2/27/2012 - Asheville's Animal Compassion Network benefits from restaurants Tuesday
by Casey Blake - Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE -- There's never been a kinder way to enjoy an edible guilty pleasure in Asheville, and Animal Compassion Network wants you to do it all day long.
Dozens of area restaurants will pitch in Tuesday in honor of the organization's ninth annual Dine to Be Kind event, benefiting the group's long-running spay and neuter program.
From breakfast and lunch to dinner, participating restaurants will contribute 10 percent of proceeds to Animal Compassion Network's Betty Fund, which helps area families pay for spaying or neutering of pets.
"We know we can never adopt our way out of this problem of animal overpopulation," said ACN executive director Eileen Bouressa.
"The demand on the Betty Fund is at an all-time high, so the need for people to come and support this effort has never been greater."
The fundraiser also presents an added benefit for restaurants that may experience an increase in business on what may typically be a slow February day, Bouressa said.
Jason Sellers, the chef and co-owner of Asheville's newest vegan restaurant and a Dine to Be Kind participant, Plant, said he'll be whipping up some doggy bags that actually go to their namesakes for the event.
"I've always talked about making treats for animals, so I think this is the year we can start that tradition," said Sellers, who talked his former Laughing Seed staff into opening on their day off just for Dine to Be Kind last year.
"Animal overpopulation is one of those tertiary causes where people tend to put them low down on this list of priorities, long after our own rights," said Sellers, who has fostered close to 30 animals himself.
"Animal Compassion is just so dedicated to not only addressing these problems but getting in and educating people to prevent them from happening in the first place."
Tuesday's fundraiser takes place on National Spay Day, a national campaign to promote the benefits of spaying and neutering.
The Betty Fund was established in 2000 in honor of a 2-year-old stray golden retri ever mix who gave birth to 18 puppies in just one year.
Betty's last litter of eight pups was rescued from the mud underneath a trailer and put into a foster home. Betty was rescued, spayed and put into rehabilitation.
Since the program began, ACN has assisted in the spaying or neutering of more than 10,000 Western North Carolina cats and dogs.
The Betty Fund pays all or most of the entire cost of the spay or neuter surgery for pets belonging to families in need.
"There's just a really great feeling for this event all around," she said. "There's a real camaraderie and a great energy at every table where you can really feel like we're making progress.
"You eat delicious food, meet with people you love and make a big impact," she said.
"It's an easy sell."
WANT TO EAT?
Join one of the many participating restaurants Tuesday for the 9th annual Dine to Be Kind fundraiser. Here's a sampling of Asheville's kindest, but visit www.animal compassionnetwork.com for the full list:
Okie Dokie Smokehouse, Nine Mile, The Madison Inn, Rise n' Shine Café, plant, Digable Pizza, Blue Sky Café, Well-Bred Bakery, chai pani, Apollo Flame, wingbean, Wild Wing Café, Avenue M, Café Azalea, Doc Chey's, Filo Pastries, Morning Glory Café, Mellow Mushroom, Neo Cantina, West End Bakery, Mela, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro, Jack of the Wood, Jack of Hearts, Urban Burrito, The Dripolator, Limones, The Corner Kitchen, The Grove Park Inn, The Hop West, Vinnie's, Carmel's, Green Sage, Cucina 24, Waggers Dog Depot, Sante Wine Bar, Loretta's and Sunny Point Café.
For more information about Animal Compassion Network call Pet Harmony at 274-3647 or visit www.animalcompassionnetwork.org.