The West Feliciana Animal Humane Society was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation.

The funds will support the James “Bo” Bryant Animal Shelter, which is maintained jointly by the parish Sheriff’s Office and the Parish Council. Humane Society Director Josette Lester said the grant funds will be used to support the shelter’s operation, expand the dog facility to add more kennels and add protection from harsh weather, and to help complete a new cat facility that is under construction.

The shelter is located under a metal building behind the Fire District 1 station off West Feliciana Parkway near the Sports Park and was opened in August 2012. It is staffed by volunteers and work-release inmates.

“Most of what we have acquired has been donated,” Lester said. “We’ve had a lot of help and we appreciate it so much. The community has been very involved.”

The facility has several dozen dogs and cats at any given time and is supported with assistance from an active foster program.

Stacey Foretich and her family have served as a foster family for two years and during that time, have given eight dogs a temporary home until they’re adopted. Foretich’s 4-year-old daughter Eden is homeschooled, and Foretich says caring for animals teaches Eden about the importance of community service and caring for other creatures.

“Eden loves animals, and this teaches her on her level about service and giving,” Foretich said. “It’s what we want to instill in her without a big commitment. It’s also a way for us to help all around, and we’ve met some great friends here and it brings joy to us.”

Beside the grant from the Pennington Foundation, Lester said the shelter received a $4,000 grant from Petco for the care of cats.

Long-term plans of the organization include construction of a pole barn to shelter larger animals as well as expansion of its Guardian Angel Program, which provides special medical care to animals in need.

For information about pet adoption, fostering or the shelter, call (225) 635-5801.