FAIRFIELD, NJ — A “What About Me?” wine tasting fundraiser is being held in Fairfield to help homeless animals and those trapped in domestic violence situations in need of safe shelter on Oct. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cucina Calandra Ballroom.

Nationally, there are an estimated 1.3 million victims of domestic violence annually and up to 85 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partner had threatened, injured or killed their pet.

Mary Linn Lombardo, founder of Only Kindness Rescue, is co-hosting the event with Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing to help make the event a success.

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Mistress of ceremonies Maria Milito, DJ at Q104.3 NY, will lead wine tastings from around the world, provided by Verona Wine Cellars and there will be an appetizer buffet donated by The Calandra Family.

Tickets are $50 each for the event, which will include door prizes and a Silent Auction with several autographed sports memorabilia and game tickets among the gifts available.

The event will benefit Seer Farms, a New Jersey sanctuary that provides temporary care for pets of domestic violence so victims don't have to give up their beloved pets or leave them behind in danger; The Safe House, a domestic violence shelter affiliated with Clara Mass Medical Center; and Only Kindness Rescue to help care for those pets that are left behind. 

According to Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” “65 percent of women in abusive relationships will delay leaving that situation because they don’t know what to do with their animal family member.”

With support from local police chiefs, CEO’s of hospitals and social service agencies, the issuance of proclamations declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Caldwell and other surrounding towns of mayors attending; and area media exposure, organizers believe this event will enlighten many of the need for more pet-friendly domestic violence shelters.

“I am proud to help to bring focus to a national issue,” said Dassing.

“Following an inaugural success of raising funds for emergency stays in pet-friendly hotels, or for boarding pets in temporary safe places, it is the hope to make a greater impact each year until there are adequate services of co-sheltering programs available to keep families protected together with their pets,” said Lombardo.

According to the NJ State Police, there were 62,055 domestic violence offenses reported in 2014. With 62 percent of homes in America having companion animals, that means annually, nearly 40,000 victims in New Jersey may have nowhere to turn to protect their pet family members, and will delay or not flee assault because of it.

Children are also involved or present during up to 30 percent of all domestic violence offenses.

“If this fundraising event can help even one family, one pet, one child that will not have to be torn from possibly the only source of comfort and security she has, then we will have made a difference in the lives of victims of domestic violence,” said Lombardo.

Tickets for this event may be purchased online at onlykindnessrescue.org or by mailing a name, address phone and email with check payable to Only Kindness Rescue, P.O. Box 4453, Wayne, NJ 07470. Donations will be accepted as well.

Attendees must be 21 years of age or older, picture ID will be required at door (permit #40109). For more information, call Only Kindness at 973-897-7170.