Chuck Scarborough picked up Bernadette Peters’ award at the Southampton Animal Shelter’s first fundraiser, dubbed Unconditional Love, Saturday at a private oceanfront home in Southampton. Peters, a longtime animal activist, committed to the event before being tapped to replace Catherine Zeta Jones in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway.
“I’d like to thank my friend Chuck Scarborough, a riveting conversationalist,” Scarborough quoted her acceptance letter, piling on the accolades, before admitting he was “just kidding.” Event host Joy Behar brought BFF “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Susie Essman, who, in turn, roasted the longtime WNBC anchor. “He’s been on the air since I was four years and and he still looks the same. It’s amazing the work he has done,” Essman said, and she wasn’t referring to his reporting.
The no-kill Southampton Animal Shelter was about to be euthanized itself last year, when the Southampton Town Board – faced with budget cuts – decided it could no longer afford the $1-million-a-year operating costs. An animal-loving angel stepped up to the plate with the funds to keep it running and recruited ARF founder Sony Schotland as executive vice president to begin the work of privatizing in earnest.
“We were concerned because there were 225 animals there and we knew they couldn’t be adopted within the few months left,” Schotland said.
Anyone who has lost a pet understands the value of having a place to bring it or, a responder who will recover a run-over animal, and notify the owner with an empathetic call.
The Southampton Animal Shelter is there for strays, injured animals and pets that, for economic or emotional reasons, just aren’t working out. Now, with the private sector behind it, organizers also rescue animals from high-kill shelters. All are neutered and cared for until an appropriate home can be found.
The crowd at the Southampton Animal Shelter’s first fundraising attempt was acutely aware of its tenuous nature and the need to keep it going. The pet protagonists sipping Champagne and munching on sushi ran the gamut from local grassroots supporters to a family so in love with their rescue dog they have been known to send for it with a private plane. I bet plenty of us would like to be placed in that home.