POSTED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 4:34pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 5:11pm
LIVINGSTON PARISH, La (NBC33) — A plan to finally bring animal control to Livingston Parish is in the works. Parish President Layton Ricks has taken the first steps towards setting up a shelter.
Residents have been trying to get animal control in the parish for years. Right now, there's not much in place to take care of all the strays, but a lot of people are working hard to change that.
"They have so many dogs running around here. The shelter is full at the seams," says Joe Mitchell. He's talking about the No Kill shelter in Denham Springs. It's one of the only places in the parish to drop off unwanted animals, but it's not enough.
"We cannot take care of everybody's dogs until they die," Mitchell says.
Layton Ricks is trying to handle the serious critter concerns facing the parish. "You've got to start somewhere and I am starting and I am convicted to finish this thing out and I think we'll do it," he says.
The new parish president recently set up an 11-person committee to tackle the stray pet problem. He says they are passionate people with a variety of expert experiences and opinions. Some of them don't even live in Livingston Parish!
"They have the know how. They have the desire and the passion," Ricks says of his newly chosen team.
Ricks wants to set up at least four animal control shelters around the parish. "It will get the community involvement that you need because you'll be able to get a good volunteer base and people will be excited to adopt out pets, but the biggest thing is it will allow all the councilmen to have imput, which is what we want."
It's going to be his committee's job to figure out how to do that without much funding. That's because the parish just doesn't have the money to pay for animal control.
"It's coming up with some real numbers and a lot of of that, as you know, will be donations. It will depend on are people willing to let us use their building space and not charge us."
Ricks says he's confident that his team is up to the task. "There's a couple of things that people are passionate about," he says. "That's animals and then plants and trees. When you get those groups on a mission, they find ways to make it happen."
Some people have raised concerns that the animal shelter system will be No Kill, but Ricks wants to put that rumor to rest. He says the parish doesn't have the money to be No Kill. Instead, Ricks wants the goal to be to take in and adopt out as many animals as possible.
Ricks says this won't happen overnight. He expects it to take some time before the committee can come up with a plan to put animal control in Livingston.
Below, you'll find a list of the newly appointed Animal Control Board. Ricks expects them to begin meeting within the next two weeks.
Maurice Durbin, chair
Mary Kistler, vice chair