Plaquemines Parish continues to fight lawsuit over PAWS building, AC issue

Updated: Jul. 11, 2018 at 9:01 PM CDT
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PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Parish leaders say they're stuck trying to figure out how to fix the Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, building. The building's air-conditioning went out earlier today and is thought to be a large reason why two kittens died overnight.

People were constantly coming through the door at the Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society with either supplies, or the promise of an open home. Hearing two kittens passed away in the heat, Jill Strahan said she had to help. So she's taking home four kittens to foster them for the time being.

"As soon as I saw it I came right out because I can't imagine my cats being in that situation. It tugged at my heartstrings completely," said Strahan.

PAWS Coordinator Jordan Dooley says the air conditioning becomes a consistent problem every summer.

"We had a couple rooms that weren't working, then all of a sudden the whole building went out," said Dooley.

Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier knows the building is a problem, but doesn't want to put the animals' welfare at risk.

"In the immediate short term, we're going to make building 100 available for housing because it does have fully-functioning AC. In the meantime, we have ordered a part, given the sad state of affairs of this building, to keep it running as best as possible," said Cormier.

There are more than 300 animals that ideally need to be relocated. Coordinators say there's only so much that fans and ice can do, but transporting them to other locations is easier said than done.

"We have quite a few escape artists. I can only imagine, but we're definitely going to think about it and see what the best option is," said Dooley.

Figuring out the best option is the challenge in front of parish government, as well. The parish has been in the middle of a lawsuit for years with the builders and engineers who designed and built the 10-year-old facility.

"We don't know if it's a structural issue or just badly built. The problem for us, as parish attorney, I'm figuring out do we put more money if we're going to tear it down, or do we move somewhere else?" said Parish Attorney Peter Barbee.

Barbee says they're waiting on more reports until they can decide, but people know the animals can't wait that long.

The Parish Council will meet tomorrow and discuss the issue of the animal welfare society's air-conditioning.

PAWS coordinators say some of the cats and dogs will be able to stay at the building, but they continue to encourage people to foster or adopt the animals.

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