The Jefferson Parish animal shelter is putting out an urgent call for help because a high number of cats and dogs, of all ages, are pouring into their shelters and they need foster and forever homes.
"I can't afford them anymore," Dana Vautour said Thursday through tears, as she held her two dogs on leashes.
They are just two of more than 400 dogs and cats inundating the Jefferson Parish animal shelters this month.
"No matter what, when you get home, they just look at you and missed you so much," Vautour cried.
Dana is facing tough financial times. She is moving and can't take her two-year-old brother and sister Labradoodles McKinley and Mimi with her.
"I've never had to give up a dog. I've always kept them the whole time. It's hard to choose. Like a child," she said.
Mimi hid behind Vautour refusing to be separated and a shelter worker came to take her away. Moments before, four-month-old "Lady" faced the same situation. Her owner is moving into assisted living and was crying as her friend took the pup to be surrendered at the Jefferson animal shelter.
In May alone, both the east and west bank Jefferson shelters have been inundated with more than 400 dogs and cats. Kittens are being housed in kennels in the hallway. Lactating mother cats are having to feed litters that are not their own because many of the kittens coming in are not even weaned yet.
"So with those numbers coming in, it does definitely create a space problem," explained Robin Beaulieu, Director of the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter.
The shelter has worked hard over the years to have an 82 percent adoption rate. Now they are calling for the community to help adopt and foster. Kitten and puppy season is fast approaching and people facing moving and money issues, coupled with a lack of spay and neutering animals, are raising the numbers. In one day, a call for help on Facebook was shared 3,000 times. And it helped.
"We were able to open up 16 spaces. That, for us, is really good that we're able to open that. Generally our adoptions this time of year can range anywhere from five to 10 a day," said Beaulieu.
Dana hopes hers will find love too.
"They're good dogs. They're good dogs," she said wiping tears from her cheeks.
You can adopt at either the Jefferson west or east bank shelter.
They also have low cost spay-neuter $50, and even free for what's known as the bully breeds.