Kicking off the new year

Published 11:38 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Suffolk Humane Society is hoping to start 2012 off on the right paw.

With 2011 behind them, the organization has several events planned for January to start the new year off with a bang.

Later this month, Suffolk Humane will take part in a chili cook-off fundraiser.

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On Jan. 28, A.J. Gators on Portsmouth Boulevard will hosts its annual chili cook-off to benefit Suffolk Humane Society.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and will feature live music, prizes and, of course, chili. It is free to attend and open to the public.

Kay Hurley, the director of community outreach for Suffolk Humane, said this is the third time the cook-off has benefited Suffolk Humane, and it’s a great event that offers the group a lot of support.

“It’s a nice fundraiser for us,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun, and it brings out a lot of people from the community.”

The entry fee for the chili competition is $20, and competitors need to bring a 1-gallon cooking pot of their best red or white chili to be judged at the restaurant by 11 a.m. The contest is limited to the first 50 registrants.

Samples of chili will be available at the event for 50 cents each, with sales going to Suffolk Humane.

Hurley said last year’s event raised $1,100 for Suffolk Humane and offers the group good exposure to the community.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to spend a January afternoon.”

In addition to the chili cook-off, two adoptathons to be held Jan. 15 and 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chesapeake Square PetSmart store.

“We want people to remember to include pets in their resolutions for the new year,” adoptions and foster coordinator Lee Murphy said. “It’s a great time to add a new family member, and there are some wonderful ones just waiting for their new home.”

Hurley said the group had very successful adoption events last year, and it hopes to continue that trend into 2012.

In 2011, the group found homes for 324 animals at adoption events it held with Suffolk Animal Control and through its cat adoption programs at both the Chesapeake Square and College Driver PetSmart stores.

“We hope to top that number in 2012,” animal shelter manager Debra Jefts said.

For more information or to register for the chili cook-off, contact 729-2554.