PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lauree Simmons, president and founder of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, told WPTV NewsChannel 5's T.A. Walker this week her goal at the Wine, Women & Shoes event, a fundraiser for the rescue held at Mar-a-Lago, was to raise $500,000.
Simmons, jarred by images of the China dog meat market trade, is trying to launch a rescue mission to remove over 500 dogs from the country by cargo plane.
The event had a surprise visitor Friday.
Former President Donald Trump, wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, walked on stage to share some thoughts.
"[What you're] doing is so important and so great, and so important and I'm with you 100%, and you had many meetings in the White House and the Oval Office having to do with saving and helping dogs," Trump said.
"So, I didn't exactly prepare for this," Trump said. "[But I was] walking by, and I hear everyone screaming, and I was like, ['What's going on?'] and it was like, 'We're going to help dogs,' and that's OK with me."
"President Trump visited the event and thanked those attending for their support in helping Big Dog Ranch Rescue save 47,000 dogs to date. The crowd responded with a standing ovation for President Trump, Lara Trump and Laurie Simmons for the work they did to pass the first national anti-cruelty bill to protect animals," said Chase Scott, spokesman for Big Dog Ranch Rescue.
Trump hinted that his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, may run for the U.S. Senate.
"I hope the food is good, and I hope you're having a great time, and enjoy yourselves," Trump said.
No word yet on how much money was raised at the fundraiser.