[The Lucky Neko/Unsplash]

Adopt a Rescue from These New Orleans Groups

07:00 March 25, 2024
By: Celeste Turner

Being Pawsome

Animal rescue groups' life-saving efforts in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes step into the limelight.

In Louisiana, our pets are an integral part of our culture, "fur real." After the devastation from major hurricanes like Katrina and Ida, as well as the aftermath of the pandemic, the pet overpopulation in New Orleans has risen substantially. Municipal shelters including the Louisiana SPCA and Jefferson Parish Animal Welfare Services continue to accept and advocate for rescue animals with good intentions.

However, now more than ever, city-wide, nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue groups are making an incredible difference in our community. With the network and exposure of social media, animal rescue groups are giving dogs and cats an opportunity for protection, provision, and permanent loving homes. There are lots of nonprofit, volunteer-based animal rescue groups with physical structures located in the parishes of Orleans and Jefferson that provide this need.

[Alec Favale/Unsplash]

"There are lots more rescue groups now," explained Jeff Dorson, executive director and founder of the Humane Society of Louisiana, an animal protection charity founded in 1988 in New Orleans. "Social media makes it easier to identify and report animal cruelty."

According to Dorson, the Humane Society of Louisiana gets thousands of complaints of animal cruelty, approximately 4,000 reports per year and 50 seizures. "We are an advocacy and investigative organization with rescue being one component," Dorson said. "Half of our 64 parishes do not have public, parish-wide shelters and 33 parishes do not have access to them. There is no place to put the neglected or surrendered animals."

Although the number of animal protection groups have grown in Louisiana in the last 25 years, the need to shelter these homeless dogs and cats has skyrocketed. "We have close to 250 dogs," stated Monique Bonnaffons, founder and director of Take Paws Rescue in New Orleans. "There is never enough space. We are not an open intake shelter and can only take what we have space for."

[Nord Wood/Unsplash]

Located on Banks Street, Take Paws, a non-profit organization, is a no-kill facility that primarily rescues dogs. "It is endless," Bonnaffons said. "We have a lot of people who surrender dogs after COVID because they have to go back to work or they move into a place that does not allow dogs."

For Bonnaffons, social media platforms, such as Facebook, have been instrumental in helping to move dogs out of shelters and find forever pet homes. Bonnaffons remarked, "We have a huge social media presence and average about 1,500 adoptions per year, but there is so much need out there."

Brenda Laura of the Big Easy Animal Rescue shares that sentiment. Like Bonnaffons, Laura relies on the support of her volunteers and foster community for her rescue efforts. "Last year alone, we had about 1,000 dogs and cats adopted out," Laura, who owns her pet shop located on 2019 Spain St. in New Orleans, said. "I pull dogs from the shelters that may seem unadoptable and find homes.The kittens and cats that are rescued stay at my shop, except for the baby kittens who need to be bottle-fed."

Animal Rescue Of New Orleans (ARNO) Staff and Volunteers playing with puppies [Celeste Turner]

Another animal rescue group in New Orleans, Zeus' Rescue, is located at 2520 Napoleon Ave. "We are a private shelter with intake of all dogs and cats based on kennel availability," explained Director of Zeus' Rescues Michelle Ingram. "We try to help our local shelters as much as we can by taking adoptable pets in our program to prevent euthanasia from overpopulation. We often have pets dumped in our front yard overnight."

In Jefferson Parish, the Metairie Humane, located at 6213 Airline Dr., is both a shelter and a rescue for adult dogs under 25 pounds, pregnant dogs, and puppies. Vice President of Metairie Humane Jami Hirstius stated, "We are not an open intake shelter. We get surrendered dogs and these dogs stay in-house with us. The best way to see a dog is to make an appointment by phone to schedule a meet and greet."

A second private no-kill animal shelter in Jefferson Parish that is not open-intake is Animal Rescue of New Orleans. According to Ginnie Baumann, vice president of ARNO, they have rescued and rehomed nearly 12,000 dogs and cats since 2006. "ARNO was founded by the animal first responders, trappers, and feeders in the wake of Hurricane Katrina," said Baumann.

Animal Rescue Of New Orleans (ARNO) Staff and Volunteers [Celeste Turner]

Like many of the local rescue groups, Baumann requires an online application prior to the pet adoption. Sometimes the approval for the application can take up to seven days because it includes a vetting process. She said that after the application is received, it is assigned to a processor who checks on the applicant's living arrangements and talks to their veterinarian. Adoption fees can vary, but they generally include spaying/neutering, immunizations, microchipping, and heartworm treatment if needed.

For each rescue group organization, the same mission statement rings clear: "How can we help the animals?" Lynn Chiche, founder and president of the nonprofit animal welfare organization SpayMart pondered, who also wants to end the euthanasia of cats and kittens at the public shelters. "We pulled 550 kittens directly from shelters last year and adopted out over 800 kittens," remarked Chiche, who is also the owner of the SpayMart Thrift Store, a no-kill shelter and adoption center in Metairie for middle-aged and older cats. "We need to reduce the numbers going into public shelters and increase the numbers to get them out by spaying and neutering."

Off to The Rescue

Nonprofit, no-kill rescue animal organizations with physical locations in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes:

Animal Rescue New Orleans

271 Plauche St., (504) 571-1900, animalrescueneworleans.org

Big Easy Animal Pet Shop & Rescue

839 Spain St., (504) 324 -7771, bigeasyanimalrescue.org

Humane Society of Louisiana

(888) 648-6263, humanela.org

Metairie Humane Shelter

6213 Airline Dr., (504) 458-0531, metairiehumane.org


6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., (504) 454-8200, spaymart.org

Take Paws Rescue

2730 Banks St., takepawsrescue.org

Villalobos Rescue Center

4501 N. Galvez Ave., (504) 822-5646, vrcpitbull.net

Zeus' Rescues

2520 Napoleon Ave., (504) 309-2144, zeusrescues.org

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