Barbaric conditions at shelter
by Tom Bonnette - posted Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 @ 4:38 pm
Dogs without food, water resort
to eating one another at Winnsboro facility
(For more photos from the animal shelter scroll down under the news section. WARNING: GRAPHIC NATURE)
Humane Society of Louisiana officials Monday said they would investigate the city of Winnsboro's treatment of dogs at the city's animal shelter off Robinson Road.
A trip to the shelter earlier this week by Franklin Sun reporters revealed the animals, which are being kept in outdoor pens, were without food and water and have apparently been eating each other.
Half a dog carcass was found in one pen, which housed four other animals and was filled with feces.
City officials had other ideas about what might have happened to the dead dog at the shelter.
Winnsboro Interim Mayor John "Sonny" Dumas said he doesn't think other dogs had eaten the dog. He believes someone most likely had broken into the pen, killed the dog and cut him in half.
Jeff Dorson, director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, called Dumas' claim "absurd" and said the city could be in violation of state law if it's discovered the animals were left unattended without food and water for more than 24 hours.
"The mayor and the city council will hear from us. We will work with the sheriff's office on a criminal investigation," Dorson said. "We don't want the city to sweep this under the rug, which usually happens in Louisiana."
Dumas said the animals were generally left unattended on weekends. The animals were last fed on Friday, Dumas said, and no one had been back to the shelter until Monday morning.
While city dog pens weren't clean, Winnsboro law penalizes residents who don't keep dogs in clean pens. Residents of Winnsboro must, by law, clean their dog pens daily or could face fines and court costs.
By late Monday afternoon, the shelter had been cleaned and the dogs had food and water. The dog carcass had been removed.
Dumas said he was surprised to learn about conditions at the facility and that changes would be made.
"We are going to correct this problem. You will see a facility the public will be proud of," he said.
Changes would include a new system to dispense water and better supervision of animals, Dumas said.
Kevin Cobb of the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office said the Louisiana State Police would probably handle any investigation into the matter.
"In a situation like that involving a government agency, we typically contact the state police and turn it over to them," Cobb said.