Pups in the Park coming Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – Dog lovers in St. John the Baptist parish will want to save the date and join in the fun at  the fifth annual Pups in the Park event this Saturday at Highway 51 Park in LaPlace.
The Pups in the Park dog walk is a fundraiser organized by the Rotary Club of LaPlace to raise money for the River Parishes Animal Shelter and for the purchase of bulletproof vests for K9 officers at the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office. The event is an excellent way for dog owners to meet like-minded people in the community, while having fun and getting some exercise.
Raj Pannu, a local business owner and Rotary Club board member who took over organizing the event this year after the reins were relinquished by Bill Ironside, said she is looking forward to the big day.
“I am very excited to continue the tradition. We hope a lot of people show up and we are able to put together something for the dog lovers,” said Pannu.
Since it’s initiation in 2009, Pups in the Park has successfully raised an average of $3,000 over the years. Last year’s event had at least 200 registered dogs and approximately 400 human participants. Pannu has a lofty goal of $10,000 for this year’s event.
Registration for the event will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. Demonstrations by the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Department’s K9 unit will take place at 11 a.m., and the one-mile walk will follow at noon. The fundraiser will also include dog contests for the cutest, ugliest and most talented dogs. There will also be a contest category for the best dog costume. The entry fee for the dog walk is $10 per dog, and each dog will receive a commemorative dog bandanna.
In addition to contests and the actual dog walk, there will be food and items for sale by sponsors and local vendors, and dogs from several animal rescue groups will be available for adoption. Last year, at least six dogs were adopted on the spot.
Pannu said that the Rotary Club is still looking for sponsors and will accept sponsorship up until the day of the actual event. For more information, visit the event website at www.pupsinthepark.com, or contact Pannu at 504-417-3282 or rajpannu@aol.com or Eliana DeFrancesch at edefranchesch@stjohnclerk.org.