Comedy Castle event benefits animal shelters, rescues

Feb. 11 fundraiser will feature dinner and dessert, auctions and more

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published January 29, 2015

 Courtney is a pit mix who was abused and had to have her left rear leg amputated. Guardians for Animals, a network of rescue affiliates, is holding a fundraiser at Comedy Castle in Royal Oak Feb. 11 to support animals like her.

Courtney is a pit mix who was abused and had to have her left rear leg amputated. Guardians for Animals, a network of rescue affiliates, is holding a fundraiser at Comedy Castle in Royal Oak Feb. 11 to support animals like her.

Provided photo

METRO DETROIT — Courtney is a pit bull mix who likes to give kisses to everyone she meets.

She is also the victim of animal cruelty.

Video surveillance recorded two men in a Chrysler 200 pulling up behind a Walmart in Roseville at 7 a.m. Jan. 18 and chaining her up outside. Then they drove away, leaving her cold and hungry. She became wrapped up in the cable used to chain her in place, with the cable cutting into her rear left leg, all the way to the bone.

To try and break free, Courtney ate her own paw. Walmart employees found the dog and called emergency services. Her surgery was covered by the group 4 Paws 1 Heart. Not only did her leg have to be amputated, but bone fragments from the paw she ate had to be removed from her stomach.

Since then, she’s been recovering with A Hopeful Heart Animal Rescue, in Roseville. She is said to be in good spirits now, adapting quickly to walking on three legs.

And now the group Guardians for Animals (GFA), a support network for no-kill rescues including A Hopeful Heart, is trying to raise money to help its affiliates help animals like Courtney.

There are so many in need. Best Buddy Pet Rescue in Lake Orion, a GFA affiliate, is caring for a litter of six kittens found near-frozen in a dumpster. Another GFA affiliate, Abandoned Animal Rescue of Michigan, is caring for another litter of kittens found hiding under a deck with their mother, also near-frozen. The list goes on.

In 2014, GFA affiliates saved more than 3,300 animals. Since GFA started in 2004, its affiliates have saved more than 21,000 animals.

“Picture 21,000 dogs, cats, birds and so on, all sitting there looking at you,” said Alex Whitney, founder of GFA. “On my darkest days, when I can’t imagine the day getting any worse, I have this picture in my mind of all those animals meowing and barking, and their tails wagging, saying, ‘Thank you for saving us.’ That’s what propels us forward.”

To keep up the pace, the nonprofit organization needs to constantly raise money for its affiliates, who currently have more than 700 animals awaiting adoption, and are always saving more. The cost for food alone is high. Factor in the medical care, and these rescues are never profitable. It all goes to the animals, Whitney said.

The most direct way people can help is by making a donation. They can also help by volunteering at the rescues, fostering and adopting.

“There’s so much an individual can do on a small scale to make a huge impact,” Whitney sad.

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 6-10 p.m., GFA will hold a fundraiser at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle. The show features comedian Mike Stanley, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Half of the proceeds go to GFA, to help them break even with the cost of the event, and to support their emergency medical fund. The other half goes to a local rescue or shelter of one’s choice, provided it’s a GFA affiliate.

Admission includes dinner and dessert. There will be a 50/50 raffle drawing, silent auction and red-ticket raffles. Other prizes include a 40-inch HD LCD TV, and a Valentine’s Day basket. On that note, Whitney said it’s a great way to impress your special someone before Valentine’s Day — dinner and comedy, all for a good cause.

Attendees will also be able to meet Courtney herself.

“Even when they first took her to the vet, she was licking everybody, giving kisses to everybody, as though she knew she had been saved,” Whitney said. “Now we (GFA) are supplying her aftercare, her food, everything she needs.”

The event has the potential to make a real difference at the rescues and shelters. Each has their own challenging situation. At the Madison Heights Animal Shelter, for example, the cost of spaying and neutering the animals is staggering. The shelter didn’t receive a grant for fixing the animals this year, making it a struggle.

“Since the city (of Madison Heights) does not have funds available for this, we are looking for other opportunities to acquire funds for spaying and neutering,” said Suzette Gysel, the Madison Heights animal control officer, in an email. “Guardians for Animals has been a continual source of help when it comes to medical needs for the city shelter. I was fortunate to meet Alex (Whitney) over nine years ago, when she helped us with our first special-needs dog, Hero.”

For the Comedy Club event, “We need to sell at least four tickets to spay/neuter just one cat, and eight tickets for one dog,” Gysel said. “So we need as many people as possible to enjoy this fun night out. You can’t beat this deal: $20 for dinner, dessert, entertainment and helping an animal.”

To direct part of your ticket proceeds to the shelter or rescue of your choice, simply list their name in the comments box when purchasing tickets online at GFA’s website,    

Guardians for Animals’ “Open Your Heart for Homeless Animals” fundraiser, supporting no-kill rescues and shelters in the GFA network, will take place from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 310 S. Troy St. in Royal Oak.

Admission is $20 and includes dinner and dessert. The comedy show featuring Mike Stanley will start at 8 p.m. There will also be a 50/50 raffle drawing, silent auction, red-ticket raffles and more.

For more information, call Comedy Castle at (248) 542-9900.

The GFA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for dumping Courtney behind the Roseville Walmart Jan. 18. Contact Roseville Police at (586) 447-4483.

C & G Staff Writer Kevin Bunch contributed to this story.