVAS and the efforts of the community in the RGV. Everyone plays a role.”

Repairs to shore-up damage and keep everyone safe are already underway.

“We are doing an inspection to understand the level of repairs needed and have started replacing ceiling tiles inside of the building and done extensive cleanup from water damage,” said Ricci. “We also have drafted a Hurricane Response Plan with MOUs for partner organizations. We realize the next storm could be worse and if we need to evacuate, the animals are coming with us.”

The support from the Wag-A-Thon will be used to repair and fortify the Trenton Center. Anyone who wants to donate or sign up can click here.

To sign up as a team or individual, just scroll down to “Create My Own Fundraiser.” For teams, put in your desired team name under “Name” and have a designated team captain input their individual email address when signing up. The team captain can then share the team's page link with everyone on their team.

Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraising teams and individuals, as well as to the top donor, and a closing ceremony will be held virtually on September 2, when winners will be announced.

About the Palm Valley Animal Society

Our mission: Palm Valley Animal Society will provide lifesaving care, comfort, and compassion to animals in need by engaging the hearts, hands, and minds of our community. PVAS’ goal is to save every animal that can be saved through progressive adoption, foster care, and rescue transfer programs. PVAS offers a number of additional programs designed to help pets in the shelter, in the community, and in your home, including volunteer, fee-reduction, and veterinary services programs. Stay connected: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @PVASTX