PAWS’ Animal Shelter Rescue program was created to help well deserving animals find loving homes. The Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter (OPAS) euthanizes thousands of animals a year because there is just no room to keep all of them. Each month PAWS has a monthly offsite at Petco in hopes to get a few dogs adopted. Every day our rescue program pulls animals from OPAS for northern rescues that wait with open arms for them to arrive, but still the animals keep coming into the shelter. Spaying & neutering is the only way to end the pet over population but until that message is out to NE Louisiana & affordable spay/neuter surgeries can be obtained; PAWS will keep rescuing & educating.
OPAS is a public shelter run by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and can turn no animal away. Roger, OPAS’ shelter director has the heavy hearted decision of which animal he gets to keep & which animal has to be put down. That is a decision he does not take lightly & it is him & Benny that make sure the animals are treated humanely. It is not Roger, Benny or the Ouachita Parish Police Juries fault that animals have to be euthanized, it is “our” responsibility to make sure that they don’t have to make those decisions. We, residents of NE Louisiana, should be responsible to have our animals spay or neutered to reduce the pet over population in our little corner of Louisiana.
OPAS not only is for Ouachita Parish but there are other parishes that bring their animals to them because those towns & parishes don’t have animal shelters. Since OPAS is a public shelter, anyone, no matter where they live, can “dump” their unwanted animals off to be someone else’s problem. To help everyone understand what OPAS has to do here are the numbers & why Roger & Benny have to make very hard decisions.
|Jan to Nov|
|Held over from prev month||1279|
|Ouachita Parish AC||1456|
|Other (Wisner, Winnsboro)||175|
Surrendered dogs & cats are those that their owners just don’t want any more. When an animal is surrendered to OPAS that animal becomes property of OPAS right then & if there are no cages to put them in that animal doesn’t get a chance to find a family that wants to love them.
Ouachita Parish Animal Control picks up animals running the streets. Stray dogs & cats are primarily the offspring of animals that at one time was someone’s dog or cat that they just didn’t get spayed or neutered. Their animal runs away from home because they didn’t have them on a leash or in a fenced in yard & then they start making babies. Animal Control’s job would be easier if we as citizens of NE Louisiana would spay & neuter our animals & also have them wear a pet id tag so that they can find their way home. All animals picked up from Animal Control are required by law to be held for 7 days in hopes that their owner will reclaim them; sadly only about 7% of these animals are reclaimed.
Over the last 8 years that PAWS has been volunteering at OPAS we have seen a slight decline in euthanized animals at the shelter. I feel that the decline we see is greatly due to PAWS’ passion. Over the last 8 years PAWS has educated as many people as possible on the benefits of spay/neuter, our low income spay/neuter assistance program has helped hundreds of people, our rescue program has rescued thousands of animals & still almost 6000 animals will have been euthanized this year.
As 2011 comes to a close & we start making our “goals” for 2012, think of PAWS. Make a resolution to help PAWS more this year, make a “goal” to get personally involved, challenge yourself to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! “Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help will they be saved.” Jane Goodall summed it up with that quote. Make 2012 the year you understand, help & save lives.