By T. Scott Boatright
Sue Martin, the director of 4 PAWS animal shelter in Ruston, is feeling emotional these days.
And those emotions are running the gamut between ecstatic and concerned.
Martin is feeling good about the Fall Festival that will celebrate the grand opening of the organization’s new off-leash dog park on Oct. 30.
But she’s also concerned about the decision by the Lincoln Parish Police Jury during its October monthly meeting to discontinue helping fund 4 PAWS for next year.
“I was stunned,” Martin said. “I’m still stunned. We didn’t see it coming. We didn’t request any more funding than we received last year. The decision was unexpected by us.”
Martin says she intends to request to be placed on the agenda for November’s Police Jury meeting to state her case in hopes the LPPJ might reconsider its decision not to fund the $24,000 requested by 4 PAWS for the 2022 fiscal year.
“I feel there’s some misinformation out there that was part of their decision that the Police Jury and people need to know about,” Martin said. “I received a lot of support from the public about this and hope they call their respective jurors to let them know how they feel and come to the meeting.”
The new dog park’s grand opening will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 30 and will have food, music and games for participants to enjoy.
“Coming right before Halloween, I think the best part will be a dog costume contest that will be part of the event,” Martin said. “We encourage everyone to put their pups in costume when they bring them. We’ll have a photo booth for pictures and the winning dog and costume will receive a $100 dog gift basket.”
The new dog park is located behind the 4 Paws shelter located at 209 Rodeo Drive. It features separate fenced-in areas — one for smaller dogs and one for big dogs — along with an obstacle course for bigger dogs, picnic tables benches, a covered weather station, “poop” clean-up stations and a covered water station. Pools will also be available during warmer weather.
For a $5 a day fee, visitors will be able to bring any number of dogs to the park, which will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monthly passes will cost $40, and a year’s pass will cost $300.
Martin said that $5 raffle tickets will be sold at the grand opening for a drawing that will give two winners free one-year passes.
“We’re excited to get ready to get the park open and have plans for other events, including a monthly “Yappy Hour” where visitors will receive appetizers along with ‘yappetizers’ for their dogs,” Martin said. “This is something that has long been needed and wanted around here, and I can’t wait until Oct. 30.”
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