SPCA of Texas Is Purring With Delight Over A Howling $1M Gift From Rusty Dealey For The Animal Rescue Center

At Saturday night’s SPCA of Texas black-tie “Fur Ball” in the Omni Dallas Hotel’s Dallas Ballroom, there was good reason for tiaras to be the accessory du jour. Sure, the theme was “Reigning Cats and Dogs,” but a surprise announcement added a special sparkle to the night.

2017 SPCA Of Texas Fur Ball “Reigning Cats And Dogs”*

It was the revealing of a million-dollar gift from Russell “Rusty” Dealey to support the 41,000-square-foot rescue center that opened in 2015. In addition to serving as headquarters for the SPCA’s Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit, the facility is able to house up to 500 animals in cases where large or small seizures of animals are required and provides for full medical facilities for triage and behavior training on site.

Debra Burns and Russell Dealey*

In honor of the donation, the center will be named the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center. 

When the announcement was made, the surprise was real even for those close to Rusty. Even his cousin Dallas Morning News CEO Jim Moroney III and Rusty’s accountant didn’t know of the gift.

Jim probably thought the news of the night involving the family was the paper’s receiving the 2017 Mary Spencer Humanitarian Award for its “comprehensive, ongoing coverage of the loose dog problem and subsequent suffering of animals and people in Southern Dallas.” According to insiders, he didn’t know what his cousin was up to.

According to SPCA of Texas Senior VP of Development Debra Burns, “We are so delighted to have the Dealey name continue their legacy of giving to the SPCA of Texas. Russell is a caring and generous man to animals.”

The Dealey legacy with the SPCA started back when the organization’s facilities were located on Riverfront Blvd. (formerly known as Industrial Blvd.) for 40 years and was known at the E.M. “Ted” Dealey Animal Care Center. It was named after The Dallas Morning News patriarch G.B. Dealey’s son Ted, who was publisher of The Dallas Morning News and an animal lover. The capital campaign for the center was spearheaded by Ted’s son/G.B.’s grandson, Joe Dealey Sr. and George Jalonick.

When the SPCA learned that the Dealey facility was going to be demolished due to highway construction, a campaign for the current Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center got underway. To help things along, a gift of $1M was provided by the estate of Betty Moroney Norsworthy, who was G.B. Dealey’s granddaughter, Ted’s niece, Joe Sr.’s cousin and Jim’s aunt.

To continue the tradition, Rusty is the great grandson of G.B, the grandson of Ted and the son of Joe Sr.

Confused? Don’t worry. Just be happy that the SPCA of Texas has $1M for a much needed facility, thanks to Rusty.

* Photo courtesy of SPCA of Texas

To Kick Off The Holiday Season, The SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause Crew Sipped And Shopped At Ralph Lauren

Having recovered from Thanksgiving feasting and family-get-togethers, the SPCA of TexasPaws Cause leadership and friends including Webster the Chihuahua held forth at Ralph Lauren in Highland Park Village on Thursday, December 1. It was just perfect for picking out that outfit for the upcoming Paws Cause at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29. Here’s a report from the field:

Light from Ralph Lauren Holiday candles glinted off of the magnificent crystal chandelier gracing the entryway of the Ralph Lauren Boutique at Highland Park Village on Wednesday, December 1, where ladies and gentlemen gathered in the holiday spirit to celebrate Paws Cause and shop for friends and family, all to benefit the SPCA of Texas. Guests sipped wine and champagne and nibbled decadent macaroons as they browsed.

Nancy Latner, Mary Spencer and Susie Swanson*

Sincere thanks to  Susie Swanson for hosting and to the Ralph Lauren store for welcoming the festive crowd and for donating a portion of the proceeds from the event’s sales to the SPCA of Texas. Many of the guests were spotted walking out with armfuls of beribboned boxes and bags!

