Sorrento animal shelter CARA's House continues to see nationwide support from various organizations in flood relief aid, as the local organization lost around $150,000 in lost and damaged shelter contents, in addition to their flooded facility.
Last week, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization what has been rescuing animals in disasters and cruelty cases for more than 100 years, visited seven Louisiana animal shelters that saw significant flood damage last year in the August Flood. American Humane dispersed $100,000 in emergency grants to shelters in affected parishes such as Livingston, St. Tammany, Washington and Ascension.
"CARA's House, they've pulled the weight and it took its toll on them. It took its toll on them physically, emotionally, and financially, so through this grant process, American Humane has had a chance to help restore that just a little bit,” said Dr. Lisa Stabus with American Humane. "CARA's House will face the next event in this area some day and when they do they will be the force that will step forward to care for this community and put these families back together."
Jolie Culpepper, Vice President of CARA's House, said the $7,000 awarded to them will go towards expanding kennel spaces to house more dogs and to create an intake quarantine area for new dogs brought to the shelter.
"We've got a lot of expanding and repairs to do to the shelter," she said. "When animals come in they will be separated from the general population, which is desperately what we need right now."
Culpepper reflected back onto the day the shelter had to evacuate due rising water. She said like many others, they were in shock because they didn't think the rain would turn into the massive flood that destroyed thousands of homes, businesses and families.
"It was a shock, we didn't really think anything was going to come of it. We're very used to wild weather here, so when the water started rising I think it took us, just like it took everyone else, completely off guard."
After being forced to evacuate and receiving more than six inches of water, the shelter relocated to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center barns. Within just five hours, all 200 animals and some items were transported to Gonzales.
The months following the flood, the community showed tremendous support for the shelter, as hundreds of donations and volunteers continuously showed up at Lamar-Dixon to offer any kind of assistance needed. The workers, volunteers and animals were able to return to their home on Jan. 23.
"This really says a lot for this organization [American Humane] to give money to CARA's House, they don't just give money around," said Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa. "They realize the hard work that these people are doing, the blood, sweat and tears. Ascension Parish really appreciates it."