Parish’s new Animal Control division proving successful 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

In February 2021, the Webster Parish Police Jury and Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement to help with  an over abundance of stray dogs and cats.

Now, at the one-year anniversary of the parish’s new Animal Control division, the program has been deemed successful.

“The main thing is to educate the public,” said Sheriff Jason Parker. “People need to know, according to the law, that their dogs can’t just run loose and get on other people’s property.”

Parker said when he was running for sheriff, a lot of complaints were tied to the lack of ordinance enforcement for strays. 

“Normally, deputies were the ones who had to deal with the strays,” he said. “They would get tied up on a stray dog call when we had domestics going on or speeders.”

The Webster Parish Police Jury agreed to expend $4,000 per month to the sheriff’s office and $2,000 to Webster Humane Association for the spay/neuter program.

Parker asked a deputy working at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center if he would like to take the job with Animal Control, and David Robinson said yes.

A member of the Heflin-based Robinson family, David Robinson was reared on a farm with all types of animals. It’s in his DNA, which is good since the animals he rescues are often more than dogs and cats.

“If it’s an emergency or something they think I need to take care of, they will call me 24/7,” said Robinson, who covers the entire parish. “We get a lot of calls about cattle out on the highway and on other people’s property … bulls at large that crossover to try and breed with other people’s livestock.”

He gets “quite a few horse calls,” he said. “It becomes an investigation for me. If I were a regular deputy, it would be too time consuming, but this is what I do. Usually, I can find the owner of the livestock.

“I’ve gotten calls for just about every kind of animal you can think of, including one snake,” Robinson continued. Luckily, for everyone involved, it was a rat snake that just needed to be relocated.

And while not every animal can be relocated or adopted, that is still the goal of Parish Animal Control, since they have no “pound” in which to house them.

Robinson works with LaMa in the northern part of the parish and Webster Humane Association in the south.

“They are good about putting lost dogs on their website,” he said.

Over the past year, Robinson has rescued or caught 1,200 animals.

“This month alone, I’m at 43 up until February 17,” he said. “It was mostly dogs, and the sad thing is, a lot of these are fighting dogs that people throw out.”

Robinson said he would like to see the public do more to help the rescue groups.

“They’re suffering,” he said. “Everybody’s full. The public doesn’t know how bad it is. It’s devastating.”

Michelle Lewis with LaMa, said in 2021, her group transported more than 500 Webster Parish animals to be adopted in other states.

“We normally do not do local adoptions,” she said. “We have partnered with no-kill foster-based rescues in Washington DC, Maine and Massachusetts with mandatory spay/neuter requirements.”

The sheriff said he hopes someday to put an animal shelter at Camp Minden near Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

“It wouldn’t be one of the inmate programs where they keep them in their cells,” he said. “But we would have trustees take care of the animals, feed them and clean their kennels. It would be good for everyone.”

It was a lucky day for Lucky in August 2021, when David Robinson found him roaming the area around the police jury office. Lucky was housed at BDCC for his stray hold time and then was neutered and fully vested. He is shown with his new owner in New York.

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