The K-9 Placement and Assistance League, Inc. held its third annual Dog Adoption Festival and K-9 P.A.L.S. Great Ball Drop Raffle fundraiser yesterday in downtown Santa Barbara to help improve the Santa Barbara County Shelter’s services.

Local sponsors for the event included Citrix Online, Deckers Outdoor Corporation and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. The festivities also featured local pet-related vendors and service provider booths such as the Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic club and the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network Organization.

K-9 P.A.L.S. volunteer Anji Lawson said the organization aims to discourage people from purchasing their canine companions from breeders and pet stores.

“By adopting you’re saving a life,” Lawson said. “I think it’s an American attitude to root for the underdog and that’s what we do when we give these dogs a second chance for a permanent home.”

According to K-9 P.A.L.S. President and CEO Janelle Ward, the event serves as a fundraising and community-oriented event.

“Santa Barbara County Animal Services is not a very well-funded department and providing care for dogs in Santa Barbara takes a lot of money,” Ward said. “This day began as a fundraising event but now we like to see it as an opportunity for the community, dog-oriented groups and dog-lovers alike to come together.”

Adoptable dogs showcased their talents in various agility demonstrations and competed in a number of canine contests including best smile, best tail-wagger, best costume and fastest eater. The event concluded with the Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. hoisting a net of 1,000 numbered tennis balls above corresponding holes during the Great Ball Drop for prizes ranging from a four-day hotel stay to gift certificates.

The group is seeking shelter volunteers to exercise, train and prepare dogs for adoption, and Lawson said offering a helping hand provides an uplifting experience for animal and caretaker alike.

“I volunteer with my husband, son and daughter … it really is a family affair,” Lawson said. “I wish more families and students would get involved … there really is nothing better than giving a dog a second chance.”

All profits from the raffle and vendors’ fees went to the local nonprofit to help provide medical and dental care, medications and surgical procedures for the dogs.

According to Ward, the association helps rehabilitate canines that are in too poor of conditions for adoption.

“K-9 P.A.L.S. can provide care and advocate for dogs that were unadoptable before,” Ward said. “It’s important to support caring for dogs and place them into loving homes.”