LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish animal shelter is working to reunite lost pets with owners in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
“These pet owners weren’t able to take them with them or they came back and are working on their houses and leaving their dogs at home at night," said Claire Terracina, project manager at the Calcasieu Parish Animal Shelter. “Or maybe they aren’t realizing that a fence is down and they are getting out of the yard.”
A lot of pet owners did not have a choice in the matter when they evacuated for Hurricane Laura. Most hotels do not allow animals, so families were forced to leave their pets behind.
Following the storm, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury animal shelter has come to the rescue.
“Right now we have ASPCA here at our shelter and we’re working hand and hand,” Terracina explained. “It’s been awesome. We are picking up injured and distressed animals. Our officers are out feeding in places. We’re getting a bunch of calls and we’re getting to all of those calls once they come in. We’re assessing the situation as they come and we’re trying to figure out what to do with the animal once we lay eyes on it.”
Terracina says the goal is to get all of these animals back to their owners. They’ve already reunited over 20 pets with their families.
“So what we’re using right now is a website called petharbor.com and we’re sending everyone to that website,” Terracina said. “They have pictures of the dogs that are here and descriptions of some of them that don’t have pictures. We’re asking people to call our temporary phone number which is (337) 853-9573 because landlines are down. That is the temporary number we are asking people to reach out to us on.”
The Calcasieu Animal shelter did suffer damage due to Hurricane Laura. But the biggest question is - what was done with the animals pre-storm?
“The Tuesday before the hurricane, the animals that were available were transported out,” Terracina said. “Thirty-one dogs left that Tuesday. We had a group of four employees stay during the hurricane and they took care of the rest of the animals that stayed. I’m not sure on the count, but there were quite a few animals left. The Friday after the storm, LASPCA came through and transported the rest of the dogs out and they all got their forever homes.”
Of course dogs aren’t the only pets that were lost from Hurricane Laura, they also have cats and some other animals. Terracina says that ASPCA is planning on being in Lake Charles until the second week of October in hopes to take care of as many animals as they can and get them safely back to their owners.
If you think the Calcasieu Parish animal shelter has found your lost pet, they are asking you call first and set up an appointment between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They are also asking you text a picture of your animal to their temporary phone number before you go and retrieve your pet.