DeSoto Parish animal shelter faces policy questions

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 8:32am

Every year, around 8 million animals arrive at animal shelters. Nearly half are euthanized because of health problems and low demand for adoptions. DeSoto Parish opened its first animal shelter in December. Now it's facing questions about its euthanasia policy.

At a recent parish policy jury meeting, some residents say they didn't know the shelter euthanized animals. Police jury members responded that the shelter has never claimed to be a "no-kill" shelter, even at its opening. Shelter director Kavon Robbins says many factors are considered, including an animal's health and adoptability, since the shelter cannot accommodate multiple animals indefinitely.  Since December, the shelter has accepted more than 1,500 animals.

Sarah Schneider volunteers at a "no-kill" shelter and says she'd prefer to see every shelter operate that way. However, some "no-kills" won't accept animals that are sick or injured. "A lot of them I know won't take it if they know the dog has a problem, or cat," Schneider says, adding that those who are accepted do have a guaranteed place for life.

That's not always an option at small shelters, though, which face limited space and resources. In DeSoto Parish, police jury members are saying more education is needed so the public is aware of those constraints...and fully understand all shelter policies before dropping off an animal.

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