SPCA Florida Raises Over $300,000 at Putting on the Ritz Gala

        SPCA Florida Raises Over $300,000 at Putting on the Ritz Gala

PR Newswire

LAKELAND, Fla., Oct. 30, 2013

Polk County Sheriff Deputy and Canine Partner Honored with DiOGi K-9 Hero of
the Year Award, Sheriff Grady Judd Roasted and Awarded "America's Sheriff"

LAKELAND, Fla., Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SPCA Florida raised
over $300,000 at its fall fundraiser held Saturday, October 26 at SUN n' FUN
Air Museum in Lakeland.

The event included the first annual DiOGi K-9 Hero of the Year Award—named in
honor of Deputy Matt Williams and K-9 partner DiOGi who lost their lives in
the line of duty. The prestigious award was given to Polk County Deputy
Sheriff Shannon Rimes and his late partner K-9 Walker. The German Shepherd was
chosen as the winner because he went above and beyond the call of duty,
sustaining severe injuries when he was dragged 200 yards because he refused to
release a suspect who was fleeing in a car. In addition to this instance of
resilience, K-9 Walker was recognized for his 142 explosive detection
deployments, 227 patrol deployments, and for finding 29 fugitives. Working
alongside his partner Deputy Shannon Rimes, K-9 Walker served diligently to
keep the community safe. K-9 Walker passed away suddenly from cancer, but his
legacy will forever live on in the heart of his partner Deputy Shannon Rimes
and in the community.

SPCA Florida's Putting on the Ritz gala event included a live roast of Sheriff
Grady Judd by 97 Country's Roger Todd and Polk County Commissioner Todd
Dantzler along with video commentary from Sheriff Judd's friends and staff on
all of his media moments and catch phrases or "Gradyisms." He was recognized
as "America's Sheriff."

The funds raised by Putting on the Ritz will allow SPCA Florida to care for
the more than 6,000 dogs and cats the organization intakes each year.

"The success of Putting on the Ritz is a testament to our community's
compassion and generosity," said Director of Philanthropy and Community
Involvement Donna Stiteler.

She said the majority of funds came from sponsors and donors. Putting on the
Ritz's major sponsors included: Talk Fusion, Watson Clinic, Publix Super
Markets Charities, MidAmerica, Geico, and Pet Supermarket. Talk Fusion's CEO
Bob Reina, who served alongside Vice President Allison Roberts as event chair,
contributed $50,000 during the cash call portion of the program. Life-time
supporter Anne Watkins contributed $15,000 to the cash call.

"These funds are critical as we continue to partner with the community to
improve the well-being and welfare of all animals," said Stiteler.

To view photos and video from Putting on the Ritz please visit

About SPCA Florida
Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida exists to eliminate animal suffering and engage
the entire community in the welfare and well-being of animals. SPCA Florida
will help and heal 70,000 dogs and cats through its McClurg Animal Medical
Center and provide direct care for 6,500 animals through its Adoption Center
this year. Ani-Meals, which provides food and medical care for animals of
homebound families, helps thousands more dogs and cats each year. Find out
more about SPCA Florida or support Humane Florida by visiting

Jessica Lawson
Community Relations Manager
O: (863) 577-4607
C: (386) 986-8093


Website: http://www.spcaflorida.org
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.