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PHOTOS: Animal lovers gather to support adoption program at Paws & Pints event in La Jolla

Paws & Pints fundraiser for animal adoption and rescue program nets close to $10,000

The second Paws & Pints fundraiser to support Friends of County Animal Shelters (FOCAS) was held at La Jolla Brewing Co. May 28, in honor of the organization’s late founders, Peggy Howell and Sue Geller, both of La Jolla.

The event was hosted by La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, in concert with Rancho Coastal Humane Society (which today administers the FOCAS animal rescue and adoption program). It included live and silent auctions, plus a raffle, and La Jolla Brewing Co. donated 10 percent of proceeds from food and beverage sales that evening to FOCAS.

“My mom was a true activist and ahead of her time — 40 years ago nobody had even heard of animal rescue,” said Peggy Howell’s daughter, Susan Howell Mallory, who drove down from Los Angeles for the event.

When FOCAS was founded in 1982, also with the assistance of Sue Blevins of the San Diego Department of Animal Control, most animals dropped off at the “county pound” — even healthy, seemingly adoptable animals — were euthanized, Susan said. Howell and Geller would take cats and dogs home, then call their friends to serve as foster owners until they could find permanent homes for the animals.

Peggy Howell’s other daughter, La Jollan Ruth Howell, said her mother also took in older dogs that were less likely to be adopted.

“At one time she had 13 of them at our house,” Ruth said, noting that both she and her sister have carried on their mother’s legacy of rescuing older dogs from shelters that nobody wants (Susan specifically takes in animals whose owners have passed away).

“They were committed to make this work,” Susan said of her mother and Geller. “The two of them really were on the forefront of animal rescue.”

Stephanie Coolidge of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital said FOCAS was one of only three animal welfare organizations in San Diego when it was started. Today, there are more than 300 such agencies, she said.

Want to know more? Visit focas-sandiego.org and pawsandpintslajolla.com