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LaPlace woman fosters 18 cats: Community lessens Animal Shelter crowding during facility upgrades

LAPLACE — Tina Ory answered the call for help when the St. John Parish Animal Shelter was overcrowded with stray animals, opening her heart and home to foster 18 cats since August.

The most recent batch of foster cats came to Ory’s home in a group of nine this month, when feline stray intakes and owner surrenders surpassed the number of available cages at 488 W. Second St. in LaPlace.

St. John Parish Animal Shelter manager Racheal Sance said the crowding situation, which spiked to urgent levels in mid-October, has since evened out with the help of a small group of devoted community members.

St. John Parish Animal Shelter officials said a group of devoted community members helped solve an overcrowding concern that spiked to urgent levels in mid-October.

Ongoing Animal Shelter renovations — which include fresh paint, new sheetrock, special wall panels and room reconfigurations — presented more need for adoption and foster outreach with rooms closed for construction.

The Animal Shelter now has 59 total cats, including 25 in foster homes, and 47 dogs, including five in foster homes, according to Sance. As of late last week, the Shelter contained 15 empty cat cages and 15 empty dog cages.

“Community support can always grow,” Sance said. “We generally have the same people rally behind us and step up whenever we need something. The more, the merrier.”

Ory is one of the regular supporters, driven by a compassion for animals. Nearly half of her foster cats have been adopted, and two more are being housed at the LaPlace Petsense to gain more adoption exposure.

Deana Judy holds a cat at the St. John Parish Animal Shelter.

The others are at her LaPlace home, getting acquainted to the freedom of running around a household.

“We’ve had a very pleasant experience,” Ory said.

“It’s extremely important to me because I know the value of a life. We opened our home because we have the space, we have the time and we love animals so much that we just could not see them being euthanized.”

Ory said the Animal Shelter is extremely helpful to those who want to foster, offering food, litter and necessary materials at no cost to the volunteer.

“It costs nothing to foster, only a little bit of time and space,” Ory said.

Shelter supporters want interested community members to know foster opportunities are available to temporarily help cats and dogs in need that does not come at any additional cost to the volunteers.

Sance said the ultimate goal is to place cats and dogs with permanent, loving and responsible owners.

“The foster can make animals more adoptable by correcting behavior that we might not notice here at the Shelter, like clawing furniture or pulling on a leash,” Sance said.

Adoption costs $80 for cats and $100 for dogs, as set by St. John the Baptist Parish Government.

Sance said all animals come spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, which saves adopters hundreds of dollars in veterinary appointments.

Those looking to adopt must have up-to-date veterinary records for other animals in the household and a fenced-in backyard for dogs.

Puppies are waiting to be adopted at the St. John Parish Animal Shelter.

If a person is unable to adopt or foster, he or she may volunteer at adoption events or daily Animal Shelter operations.

Walking puppies on a leash can earn students service hours, according to Sance.

Newspaper, canned dog and cat food are welcome donations.

Sance said renovations began in October and are expected to wrap up next week, making the Animal Shelter more functional and appealing to visitors.

New walls, sheetrock and space configurations replace scratched and urine-scented maintenance concerns identified by Parish government earlier this year. Dull brown walls have been exchanged for light, soothing colors.

St. John Parish Animal Shelter adoption hours run from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, call 985-651-7387 or visit Friends of the St. John Parish Animal Shelter on Facebook to see adoptable animals.