WEST ORANGE, NJ – The first-annual “BARKtoberfest” pet adoption event at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange raised more than $3,300 for participating animal shelters and rescue groups, including The Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter, part of the Healthy Community Healthy Youth Initiative of Livingston. A total of 20 dogs and cats were adopted, with many applications still in the works.

Pictured here is the first-place winner, Opal, who is available for adoption through The FernDog Rescue Foundation in Caldwell.  

Those in attendance had the opportunity to have their pet’s photo taken and entered into the contest on The Shoppes at the Livingston Circle’s Facebook page, courtesy of Livingston-based Eastman Companies and The Shoppes at the Livingston Circle. Prizes were donated by Eastman Companies and the shopping center’s tenants, including Choice Pet Supply, The Fresh Market, Ike’s Bagel Café, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Wine Legend and Olive Garden.

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Lending their time to make the event a success were volunteers from nonprofit organization Jersey Cares, including Bridget Breedan, Gabby Fernandes, Crystal Garcia, Amiyah Goodman, Jessica Laus, Dan McGhee, Una McGhee, Jonathan Ramirez, Monica Vazirani and Grygorii Zasanov.

Participating shelters and rescue groups included Animal Protection League, Associated Humane Society of Newark, Brendan Meadows Rescue, FernDog Rescue, The Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter, Greyhound Friends of New Jersey, Livingston Animal Hospital, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, NJSPCA, People for Animals, Purrfect Pals, Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary and West Orange Animal Hospital. Local community groups also were on hand to provide education and raise awareness.

The Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter is a committee formed by local residents working together to help improve the conditions of the Livingston Animal Shelter. For more information call (973) 885-9796 or e-mail friendsoflivingstonshelter@gmail.com.