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Petapalooza connects families with new best friends

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WEST JORDAN — Few things could be better than a beautiful late summer day with music, good eats and a new family pet.

On Saturday, a dozen animal welfare groups hosted a daylong event to help more than 120 homeless pets be adopted into new permanent homes.

The second annual Petapalooza Festival was hosted at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan where families were treated to live music, food trucks, games and activities for people — as well as activities of interest for pets as well.

For the dogs, there was a pet psychic, pet reiki or healer, along with numerous local pet vendors.

Over the course of the day, 70 animals were placed with new families, including 46 dogs, 22 cats and two birds, according to Callista Pearson, marketing and communications manager for Salt Lake County Animal Services.

In 2010, Salt Lake County Animal Services adopted a no-kill philosophy with a mission to provide comprehensive service and care to the animals and humans assisted in the Salt Lake County Municipal Services District, including Salt Lake City, Holladay, Herriman, Midvale and Riverton.

With 350 animals at animal shelters and more at other facilities across the valley, the need for permanent placements is always present, said Talia Butler, director of Salt Lake County Animal Services.

"We have cats and dogs and a whole bunch of other animals," she said. "We get them all."

For the first time, Utah FACES — Salt Lake County Animal Services non-profit partner — put on the Fang 5K run in conjunction with the festival, with proceeds used to help build a covered dog run at the animal services facility, Butler said. Many participants ran and walked with their pets, she noted.

"People got to run with their animals and got some food with their pets," she explained. "It was just a event to celebrate pets and pet ownership."

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