Mar 11, 2014 7:55 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Animal advocates address rescuing strays in Vermilion Parish

Charlie, a Jack Russell terrier mix, is just one of many dogs rescued by Animal Aid For Vermilion Area.

The 11-year-old dog was rescued five years ago and now spends his days with Cindy Hunt, the treasurer for Animal Aid.

"(He) came in off the street, and now lives here," said Beth Trahan, president for Animal Aid.

On average, the organization rescues 750 animals like Charlie each year.

"When you can give them freedom and relief from that it's just the best feeling in the world," Hunt said.

Rescued animals are put on the "Animal Aid for Vermilion Area" website or Facebook page.

Hunt said organizations like hers are the only way to rescue strays in the parish, because the animal control center doesn't allow public adoptions.

"It's just a battle we fight every day to get them out in time, to get them to a vet, to find money, and we just rely on the donations of the public," she said.

They work to find each animal a home, but not every stray in Vermilion Parish can be helped by Animal Aid.

Many more end up at Vermilion Parish Rabies Animal Control. By law in Vermilion Parish, stray animals picked up by animal control must be euthanized if not claimed or rescued in four days.

Our investigative team looked at the timelines of how long before strays are put down by parish animal controls. Vermilion had the shortest wait time at four day, according to parish ordinance.

In Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin and St. Landry Parishes, the holding time is five days, according to ordinances and agency protocol. St. Mary Parish doesn't specify a hold time in their ordinances.

"It's very hard to see these animals put down, but the passion helps us keep going on a daily basis," Trahan said.

Tomorrow night, Animal Aid and other animal welfare advocates are expected address the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.

More than 6,000 people have signed on-line petitions demanding answers regarding the recent euthanization of three dogs at Vermilion Parish Rabies Animal Control.

Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension, also known as C.A.R.A., claimed they were on their way to rescue the dogs, and Vermilion's animal control was aware of that. However, the dogs were killed before C.A.R.A. arrived.

The attorney for Vermilion Parish is standing by the decision to put down the dogs. He said the rescue agency was several hours late and the parish ordinance was followed.



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