ALTON — April Fools’ Day might historically be filled with pranks and practical jokes, but this year, it will be filled with something else — pet support and awareness.
On April 1 (quite seriously), Spay-Neuter Illinois Pets (SNIP) Alliance will hold the inaugural MasquerSpayed at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway. The three-hour event beginning at 7 p.m. will support the opening of the Riverbend Pet Food Pantry in April, which will provide free pet food to residents.
“As an animal lover, it hurts to see beautiful animals dying for no reason,” SNIP Alliance President Sandy Eaves said. “The answer is prevention and education.”
SNIP Alliance was formed in 2008 after research on Madison County Animal Control intake numbers.
“There’s been a dramatic reduction of animals going through the animal control system since SNIP formed,” Eaves said. “It’s been wonderful.”
The group has a notable history of serving Greater Alton through clinics and special events. The organization first utilized a mobile clinic in East Alton in April 2012 and subsequently partnered with Metro East Humane Society and Partners For Pets to form the Madison County Pet Lover’s Coalition in February of last year in its mission to “reduce pet overpopulation by providing education on the benefits of spay-neuter” and “acting as a resource for those seeking low-cost spay-neuter services,” according to a press release.
In September of last year, the Madison County Pet Lover’s Coalition held its Pets in the Park event, which “treated 91 pets in underserved neighborhoods around Alton,” Eaves said. Pets were given free examinations, vaccinations, flea, skin and ear treatments and free food, bowls, toys, leashes and collars.
SNIP Alliance has performed more than 3,800 surgeries and the animal control intake numbers have dropped by 35 percent, with a euthanasia rate decreasing to 56 percent as of 2015.
“Not one pregnant dog or any puppies went through MCAC last year; that’s a first,” Eaves said.
MasquerSpayed is sponsored by Carol House Furniture, Cindy’s Critter Camp, Gori Julian and Clover Leaf Bank and will feature a chocolate fountain as well as food provided by Honey Dip Bake Shop, River City Savories, Gentelin’s, Sports Tap and Time Out Bar and Grill in Troy, among others.
“We’ve got a lot planned for the event,” Eaves said. “There will be silent auction items from the Cardinals, a ring toss to win bottles of wine, a balloon pop, tickets to Missouri Botanical Garden, and of course, plenty of gifts and swag bags of treats and samples for dogs and cats.”
There also will be a comedy spot, DJ Scott Gruber, a photo booth provided by Grayward Entertainment and a contest for the best masquerade mask.
“It’s going to be a fun and unique night at Jacoby Arts Center,” Eaves said. “I hope the Alton community can come out and support us so we can go further on our mission to help keep the animal population under control.”
Guests are asked to wear cocktail or business casual attire. Tickets are $40 per person (including beer, wine, soda and appetizers) and can be purchased at https://masquerspayed.eventbrite.com.