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Fonthill pet adoption drive brings out a special breed of people

'We see how different you treat dogs up there'

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept through the southern United States. Now, 18 years later, people there are still saving lives thanks to the help of Niagara residents.

From September 19 to 27, BARK (Boudreau’s Animal Rescue Krewe) will be hosting a pet adoption drive in Fonthill. The organization from Louisiana will arrive here thanks to a relationship, built out of the carnage of Katrina, with humane societies in Niagara that helps place hundreds of animals annually into loving homes north of the border.

“When Katrina hit, a group of humane society people came down from Southern Ontario to help with the animals (that were displaced and in need of care),” says Jillian Donaghey, BARK spokesperson. “They said to us that anytime you want to bring animals to Canada, we will work with you guys.”

The transports began in 2006 and can number up to two a year.

“It’s just different up there,” says Jillian, referring to the way people view their pets, and even strays, in Canada. “Adoptable dogs are killed every day in shelters (in Louisiana). People here don’t spay or neuter their dogs. Maybe they believe it will take away from their manhood or their hunting abilities,” she adds. “We see how different you treat dogs up there. We get pictures of our dogs from people who adopt them and they are in canoes with their owners on vacation… It just doesn’t happen like that here.”

Donaghey, and the like-minded group around her, hold completely different attitudes towards toward strays and pets. BARK is a family-run no-kill animal rescue shelter. The number of animals dropped at their door is so tremendous that adoption rates cannot keep up with the intake. Hence, the trips north.

For this adoption drive, 15 cats and 65 dogs will be making the trek.

“They come up with a clean bill of health,” says Donaghey. “We have a vet look them over before we leave and then again at the border. They have all their shots.”

The adoption drive will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day from September 19 to 27 at 2493 Highway 20.