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St. Landry Parish animal shelter affected by Hurricane Irma - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

St. Landry Parish animal shelter affected by Hurricane Irma

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St. Landry Parish -

The effects of Hurricane Irma is stretching to Acadiana and affecting a St. Landry Parish animal shelter. The shelter has partnered with rescue groups in Florida for years, but Irma has put that on a hold.

Saint Landry Parish Animal Control and Rescue in Opelousas is home to many animals in St. Landry Parish. However, when the shelter is full, Florida has always stepped in. 

"It's been the most welcoming state for us," director Stacey McKnight said. "Just two months back we moved 50 dogs over there. "

"These rescue groups have showed up here in the middle of the night to take those dogs. They brought food, bowl and man power. When we had nothing they still gave."  

The shelter can hold up to 225 animals and right now they have 40. If they reach more than that then they won't be able to send them to Florida anytime soon. Florida is an area they've relied on heavily before in the past. 

"We're really fortunate that our numbers are really low right now," McKnight said. "But, when this shelter is really full. We rely on those 501 c3 rescue facilities to help take these dogs to bring down a number. The last thing we want to do is euthanize animals." 

She added, "With the devastation that hit Florida, we know that some of these dogs won't have a place to go to." 

Haley Kazee is with Pure Hearts Rescue in Tampa. Kazee originally came to Louisiana To bring dogs back to shelters in Florida.  However, hurricanes Harvey and Irma put those plans are on hold. Kazee has been in St. Landry Parish for nearly a month now.

"It's taken a toll on our foster homes," Kazee said. "Some of them experienced damages from the storm. It affected the number of dogs we saved because a lot of fosters are not able to take in those dogs due to the storm hitting."  

The shelter will seek help from groups in Missouri and Colorado if needed. The shelter plans to return the favor to Florida by temporarily housing animals and rebuilding their facilities.

"As soon as the roadways do open, we will be going in our own personal vehicles and will give them a hand to rebuilt,"  McKnight said. 

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