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Story Archives: FPSO to initiate shelter probe
|FPSO to initiate shelter probe|
Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office officials Monday confirmed that they would ask the Louisiana State Police to open a criminal investigation into the city of Winnsboro over treatment of dogs at the city animal shelter.
The move was prompted by a letter, received Monday, from Humane Society of Louisiana Executive Director Jeff Dorson to Sheriff Steve Pylant urging Pylant to initiate a formal investigation into the matter.
"We will formally ask them (La. State Police) to investigate," said Kevin Cobb of FPSO. "I have got the letter now and I will go from there."
The letter states that the city's treatment of the dogs "violates the regulations of animal shelter operations under Title 3. LA R.S. 3: 2465."
The letter recounts how the dogs were discovered to have been left unattended during the last weekend of March, as reported in the March 31 issue of The Franklin Sun in a story titled "Barbaric conditions at shelter."
A trip to the shelter by Franklin Sun reporters revealed the animals, kept in outdoor pens, were without food and water and apparently had been eating the carcass of a dog. Half a dog carcass was found in one pen, which housed four other animals. The pen was filled with feces.
Louisiana law concerning animal shelters mandates that "All dogs over three months of age shall be fed at least once daily; providing at least one-half pound of food per 25 pounds of body-weight per dog. All dogs under three months shall have appropriate dry food available at all times or be fed a minimum of three times per day" and "clean, fresh water shall be available at all times for all animals."
The law further states "Any dead animals shall be removed from kennel area and immediately and properly disposed of," and that enclosures should be cleaned daily.
The shelter was cleaned a few hours after officials were questioned by reporters. A new automated water system has since been installed for shelter animals kept outside and city officials are currently working on plans to build a new shelter at an undisclosed location.
The letter names a city worker and Lane Wolleson, a man interviewed the Humane Society.
"It has been documented that Mr. Russell Grant, the city worker assigned to oversee the shelter, failed to show up to perform his duties on Monday morning of March 29th. It appears that he finally showed up only after 1:30 p.m., and only after his supervisors were notified. According to Mr. Lane Wolleson, who visited the shelter throughout the weekend with his young son, the shelter conditions remained the same throughout Sunday and until late Monday afternoon, and only after the newspaper sent a reporter to the scene to document the conditions," the letter states.
The letter goes on to question if Grant contributed to the unnecessary suffering of animals at the shelter in violation of both the criminal statues under "LA. R.S. 14. 102 and the rules that protect shelter animals under LA. R.S. 3: 2465."
Dorson wrote that the Humane Society has apprised the Louisiana State Police of the findings and he concluded the letter by asking Pylant to send a letter to the Superintendent of State Police requesting an investigation.
"The State Police has agreed to investigate this matter, if formally asked by your department," Dorson writes.
Winnsboro Interim Mayor John "Sonny" Dumas Jr. did not return calls concerning the matter.