• Jules-Pierre Malartre

A garage sale for a cause


PHOTO COURTESY ZAF KOTY

Polly promoting an antique chair for sale while enjoying a healthy snack during Zaf Koty’s yearly garage sale fundraiser for animal rescue. Koty has rescued and found homes for numerous exotic birds and cats, in great part thanks to the proceeds from her yearly garage sale.

Garage sales are a familiar staple of our weekends, and it’s endearing to see that some of them are organized to fund very good causes.

Zaf Koty of Saint-Lazare has been holding her yearly garage sale to fund her ongoing animal rescue operation. Koty is well known locally for saving animals in need, mostly cats, but also exotic birds. Although she helps local cat rescue organizations like CASCA when needed, she actually operates on her own, with no financial support from animal shelters, surrounding municipalities or from government. Every time Koty rescues a cat off the street, the associated costs come out of her own pocket. Luckily, the proceeds from the garage sale help out.

“It’s very popular,” Koty said. “People tell me it’s always the first one they go to and they look forward to it each year. They like helping animals and whatever doesn’t sell I give to a women’s shelter and Mission Brewery downtown.”

Koty has been hosting the annual event for five years. People come from as far away as Montreal to bring unique items for her to sell. It’s a huge undertaking that takes a lot of time to set up and then dismantle. But the end result is always worth the work. Although the event does not generate nearly enough money to fully fund Koty’s operation, it brings in enough funds to help make a difference.

While saving a cat may seem a simple affair, it’s neither easy nor cheap. Most animals coming in off the street require some level of veterinarian care, even if it’s only to make sure they are healthy and, of course, to sterilize them. Sterilization is extremely important to help control the excess pet population. “Last year I was able to have 17 cats sterilized. Some of them were released, others I was able to find homes for.”

The process is always very fulfilling, regardless of the heartaches and pains that always accompany animal suffering. “Last winter I saved a cat I named ‘Grandpa’ along with his daughter and her two kittens. Sadly, the mom and female kitten were feral and I had to release them, but I socialized and found a fabulous home for the male kitten. Grandpa was semi-feral but he got along great with other cats, so I found him a home too.”

The garage sale takes places May 19 to 21 at 2900 Master Street in Saint-Lazare. Local cat rescue organization CASCA will also be present at the event.

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