Another local tradition has been postponed because of COVID-19.
Acadiana Animal Aid, a local no-kill animal shelter and nonprofit organization, has postponed its largest annual fundraiser, Bark in the Dark, with a new date set for April 7, 2022.
"After careful conversation with the Acadiana Animal Aid Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers regarding the surge in COVID-19 cases and its impact on local and statewide health care systems, Acadiana Animal Aid decided that the event originally scheduled to take place on September 30, 2021, will be postponed until April 7, 2022," a release from the group states. "Bark in the Dark will still be held at the CAJUNDOME Convention Center in the Festival Ballroom and feature the entertaining Cowboy Auctioneers and Lafayette's beloved chef, Gilbert Decourt. Event sponsors that have supported this year's Bark in the Dark have the option to carry over their donations to the 2022 event date."
This wasn't something the group wanted to do.
"This decision was very tough to make," said Jeanine Foucher, Executive Director of Acadiana Animal Aid. "We canceled Bark in the Dark in 2020 due to COVID-19, and we are now postponing it again this year until 2022. Our life-saving work is only possible through our community's support, and our inability to have our largest annual fundraiser for the last two years has had a huge impact on our operations and the number of lives we can save."
AAA depends on donations to save animal lives in Acadiana. They use the funds to operate a real no-kill shelter - meaning they do not kill any animals when they run out of room.
AAA also regularly transports hundreds of animals to other areas of the country so they can be adopted. They take in animals from hoarding situations and get them healthy, and they have a robust fostering system that helps socialize animals who have not been well cared for in the past. Most recently, they took in dozens of animals displaced by Hurricane Ida. They have a safe adoption process that ensures animals are going to good homes. To read more about the group, click here.
"As a nonprofit organization, 80% of our operating budget comes from donations," Foucher said. "Bark in the Dark is not only instrumental in helping to fund life-saving programs for cats and dogs in South Louisiana but is a fun-filled evening with great food, music, and an incredible live auction. This year, we were planning on gathering 300 attendees to help support our efforts."
Established in 1974, Acadiana Animal Aid has saved tens of thousands of animals during its history. One of the region's largest and most impactful animal welfare organizations, the organization takes in approximately 2,500 shelter pets annually who are at risk of euthanasia. Acadiana Animal Aid provides veterinary care and shelter services, creating pathways to their futures through local and out-of-state adoptions and its nationally recognized transport program.
For more information about Bark in the Dark, contact Heidi Paterson at firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate to Acadiana Animal Aid, please visit: www.acadianaanimalaid.org/give.