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Fundraiser to benefit reborn animal shelter

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Brendon McCampbell believes he has a sweetheart of a deal -- and it goes to a good cause, too.

The inaugural Grrrs and Prrrs Valentine Gala is scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at Kris Kuksi Fine Arts Studio and Gallery, 807 Main. Proceeds for the fundraiser go to the Western Plains Animal Refuge, which is renovating its new location a mile east of Ellis.

"All of our funds go to veterinary bills for the animals, food, medicine, general upkeep of the building, helping to pay our utilities," said McCampbell, executive director of the nonprofit organization that relies solely on volunteers.

McCampbell, a student at Fort Hays State University, started helping at the refuge while he was attending Hays High School. It opened in 2006, when it was located near Hays and was operated by Jessica Braun, who at the time was a local veterinarian.

Braun closed her practice approximately 18 months ago and moved out of town. Since then, McCampbell was elected by the board to be the refuge's executive director, and a new location was found.

The target date to get the new location up and running is in the next few weeks. McCampbell said at first they will concentrate on helping domestic animals; approximately 15 animals is capacity, he said.

Saturday's fundraiser will have hors d' oeuvres, a live DJ, games and prizes. There will be two main prizes: a couple's spa package at Rock Haven Day Spa, 1530 Smoky Hill River Road, and a glass set from Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co., 117 E. 11th.

Tickets for the event are $25 for an individual and $40 for a couple. Dress is semi-formal, and participants must be 21 to attend.

Tickets can be purchased at Hillside Veterinary Clinic, 5250 Vine, or at White Chocolate, 810 Main. Reservations also are accepted by calling the refuge at (785) 726-2500.

For more information on the refuge go to westernplainsanimalrefuge.org or visit the organization's Facebook page.

"We're looking at trying to do it as an annual event," McCampbell said of the fundraiser. "So far, ticket sales have been really successful. It looks like we have a lot of people coming. We're hoping to raise quite a bit of money for it."