Proposed changes for Louisiana animal shelters move to the full state Senate

by

comment
Pups clamor for attention at the LA/SPCA. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Pups clamor for attention at the LA/SPCA.

Save the washable markers and cardstock. The days of “Missing Dog” posters may become a faint memory for Louisiana youngsters.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development on Tuesday moved to recommend to the full Senate two bills, one authorizing animal shelters to post pictures of animals on a social media account or website, and the other setting regulations governing the operation of animal shelters and training of personnel.

Sen. Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier City, who authored Senate Bill 64, said the idea to authorize posting pictures of missing animals came up after talking to an array of pet-owning constituents “from all walks of life.”

“Social media is free, and you can set up a page for just about anything,” Gatti said.

With a whopping 19 amendments, the bill also wouldprovide for animal shelter operating procedures and training requirements. Gatti authored the bill upon catching wind of some “pretty horrible acts” that occurred at a Caddo Parish animal shelter.

“Without going into too many of the gross and gory details, it was a substantial infraction,” Gatti reported to the committee comprised mostly Northern Louisiana senators.

Gatti, the owner of a “high-maintenance golden retriever,” attributed much of the animal mistreatment that happened at the shelter to a lack of training and oversight.
“You can’t hold someone accountable unless they’ve been properly trained.”

SB64 would mandate inspectors and shelter personnel to annually attend training offered by the Louisiana Animal Control Association, a provision that later was amended by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, and adopted to expand any agency or association caring for animals.

The Louisiana SPCA "tipped" the ear of a feral cat it sterilized as part of a trap and neuter program. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • The Louisiana SPCA "tipped" the ear of a feral cat it sterilized as part of a trap and neuter program.
Concerns brewed, however, within the rural pot of legislators, particularly involving the costs of training.

“In rural areas, we (sometimes) struggle to even have some of these facilities,” said Sen. James Fannin, R-Jonesboro. “We’d rather have an animal shelter of some kind and be able to afford it rather than just say we’re not going to have one at all.”

The other bill before the committee provided for the suspension of racing privileges for non-payment of boarding fees. The bill’s author, Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said his piece of legislation specifically deals with the offsite boarding of horses.

“If you have a horse that’s boarded on a track in Louisiana and you don’t pay [the boarder], they can revoke your license,” Cortez explained, noting the current regulation leaves to the discretion of the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

Senate Bill 195 would require the commission to suspend a permittee who has a “final and definitive judgment” rendered against him mandating payment of past due financial obligations to any boarder. It would also require the clerk of court to send a certified copy of that judgment to the commission and provide for the suspension period.

Cortez said boarders are unable to collect what is owed them by the animals’ owners even though the latter are making revenues.

“As the economy goes south, owning a horse is sort of a luxury in your life, so it’s the first bill you’re going to choose not to pay,” he said.

Add a comment