Two groups to decide future of animal shelter in Livingston Parish

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The need for an official dog shelter in Livingston Parish now has two groups working to make it happen. The idea is, two heads are better than one.

"We hoped that it would have been done by now," said parish president Layton Ricks.

According to the Livingston Parish Animal Shelter web page, the shelter building has been up for more than ten years. Yet Livingston Parish still does not have parish-wide animal control.

"We just got animals everywhere," Ricks said. "It's a huge problem."

The dogs that are at the shelter now, were either picked up by the Town of Livingston (they have an agreement to use the building) or by the Department of Public Works. They pick up vicious or abandoned dogs. They parish does not pick up stray animals.

Last year, Ricks formed a committee to create policies and procedures to get a parish-wide shelter and animal control up and running. That committee is also supposed to decide on a budget to operate the shelter.

Now councilman Chance Parent is also forming a committee to do the same.

"Looking for a veterinarian, looking for someone with budget experience, somebody good with animals that understands we can't be a no kill shelter," Parent said.

Parent plans to introduce his committee at this week's parish council meeting. He wants another set of eyes to look over what the other committee recommends, so the parish makes the best use of its shelter.

Ricks says he supports the idea of another group. In fact, he says he's been asked to have someone from his financial department join the other committee.

The committee formed last year is scheduled to make a report at Thursday's council meeting. Ricks says they have already decided to address the no-kill shelter issue by keeping dogs for longer (four to six weeks) before deciding to euthanize.

But finding a way to fund the shelter, is the pressing issue.

"Use part-time versus full-time, euthanize versus holding longer...all these different things have to be decided before we finalize and get to a number. Somewhere between $600,000 to $700,000 is what its going to take to do a parish-wide animal control and shelter," Ricks said.

To get that money, they'll need to find a recurring revenue source. Councilman parent believes that money may need to come from a tax.

"By October we might have something on ballot depending on what we decide to do," Parent said.

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