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Local pit bull rescue continues to grow

A Picayune based pit bull rescue organization has tripled in size over the last year, despite the fundraising challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local non-profit For Bullies Sake rescues pit bulls and pit bull mixes and finds them new homes. Since 2019, the number of volunteers has tripled in size to a team of 25, said nonprofit founder Mary Lavinghouse.

“The way we do it, we make sure every dog finds the right home for their energy level,” said Lavinghouse.

Up to 12 dogs can be housed with Lavinghouse and the rescue also places dogs with volunteer fosters. Dogs spend at least a month with the rescue to be evaluated for temperament and energy level. The rescue is careful to match dogs with new owners who will be a good fit, she said.

The organization is hosting yard sales from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10 to fundraise for a new quarantine facility to keep pregnant, nursing and sick dogs separate from other animals. The sale is located at 43 CG Smith Road, Picayune. Funds from the yard sales will also be used to pay for items needed to provide that care to the nursing mothers and their puppies. Currently, the rescue has one room that is used to quarantine dogs that need to be kept separate from other animals.

The quarantine facility will be built by remodeling a shed that is already equipped with electricity so it can comfortably house dogs, as well as fence in a yard around the shed. The anticipated cost of the remodel is between $5,000 to $6,000.

Fundraising has been challenging, because so many events have to be cancelled due to the pandemic, and Lavinghouse said she was not sure if the nonprofit would be able to make it through the year.

Instead the organization was able to grow and support other rescues. The Lake Charles Pit Bull Rescue was devastated by Hurricane Laura, said Lavinghouse. For Bullies Sake was able to foster one of the Louisiana based rescue’s pit bulls along with sending some donations to the organization.

Lavinghouse said the nonprofit’s growth would not be possible without its team of volunteers.

“The team is 25 people. Without them we wouldn’t have got here. Without them I couldn’t have done all this,” said Lavinghouse.

Although the team has grown, the rescue is always in need of more volunteers and more people willing to foster dogs.