BELLEVILLE, Ill. – A tail-wagging good time in downtown Belleville was marred by an unfortunate act of petty theft as the Belleville Area Humane Society put on its annual Howl’oween Pet Parade and pre-party.
The event a block-party, dance troupe show, and a costume contest. Andrea Fietsam and her mini-dachshund Ruby showed up dressed as a dog carrying a beer keg with another dog. Fietsam’s costume represented the poured beer.
“Really, it’s just a tribute to the amount of beer I drink, and that she is a German dog, which is very beer related,” Fietsam said.
Dozens of people like Fietsam and their pets participated in the BAHS costume contest. They donned their most creative costumes. Famous characters like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Dorthy and Toto took the stage. Elaine Lickenbrock dressed her dogs up as Danny and Sandy from “Grease.”
“My goal is to win,” she said.
Her Yorkie, dressed as Danny Zuko and actually named Harley-Davidson, won two years ago dressed as a pumpkin.
“We’re going for first place again in the couples,” Lickenbrock said.
FOX 2’s morning anchor John Pertzborn was one of the judges.
“It’s gonna be very, very challenging to pick the best dog and cat,” he said. “I haven’t seen any ferrets yet, but they always bring all kinds of different animals. And so what we’re looking for is uniqueness, something that stands out, and oftentimes something that matches with the owner and the dog or cat.”
He let us know what caught his eye right away.
“I did see a costume that really stands out and it’s a cat dressed as a lobster,” Pertzborn said.
Ultimately, only four of the 60-plus entries could walk away as winners. And for the first time ever, a cat won the costume contest. Yep, the cat Pertzborn took notice of. Their owner was wearing a chef uniform.
People who entered their pets paid a $5 entry fee to help raise money for the BAHS.
“The prizes included Purina gift Baskets, as well as Lucky Dog, our wonderful sponsor, Lucky Dog, donating some doggy day care lessons,” said Kim Vrooman, the executive director of the BAHS.
Several businesses were collecting donations for the BAHS in a campaign called Paws on Main prior to Sunday’s event. One of these supporters, The Quarter Restaurant & Bar, called the BAHS to inform them that their Paws on Main cash donation box was stolen on Saturday.
Vrooman says the staff is devastated, but they did take a police report.
“Long-time supporters of this shelter know, we do not judge, bash, or shame. So to the individual that felt they had no other choice except to steal a cash box, we are sorry you felt so desperate to steal from homeless pets,” she said. “We sincerely hope you were able to get whatever it is you needed. We hope you have a full belly and a warm, safe place to sleep.”
The BAHS does not know how much cash was stolen. If you’d like to learn more about them, or you’d like to donate, click here.