Animal rescues allege mistreatment at Caddo Parish shelter - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Animal rescues allege mistreatment at Caddo Parish shelter

These are just some of the pictures being circulated online alleging mistreatment at the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter. (Source: POLA Foundation) These are just some of the pictures being circulated online alleging mistreatment at the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter. (Source: POLA Foundation)

Less than 2 years after controversy surrounding the management of the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter led to the resignation of former director Everett Harris, concerns about conditions at the shelter have been renewed. 

Former Director Everett Harris resigned in October 2015 after months of complaints and clashes with animal advocates over the treatment of animals at the shelter and an offensive social media post that led to an apology and lengthy investigation. 

Things seemed to settle down and relationships with local animal advocates reportedly improved under interim director Chuck Wilson, who was formally appointed to the position in June 2016.

However, pictures of emaciated, malnourished and injured animals have been shared across social media over the past six weeks between Shreveport animal advocates and animal rescues from as far as Dallas, TX, and Tennessee.

"This has gone nationwide. There's people in Wisconsin, Washington, Tennessee, Texas, Florida that are trying to get dogs out of Caddo because of the conditions," said Susan Fant Votaw.

Votaw works with the POLA Foundation, a Shreveport nonprofit that works to aid injured animals in the area.

According to Votaw, the posts stem from different rescues coming to the shelter to pick up dogs to keep them from being euthanized. Upon pickup, these rescues are not liking the conditions they claim they're finding there.

Votaw recalls finding Ezzie, a dog she says spent 12 days in the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter with a broken leg and broken pelvis.

"It was an old injury," she said.

Shreveport animal advocates claim multiple animals are being placed in the same kennel without enough food to go around.

"There's a lack of oversight in that facility. That is of utmost concern," said Shreveport Animal Advocate Susan Crump.

"If you've got four or five dogs in a kennel then you put a pound-and-a-half, two pounds of food in there, how do you know what dog ate it?" Votaw asked.

"And if there's a dominant dog, that dog will eat everything," Crump followed.

Caddo Parish's shelter is a kill shelter but parish leaders report euthanasia is the lowest they've been in six years.

They claim they were down to 4,275 euthanasia in 2016 from 7,034 in 2010.

However, Votaw claims those decreases are not attributed to the shelter's efforts but rather the efforts of animal rescues to retrieve more animals.

According to a statement from the animal shelter in response to a request for comment, they're taking the newest allegations seriously.

The Parish of Caddo takes the ethical and humane treatment of every animal that is brought to our shelter seriously. The shelter complies with the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission’s Guidelines for Public Animal Shelters and follows shelter protocol as it relates to the adoption and rescue of animals that enter the facility.

The Parish is aware of allegations that have been circulated on social media.  CPAS takes in numerous animals daily, in various conditions, with some animals coming into the shelter in horrific shape. The CPAS staff works to ensure that all animals in our facility receive humane care, and all animals in our shelter receive proper nutrition/food and water, assessment and palliative care.

CPAS takes all allegations seriously and will continue to facilitate the humane treatment, adoption and reclamation of all animals within our Parish.  We cannot stress the importance of all pet owners to assist us with the high volume of animals that enter our facility. Please ensure that pets are property spayed and neutered to help control the pet population, and that pets are properly tagged and/or microchipped so they can be quickly reunited with their owners.

Votaw said there needs to be a change in the policies at the shelter as soon as possible to preserve the health of the animals there.

"I know we cannot save every one of them. I get that but there's got to be something in place," she said.

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