LAFAYETTE — Just last week the Lafayette Animal Shelter had to put down three animals due to the massive intake they received of people surrendering pets, leaving many in the community wondering why they are labeled as a no-kill shelter if animals are being euthanized.
Jeanine Foucher, the executive director of Acadiana Animal Aid, which works closely with the shelter, tells us that the shelter is not one hundred percent no-kill, they have to maintain a ninety percent live outcome to sustain that status. Meaning, ninety percent of the animals that they take in must make it out of the shelter.
Last week's euthanasias were a result of 61 animals being surrendered, which was more than what the shelter could house. At that point, when the kennels are full, the shelter is only left with a few options. To adopt all of them out, transport them across the country, or consider euthanasia for the animals that are sick or that have behavior problems.
Foucher believes that the massive intake is due to the community not fully understanding what "no-kill" status means and all that it takes to sustain it.
"What happens very often is when a shelter initially hits that benchmark and they want to celebrate that they are a no-kill shelter, they want to share that exciting information with the rest of the community," says Foucher. "But people automatically think that they can bring whatever animal they want to the shelter."
According to the shelter, in 2014 they euthanized 2,800. This year they are on track to get that number under 300, but they can't do that without the help from the community.
"Sustaining a no-kill community takes a community," says Foucher. "It takes the animal shelter, it takes the rescue organizations, it takes the low-cost spay and neutering providers, and it takes the public. Every single one of us participates in the process of sustaining no-kill."
Foucher says that there are many ways that people can help out, including assisting in re-homing strays, helping to locate lost pet's homes by placing flyers, and spaying and neutering your pets.
"Just seeing the sheer number of animals that are entering the shelter system, the access to low-cost spaying and neutering is imperative," she says. "That really would stop or slow down the number of animals entering into the shelter."
As always, the Lafayette Animal Shelter welcomes volunteers and fosters.
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