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Herald Neighbors

A night of dancing to help stray pets

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Hitting the to dance floor, Rosemary Defrank from Mineola and Juan Rolon from Richmond Hill stepped front to back in sync to the salsa song, “Vivir Mi Vida,” (Live My Life) by singer Marc Anthony. As they stepped into a side back move, others followed their lead and joined them on the dance floor during the Bobbi and the Strays, BATS, Dinner Dance on March 13 at the Coral House in Baldwin.

For the last eight years, BATS has kept a home at 2 Rider Place in Freeport providing a safe haven for stray cats and dogs on Long Island. BATS is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help stray animals find permanent homes. In celebration of its work, Bobbi Giordana, founder, held a fundraiser event and welcomed hundreds of supporters and pet parents.

Her time in Freeport, she said has been rewarding and attributes her success to the support from her volunteer staff and the pet owners that choose to adopt instead of buying them from breeders. Adopting pets, Giordana said drastically reduces the number of strays and the number of them that end up euthanized.

Throughout the evening, Giordana was seen reconnecting with friends, colleagues and pet owners who adopted their dogs or cats from the shelter. The whimsical evening also included dancing and a full course meal with an ice cream buffet for dessert. The dance party also serves as a fundraiser for BATS, which is a nonprofit organization and no-kill shelter.

When Giordana started working in Freeport in the late 1990s, her mission was to provide a safe haven for animals that needed to find homes. Though she lives in Ozone Park, Queens and owns a second shelter at the Atlas Mall in Glendale, Queens, Freeport was special. She said she couldn’t have imagined, then, that she would be working and helping strays on Long Island. It was as if “Freeport chose her,” she said to provide the support to the community.

BATS rescues cats and dogs from the streets, from abused and neglect situations and also from “death row” — animals on the verge of euthanization. The organization works with dozens of pet foster homes throughout the region and works endlessly to find permanent homes for each dog or cat.

The organization, according to Giordana relies heavily on donations that provide medical care, vaccinations, spay/neuter and rehabilitation. BATS also hosts educational programs at schools and organize spay/neuter services and events throughout the community.