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Humane Society celebrates 50 years

Madeleine  and T. Boone Pickens will be the honored at the 50th anniversary gala celebration A Salute to Heroes, celebrating the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Del Mar Country Club. NBC 7/39’s Jason Austell will be returning as emcee.
Music will be provided by saxophonist Keith Jacobson and his band.
Dinner will be served buffet-style with a broad variety of options to satisfy the palette of meat eaters and vegetarians. Cocktails will be served.
Ticket prices are $200 for general seating or $375 for premier seating, which includes premium wine, goodie bags and wait service.
Silent auction items will range from a stay at the La Costa Resort and Spa valued at $1,000 to trips valued at $5,000 and above.
“This won’t be like most silent auctions,” CEO Jim Silveira said. “There are five very specific packages
that will fund specific programs.”
Those programs are the TLC Medical Fund and Animal Safe House, which provides sanctuary to
pets caught up in domestic violence, humane education, kennel beautification and a war dog memorial planned for the shelter’s dog park.
“This will be the only public war dog memorial on the West Coast,” Silveira said. “We have already raised $10,000 of the $25,000 we need.”
Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens became friends of Rancho Coastal when Silveira was in New Orleans rescuing dogs during Hurricane Katrina. The couple chartered a jet to airlift dogs to San Diego where shelters including Rancho Coastal provided care until they could be reunited with their families or placed in new homes.
As owners of the Del Mar Country Club, the Pickenses are underwriting the cost of the gala.
Another hero being honored is Lois Martin, a volunteer with the shelter and the thrift shop from the beginning.
“We are looking back at history and into the future,” Silveira said. “We are honoring everybody who has helped from volunteers and staff. “
Silveira said Rancho Coastal is unique in that there are 10 volunteers to every staff person.
“You can’t put a price tag on the value of people who’ve come in and fostered dogs so they can have a break from the kennel,” he said. “We could never afford to pay the staff the money to do all the work volunteers do.”
Rancho Coastal has a tradition of volunteerism that began with Russian immigrant Marie Lloyd more than 50 years ago. Weighing less than 100 pounds, Lloyd patrolled the hills of North County, transporting hundreds of creatures back to her home. Lloyd and her husband, Dr. Paul Lloyd, donated property on Requeza Street in Encinitas and in 1962 the Rancho Coastal Humane Society opened its doors.
In January 1967 San Diego Union columnist Frank Rhoades wrote a tribute to Mrs. Lloyd: “Tiny Maria Lloyd, brilliant and brave, and cute but not kooky, has been subjected to all sorts of indignities because of her love for the feathered and four-footed.
“For example, a crucified hawk was left in the night on the Lloyds’ Rancho Santa Fe property. The cross extended skyward from a scaffold that was a carpenter’s masterpiece.”
Lloyd continued rescuing animals with her hands-on style, which sometimes involved risking her life to lure a frightened German shepherd off Interstate 5.
In 1969 Lloyd was honored by the California Legislature for her “spirit of public service and devotion to animal welfare” by a resolution sponsored by assemblyman John Stull, R-Leucadia.
In 1970 she spearheaded a drive to end the trapping of wildlife. She also worked to introduce low-cost spay and neuter clinics to the county.
By 1974, when Lloyd retired as founder and president of Rancho Coastal, the shelter had taken in 60,000 birds and animals including a deaf dog, a baby seal, a 400-pound baby beak whale, vultures, skunks, foxes, turtles, ducks, possums and a bobcat kitten. One of the most unusual friendships was between a 6-foot boa constrictor and a pigeon who enjoyed sitting on his head.
Lloyd continued lobbying and fundraising efforts on behalf of animals until her death in 1979 at 74.
For tickets to the gala or more information call (760) 753-6413.