A group of animal welfare activists hope Masters Tournament patrons will leave Augusta this year with a lifelong commitment as a souvenir.
About 10 volunteers will host Adopta-Paw-Looza at the Augusta Common Saturday, where they will have craft vendors, music, and various rescue groups offering dogs and cats up for adoption.
“A lot of animals need homes,” said organizer Dennis Briatico. “We are counting on foot traffic from the Masters … so maybe some of these tourists will take some dogs home with them.”
The main focus of the event is adoption, but the group will also use the platform to educate the public about animal testing practices at Georgia Regents University, Briatico said.
Last year The Humane Society of the United States conducted an undercover investigation on dental implant experiments on dogs at the school and the lack of social housing for primates.
Humane Society officials said these dental experiments are frivolous and cosmetic, while the university stated the research was aimed at solving serious problems related to implant infection.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found five Animal Welfare Act violations during an on-site inspection prompted by the Humane Society complaint.
The agency found while GRU did conduct the federally required search for alternatives for the dental experiment, researchers did not search for a way to do it without extracting teeth from the dogs. The university also did not document why they are housing roughly 50 primates in single cages rather than socially, which is recommended for psychological well being.
Another agency, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, the oversight arm that monitors animal testing conducted with public funding, did not substantiate the allegations that GRU had violated the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals through a review of records.
Briatico said he will be passing out flyers with information about the testing and also speaking to visitors about the issue.
“It’s going to be a good all around animal welfare event,” he said.