Animal Friends of the Valleys raises more than $60,000 for pet emergency & medical needs programs at annual Wines for Canines and Kitties Gala

Beth Soltysiak, director of donor development at Animal Friends of the Valleys, and AFV executive director Monica Wylie, left, take a picture together at the animal shelter’s annual fundraising gala, Wine for Canines and Kitties, Sept. 28, at Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula. Violet June Photography photo

WILDOMAR – Intrigue, espionage and excitement took over Animal Friends of the Valleys’ Wines for Canines and Kitties: “Fur Your Eyes Only” fundraising gala Sept. 28, at Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula. Shin, Tony Shin, the NBC Inland Empire bureau chief, served as master of ceremonies for the secret agent-themed event which raised more than $60,000. The funds will go directly to support animals at the shelter, including those with additional medical or emergency needs.

Nearly 200 “spies” and “femme fatales” from throughout southwest Riverside County attended the fundraiser in which guests were assigned a secret identity and asked to complete a “Pawsport” of activiites to accomplish their mission: raising funds for injured, abused or displaced animals in crisis.

“Wines for Canines and Kitties is our major fundraiser of the year,” Beth Soltysiak, director of development for Animal Friends of the Valleys, said. “Everybody had a lot of fun with this year’s “James Bond” theme, but the real focus of the event was on expanding our emergency and medical needs programs. Whether we are providing companion pets with temporary shelter during a natural disaster or helping to fund an emergency surgery for an injured animal, our goal is to keep pets safe and healthy for their forever families.”

More than 12,000 animals came through Animal Friends of the Valleys’ shelter doors in 2018 alone, including 171 companion pets during the Holy Fire in Lake Elsinore-Wildomar. As a nonprofit organization, the animal shelter relies on the support of community stakeholders to fund their mission: ending pet overpopulation and finding loving homes for all adoptable pets in their care.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the support of all of our volunteers, guests, sponsors and supporters who helped make this event so successful,” Soltysiak said.

Sponsors for Wines for Canines and Kitties: “Fur Your Eyes Only” included: CarMax, City of Lake Elsinore, Corner Bakery, Direct Signs, Disney, Galway Spirits, Terry and Cindy Gilmore, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Image Zone, Jack-in-the-Box, Launch Pointe, Merck, Murrieta Police Department Canine Unit, Music by Loczi, Patterson Veterinary Supplies, Raising Cane’s, Renuance Cosmetic Surgery Center, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit, Ruff and Ready, Southwest Airlines, Target, The Bobber Restaurant, Temecula Creek Inn, Top Notch Auto Locators, VCA Animal Hospital, Violet June Photography, Wilson Creek Winery and Wine Ranch, Doug and Debbie Wiens.

Event proceeds benefit Animal Friends of the Valleys, the only animal shelter serving the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee and Canyon Lake, as well as rural areas. Established in 1987, Animal Friends of the Valleys is dedicated to promoting the humane care of animals through education and a proactive animal services program. The shelter also operates a low-cost spay and neuter and vaccination clinic in Lake Elsinore open seven days a week.

For more information on Animal Friends of the Valleys, contact Monica Topete at (951) 674-0618, ext. 207, or (951) 326-9921 or email

Submitted by Animal Friends of the Valley.