St. John Animal Shelter, PetSmart helping animals find homes

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LAPLACE — For the past year a partnership between the St. John the Baptist Animal Shelter and the local PetSmart has made adoptable animals more visible to the public.

Animal Control Officer Jessica Aceituno gets a kiss from Pookie.

Animal Control Officer Jessica Aceituno gets a kiss from Pookie.

Caleb Schlamp, store leader at PetSmart LaPlace, said the partnership is good for the animal shelter and the store.

PetSmart gives volunteers space, twice a month, for adoptions. PetSmart is located at 1332 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

“Volunteers are normally out for four or five hours,” Schlamp said. “They bring 10 to 12 cats and dogs with them. People come by and fill out an application. They will know if they are approved or not, then we’ll give them things like free bags of dog food and coupon books for the animals.”

Schlamp said volunteers are given space in the store and outside the store.

“This partnership is really great,” Schlamp said. “It’s a great community thing. PetSmart, nationwide, likes to team up with charities and shelters, it helps get animals adopted.”

Schlamp feels the partnership with PetSmart and the animal shelter helps get animals adopted faster.

“It gives the animals more visibility in shopping centers,” he said. “PetSmarts are usually in shopping centers, so people will be shopping and they might stop by and see pets outside. A pet may get a home just because someone was out shopping that day.”

According to St. John the Baptist Parish Animal Shelter manager Racheal Sance, the next adoption day at PetSmart is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 12.

Sance said pets can go home with their new family the same day if they have already been spayed or neutered.

“If the animal hasn’t been altered, it comes back to the shelter to go to the (veterinarian) and once the veterinarian has an opening, they can be spayed or neutered,” Sance said. “Then, the family can take the animal home.”

The shelter is located at 488 West 2nd St. in LaPlace. Sance said state law requires any animal adopted from a shelter be spayed or neutered.

For puppies under six months, it costs $100. Puppies older than six months require a heartworm test, and the price is $130. All cats and kittens cost $80.

Sance said, as of Monday, she believes there are 15 cats and about the same number of dogs that are adoptable at St. John Animal Shelter.

Even if all of the animals don’t get adopted at PetSmart, Sance said it’s still good for them to be out for a few hours.

“It helps with socialization,” she said. “It exposes them to a new environment that they aren’t used to because they are at the shelter. If you have an animal that is used to being on a leash and is used to a variety of people handling and holding it, it makes the animal more comfortable for when someone comes to look at it. The more social the animals are, the more adoptable they are.”

According to Sance, PetSmart gives the shelter a donation for every animal that is adopted, which she said, helps with the budget.

Before the animals are ready for adoption, they are vaccinated so they aren’t exposed to diseases from other people’s pets.

Being the shelter manager, it’s always nice for Sance to know animals are going to a good home through the adoption process.

“It’s a happy part of the job,” she said. “We are a small shelter and we have a small staff. There are only five of us. We name the animals, get attached to them and it’s nice to see one that you have developed a bond with go home with somebody and not sit in a shelter for weeks. Sometimes, we see animal cruelty and a lot of bad things, so the adoptions are like the highlight of our job, which makes it easy to come to work everyday.”

Call the St. John Animal Shelter at 985-651-7387 for more information.

By Raquel Derganz Baker