Shelter Planners of America He presented a needs assessment study to assist Ascension Parish in determining the optimal location and design of a new animal shelter. Due to several considerations, two potential sites are being considered, both east of the city of Gonzales within the right triangle formed by Airline Hwy and LA 30. Work is expected to begin in 2023 as Chief Clint Comint’s administration will present options to the Diocesan Council in February.
Shelter planners The proposed No. 1 site (see above) is preferred because it “has greater highway visibility, better access, fewer flood concerns, and more usable space.” Visibility in a high traffic area is cited as the most important factor in increasing pet adoptions. In terms of design, the factors that need to be taken into consideration when building a modern animal shelter are too many to enumerate here.
Two options were offered.
- Option #1 is a 21,628 square foot facility (16,732 attached) at a cost of $6.5 to $9.2 million.
- Option #2 (“Bare Bones”) envisages 17,195 square feet (13,534 attached) with a range of $4.1-7.3 million.
Statistics for 2020 are included in Shelter planners evaluation. Of the 1,070 dogs and 1,742 cats euthanized at the shelter in 2020, the breakdown was as follows:
- adoptionApproximately 2,354 were adopted or transferred, or approximately 81.6% (1,582 transferred). The number of adoptions is good compared to many modern shelters that have adoption rates of between 70 and 80%.
- returned to the owner: Approximately 184, or approximately 6.4%, were returned to their owners. The number of returns to owners is below average compared to many modern shelters that have return to owner rates between 10-20%.
- EuthanizedEuthanasia: Approximately 189, or about 6.6%, were euthanized which is below the range of many modern shelters whose rates are in the 10-20% range. There is strong drive nationwide to move to a 90% live launch rate.
- Died in hospice: About 157, or about 5.4%, die in the shelter. This number is higher than usual, but this number also includes animals that have been DOA, stolen, and run away.
For current operating costs:
The cost to run The Parish is currently $899,500, which includes $350,000 being paid to the CARA home. Cara’s House currently has an operating cost of $696,020.58. The total operating cost for both the parish and the CARA home is $1,245,520.
Ascension pays for funding generated by the single-mill property tax, collected since 2019. On December 8, 2018, 16.4% of Ascension Parish voters turned out to answer the question:
The Diocese of Ascension, State of Louisiana (the “Diocese”) shall charge one (1) tax on all taxable property in the Diocese (it would be reasonably expected at that time to collect $1,300,000.00 in tax from the tax for the full year) (“ tax”), for a period of ten (10) years, commencing from the year 2019 and ending with the year 2028, for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and operating a shelter for animals for the parish, including equipment and facilities for that?
When raking in over a lowball estimate (one mill made $1,558,000 in 2021 according to Ascension’s 2022 draft budget book), money will still be tight.
The language of the tax proposal acknowledges the need for funding for “maintenance, operation, and animal shelter” in the meantime, until the new facility is up and running. This cost is included in the current budget; $912,500 with the largest single CARA credit ($350,000). The nonprofit operated the current shelter under a contract with Ascension Parish dating back to November 2015.
$336.00 has been budgeted for staff salaries and related expenses (insurance and retirement accounts). In addition to CARA employees, Ascension has animal control employees on the payroll.
Shelter planners Listed are 17 current staff members:
- Executive Director (1)
- Assistant Manager (1)
- receiving coordinator (1)
- Supervisor (1)
- Animal Welfare Specialist – Full Time (6)
- Animal Welfare Specialist – Part Time (3)
- Animal Control Manager (1)
- Animal Control Officer (2)
- Administrative Specialist III (1)
President Clint Comint’s administration provided the following statement:
The department is working with the Department of Animal Control, the Animal Services Council, and Shelter Planners of America to come up with an assessment of the need and cost estimates for a new shelter. The Animal Services Council will present its recommendation, together with Shelter Regulators of America, to the board provisionally in February 2022.
Management are currently working on the deadline to come out for an RFQ for Engineering / Architectural Services once the plan has been approved by the Council. We expect to start work in 2023 and our management is currently negotiating a property donation for the sanctuary. The department is also looking at grant financing options to help supplement that portion of the tax needed to fund the shelter, as well as looking into cost-saving measures such as a land donation. We look forward to the Animal Services Council presenting options to the board, hearing their feedback and moving forward to start this project.