- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that by early next year, it should have a building as big as the one destroyed nine years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

The current 21,000-square-foot building opened in May 2007 on Mardi Gras Boulevard, nearly two years after the storm. It can hold up to 350 animals, about 100 fewer than the old shelter on Japonica Street.

Louisiana SPCA spokeswoman Alicia Haefele said the second phase will return the total to 32,000 square feet. She said the new section will hold all animals available for adoption, with up to 75 of them featured at once. Officials say it’s expected to increase adoptions by 30 percent and other services by 40-50 percent.

Those services include a low-cost veterinary clinic to serve pet-owners most in need and expanded space to spay and neuter animals, plus classrooms to teach children, adults and their pets, Haefele said. The building also will include administrative offices and hurricane storage space.

It’s being completed with $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, $250,000 from the Humane Society of the United States and an unspecified amount of private donations. The Humane Society donated $2 million to the first building, and FEMA paid $3 million.

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