Citizens unite to demand changes at Caddo animal shelter

Published: Oct. 15, 2013 at 7:57 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2013 at 8:13 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A group of animal advocates has united to push for changes at the Caddo Parish animal shelter.

At Monday's Caddo Parish Commission meeting, several stood to tell commissioners about concerns they have about how Caddo Parish Animal Control is operated.

Karen Dent told commissioners about her experience with the shelter. Dent described her frustration with not being able to reach anyone at the shelter when her dog, Blue, was picked up one weekend after a tree fell on her fence.

When she finally reached someone, she says she was told they had the dog and that she could pick him up on Monday. "When he was picked up, I was thinking, 'Thank God they picked him up,' so I was thinking he's safe at the animal shelter"

Her relief turned to heartache when she showed up to get her golden retriever and learned he had been put down. "I went and saw him. It was Blue, and this is all we have left," recalled Dent, clutching a box of Blue's remains.

Dent's complaint was one of several shared with the commission. Others expressed concerns about the euthanization rate at the shelter, as well as with the attitudes of shelter staff and with the shelter hours. Pet Education Project founder Erica Callais, who has worked with the shelter on outreach projects, also spoke before the commission. Callais recently sent a letter to the commission demanding changes in the shelter's operations and hours.

Callais has also formed a Facebook Page called Citizens for Change at Caddo Animal Shelter, describing it as "A community movement to bring about change to Caddo Parish Animal Shelter. Caddo Parish Animal Shelter is among the least productive municipal shelters in our country that euthanizes nearly 10,000 animals per year."

Commissioners agreed to form a committee to look into policy changes at the shelter, and "hit the restart button" and get to the bottom of the problems.

Animal Control Director Everett Harris has declined to comment on the complaints.

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