- Associated Press - Sunday, August 28, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana says that 79 cats and dogs currently at a mobile shelter outside a Baton Rouge arena are being moved to a kennel designed as a disaster pet shelter in a state prison.

The state transportation department will provide daily bus rides from the human shelter to the pet shelter, starting Monday, The Department of Agriculture and Forestry said in a news release Sunday.

The 45 dogs and 34 cats belong to some of the 850 people staying at the Baton Rouge River Center. That’s among 12 shelters where about 1,730 stayed Saturday night, according to the Red Cross. Each daily count is at midnight, she said.

The shelter 30 miles away at Dixon Correctional Institute has an associated veterinary hospital and is the best place to keep the animals healthy, said Agriculture Secretary Mike Strain, who is a veterinarian. A veterinarian will check the animals daily, he said.

“Also, in the event there is another storm or weather event, we believe this will be a better location for the safety of these animals in a long term situation,” he said.

Strain said his department will deliver pets to the River Center when their owners are ready to leave.

He said a school bus will take pet owners to the prison shelter at 2 p.m. Monday, and rides will begin at 9 a.m. daily from Tuesday on.

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