HAWTHORNE, NJ - Hawthorne went ton the dogs, Saturday and the hundreds of people gathered for "Paws In The Park" could not have been happier. Passaic County's Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department teamed up once again to host the 4th annual "Paws In The Park", hosted in Goffle Brook Park.

"Our Passaic County community includes our furry friends, which is why the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit join together every year to advocate for our homeless pets through Paws in the Park," stated Deputy Freeholder Director Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara. "We’ve seen the enormous success this county event has been the past three years, as it not only finds homes for our pets, but also raises funds to upkeep the Sheriff’s canines, horses and the K-9 Memorial - a few of the many ways the county advocates for animals."

A statement from the county said "Paws in the Park supports the Passaic County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit, which patrols county parks and county-owned properties. Apart from being a fun-filled day of demonstrations by the Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit, food trucks and microchipping, Paws in the Park aims to find forever homes for local pets in need of adoption and raise funds to support the Passaic County Sheriff's Department which helps finance many services Passaic County offers. This includes funding pet food for homebound residents, providing funding for the maintenance and care of the Sheriff’s canines, Meals on Wheels, among other county amenities. Part of last year’s proceeds funded the purchase of two horses for the Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol Division. The county’s objectives this year include funding the addition of three canines and bullet proof vests."

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Throughout the event, visitors were able to visit booths set up by a myriad of area businesses and entities which serve animals and the communities in which they dwell.  Some sixty seven vendors booths lined the perimeter of Goffle Brook Park's southern section just below Diamond Bridge Avenue, including plenty of places to get lunch or a snack.

"Paws in the Park" is sponsored by the following:

  • Passaic County Education Association
  • Schumacher Chevrolet
  • TD Bank
  • PBA 265
  • Totowa Bagels
  • LAN Associates
  • Aton Computing
  • Roscoe the K-9 Cop
  • Boswell Engineering
  • Millennium Strategies
  • Hodes Veterinary Group
  • Oradell Animal Hospital
  • Johnston Communications
  • Columbia Bank Foundation
  • BluePearl Veterinary Partners
  • Railroad Construction Co. Inc.
  • The Happy Hound Social Club
  • Clip Shoppe School of Dog Grooming

A full schedule of activities including discounted microchipping of pets, contests, a blessing of the animals, pet CPR, an "Adopt Don't Show Pawrade", and Sheriff's Department K-9 officer demonstrations which featured the dogs' exceptional training and take-down action in a mock police stand-off with violent criminals took place at the event.

"As part of an initiative to protect our K-9s, Passaic County is offering memorial bricks for people to purchase for K-9s that retired or fell in the line of duty where they will be placed in the Pet Memorial Garden at Lambert Castle," a statement read.

Families from around the area came with their dogs and cats, large and small, on leashes to enjoy the fine weather, companionship both human and animal, as well as to check out the many services offered.

Alex Smith contributed pictures to this article.

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