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Roller derby near Mt. Pleasant benefits animal shelter

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
WestCo Roller Derby member Jennifer Madden of Mt. Pleasant pauses for a picture after the bout Saturday at Hotshots Indoor Sports Arena near the borough.
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Twenty-month-old Bron Fitzwater (left), Ryan Taylor, 17; and Fiona Rose, 15, of Greensburg, meet Sparky, an adoptable dog from the Animal Friends of Westmoreland shelter on Saturday at Hotshots Indoor Sports Arena near Mt. Pleasant. Photo taken Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Animal Friends of Westmoreland volunteer Franny Petras shows some of the items donated to the Youngwood-based organization which aims to find homes for abandoned, neglected and abused animals at a WestCo Roller Derby event Saturday at Hotshots Indoor Sports Arena in Mt. Pleasant.

The Crazy Cat Ladies of WestCo Roller Derby defeated the Die-Hard Dog Lovers Saturday at Hot Shots Indoor Sports Arena near Mt. Pleasant.

The event was held in support of Animal Friends of Westmoreland (AFW), a nonprofit shelter in Youngwood devoted to finding homes for abandoned, neglected and abused animals.

“Animal rescue is very important to many of our players, as well as our coach,” said Karen Struble Myers, a WestCo spokeswoman, of Unity. “Animal Friends of Westmoreland is a very deserving organization that is giving a voice to those who cannot speak.”

Those who attended the event were encouraged to bring pet-friendly supplies, such as food and treats, to donate.

AFW also received proceeds from a collection jar, which included contributions from audience members who voted for their favorite player at $1 a vote.

“It was fantastic,” said Franny Petras of Greensburg, an AFW volunteer.

“It's so nice of them to support us in this way. It was a fun and unique event,” she said.

WestCo Roller Derby, founded in January 2012, is a league composed of local women who come together for the love of flat track roller derby.

Friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, wives and girlfriends who are members strive to follow the organization's motto — “Together as one we endeavor to better each other and our community.”

The women are committed to community service, and they have previously supported organizations such as the Westmoreland County Food Bank and Toys for Tots.

“I love that we are helping out an animal shelter,” said Tiffany Ellenberger of Latrobe, a WestCo team member. “We have so many animal lovers in our league, and many of us have gotten our babies from shelters, so it means a lot to us to be able to help.”

Several shelter dogs attended the event in the hopes of finding a forever home.

“These animals aren't broken, but often times victims of unfortunate circumstances,” Myers said. “By hosting some adoptables at our bout, we hope to erase misconceptions and help find these animals forever homes.”

AFW's next fundraising event is the Tie and Tails Auction scheduled for Oct. 18.

To learn more about the event, or to meet some of their adoptable cats and dogs, visit or call 724-925-2555.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.