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CHALMETTE, La. (AP) -- St. Bernard Parish officials say the parish Animal Services Dept. has inherited more than $400,000 from a woman who spent most of her life in Chalmette.

The parish government office says the late Joan Elizabeth Manzella left her entire estate to the department.

St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro and Animal Services Director Beth Brewster met recently with attorney Al Perry and Manzella's cousin, Josephine Carderera, to sign the papers and accept the donation.

'Her dedication and love of animals and the Animal Shelter has resulted in a donation of over $400,000 to the animal shelter which will go a long way to helping with some capital improvements,' Taffaro said in a news release. 'We are so grateful to Ms. Manzella for her generosity and for her love of animals.'

'That was her wish, for all of it to go to the Animal Shelter,' Carderera said. 'She loved poodles all her life.'

Brewster said the donation, announced last week, will save animals' lives. 'Not only will it benefit hundreds of unwanted, homeless, and abandoned animals in our parish, Ms. Manzella's generous gift will enable the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter to build a play area for our cats,' she said.

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