The Metro Council unanimously approved a deal Wednesday to transfer city-parish animal shelter operations to a local nonprofit organization.

Companion Animal Alliance will operate the animal shelter on Progress Road, according to the written agreement between the organization and the city-parish.

Companion Animal Alliance’s primary responsibility will be taking care of all animals delivered to the shelter, according to the agreement.

Other responsibilities include maintaining the facility and keeping records of all animals impounded.

The city-parish will be responsible for public health and safety components of animal control, such as administering anti-rabies programs and handling public complaints about attacks, said Hilton Cole, director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control and Rescue Center.

“We will be doing all work with animals outside of the animal shelter,” Cole said.

Cole said the agreement is the “best thing for the animals.”

He said it will help reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption numbers by letting the parish and Companion Animal Alliance specialize in certain areas and not take on too many responsibilities.

“We’ve worn two hats for a long time,” Cole said. “Now, we’re going to be specializing in areas.”

Companion Animal Alliance Chairwoman Christel Slaughter was unavailable for comment.

Executive Director Laura Hinze said the group’s approach at the shelter will include: preventing animals from entering the system, providing humane treatment of animals in the shelter’s care and working toward trying to get the animals out of the system as soon as possible.

Hinze said she is excited about the opportunity because of the support her organization has received from the community and city-parish.

“I do believe that the aptly named ?cooperative endeavor agreement’ is true,” Hinze said. “I expect this to be a win-win for everyone - for enforcement, for citizens, for the animals.”

Hinze said the organization has received enough donations to run the shelter but is still trying to raise more funds to expand the shelter’s services.

The deal goes into effect Monday. It is scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2013.

Companion Animal Alliance will receive $348,490 from the city-parish in the first year of the agreement.

Of that amount, $159,850 will be for in-kind parish services such as payment of utilities.

Companion Animal Alliance will receive $836,360 in the second year of the agreement, $383,630 for in-kind services.

The group began negotiating with the city-parish last fall to run an improved, no-kill animal shelter.

The organization hoped to get $700,000 to $1 million in funds from the parish to combine with private donations to run the shelter.

The deal faltered in November when the city-parish only offered about $537,000.

Companion Animal Alliance leaders continued to negotiate with the parish; its officials said they thought they could still improve shelter operations, even with the smaller amount offered.

Companion Animal Alliance was formed in Baton Rouge in October 2009 to “aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused and abandoned animals,” according to the written agreement.