Ouachita Parish animal shelter suspended, seeking new location
Plans for Ouachita Parish’s new animal shelter are in limbo as the parish looks for another place to put it.
SOS (Save Our Shelter) Pets of Ouachita Parish dedicated a new shelter on private land on Frost Commercial Drive in West Monroe in 2021, but nothing has been done on the site since the ceremony.
Ouachita Parish Police Jury Chairman Shane Smiley said the location was unsuitable and a search for a new one was underway.
“I don’t speak for them but I think they saw the accessibility on the site, which is the entrance,” Smiley said. “It’s going to be a little more problematic. I think it has to cross someone’s grip. I don’t know if that’s going to be what he wants to do.”
Previous cover:Private group seeks $2.7 million in public funds to create regional animal shelter
June 2021:Inauguration of the new animal shelter of the parish of Ouachita
Smiley said the jury is currently looking for a new location. Smiley said that if the parish found a location, it would partner with SOS to build the shelter in a location convenient to both entities.
The new shelter is intended to replace the existing Ouachita Parish animal shelter, which evolved from an animal control facility built in the 1950s. The current shelter is located behind the public works office from Ouachita Parish on Well Road in West Monroe.
SOS oversaw fundraising efforts for the new animal shelter. The organization was launched in 2017 with an initial goal of raising $800,000 in two years.
Repeated attempts to contact SOS director Joan Hampton for comment have been unsuccessful.
In 2017, the OPPJ pledged $70,000 of funds left to the parish for a new shelter, and the City of West Monroe committed $30,000 over a two-year period.
In June 2021, the nonprofit organization raised $1.2 million through private donations.
March 2021:The OPPJ and SOS Pets of Ouachita reach an agreement on the construction of an animal shelter
Smiley said the parish looked at several locations in Ouachita Parish.
“One on each side of the river,” Smiley said. “I think everyone wants a new shelter but no one wants one next to them. Ultimately, in the best interest of what the parish is going to pay, we have to look for a site that has more visibility , which is more easily accessible, which is on a larger lot, there is a little more green space and it is something very user-friendly, something that people will be proud of too.
Regardless of where the enclosure is built, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury should take over operations in the new shelter, Smiley said.
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