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Story Archives: La. Humane Society head to inspect shelter
|La. Humane Society head to inspect shelter|
Humane Society of Louisiana Executive Director Jeff Dorson announced Friday that he would travel to Winnsboro this week to inspect the city animal shelter, which is under criminal investigated over the treatment of dogs at the facility.
Dorson, who is expected to visit the shelter Tuesday, said he would discuss his findings with the Franklin Sun later this week.
In May, the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office requested that Louisiana State Police initiate a formal investigation after Sheriff Steve Pylant received a letter from Dorson asking that the facility be probed for violating state laws mandating shelter operations.
Dogs at the shelter 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.
While he has viewed photographs, Dorson's visit will be the first time he has had a first-hand look at the shelter, which is operated by the Winnsboro Police Department.
"What I typically check on is how the animals look and to make sure the shelter complies with basic standards set by law," Dorson said. I have visited as many as 120 shelters, so I know what to look for."
Dorson said he would contact Winnsboro Mayor-elect Jackie Johnson and Interim Mayor John "Sonny" Dumas Jr. and ask them to accompany him to the shelter.
Johnson, who will assume office on July 1, said meeting with Dorson would give him the chance to make sure there would be no problems with the new shelter the city is planning.
"I'm eager to learn anything. I've already spoken with Mayor Dumas about the new shelter and would like to establish a relationship with Mr. Dorson to improve upon our shelter. I don't know a great deal about what is needed in a shelter and I will take any information that I can get," said Johnson.
Dumas said he would most likely not accept Dorson's invitation because it might complicate the State Police's investigation.
"We are under investigation right now, so I am going to hold off on it. I don't know if I will go with him, but I will get a police officer to go with him," Dumas said.
Dumas said in April that construction would start on a new shelter in early May at an undisclosed site .
Tentative plans for the new animal shelter presented by Dumas in April included six separate 4-foot by 6-foot, covered outdoor pens that would open to a fenced-in yard for dogs, as well as separate areas to house puppies and cats. The planned animal pens included automated watering systems and semi-automated feeders.
Currently, dogs are housed in two pens and cats at the shelter are kept in carrying cages.
Dumas said that he couldn't speak about the city's progress on the new shelter.
"It's also part of the investigation, so I can't comment on it. We are working on it, that's all I can say," Dumas said.
The Humane Society announced early this week that there would be a meeting Tuesday night at the Ouachita Parish Fire Dept. in West Monroe to discuss the problems animal shelters in Winnsboro and Jonesville, where
The group also hopes to spur the development of humane societies in the outlaying parishes, which will be able to monitor developments at either shelter and facilitate in more adoptions.
"We would like the existing shelters to improve their standards of care for their impounded animals and allow concerned citizens to have more say in all phases of shelter operations," Dorson said
The meeting is free and open to the public.