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Kingston Humane Society’s Big Paws Walk goes virtual due to COVID-19

Big Paws Walk 2019. Image Courtesy of Kingston Humane Society.

Thanks to COVID-19, The Big Paws walk, the largest community event hosted by The Kingston Humane Society (KHS), has been cancelled this year.

The Kingston Humane Society (KHS) had big plans for Big Paws 2020. Working with the City of Kingston, KHS staff were excited at by the idea of moving their largest and most anticipated fundraiser of the year to City Park after many successful years at Lake Ontario Park. Unfortunately, with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, they have made the very difficult decision to cancel the event and transition to a virtual fundraising walk.

“This is another in a series of heartbreaking changes we’ve been forced to make,” said Executive Director Gord Hunter. “We just can’t take the chance that participants, volunteers, staff or vendors might unwittingly transmit the virus or get sick by taking part in Big Paws.”

In its place, the Kingston Humane Society is launching a virtual Big Paws walk that will last from Tuesday, Sept. 15 to Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

“Since the pandemic was declared in March, so many people have begun taking long walks with their pets as a way to get some fresh air and exercise,” noted Hunter. “With the popularity of devices that track your steps and activity, we’ve decided that we can use that concept to encourage people to take a walk for our animals and for Big Paws.”

The KHS will launch a web page that will allow people to upload their pet walks and compete for draw prizes while raising money to assist with their mandate; to shelter, feed, and treat the abused, neglected and abandoned animals in Kingston and surrounding communities.

Like so many organizations, the Kingston Humane Society is struggling to replace a number of events that have been cancelled since the outbreak of COVID-19. Along with the cancellation of Big Paws, the KHS has been forced to cancel Bowl for the Animals, and Unleash the Treats, and their annual spring online auction was rescheduled to July. The changes will result in a forecasted loss for 2020 of more than $100,000 in funds that would have been raised at these public events.

Details of the Big Paws Virtual Walk will be released within the next few weeks with registrations beginning later in August.

While this year has proven to be more difficult than anyone could have envisioned, the challenge of reimagining events in a virtual/digital world gives the KHS an opportunity to expose a larger population to their innovative animal programs, enrichment initiatives, and success stories.

About the Kingston Humane Society

The KHS is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS provides shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. They promote responsible pet ownership and compassion, and respect for all animals. In addition, they work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

Visit their website for more information: https://kingstonhumanesociety.ca/

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