NEW ORLEANS – Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation urges families and individuals who are home during this public health emergency to use their time to help relieve stress and overcrowding at animal shelters. If two percent of pet-owning households in America fostered a shelter pet, euthanasia of healthy animals could stop today.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many health benefits of owning a pet. They can increase opportunities to exercise and get outside. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.
This is a perfect time to embrace those human health benefits and at the same time help an animal in need. At Big Sky Ranch, many cats, kittens, puppies, dogs and bunnies are all waiting to find a loving, forever home. These animals come mostly from shelters where they would face euthanasia due to compromised health or injury. Big Sky Ranch provides the veterinary care required to get them healthy and then help them find loving homes either locally through adoption or in other states by transporting them to adoption partners across the country.
Working with out-of-state animal adoption organizations to plan a transport requires weeks of advance preparation. Young kittens receive a full series of vaccinations, a series of wormer, a series of coccidia prevention, and a series of flea prevention. Treatments are repeated based on best practices for shelter medicine protocols. After ramping up intake for expected adoptions and scheduled transports, the COVID-19 pandemic brought all transport plans and adoptions to a near standstill. As a result, there are more animals onsite, fewer workers, and an economy that makes fundraising difficult. The longer kittens are held in a shelter, the more treatments are required to maintain their health.
“The COVID-19 situation is stretching our spatial, financial, and manpower resources,” said Dr. Catherine Wilbert, founder and CEO of Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation.
“Beyond the complications for the animals currently in our care, the transport delay prevents us from generating space to save more animals,” added Wilbert. “Not only can we not hold this many animals, we cannot help partner shelters with animals whose “time is up.” The trickle down effect is devastating for the needy animals in our community. They need us now more than ever as their adoption and transport opportunities suffer as well.
“Timing could not be more perfect to share your home and time with a loving and deserving furry friend for as long or short a time as you choose. Not to mention, pets lower stress levels and keep children occupied!”
Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation is operating as fully as possible given the current COVID-19 situation while adhering to all federal, state, and local recommended guidelines. Standard stringent protocols are always in place to protect the health of animals and people, but the organization has taken further steps to ensure safety. Visits and adoptions are conducted by appointment only. Contact Big Sky Ranch for an appointment by calling (985) 276-0270. Adoption and foster applications are online at bigskyranch.org/adopt. Donations are accepted on the home page at bigskyranch.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/BigSkyRanch.
CATNIP Foundation is based at Big Sky Ranch, a 10-acre no-kill animal shelter and sanctuary in Folsom, Louisiana. CATNIP (Care, Advocacy, and Treatment of Neglected and Indigent Pets) is an animal welfare organization with a goal of changing the ways we think and feel about living with and caring for animals. The non-profit provides valuable programs as alternatives to euthanasia to lower the number of animals entering shelters and the ones being killed there.