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|Making a difference|
An editorial that ran in this newspaper a few weeks ago concerning the treatment of dogs at the animal shelter off Robinson Road concluded with these words "How all of this unfolds going forward —including how the public reacts to it and how the law enforcement community handles it —will tell us a great deal about the moral fiber of the people of Franklin Parish and beyond."
A meeting I attended Monday night was assurance that the moral fiber of the people in Franklin Parish, at least, is in pretty good shape.
Just in case you have been living in a cave and not reading The Franklin Sun —Heaven forbid —here is a quick summary of what this is all about:
About a month ago we at The Franklin Sun were alerted by a concerned citizen that dogs at the Winnsboro animal shelter weren't being properly cared for, so we investigated and discovered wretched conditions in two outdoor holding pens there.
There was no food and water for dogs, which had been left alone for days in dirty pens. One unfortunate pup had been eaten in half by the others.
We, of course, ran stories about what we initially found and have continued to report on what has progressed since then, including plans the city now has to build a new facility to house animals in Winnsboro until they are transferred to larger shelters in Ouachita Parish.
There have been a few unexpected twists and turns in this story over the past few weeks, but what has pleased me most is the many telephone calls and letters from people — in Franklin Parish and beyond — who want to help the city work to improve the way stray and lost animals are treated in Winnsboro.
Foremost is a group of local residents who have stepped up and formed The Franklin Animal Rescue, a new non-profit organization that was created, as one of its founders, Ted Batey, said "To do the right thing by the dogs and get this behind us and move foward."
I'll let an excerpt from their mission statement, found on brochures they handed out at their first public meeting Tuesday at the Princess Theater, explain more:
"We now rescue the dogs whose holding time is up at the Winnsboro pens and keep them in foster care until suitable, permanent homes can be found. We also promote community awareness about the current shelter situation and other animal welfare issues. With help from caring members of the community, we hope to continue our efforts in rescuing homeless animals and in urging our city officials to make better decisions for the animals in their care."
These good people have been paying mostly from their own pockets to rescue animals and they need your help.
They need donations of time and money and you can do so by calling 435-7992 or e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Franklin-Animal-Rescue/113918241972712?ref=ts, where you might see a picture of a cute homeless pup that might be your future best friend.
It appears the public is doing the right thing, but the verdict is still out on the law enforcement community.
Although things have improved, what was happening at the shelter was against the law.
There has been a lot of passing the buck from the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office to the Louisiana State Police since the Louisiana Humane Society initiated an investigation.
I'm still waiting to learn who, if anyone, is going to handle this matter.
You can bet that if you were caught breaking the law, it wouldn't be just swept under the rug and those in government should be held to the same standard.
Whether they will or not remains to be seen.