Mutt Strut? Yes, it is an opportunity to do something fun with your family, especially the four-legged members, while making a big contribution to Aiken County’s homeless animals. All of the funds from this year’s Woofstock Festival and the Mutt Strut will go directly to FOTAS’ Capital Campaign for our new Aiken County Animal Shelter.


We will tell you how to get involved (even if you won’t actually march in the Mutt Strut Parade), but let’s look at what can happen if you walk a dog for a cause.


Last April FOTAS participated in a similar event in Columbia. The fundraiser was for a new facility that offers high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter. FOTAS had an opportunity to compete with other area rescue groups and win thousands of dollars worth of spay/neuter surgeries. All we had to do was find sponsors for a dog walk.


FOTAS volunteers contacted other FOTAS members who contacted friends and families all over the world to sponsor their participation in the event.


FOTAS volunteers walked their own dogs; they walked shelter adoptable dogs; and they had enough people supporting their efforts to win the competition, and that was just the beginning.


The funds awarded provided FOTAS with an opportunity to launch a pilot for a targeted, subsidized spay/neuter program that we call SNAP: Spay-Neuter Assistance Program. Due to the need to transport the dogs and cats to Columbia, the Wagener-Salley area was chosen for the pilot.


The project began Aug. 1, and before all those SNAP funds are exhausted, nearly 100 animals will have been spayed or neutered. The number of unwanted cats and dogs that this project will prevent is almost incalculable, especially given that only two intact dogs, plus just two intact cats, can conceivably produce nearly half-a-million offspring in only 7 years.


It all began with a dog walk.While SNAP addresses the prevention end of Aiken County’s unwanted animal population, the obligation to collect and house the overwhelming number of homeless cats and dogs that already exist is the other end. The current County Animal Shelter has no humane way to house them all, or, in spite of our best efforts, to rescue most. More than 7 out of 10 die there.


Help is on the way with FOTAS’ Capital Campaign. The Woofstock Festival is our signature fundraiser, and it begins with a dog walk called The Mutt Strut. All of the proceeds from the Mutt Strut and the Woofstock Festival will go to the Capital Campaign to be invested in our extraordinary new Aiken County Animal Shelter.


Here’s how to participate in the Mutt Strut:


Register to walk or to be a virtual walker. There are forms online and around the area. The fee includes entrance to Woofstock. Get people to sponsor you and win prizes. Raise $300 and enter a drawing for a 64G iPad. Get a dog, and come out on Nov. 10.


It all begins with a dog walk, and then good things can happen. Join us, please.


FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, contact info@fotasaiken.org or visit FOTAS online at www.fotasaiken.org.


Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”


Sept. 10-16 Received: 61 dogs and 29 cats


Adopted: 5 dogs and 1 catsPut down: 16 dogs and 33 cats