Guests included Honorary Chair Andrea Alcorn, steering committee member and heartbeat of Paws Cause 2017 Karen Urie, SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray, Susie Swanson, Diane Brierley, Gloria Snead, Penny Rivenbark, Judy Davis, Penny Patton, Kevin Coffey, Mary Spencer, Jocelyn White, Nancy Latner, Sharon Fancher, Steve Atkinson, Kristen Greenberg, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President of Development Debra Burns.

Steve Atkinson and Kristen Greenberg*

Jocelyn White and Webster*

Katy Murray, James Bias and Karen Urie*

Paws Cause will be held on Sunday, January 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in West Dallas. Paws Cause is committed to supporting the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas through sponsorships and donations to help address the serious stray animal and animal overpopulation issue. For more information, visit www.pawscausedallas.com.

Despite Whines Of Protest, The SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center Was A Howling Success

It’s hard to imagine anything stealing the scene from the likes of SPCA of Texas President James Bias, celebrity animal lover Jocelyn White or philanthropist Jan Rees-Jones, but dang it if Rayna didn’t Saturday night at the official purple ribbon-cutting of the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones  Animal Care Center.

The turnout for the much-anticipated facility opening was so great that valet parkers found themselves panting. One guest gave up waiting for a parker, got out of his car, walked up to a valet, handed him the keys and headed to the gathering.

But you couldn’t blame the fella. After all there was a lot to see –state-of-the-art pods for individual animals, a gift shop, the Myron K. Martin Spay-Neuter and Wellness Clinic, the Rees-Jones Foundation Humane Education Center and a public call center.

At first some folks were a little surprised to see so many empty rooms lacking dogs. The reason was that the SPCA had adopted out “30 of the 40 dogs on the floor” earlier in the day, and their replacements hadn’t been moved in yet.

Jan Rees-Jones

As the group started congregating for the ribbon-cutting, Trevor Rees-Jones leaned against a column watching the festivities. He was happy to stay in the background while wife Jan was the lady of the hour for the dedication of the building bearing her name.

James Bias

First to speak was James, who told the group that included such pet fans as Jack Knox, Diane and Hal Brierley, Carmaleta Whiteley, Skip Trimble and Kristina Bowman that the new facility “allows us to save animals from suffering in a much, much bigger way.”

As Rayna complained in the background, James went on to recognize SPCA of Texas Chairman of the Board Rugger Burke (“He’s probably in the gift shop, looking for something to buy for his dog, Peaches”), board member Mary Spencer (who “was on the board when I started volunteering”), Senior VP of Operations Ann Barnes (“She’s probably cleaning the kennels somewhere”) and facility interior designer and architect Gus Hinojosa and general contractor Hill & Wilkinson (“It took them a while to understand what we wanted to do, but we ‘clicker-trained’ them!”).

Jocelyn White

Then James introduced Jocelyn, who had been the driving force behind the capital campaign. Without hesitation and beaming with pride, Joce added that they still had a few hundred thousand dollars to go, “so if you have a few spare thousand dollars. . . operators are standing by.”

Speaking of funding, Jocelyn explained how the Rees-Jones Foundation had given $2 for every dollar raised . . . up to $4 million.  At one point in her talk, she acknowledged Rayna’s continued background rattling about getting on with the show.

Matriarch of the Rees-Jones clan was called then to the stage. With notes in hand and resorting to pulling out her reading glasses, Jan told the crowd that “we ourselves are the adoptive parents of a precious little adopted pet. . . I hope [this facility] will become a model for cities around the world because there is nothing else like this.”

David Rees-Jones

Despite Rayna’s complaints about the length of the proceedings, Jan left the stage to receive a big hug from her son David.

But it didn’t last long. Jan was called back on stage to cut the purple ribbon followed by orders from James, “You all go have fun.”


Finally, Rayna was satisfied. After all, all this human activity was preventing the three-year-old, 9.2-pound Chihuahua in a nearby pod from finding a new home.

UPDATE: Check Jocelyn’s comment about Rayna.