Jeff Davis Parish animal shelter close to becoming reality

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Construction of a new animal shelter for Jeff Davis Parish could be underway in the next two years.

Police jurors unanimously approved a contract Wednesday with Beazely and Longo Shelter Design of Lafayette for the architect and design of a proposed parish wide animal shelter.

Officials hope to have the architect and design phase finished by the end of the year, then will decide on the next step to move the project forward.

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Police Jury President Steve Eastman hopes to have the shelter under construction within the next 24 months and completed within another 24 months.

“I think everybody is excited about this,” Eastman said. “We get calls all the time (about stray animals) and no place to put them.”

“The idea is we bring the animals in, we treat them and get them healthy, we spay and neuter them then we send them out for adoption,” he continued. “Everybody that I have talked to says “Please.” There are people calling us all the time for dogs. They want to adopt a dog.”

He said a local resident has helped send several airplanes with animals to the north United States because there was no available shelter in the area and a demand for the animals in areas with stricter spay and neuter control.

“The sooner we get it done the better we are going to be,” Eastman said.

Preliminary plans for the shelter include 70 -100 pens to hold dogs and cats.

Eastman did not want to disclose the estimated cost of the project before the bidding process.

The parish has contracted with DCMC Partners consultants to use American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) for the project which included requests for qualifications for the design phase.

“So far basically what we have done is send out the requests for qualifications (RFQs) and they sent us back their statements of qualifications and we went through the proposal committee, they were graded and Beazley and Longo were the ones that came out at the top of the lists,” Eastman said.

The police jury sent out a request for qualifications for architect and design plans in December but did not receive any response to the request, he said. At least six responses were received during a second round of request sent out earlier this year, he said.

“We sent those requests out in December and we got zero,” Eastman said.  “With the help of the news media, that hit the news and people were coming. They called and they wanted to know and they got the ball rolling.”

Beazely and Longo Shelter Design were selected based on their qualifications, references and past projects, he said.

Kelly George, a mitigation and residency manager for DCMC Partners, told police jurors in February that the design and planning phase will allow police jurors more time to work out a lot of the operational and maintenance details.