The event featured Vegas-style casino games such as blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette as well as a buffet dinner, a live band and DJ Nunzio. Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction as well as a live auction later in the evening.
Among the guests was former Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox who spoke of the value of the event: "Without it we're not going to be able to run the shelter," he said. "We're not funded by the state so that makes a huge difference. It costs money to save animals and that's what our endeavor is -- to save all we can."
"One thing we hope to curtail -- the proliferation of unwanted animals," said EVHS Executive Director Bryan Canty. "We serve as a viable outlet or as an adoption agency for all the animals that are taken into Bartow County Animal Control, so without us every animal would be euthanized.
"We've had a tried and proven year in 2011 where we saved 1531 lives -- which is double the previous year," Canty said. "We're on the right track. It's critical that we make sure we can have the lights on and doors open so we can take in as many animals as possible."
Shanna Thompson -- a member of the board of directors -- organized the event. "I noticed in going through planning this event it's essentially like throwing a wedding reception but instead of being able to spend $20,000 to do it, we're trying to make $20,000."
"We sold about 300 tickets so we're very, very encouraged," said Canty said early in the night. "That's double the number from last year. We are ecstatic that people are turning out the way they are."
"We're here in support of the animals," guest Ellie Eck said. "It's just nice to have a social occasion where people get together in an effort to help the animals." For her night Eck looked forward to a game of craps. Meanwhile Cox looked forward to blackjack.
"I like blackjack so I hope I'm good at the table tonight," he said.
Robbie Niedergall said he looked forward to the "camaraderie -- meeting people I don't know and building relationships. Anytime you can play Texas Hold 'Em with a group it's fun." As for the silent auction: "I've got a little 2-year-old nephew, so I'm going to bid on the big stuffed dog in there."
As for Canty: "I just want everyone to come out, have fun, play some Vegas-style gaming and in the end of the night feel good knowing that you have made a difference in the lives of the animals of Bartow County."