The Best Friends Animal Society held its first gala benefit at the Bowery Hotel at 335 Bowery from 6PM-10PM.
The crowd was replete with celebrity animal lovers including: Emmy Rossum, Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott and Beth Ostrosky Stern. The Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters. Since its founding in 1984, it has helped reduce the number of animals killed in America’s shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. The Soho Adoption Center which will open in late June or July is the first New York location for the organization and will also house other rescue groups in its 3,500 square foot space. The dinner was held in the dining room of the Bowery Hotel and contained vegan food such as kale salad, cauliflower steak and poached pears. There was a short video shown with Jane Goodall expressing her admiration for the group and stars like Bill Maher and Katie Couric singing the praises of the organization. The event was emceed by Rob Marciano who is the meteorologist on Good Morning America and is quite dashing. He was wearing a Theory suit and complained that he wasn’t edgy enough to carry off a Tom Ford creation. I have ogled him over the years when he was an ET correspondent but he is one anchor, unlike Sam Champion, who is better looking in person. His humble demeanor and love of animals was obvious and after dinner he introduced Toby Usnik, Christie’s auctioneer, to handle the live auction portion of the evening. The auction included the opportunity to bid on providing canine studios for adoptable dogs, and cat rooms for sleepy cats as well as giving a spa day to a lucky dog. Emmy Rossum got up on stage to help auction off the naming of a cat and held the cat named after her while exclaiming, “Who’s gonna take Emmy Rossum (the cat) home tonight? The auction raised upwards of $400,000 and was a wonderful opportunity for animal lovers to join together to champion the no-kill movement. Michael Latner, from the prominent Toronto family who own real estate and casinos, flew in from Toronto for the dinner to show his appreciation for the wonderful dog he adopted from the shelter. Michael is engaged to Marie Cruz Garcia who wore a beautiful off-the-shoulder gold Vera Wang gown. While this was a night about animals the fashion was still prominent with Emmy Rossum in a black-and-white Cynthia Rowley, Jean Shafiroff in a strapless Oscar de la Renta, and Beth Ostrosky Stern in a fabulous white ruffled shirt. There were numerous photographers and “pawparazzi” there to pay homage to the true stars of the evening-the cats and dogs who beautify our society and the heroes that assist in ensuring their existence.