The Krewe of PAWS is hosting their 14th Annual Mardi Gras Pet Parade this Saturday, February 5. The parade will roll through Antique Alley in West Monroe, and the theme is "The Magic of Furry Tales." All types of pets are welcome to join in on the fun.
The parade site will open at 11:00 a.m. At this time, pet-owners can register their animals for the Pet Parade. The cost of the first entry is $25, and then it is $10 for each additional pet. There will also be beads and t-shirts for sale that participants can throw to parade-goers as well as food vendors, children's activities, music, and more.
At 12:00 p.m., the costume and float contest begins. Contest fees are $5 to enter the small dog, large dog or non-canine costume contest or $5 to enter the float contest. The winners will be announced immediately following each category.
After all participants lineup, the parade will kick off at 1 p.m. in the 100 block of Commerce Street and proceed to the Pine Street intersection. The marchers will then turn left onto Pine Street and circle Antique Alley until returning back on Commerce Street.
All animals are allowed to participate, as long as they follow some basic rules:
1. Animals must be current on vaccinations
2. No aggressive animals or females that are in season
3. We welcome all pets, however, we do not allow horses, ponies or livestock to be entered into the parade as they may scare the dogs.
4. Animals must be on a NON-retractable leash (or in a carrier) and in control by their owner at ALL times. Retractable leashes are NOT allowed.
5. Pet owners MUST pooper scoop after their dogs.
6. NO motorized floats allowed. Floats are welcome and encouraged. Floats can be created using wagons, carts, strollers, anything with wheels that does not have a motor. NO bicycles or rollerblades as these can scare the animals.
7. NO candy, small trinkets or dog treats are allowed to be thrown as they can be a safety/choking hazard to pets. Please ONLY throw beads, cups or larger non-edible items! From past parade participants, we have heard that you will want to bring a minimum of 4 dozen beads or else you will run out before the end of the parade.
PAWS of NELA, the group that organizes the parade, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving animal welfare in Northeast Louisiana. "All of our rescues and shelters are filled to the capacity all of the time, and so at this time, we have spayed and neutered over 10,000 cats and dogs because of our program," says board member Roxanne Smith.
According to Smith, the PAWS spay and neuter program is very expensive, and the Pet Parade is their biggest fundraiser of the year. "It is so important that people come out and support us so that we can help support them and their pets."
For more information about PAWS of NELA or the Pet Parade, click here.