In sleep he sang to me. In dreams he came. That voice which calls to me. And speaks my name. And do I dream again? For now I find...

The Phantom of the PAWpera is here...Well, actually it's in Cheyenne.

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter is hosting its 'Phantom of the PAWpera' Fur Ball event at the Little America Hotel and Resort on April 29, 2023.

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Listen, we love a good pun. And we also love a good cause. This event is both.

'Phantom of the PAWpera' is a masquerade ball fundraiser designed to benefit the Cheyenne Animal Shelter and all of the services it offers.

"Be there when the curtain lifts on one of Laramie County's oldest and premier fundraising galas," the Cheyenne Animal Shelter wrote on its Facebook page. "The annual Fur Ball is a benefit for the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Foundation - working to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Shelter - and therefore of the most robust set of programs and services available to pets and their people in the state."

The event comes after the shelter saw its contract with the City of Cheyenne ended due to a financial disagreement between the two parties.

According to Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins, the city and county opted not to renew their contract with shelter.

"I want to take a few minutes to share the thought process and information that went into this hard decision," Collins wrote in his 'Mayor's Minute newsletter. "In 2021, Dr. Samantha Vernon was the board chairperson of the CAS, and she wrote an article outlining a fundamental change from a model of 'population control' to a model of 'community social services. She was critical of our efforts to control the cost of animal control and sheltering services."

Read More: Cheyenne Mayor: Financial Dispute Led to Ending of CAS Contract

Collins continued, writing that "Dr. Vernon shared that a model of community social services included things like providing veterinary services for low-income people, pet food, euthanasia, and crematory services for the same group, boarding services for folks in the hospital, a community cat program, training of emotional support animals, animal behavioral services, among other things. The question is, should public tax dollars be spent to support these very worthy services? We have shared with the CAS that these services are what folks donate money to, such as the Fur Ball, Day of Giving, and other charitable endeavors, and are not appropriate expenditures of tax dollars."

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter disagreed. On Friday, it wrote that on March 16, they provided four years of line-item expenses, balance sheets, and financial activity statements to Mayor Collins, as well as City Council members, and County Commissioners 'as requested.'

"In the interest of moving the negotiations forward, we have also lowered our funding request, offered a multi-year agreement at a fixed rate and are looking forward to resolving this in the best interest of animals and the community that loves them" the shelter wrote in a Facebook post. "We have nothing to hide."

The shelter wrote that as part of their contractual agreement with the city, a city council member sat as a voting member of the shelter's board since 2021. That board member has had full access to all of the shelter's financial information.

"Prior to 2021, a city council member sat on the board as a nonvoting member," they continued. "The request to make the full financial statements available to all public officials discounts the purpose and credibility of having a city council member sit on the board and is not something officials would ask any other city contractor, nonprofit or business, to do, especially when the city contract only is part of our budget."

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter stated that this is why organizations have a board of directors - to ensure that public and private dollars are ethically and efficiently utilized for their intended purpose and to further the shelter's mission.

"The Cheyenne Animal Shelter remains committed to resolving this dispute," they wrote. "There is no entity better suited to provide for the care and welfare of animals in Laramie County. This work is our passion, our purpose, and our mission."

Despite the disagreement, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter is moving forward with their 'Phantom of the PAWpera' masquerade ball, which will serve to raise funds for a myriad of needs that the shelter has.

"Don your best attire and join us for a fun evening of adoptable pets, heart-warming stories, exciting auction items, and more!" the Cheyenne Animal Shelter wrote on their Event's page. 

Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

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