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Parish commits to agreement for new animal shelter



MONROE, La. – The Ouachita Parish Police Jury signed off on an agreement with SOS Pets of Ouachita earlier this week formalizing the parish’s commitment to build a new animal shelter if funds become available.

The Police Jury previously pledged $70,000 to the project, forming part of the some $1.2 million raised by SOS Pets in donations and pledges to replace Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter’s aging facility.

The Police Jury unanimously approved the new agreement during its regular meeting on Monday.

“We are thrilled to reach this agreement in our partnership with the OPPJ,” said Joan Hampton, president of SOS Pets of Ouachita, a local non-profit. “We can now get moving to begin construction on our new Adoption Building and Heated Kennel Building.  We are proud to be able to provide this gift to Ouachita Parish, the NELA region, and especially the displaced animals of Ouachita Parish.”

SOS Pets of Ouachita is planning to buy property for the new facility. The new facility would be larger than the current animal shelter and include an intake center, space for animal control, a building with 50 heated kennels, and adoption center and more.

During discussion of the matter, Police Juror Scotty Robinson encouraged people to adopt animals at the shelter as their pets.

Under the new agreement, the Police Jury must first secure funding in addition to money raised by SOS Pets of Ouachita. Possible sources of funding include an appropriation from a millage supporting animal control and the parish health unit as well as state or federal grants.

Hampton said SOS Pets is hoping to obtain funding through the state’s capital outlay program. Each year, the state Legislature appropriates state funding for capital improvement projects across the state.

According to Hampton, Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter currently serves people outside the parish, and a new facility would benefit the state by continuing to serve the region.

“SOS Pets submitted a request for state capital funding last fall, since the needs of displaced animals don’t end at the parish borders,” Hampton said.

“We hope to formalize the new shelter as a facility that can service animals in the entire NELA region, since 20 percent of animals are already coming from outside of Ouachita Parish.  We are developing guidelines that will create mutually beneficial agreements with parishes wishing to participate.”

SOS Pets began in February 2017 with a $1 deposit.