Group Has Rescued 134 Dogs From Shelters

DERIDDER, LA (AP) — While some cannot be bothered to throw a dog a bone, one group is throwing them a lifeline.

         Louisiana Lifeline 4 K9s, a Vernon and Beauregard-based rescue group, works to pull dogs from local shelters and find them homes.

         Member Katja Carlson said the group, which got its start in September, has rescued 134 dogs for an average of 23 dogs per month. The group pulls from the Vernon and Beauregard, Fort Polk and DeRidder shelters.

         Its success is most evident at DeRidder Animal Control, which at press time had only one dog — Sweet Pea, a 40-pound, 1-year-old Doberman-Cur mix. The rest, according to Animal Control Officer Russell Hanson, have been adopted or given to rescue groups.

         But an empty shelter is unusual for the area, and most of the members of Lifeline 4 K9s already have full homes. President Shanda Bailey is fostering 30 dogs at her home, she said, but the group has come up with a solution to help find loving families for the forgotten dogs.

         Since Sunday, Seattle-based rescue group Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation has been touring the shelters with Lifeline 4 K9s to look for dogs to take to the Pacific Northwest, where AARF President Angie Green said there are plenty of homes waiting.

         "We've had a lot of success with dogs from (Louisiana)," Green said. "We've been able to get most of these dogs adopted really quickly."

         Between shelter visits, the AARF members visited local veterinarians. They will take three dogs back with them; AARF member Nancy Chestnutt said Seattleites are "crazy" for the Catahoula leopard dog.

         Three dogs — including an Australian cattle dog-miniature Pinscher mix named Smokey — will go to Washington with Green and Chestnutt, and six other dogs will go within the next few months.

         Last year AARF took 35 dogs from Texas and Louisiana, and the group estimates it will take in close to 50 this year.

         Lifeline 4 K9s also sends dogs to Wisconsin, New York and elsewhere. Members make the drive to Houston or Austin, Texas, to get the dogs on planes with the hope they find a home.

         Chestnutt said the trip has been eye-opening and that the state of DeRidder Animal Control was encouraging. The kennels were well-kept, said Bailey, and most of the dogs are in high spirits.

         – by AP/ Reporter Lauren Manary with The American Press

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