Shelter plans move forward

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 18, 2002

By Christopher Lenois

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish President Nickie Monica met with officials from the Parish Animal Shelter Thursday to discuss construction of a new facility in Reserve. The parish council has endorsed a plan to build a $175,000 shelter near the St. John Airport. An eight-acre plot of land was granted to the shelter in 1997 by resolution of the previous parish president, Arnold Labat.

The current shelter at 124 Water Plant Road has only 24 dog runs and 12 cat cages, far too few to accommodate the shelter’s needs, according to shelter manager Linda Allen.

In January, Allen said the shelter had to euthanize more than 60 animals due to lack of space. Many were Christmas gifts that families decided were too much trouble to take care of, she said.

“You sit in the office and cry. And you’re not worth a hoot for the rest of the day,” said Allen about the process.

Since taking responsibility for the shelter from the Humane Society in May 2000, the condition of the current shelter has improved and the budget has doubled, Advisory board member Lesley Spranley said.

“(Monica) and the parish council has been so gracious to us. They have yet to tell me ‘no’ for anything I’ve asked them to do,” said Allen, who specifically credited council members Lester Rainey, Jr., Melissa Faucheux, and Dale Wolfe for their attention.

In addition to the new facility, the shelter could also use more personnel. They currently only have one animal control officer, Sirena Julia, for the entire parish, and only one truck. Allen says that four would be an ideal number. Cheryl Trigo, a registered nurse, is the kennel manager and the only other paid employee of the animal shelter.

Some people donate their time, as well as food, bedding, or money for medicine, just to experience the love of working with animals that Allen, Trigo and Julia share.

“Cheryl gives a name to every animal that comes in here,” said Allen. “It’s like sometimes you almost feel guilty knowing you’re going to get paid for a day’s work for something you look forward to so much.”

There were 14 pet adoptions in January and the staff said the numbers are increasing. People interested in adopting a dog or cat can visit the shelter Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The $30 adoption fee includes all shots and de-worming. Each adopted pet must be spayed or neutered within 15 days if necessary.