July 2, 2009
Out With the Old: A New Shelter for St. Bernard Parish
It was a day for celebration in Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish when ground was ceremoniously broken for a new state-of-the art animal shelter that will replace the old, antiquated one in Chalmette.
Gone will be the problems inherent in many older animal facilities: overcrowding, health issues, poor public access ... the list goes on.
New Digs For Animals In Need
In its place will stand a bright, shiny shelter twice as large to more comfortably accommodate the number of animals coming through the doors. Where the old one sat next to a junkyard, the new facility is being built on a main road, making it more visible to and accessible by the public.
With a higher profile, foot traffic increases, and ultimately more animals are placed into loving homes.
The construction of the new shelter is made possible in part by a $250,000 grant from The Humane Society of the United States as part of its ongoing efforts to help the Gulf Coast region rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“The Humane Society of the United States is absolutely committed to the continuing recovery of communities in the Gulf Coast, and we’re especially proud to be part of efforts here to help the animals and the people of St. Bernard Parish,” said Melissa Rubin, vice president of field services for The HSUS, who helped lead animal rescue efforts following Katrina.
“As the region is rebuilding itself, the new shelter is vital to that process, strengthening the community as a whole,” Rubin said.
The HSUS will oversee progress on the new shelter and issue the grant in three stages as phases of the construction progress. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2009.
Help Across the Board
In addition to the grant, The HSUS has also assisted the Parish over the past three years by contributing $80,000 toward a shared grant that has covered the salary of the shelter's director.
“We’ve worked closely with local officials to make this a reality since the storm devastated the shelter,” Rubin said.
Establishing the infrastructure to better protect its animal population is a key component to rebuilding the Gulf Coast region. In New Orleans, The HSUS gave the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—the LA/SPCA—$2 million toward the construction of its new Animal Rescue and Care Center, completed in 2007.
The funding was part of The HSUS' pledge to help rebuild the new facility and was the final installment on a $4.5 million grant to the LA/SPCA, which suffered the loss of its Japonica Street animal shelter during Hurricane Katrina. This was the largest gift ever given by The HSUS.
Brought To You By Generosity
Also in 2007, we gave $1 million to The Humane Society of Southern Mississippi, enabling them to complete construction on a modern, new shelter in Biloxi after the old one was overcome by Katrina.
"These grants have been funded by the generous outpouring of donations from the American public who responded to the needs of the animal victims of Hurricanes Katrina,” Rubin said.
The HSUS has provided reconstruction or reimbursement grants to several Louisiana organizations and major grants to Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Services as well as the Dixon Correctional Institute, which operated an animal rescue shelter after Hurricane Katrina.
In total, The HSUS has spent or committed an estimated $34 million dollars on all of its operations as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including immediate disaster response, reconstruction funds directly to 45 hurricane-ravaged animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers, including St. Bernard Parish, the LA/SPCA, spay and neuter initiatives and legislative efforts.