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Grace Foundation gets a little culinary help from Folsom restaurant

By: Margaret Snider, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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By Margaret Snider Folsom Lake Entertainer On May 8, Visconti’s Ristorante in Folsom will hold a special fundraising dinner to benefit The Grace Foundation, animal rescue and rehabilitation ranch in El Dorado Hills. Visconti’s is well known in Folsom for their traditional recipes from southern Italy, and in this case, they are known also for helping the “Susanville 70,” a group of severely neglected horses that has been saved by The Grace Foundation. All this came about because of their rescue of 56 horses from the Whispering Pines Ranch in Susanville. The horses were barely alive and had been eating sand and pine needles, which are extremely toxic. A number of the mares were pregnant, bringing the total number of lives saved to 70. This fundraiser and the two previous dinners that Visconti’s has sponsored came about because of the efforts of Caitlin Ross, 17, a senior at Vista del Lago High School. She has long been an advocate of animal welfare who has worked with The Grace Foundation for many years, and also with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “My mom actually showed me a news article about The Grace Foundation when they were first opening,” Caitlin said. “I just kept bugging her and bugging her so we could go out and check it out.” When Caitlin participated in the Miss Teen California International pageant in 2011, where she ended up as first runner up, she conceived of the idea of holding a fundraiser for the horses that had so recently swelled the ranks of animals being cared for foundation. “It was horrible to see that people still treat animals that way,” shesaid. “It was sad and I hate to see it, but it just gives you the motivation to get going to help them.” Anne Ross, Caitlin’s mother, approached the Visconti family, whom the Ross family have known for many years. “We went to them and asked them if we could hold a fundraiser dinner at their restaurant,” Anne Ross said. “They said, ‘Sure’.” In all, Anne Ross said, Caitlin has raised $5,200 for Grace. There are high hopes for this third dinner, as well. “I think it’s going to be a really good event and I think people should be doing things like this for animals that get stranded, or left out, or abused,” said Frank Visconti, with the restaurant. “It’s kind of tough with the economy and everything, we just do the best we can to help out.” One of the biggest problems that the Foundation is currently facing, according to Jeanne Warr, spokesperson for The Grace Foundation, is the overabundance of animals whose owners are no longer able to care for them. “Mostly horses, in the case of foreclosures and people losing their homes, people who have become ill and can no longer take care of their animals,” Warr said. “And horses, as you know, are a very expensive proposition . . . I would say the hardest thing is to have to turn people away because we don’t have the financial support to be able to take on more animals.” Because of these and other efforts, the story for the Susanville 70 will have a happy ending. “They are all doing marvelously well,” Warr said. “We just had the third of about 21 or 22 mares foal and we have a third stud colt that is doing just great. I think we have about 17 more to go.” For reservations or to make a donation, contact Anne Ross at (916) 220-5800 or e-mail annekross@me.com.