Iredell County-based Friends of the Animals raised $218,500 at a luncheon on Tuesday to support its planned pet education and adoption center on Lake Norman.
The event drew 350 guests who pledged a combined $109,257, Maria Haughton, the organization’s treasurer, said Wednesday.
Matching the amount were Friends of the Animals President Nicole Biffle and her husband, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, and board member Jack Salzman and his wife, Robin.
The luncheon at The Cove Church launched a campaign to raise the final $600,000 to $700,000 needed to open the center. Friends of the Animals already has raised $2.57 million for the center, which will be on 2.5 acres in the Langtree Lake Norman mixed-use community off Interstate 77 Exit 31. Ground is scheduled to be broken by year’s end.
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At least 36,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each year in a 10-county region from Wilkes County south into Mecklenburg County, according to Friends of the Animals. That includes 9,000 in Mecklenburg and 5,000 in Iredell.