Brownsville Animal Defense, Hardknox Strength & Performance and an animal rescue volunteer for whom the work is a labor of love are teaming up Saturday to assist animal rescue efforts in the lower Rio Grande Valley and make up for funds lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ashley Benavides, a local educator and athletic trainer, is co-hosting “Pumps for Pets” from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Hardknox Strength and Performance Barbell Club. All proceeds from the $20 workout registration fee will go to support BAD’s work. Food, supplies and cash donations are also being accepted. Participants can browse vendor tents on site and meet BAD animals available for adoption.

BAD is an all-volunteer army of animal advocates whose goal is to create a no-kill community for Brownsville-area pets through education and adoption efforts. The organization provides food, transportation and medical care, including vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchipping working through local, statewide and national groups to find loving homes for dogs in need. Animals can stay in BAD’s care from weeks to years pending adoption.

“The past year has been difficult for everyone including pets and pet owners,” Benavides said. “Without community support more pets will suffer.”

Due to the pandemic, local animal rescue groups like BAD have seen steep cuts in funding to support a steady flow of stray, abused or abandoned pets in need of care. In the 10 years since its founding, BAD has rescued more than 4,000 pets, relying mostly on volunteers, donations and fundraising.

The group lost approximately $25,000 in fundraising during 2020 due to COVID-19 as restrictions limited public events and people struggled with job losses amid business closures. Still, the need for services has not slowed, and BAD continues to help the city reduce the number of euthanized pets.

Now, the organization is making an urgent plea to the community for support as requests for rescues climb.

For more information about BAD and the “Pumps for Pets” event, visit BrownsvilleAnimalDefense.org. Donations are accepted anytime at BrownsvilleAnimalDefense.org/donate, via CashApp $brownsvilleanimal10, Facebook and GoFundMe. Supplies can be dropped off at the BAD Adoption Center or made through Amazon Wishlist.