Over the roar of their motorcycle engines, Bikers Against Animal Cruelty make it their mission to speak up and step up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
According to Organization President Greg Belcher, the group took an over 30-mile ride Saturday to bring food and pet supplies to area rescues. The procession started at the Simon Foundation in Bloomfield before heading to the Dog Star Rescue in Bloomfield. Next, bikers drove to the Burlington Animal Control and then finished the ride at Chutes Gates in Terryville where they delivered supplies to the nearby Animal Rescue Foundation. The ride crossed a lot of backroads, said Belcher.
“We had a good turnout today,” he said, counting potentially 30 to 35 bikes and around 40 individuals participating. “We collected a van load of food today. There might have been around 500 pounds of food, disinfecting wipes, cleaning supplies and that type of stuff. We reached out to rescues to see what they were in need of and tried to get that collected.”
The president noted the group often makes use of its social media and other digital presences to gather supplies.
A group of 22 friends in 2007, who enjoyed motorcycles and rides in the name of helping animals, got together after the Michael Vick dogfighting case and decided to “kick it up a notch,” said Belcher, and filed to become a nonprofit.
The president noted the group has done much the same over the past few years in raising supplies or money and supporting rescues and tries to outdo itself each year.
“With the last two years of covid, everybody said they should get a dog or an animal and all of the sudden they have to go back to work and then return their dog,” he said. “We have seen a bit of an uptick with that. Not as bad as I thought it would, but it was still there. We’ll help out any rescue so long as a (pet) is unowned.”
The president said the group will fund surgeries for animals a rescue may have difficulty paying.
“We step up and pay that so they can worry about getting the dog healthy and homed. It makes their job a bit easier and we keep going,” said Belcher.
Kevin Clark, vice president of Animal Rescue Foundation’s board, said the organization was grateful for the donation.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Very few times have we ever gotten so many donations. It’s incredibly generous of them. I can’t imagine how much stuff they started with.”
Around 14 years ago, Animal Rescue Foundation’s previous home burnt to the ground. However, the nonprofit bounced back with a new building completely funded by donations. Now, it services around 50 cats currently and can handle around 18 dogs. It is considered a no-kill shelter.
“We rescue from local pounds. We also take surrenders from folks who end up in a situation,” said Clark. “We’ll adopt out and we’re 100% donor driven.”
Sheila Caetano, Bikers Against Animal Cruelty member, said it’s important the group tries to hold a ride at least once a year.
“The whole thing” affects her, she said. “It’s about everybody being together to support the cause.”
For more information, visit the Bikers Against Animal Cruelty Facebook page.