A vision to help animals of North Augusta was furthered Saturday, with a little help of food and drinks and plenty of help from the neighbors in Hammond’s Ferry.

Ten porches on Crystal Lake Drive, with themes like Margaritaville Key West, Mardi Gras and the Masters, were laden with food and drinks for the crowd that came out to raise money to help with North Augusta animal control services.

Porch Walk for Paws was the private side of a public-private partnership. The event raised half of the funds needed to pay Dr. Sara Pizano with Team Shelter USA to visit the city later this month and examine animal control services. The city of North Augusta is paying the other half.

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Kim Butler, event chair of Porch Walk for Paws, said over 90 volunteers came together to make the event happen.

Kim Butler, event chair for Porch Walk for Paws said the Hammond’s Ferry neighborhood identified the need to improve animal services.

“I became familiar with the situation in Aiken County and the Aiken County shelter and I saw how they had transformed animal services in Aiken County, and they did that through a partnership between the county and FOTAS,” Butler said.

She said they felt like something similar could be done in North Augusta and FOTAS, Friends of the Animal Shelter, suggested working with Dr. Pizano.

“She’s a veterinarian who has a group, Team Shelter USA, and then work with cities and counties around the country helping them establish best practices,” Butler said.

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Victoria Hann pours Kir for those visiting Viva la France, which also served mint water and homemade crepes. 

She said any funds raised beyond what it takes to get Pizano to North Augsuta would go toward programs she recommends for the community.

City Administrator Todd Glover, who hosted the Mardi Gras-themed porch, said Pizano would look at overall animal services, the community, volunteer groups, rescues, and what can be improved in animal services operations.

“Plus this is an event just to increase awareness of animal services in North Augusta and our partnership with our community,” he said Saturday. “It’s been really great; turn-out’s been fantastic.”

North Augusta Public Safety’s Animal Control Officer Mike Strauss said Saturday the city is bringing the consultant in is encouraging.

“I’ve already been working with the consultant,” he said. “We’ve been emailing back and forth about statistics, general information about how operations run, so she can kind of do some advance stuff before she gets here to have an idea what we’re looking at, the number of animals, the facility, how it kind of evolved to where it is today.”

Strauss said it was great to see people interested in what the city is doing and how it’s growing with animal control.

Jeff Futrelle was one of the co-hosts pouring Yuengling beer on an America themed porch. (“We’re between Germany and Italy, which probably keeps a brou-ha-ha from breaking out,” he said.)

Futrelle said Hammond’s Ferry is community-oriented, and is a perfect fit for the event.

“We’re euthanizing a lot of dogs and cats that possibly could find a home. There are lots of places that have topped euthanizing animals and are finding homes for animals in different states,” Futrelle said. “We hope that we could do that, we hope that we can at some point in time save a lot of these animals and also have them neutered to we don’t have this recurring problem.”

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.