BELLE CHASSE, La. (WVUE) - The Louisiana SPCA is expanding and taking over operations at the Plaquemines Parish animal shelter in Belle Chasse starting Jan. 1.
The group PAWS did not renew its contract to run the shelter and called this the best scenario to keep the doors open.
Facing an end of the year closure, the Plaquemines Parish animal shelter was racing against the clock to clear out the facility.
Until the big announcement from the parish and the Louisiana SPCA.
“This is a historic day for us. This is our first expansion into sheltering operations outside of Orleans Parish," Ana Zorrilla, Louisiana SPCA CEO, said. “We’re excited to bring out expertise to this facility as well.”
The Plaquemines animal welfare society, or PAWS, announced more than 2 months ago it could no longer afford to keep the facility open. with donations and adoptions down.
“Due to unstable leadership at the shelter for the past few years, we feel it’s in the best interest of PAWS to step back from shelter operations. We want what is best for the animals and feel the SPCA can provide that," PAW Board president Tammy Gagliano said.
The group faced a crisis in the summer of 2018 when the air conditioning went out at the parish owned building and the animals and staff had to battle the heat for weeks. The building was also crumbling, with cracks in the floors and walls.
“I just want to personally thank PAWS for years or service. As they relinquish responsibility to the SPCA, it’s a passing of the torch, without missing a beat," Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine said.
The Louisiana SPCA says it’s ready to get to work in Plaquemines Parish, as it’s done elsewhere for more than 130 years.