City says animals treated properly at shelter

By J. Anfenson-Comeau

jamieenews@bellsouth.net

The city denies any inhumane treatment of animals at the Eunice dog holding facility and has invited the Louisiana Humane Society to visit the site.

The facility has been under scrutiny this week following the announcement of an investigation by the Humane Society of a complaint

by a city resident who reported dead dogs and cats around the site, and provided graphic photographic evidence.

The inference was that the animals’ deaths was connected with the city facility.

According to Eunice Animal Control Officer Walter “Red” Davy, the dead animals were left at the shelter by persons unknown.

Davy denied having anything to do with the animals’ deaths. “I’m here to save animals, not to kill them,” Davy said.

Davy said that, because he picks up animals that have been killed in roadways, people leave dead animals at the shelter for disposal.

“They do it constantly; they just throw them all over the lawn; dead dogs, dead cats. Everywhere,” Davy said, adding that he believes the animals photographed were likewise left.

“I’m assuming the animals were killed and thrown in the gully by someone. We don’t dispose of animals like that,” Davy said.

Davy said that dead animals left at the shelter are bagged up and taken to the landfill.

Davy has strongly requested that the public not dispose of dead animals by leaving them at the shelter.

Several dead pit bull dogs have also been found abandoned in gullies on Perchville Road, approximately three miles away from the shelter.

Eunice Police information officer Brett Faulkner said that an officer had been assigned to investigate the Humane Society’s complaint.

Davy said that dogs are not euthanized at the Eunice facility, but after being held for seven days, if unclaimed, are taken to the St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter to be euthanized or adopted.

Davy said that the Eunice facility takes in approximately 10 to 14 dogs a week on average, and that he only takes dogs, not cats.

“It’s too time-consuming to take in cats. You’ve got the litter pans to clean, and it’s just too much,” said Davy, adding, “The city is not responsible for cats.”

The shelter does, however, loan traps to the public for dealing with feral cats, according to Davy, who recommends that cats be taken to the parish shelter in Opelousas.

Mayor Robert “Bob” Morris, who adopted his own dog from the facility, spoke in defense of Davy. “We absolutely deny any knowledge of wrongdoing and inhumane treatment going on out there, and anything said to the contrary, without proof, is a false and defamatory statement against Red (Davy).”

The mayor said the building is not an animal shelter, but merely a holding facility for dogs caught roaming loose.

A representative from the humane society has been invited to visit the facility next week.

Davy said that the holding pens are cleaned twice or more each day, and dogs are fed and watered at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The facility has a heater for winter, a fan for summer, and plates which can be lifted to provide ventilation or closed to keep in warmth.

Dogs are unsupervised for much of the day, however, as Davy is the sole animal control officer, and only works part-time in that capacity, his other duties being at the wastewater treatment plant on whose grounds the facility is located.

“We do not need a full-time dog catcher,” Morris declared. “There is not enough work for a full-time dog catcher, and spending taxpayer money on a full-time catcher would be unjustified.”

While Davy keeps a tally of dogs taken to Opelousas, he had not kept records of dogs brought into the Eunice facility, despite city ordinance Section 4:20, which states that the city animal control officer “shall make a complete registry, entering the breed, color and sex of such dog and whether licensed.”

On Wednesday morning, Morris stated, “Since this has been brought to our attention today, we are starting record-keeping as of this morning.”

Another ordinance, Section 4:21(b), requires that official notice of all dogs impounded by the city dog catcher be published in the newspaper.

Morris, however, felt it wasn’t necessary to follow this ordinance. “It’s been Red’s experience over the last seven or eight years that any legitimate owner who cares for their dog will call and pick their pet up, and it’s not necessary to spend the taxpayer’s money this way.”

The only means of contacting Davy to find out if the city has someone’s dog is to call the Eunice Police Department and leave a message.

Dogs caught by Davy are kept for one week unless claimed or adopted. If claimed, the owner must pay $2 per day for food and water, as well as a $25 fine for an at-large dog.

Adoption costs are $10.

Due to the high volume of abandoned dogs in the city, Davy urged anyone interested in adopting a dog to contact him.

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