Burbank Leadership Raises Funds at Pet-Friendly Event to Bring More Exercise Space to the Animal Shelter

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Leadership Burbank's "A Cause For Pause" Pet-Friendly Fundraiser Event at Johnny Carson Park. Photo by Ashley Erikson.

It was a day of wagging tails and belly rubs at Leadership Burbank’s “A Cause for Paws” fundraising event this past Saturday at Johnny Carson Park. Money raised went to help complete their class project of updating the Burbank Animal Shelter facility to allow the animals more exercise space.

On April 13th, the pet-friendly event was organized by the Leadership Burbank Class of 2023-24 as a part of their class project. Leadership Burbank is a community-based organization that offers a nine-month leadership program for people who live and work in Burbank to enhance their professional skills, and understand their community at a deeper level.

“I love living in Burbank. I live here, we have a small business here, my kids go to Burbank schools,” said Leadership Burbank class of 2023-24 student, Carrie Walko, representing ABC News at the Walt Disney Company. “I joined Leadership Burbank to be more tied into what was happening within the community and to ensure that not just my voice, but the voice of the people that I work with, and the people that I know are really represented.”

“A Cause for Paws” Fundraiser event by Leadership Burbank. Photo by Ashley Erikson.

Each year the students choose a class project to give back to the community. This year they chose to take on a $50,000 upgrade to the Burbank Animal Shelter that will include a 75 foot dog run and an additional adoption space.  The current outdoor space is asphalt and will be re-paved with cement to protect the animal’s feet from heat and allow them more access to exercise. The outside area also doubles as an access point for Public Works, so the contractors have partnered with the city to make the dog run removable.

During the Leadership Burbank courses, students broke into small groups to pitch class projects to each other. “I wasn’t part of the group that initially discovered the needs of the Burbank Animal Shelter, but as soon as we all heard the pitch, it was a no brainer. It was a unanimous decision where we all felt that the animal shelter was the right project to go with for a multitude of reasons,” said Walko. “We felt that animals in particular reach just about every member of our community, and our fur-babies are really important and don’t have a voice.”

“They’ve had a lot of big infrastructural work that they needed to get done but there just isn’t the funds or resources, so we’re really excited to take on one of those big projects that would never be on the shelter’s fiscal budget, or be attainable with a nonprofit budget,” added Walko.

Dogs for adoption from the Burbank Animal Shelter walked around “A Cause for Paws.” Photo by Ashley Erikson.

It’s been a busy year at the Burbank Animal Shelter and to alleviate some of their stress, they are actively looking for dog fosters to home some of their adoptable dogs for small periods of time. This allows them to bring in more animals, and gives dogs socialization and time out of the shelter. Many dogs do not get adopted because they develop undesirable behavioral traits when they don’t get the opportunity to exercise.  Burbank Leadership’s project aims to tackle that problem with its additional outdoor spaces.

The event at Johnny Carson park was Leadership Burbank’s way of spreading the word on the project and raising money for the construction. Adoptable dogs from the shelter walked around the grass with volunteers  to meet guests and hopefully find their forever homes. Senator Portantino and Burbank City Council Member Zizette Mullins came out to show their support for the cause.

Community organizations, local businesses, and pet-related vendors had booths around the park that included Burbank Parks and Rec, Stough Canyon Nature Center, UMe Credit Union, Family Service Agency, Nickelodeon, the Kiwanis Club, Burbank Police and much more. Money was raised through sponsorships, silent auction baskets, and donations.

The rain held off through the morning, so guests were able to come out with their own pups to walk around and enjoy free dog treats, pet portraits, and fun photo opportunities. The Zupeteers held puppet shows through the event for kids and a group of superhero cosplayers were mingling through the crowds taking pictures with attendees and their furry friends.

If you are interested in learning more about the class project or to donation, visit Leadership Burbank’s website here: https://leadershipburbank.org/acauseforpaws/.

Click here to see our video reel from the event!

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