Police jury discuss possibility of new animal shelter

By Paige Nash

The possibility of a new animal shelter for Bienville Parish was a topic of discussion at last week’s police jury meeting following a recent email recieved from Jeff Dorson, Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

Bienville Parish Police Jury Secretary Rodney Warren informed the jury that upon receiving the email that stated there was an immediate need for establishing a shelter in the parish, he called eight neighboring parishes.

“I asked to see if they operated an animal shelter and not one of them operated an animal shelter, including Lincoln and Bossier which are arguably more affluent than our little parish. Neither one of them currently operates a parish pound. Desoto parish is the closest one that I found and it runs them $500,000 a year,” said Warren.

According to Warren it would cost the parish approximately $1 million to build an animal shelter and about $600-700k a year to operate it. Desoto Parish recently attempted to pass a tax to cover expenses on running an animal shelter and Webster Parish did as well a few years ago.

“You have to worry about funding and in our neighboring parishes, they have not been able to pass a tax,” said Warren. “I know you guys have always been good stewards of the public’s funds and nobody wants to see any animals suffer, but this is another one of those unfunded mandates.”

In the instance of a law enforcement officer seizing a dangerous or vicious dog the law states that shelter shall be provided for the animal.

Warren solicited ideas to try and find a solution to this issue. He mentioned the possibility of establishing a “Paw in Prison” program. This program educates inmates on topics of rescue and training of shelter dogs that are later adopted by the public.

Warren also suggested enforcing more strict spay and neuter regulations in the parish may cut down on the issue of strays. Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance agreed and stated that bringing awareness to the public of the statewide leash law may also help.

Section 4-5 of the Pet Laws in Louisiana states that no person shall suffer or permit any dog in their possession, or kept about their premises, to run at large. Every owner or keeper of animals shall exercise proper care and control of animals so as to prevent them from creating or becoming a public nuisance.

No formal action was taken at the meeting, but the jury will continue discussions with the sheriff’s office and local shelters that may assist at this time.

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