MOORESVILLE – Friends of the Animals raised $109,250 from the 350 people attending its Be Their Voice Luncheon on April 8 at The Cove Church.

The nonprofit has already raised $2.57 million toward the $3 million it needs to open a state-of-the-art animal adoption center off Interstate 77 at Exit 31. It will include a spay and neuter area, as well as a pet education center.

Dave Marsh, CEO of SwimMAC and two-time Olympic swim coach, brought his adopted dog, Brewster, as he reminded the audience the importance of pets.

Pets bring down cortisone levels and bring up a person’s serotonin levels. He compared the fundraising event to his swim teams, reminding the audience they need the right teammates to be successful.

Carolina Panther Thomas Davis and NFL Man of the Year Nominee also has a heart for animals.

Davis, who grew up in Shellman, a small town in Georgia of about 950 people, had to learn how to be a part of a team when he went to University of Georgia.

He reminded the audience that animals don’t have a voice and people have to be their voice. Seeing animals euthanized is particularly disturbing for Davis because he is a Georgia Bulldog.

Jack Salzman not only owns Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, but he also has seven dogs. He’d have more, but after eight, he becomes labeled a “hoarder.”

He told the audience that 36,000 animals are killed every year in the counties surrounding Lake Norman and to take away four letters: NKLN, which means No Killing in Lake Norman.

He estimates the planned adoption center, educational center, and spray and neuter clinic will save 2,500 animals a year, making a dent in the kill statistic.

Friends of the Animals President Nicole Biffle, and her husband, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, challenged the crowd via video to donate generously to the center. The Biffles, as well as Jack Salzman and Robin Smith Salzman, said they’d match donations.


Want to help? The public has three options in donating to the Friends of the Animals Capital Campaign. Donors can contribute $5,000 by naming a dog condo, $3,000 by naming a cat condo or $1,000 for being recognized permanently on a donor wall in the center’s lobby. Details: