Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ASPCA Pledges $3.7 Million To Help The Louisiana SPCA Keep Its Animal Shelter Afloat And Provide Money To Replace Damaged Facilities from Katrina

ASPCA Pledges $3.7 Million To Help The Louisiana SPCA Of New Orleans Keep Its Animal Shelter And Other Operations Afloat And Provide Money To Replace Its Facilities That Were Destroyed During Hurricane Katrina

Good news.

Donation comes to the aid of animal rescue group

N.O. SPCA can now rebuild its facility

http://www.timespicayune.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

By Paul Purpura

West Bank bureau

Saying it is impressed with the work of the Louisiana SPCA, a national organization has pledged $3.7 million to help the cash-starved New Orleans group keep its animal shelter and other operations afloat and provide money to replace its facilities that were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, the groups announced Monday.

The money comes from donors to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and $2 million will be earmarked for two years for the Louisiana SPCA's operational costs, said Laura Maloney, the executive director for the New Orleans private nonprofit group.

"This means we can keep our doors open and continue serving the community," Maloney said at the group's temporary home near Algiers Point.

Another $1 million capital campaign pledge will be used to replace the local SPCA's Japonica Street shelter, clinic and office, which were destroyed by the Aug. 29 hurricane, and the national SPCA has pledged $50,000 for a new animal control vehicle, she said.

The Louisiana SPCA, which depends largely on private donations, lost many of its donors since the storm. It is temporarily leasing an Algiers warehouse for $16,700 per month, while assessing what it will do to replace the Japonica Street location, Maloney said.

The $2 million pledge will help sustain the group's spay and neuter operations, educational programs and staff but cannot be used for the agency's animal-control function, Maloney said. The Louisiana SPCA is the animal-control agency for New Orleans, which pays for those functions.

Donors nationwide have given money specifically to help Katrina-ravaged areas, said Julie Morris, senior vice president for the ASPCA's National Shelter Outreach program, adding that the New York-based group is impressed with the work the New Orleans agency has done since the hurricane. The ASPCA and the Louisiana group are separate entities.

"It's just been awesome the work that they've done, and if we can help, we're just delighted," Morris said. "It's been our pleasure to help."

Maloney said Kate Pullen, an animal sheltering expert for the ASPCA, has deployed to New Orleans from Washington, D.C., for the next two years to help the local agency restructure its programs. Maloney called Pullen's assistance "truly the silver lining for us."

In preparing for Katrina, the Louisiana SPCA evacuated the 263 animals at Japonica Street, and after the storm, its workers and volunteers from across the nation began rescuing pets left behind from 7,000 locations throughout the city, Maloney said. More than 8,500 animals were rescued after the storm with the help of outside agencies, she said.

"This has been a national effort, and this country has come to New Orleans' aid," Maloney said.

On Monday, Maloney also announced that the stray animal population in New Orleans has been greatly reduced from its pre-Katrina level; in 2003, an estimated 26,000 animals were roaming the streets.

While a current stray estimate was not released, Maloney said the reduction is based on a recent 10-day trapping campaign, in which 350 traps set in New Orleans captured only 21 dogs. That result bolsters the findings of a study done in November, which suggested there are fewer stray dogs in the city since Katrina.

"We're proud to announce the situation is better now than it was before," Maloney said, conceding that some strays probably died in the storm.

The SPCA plans to resume its adoption program at the Algiers site, 701 Thayer St., on Feb. 14, Maloney said. Also, in about a month, the group will begin issuing vouchers to people for spay or neutering services offered by participating veterinarians, Maloney said.

Both programs were brought to a halt when the SPCA lost its clinic on Japonica Street.

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