Cats who live mostly in their kennels and dog moms who need a safe place to care for their puppies are the recipients of an $85,000 grant this month to CARA’s House, Ascension Parish Animal Shelter.
“We have already started the plans and hopefully in four to six weeks we will begin construction on two new buildings,” said Reagan Daniel, chairman of the board of CARA’s House and a full-time volunteer at the shelter. on Airline Highway to Sorrento. .
The Animal Welfare Organization grant from Petco Love, the nonprofit arm of retailer Petco, will pay for a new cat adoption building that will provide cats with an open “community room,” as well as a screened-in porch, to roam and play in.
The new cat center will free up one of three modular buildings now housing cats – although many are also housed in the main shelter facility – which in future will be used to house cats and dogs that need to be separated from the general population for medical care.
The grant also provides funding for a new facility with two bedrooms, each dedicated to space for a mom dog and her puppies.
“Nursing puppies cannot be vaccinated,” Daniel said. “Fortunately, we only have one mum dog, with two puppies, at the moment. If we have more, we are begging for foster families.”
The small family of dogs now at CARA is housed in a kennel in one of the shelter’s two restrooms.
The grant is a boon for CARA’s House, which, like shelters across the country, has seen an increase in the number of animals it receives, linked to the high number of pets adopted at the height of the pandemic, then, in some cases, abandoned.
“Our returns are not at such an increase,” Daigle said. “It’s more the strays.”
“When people call about the pet owner discount, we tell them they’ll have to wait about two months,” Daigle said. “We literally have no room.”
The shelter currently has 500 animals — 350 cats and 150 dogs — which is already ahead of the 25% increase in numbers it saw in 2021, she said.
The animals are also housed in the homes of 100 adoptive volunteers, she said.
Daigle said animal transports to out-of-state shelters have slowed given overcrowded animal shelters across the country.
Yet CARA’s House staff and volunteers were there around midnight one night last week to load 15 dogs into his van and drive them to the New Orleans airport for a charity flight to New Jersey and new houses.
Another such flight is scheduled for next week, Daigle said.
And on Saturday, CARA’s House will host a “Clear the Shelter” event, with healthy, vaccinated and neutered or neutered pets available for adoption, with discounted rates of $25 for cats and $50 for dogs.
Maison CARA only euthanizes very sick animals and those that are aggressive.
Chelsea Staley, director of rescue for Petco Love, said that in making its grants (totalling more than $30 million each year given to organizations nationwide), the nonprofit “looks at shelters hardest working, underfunded, super effective and efficient across the country.”
“We try to fund shelters with an unwavering determination to save the lives of pets,” Staley said.