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|State police investigates animal shelter|
The Louisiana State Police is engaged in an investigation into the city of Winnsboro over treatment of dogs at the city animal shelter, according to law enforcement officials.
Officials say the investigation was prompted by a request from the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office after a letter received last month ago from Humane Society of Louisiana Executive Director Jeff Dorson to Sheriff Steve Pylant urging Pylant to initiate a formal investigation into shelter.
State police officials said they were waiting for an official request from FPSO to start the investigation, which they received in mid-May.
"We have been investigating for about two weeks now and once we have finished our investigation, we will turn our findings over to the district attorney's office," said Trooper Mark Dennis.
The investigation stems from allegations that dogs at city holding pens where kept in conditions that violated state law on how animals should be kept in shelters.
Dogs at the facility 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 of 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.
Franklin Parish Assistant District Attorney Johnny Boothe said Monday that he had not yet received any communications from state police regarding the investigation and he would not comment on the matter until he receives a report.
State police detectives have visited the Franklin Sun twice in recent weeks to ask questions of reporters and collect CDs with photographs taken by newspaper staff at the animal shelter.
Winnsboro Interim Mayor John "Sonny" Dumas said Monday that detectives have not questioned him over the matter.
Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas Jr. said he has met with detectives and he is doing what he can to help in the investigation.
"They came and talked to me and it's under investigation. That's all I can say at this point," Thomas said.
The animal shelter in operated by the Winnsboro Police Department.