Police jury looking for feral animal fix

Published 9:59 pm Friday, August 17, 2007

VIDALIA — A little more than a month after citizens first voiced concerns, the Concordia Parish Police Jury has called a meeting with local leaders to discuss the growing feral animal problem.

In a letter sent to town officials in Clayton, Ferriday and Ridgecrest, Police Jury Secretary Russell Wagoner said the jury has set a meeting for Aug. 20 to discuss the need for an animal control officer.

The letter was also sent to Sheriff Randy Maxwell, District Attorney John Johnson and Ferriday Chamber of Commerce President Liz Brooking.

Email newsletter signup

“We have a stray animal problem in all of the parish,” Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said. “There is a major problem in Clayton and Ferriday and a minor problem in Ridgecrest.”

The reason the jury has called the meeting is because the parish cannot afford to hold the entire cost of an animal control program, Ferrington said.

“There are some steps we need to go through, and hopefully after this meeting we will come to some decision as to what to do,” he said.

The issue was first brought before the Ferriday Town Council at their July meeting, and it was soon thereafter taken before the police jury.

The announcement of the meeting is coupled this week with an announcement by the Concordia Animal Welfare Shelter that it will have to temporarily suspend some of its operations to accommodate construction at its facilities.

Because of this, CAWS will only be able to continue its emergency rescues of injured animals, but will not be able to house any new animals, CAWS director Lisa Smith said.

The construction at the shelter will be an addition that will serve as an evacuation center for animals displaced by a disaster.

CAWS hopes to have as many animals placed in foster care as possible during the suspension of operations, Smith said.

“We’re very pleased to see the police jury has decided to call this meeting,” she said. “We’ll be really glad to see what ideas they have.”

One idea Smith said might work is a licensing program, in which animal owners pay an annual fee to have their animal licensed and tagged for identification in a database.

Owners of unneutered animals would have to pay more because they contribute to animal overpopulation, Smith said.

An idea police jury members have put forward is to have the entire parish declared an animal control district — similar to a mosquito abatement district — so a tax can be set to fund a program.

Those who wish to adopt or foster a pet from CAWS can contact them at 318-757-2297.