PAWS Mission & Vision
The mission of Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is to rescue homeless and unwanted companion animals through sheltering and adoption into responsible, loving homes, while advancing community education and services to ensure responsible pet ownership, so that in the future companion animals are no longer in need of being rescued.
PAWS vision is to be a leading expert in the field of animal welfare so that our community and its animals are served through compassion and diligence. We envision a future where the overpopulation of homeless companion animals is eliminated and every adoptable animal is a valued member of a responsible home.
Animal Control Mission
The mission of Plaquemines Parish Animal Control is to protect the citizens of Plaquemines Parish from the dangers of diseased and nuisance animals; to legally protect animals from mistreatment; to enforce parish and state animal control laws; to educate our parish in responsible pet ownership; to provide temporary housing and care to homeless animals while coordinating possible adoptions through partner humane organizations.
PAWS staff partner with Plaquemines Animal Control Officers (ACO) to help deliver this mission by caring for the animals once they arrive at the shelter. ACO’s report directly to the Parish Health Department and provide the following services:
• Investigates animal bites
• Pick up strays
• Investigates nuisance complaints
• Investigates calls of neglect and abuse
PAWS – Animal Control
Since 2011 PAWS and Animal Control have shared the same building and maintained separate management, directives and operating procedures.
Beginning January 2016, PAWS was awarded the contract to manage the operations in the entire building bringing animal control under PAWS responsibility. While the Animal Control Officers (ACOs) still report directly to the Plaquemines Parish Health Department, they work hand-in-hand with all of PAWS staff to ensure that every animal in PAWS care receives the same level of care and compassion.
While the role of PAWS staff is the health and well-being of all animals during their stay at Animal Control, the ACOs are responsible for picking up strays, addressing animal abuse and complaint calls, dealing with wildlife issues and working with the community to ensure the animals and community members remain safe.
Operating out of their homes in Plaquemines Parish, and in cooperation with the Southern Animal Foundation (SAF), founders Laura Hutchinson and Robin Pannagle began picking up stray dogs and pulling dogs from Plaquemines Animal Control. At the time, all animals at Animal Control that were not claimed by their owners were euthanized thus leaving the parish with a 100% kill rate.
PAWS was officially founded as a 501c3 non-profit organization operating out of a small warehouse-like space in Belle Chasse near the Navy Base.
PAWS officially became the Plaquemines adoption partner via a contract for services of $87,000.
Plaquemines Parish built a state of the art, green facility on F. Edward Hebert Blvd in Belle Chasse. The building housed both PAWS and Plaquemines Animal Control. Though separated only by a door, these two operations were managed independently with different animal care policies and procedures.
On August 28, as Hurricane Isaac pummeled Plaquemines Parish, PAWS transported 166 adoptable animals out of the shelter to shelters in Texas, Tennessee and New Yorkto make room for the pets of Parish residents. In partnership with Plaquemines Parish, and at the behest of Animal Control, PAWS became a safe haven for lost, abandoned and rescued pets from August 28th through November 12th. Over those 85 days, PAWS was closed for normal business yet still cared for, treated and fed Parish animals. During this time, income reserves were depleted and adoption fees were non-existent.
On June 24th, after thorough investigation by the Board of Directors and in cooperation with Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, Executive Director Denise Manger was arrested for embezzling over $67,000. Her two daughters, Tori Manger and Tawny Manger, who worked for PAWS at the time, were later implicated as part of the embezzlement. All three women were found guilty and began paying restitution the following year. Denise Manger was also convicted of stealing controlled drugs and selling them for human consumption.
By October 11th, the combined devastation from Hurricane Isaac and the Manger embezzlement, PAWS was over $40,000 in debt, had been cut off by most of its vendors and had only $248 in the bank. An open letter was posted on PAWS Facebook page stating that, if the shelter was not able to raise $80,000 by the end of the month, it would have to close. The community – including the media – came out in massive support of the shelter. By year’s end PAWS had raised over $100,000.
In early 2014, PAWS leadership went before the Parish Council to request an increase in contract funding. After nearly ten years at the same rate the contract was increased to $120,000.
Additionally in 2014, PAWS received the first community spay/neuter grant since Hurricane Katrina from PetSmart Charities for over $37,000. The grant focused on dogs from Port Sulphur to Venice and in a year’s time PAWS performed 268 spay/neuter surgeries on dogs at a cost of only $7 each to their owners.
On October 24th, PAWS launched a low-cost community vet clinic with a focus on preventative vaccines, heartworm and FeLV/FIV testing, and heartworm and flea preventatives. The clinic began as a first-come first-serve operation, open every other Saturday.
On January 1st, after being awarded an expanded contract, PAWS took over Plaquemines Animal Control operations. Included with this new endeavor was intake/outcome of animals, daily physical and medical care, behavior testing and dog training. PAWS also enhanced services to the community through expanded hours of operation, onsite rabies vaccines, low-cost spay/neuter and microchipping.
Upon taking over the operations, PAWS efforts made Plaquemines Parish the first parish in the State of Louisiana to go from 100% kill to no-kill status. A status that remains true to this day.