By Andy Smith
As always, the annual Broadway Barks event drew thousands to Shubert Alley, raised much-needed funds for animal shelters and rescue groups in the area and helped a lot of cats and dogs find loving homes.
“I was told we had 21 on-the-spot adoptions and lots of applications. We anticipate about 60 adoptions after follow ups and home visits are completed,” said Scott Stevens, the BC/EFA producer who coordinates the event, held this year on the afternoon of Saturday, July 8.
Spreading the message about the importance of spaying and neutering is another cornerstone of this annual event, which was hosted by founders Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore and featured appearances by a long list of Broadway’s finest performers.
Money Well Spent
Funds earned from Broadway Barks are distributed in two ways: as small grants to the participating shelters and rescue groups and as a larger gift to The Picasso Veterinary Fund. Part of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, this fund provides grants to shelters and rescue groups to cover extraordinary veterinary costs.
Animal Haven, a Queens-based shelter with three other New York locations, has participated every year since Barks’ inception, says Executive Director Marcello Forte. Their four shelters usually house about 375 animals at any one time.
“We always put the grant money back toward medical care, most of it to help prepare animals for adoption,” Forte says. “This includes spaying, neutering, vaccinations, heartworm testing for dogs and FIV/leukemia testing for cats. Of course, we also have animals with more serious issues.”
Each year at Barks, Animal Haven presents between five and eight dogs and up to 15 cats, Forte says.
“We see an increase in interest both before and after the event,” he says. “When there’s a good deal of media attention, people actually come in during the weeks before Barks after they’ve seen the animals on TV. Then, people we met at the event adopt after they come into the shelter to see more animals.”
A Helping History
Peters and Moore founded the event almost nine years ago and BC/EFA became involved almost immediately, says Stevens.
“While performing in Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway, Bernadette came to Broadway Cares asking if we had any interest in helping out,” he says. “It was a ‘no brainer’ considering how much she had done for us and the people we serve over many, many years.
“Because of our Annual Flea Market in Shubert Alley, Bernadette knew we had the expertise and ability to organize events such as this. Of course, the passion that (Executive Director) Tom Viola and I both share for animals didn’t hurt either, but it really was their baby and we were there for them!”
All-Star Lineup Puts Pets on Pedestal
Although, as always, an impressive list of celebrities took the stage to present animals ready for adoption, Stevens stresses that they willingly played a supporting role, doing their bit to help the animals shine.
This year’s participating performers included Lucie Arnaz, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Sutton Foster, Christine Ebersole, Georgia Engel, Eden Espinosa, David Garrison, Carol KaneandBob Martin, as well as Shuler Hensley, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Bobby Spencer, Cheyenne Jackson, Cherry Jones, Dan Lauria, Wendie Malickand Sarah Paulson.
Participating shelters and adoption agencies were : A Cause for Paws, Adopt A Boxer Rescue, Angelical Cat, Animal Haven, ASPCA, AC&C, BARC, Bid-A-Wee, Bobbi & the Strays, City Critters, Humane Society of New York, Husky House, Kitty Kind, Long Island Greyhound Rescue, Loving Touch, Manhattan Valley Cat, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, NYC Siamese Rescue, Pet-I-Care, PLUTO, Russell Refuge, Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare, Stray from the Heart, and The Tigger Foundation.
This year Broadway Barks 8! obtained major sponsorship from the ASPCA, The New York Times, Loews Hotels and Donna Karan.