Jan 2, 2014 6:57 PM by MELISSA CANONE
Friends Underwriting Rescues (FUR) is a local not-for-profit community organization of volunteers and donors who give their time and resources to improve the lives of animals at the St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter. Founded in 2013 by a lifetime Opelousas resident and animal lover, FUR has developed a mission with powerful momentum and a supportive following.
"Louisiana's animal shelters put down 92,000 animals every year," says Jeanie Casanova, founder and director of FUR. "This is a sad statistic with a simple solution: education. The shelter staff is doing everything they can, but they need help. This area has a failure of responsibility to spay and neuter pets. Animals are suffering because of this and needlessly dying. We have a serious problem with abandonment, neglect, abuse, and miseducation. Let's teach each other to spay, neuter, and adopt pets from rescue groups and animal shelters, rather than breeders. We can make a difference!"
The primary functions of FUR are to:
• provide supplies, care, comfort, and companionship to the animals during their stay in the shelter.
• educate the community through thoughtful materials and messages on humane practices and spay/neuter benefits.
• rescue as many animals as possible from euthanization, for placement in an adoptive "FURever" home, foster home, or rescue transport to another shelter.
FUR's ultimate mission, though far-away, is to move the shelter toward no-kill status. Jeanie is aware that the movement toward no-kill status will be slow. "Until we get to a predominately no-kill situation, our volunteers can assure that the animals in the shelter get a comfortable environment, love, and care," she says.
FUR developed a fast-growing, devoted, and passionate following on Facebook, which remains the organization's main form of recruitment and communication. Volunteers groom and photograph the animals, then post the photographs on the FUR Facebook page to alert potential new homes. Adoption is one option, yet some people prefer fostering. A foster home gives the animal time away from stressful shelter life and gives volunteers more time to find the right adoptive situation.
The "Available NOW for Adoption" album on the Facebook page has current photographs, descriptions, and background stories of adoptable animals. Abandoned or surrendered dogs, cats, horses, and donkeys come in every day. To make room for the new, the old ones must die. Volunteers can photograph and post just a few animals at a time, and so there are always more animals available than are pictured on Facebook.
If you see an animal you want to adopt or foster:
1. Call the shelter to be sure the animal is still there.
2. Pay the $8 fee at the St. Landry Parish Courthouse.
3. Go to the shelter to meet your new friend.
4. Sign a contract agreeing that you will spay/neuter your pet, that you will not breed it, and that you will continue care as needed with a veterinarian.
5. Begin a new life with your new best friend!
Donations to FUR provide the shelter with kennels, leashes, collars, nutrition, toys, immunizations, medicine, alfalfa, blankets, shampoo, brushes, and other necessities. FUR also uses a portion of donations to generate and distribute educational material about spaying and neutering and humane animal practices. Volunteers step forward and give their time and talents to serve in various forms, including grooming, photography, cage cleaning, playing, walking, supply delivery, fundraising, transporting animals to other rescues, and more. Several local businesses, including Casanova Eye Care, Angles Hair Design, Castrol Oil Change, and Ellen's Pampered Paws, serve as donation centers with FUR donation jars.
"This is not about FUR, and it's not about the shelter," says Jeanie. "It's about the animals who have no voice."
FUR accepts your donations with gratitude at 1789 Austin Road, Opelousas, Louisiana, 70570, or at any of the business drop-off points. Also, a PayPal donation is easy and quick via the website. You can follow FUR on Facebook, check out their website at friendsunderwritingrescues.org, or learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
FUR encourages members of the community to volunteer, donate, foster, adopt, or just visit the shelter and observe first-hand the situation that our animal friends experience. St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter is near the St. Landry Parish Airport at 255 Hanger Road, Opelousas, Louisiana, 70570. You can call 337.948.6184 or just come during their visiting hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8AM to 4:30PM; Wednesday and Friday from 2PM to 4:30PM.