Forge Racing Trail Running Club and Events and Companion Animal Alliance are hosting a trail run series featuring the first Parasite Jazz Funeral on Saturday at BREC’s Hooper Road Park, Guynell Drive.

The Headhunter Trail Race starts at 8:30 a.m. with a 1-mile fun run, followed by a 5K, 10K and half marathon. Runners can bring their canine companions on the course.

Afterward, at 11 a.m., the Parasite Jazz Funeral rolls with a live brass marching band and second-line parade complete with umbrellas, banners depicting the departed parasites, tombstones and tiny coffins.

While the family-oriented event is festive and fun, it has a serious purpose, organizers said.

As the nonprofit organization contracted to manage the city’s animal shelter, CAA treats many homeless and lost animals who suffer from damage done by heartworms, fleas, ticks and a host of other parasites.

“Because Louisiana has such great weather, pets here tend to spend more time outside,” said CAA staff veterinarian Alison Salmon. “That increases exposure to internal and external parasites transmitted from the environment or other animals.”

Left untreated, these pests can threaten the lives of companion animals and even affect the health of nonfurry family members. The event’s goal is to educate pet owners about effective and affordable treatments that prevent and stop the spread of parasites.

For race registration, visit forgeracing.net. For more information about the Parasite Jazz Funeral, visit caabr.org or call CAA Development Director Adrian E. Hirsch at (225) 933-6010.

Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge is a nonprofit community organization that manages the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Shelter. For more information on CAA call (225) 774-7701.