The founder of the LaMa Animal Rescue, Michelle Lewis, presented the idea of passing a mandatory spay and neuter law to the Webster Parish Police Jury yesterday at their monthly meeting. This idea was met with contrasting opinions from a couple of the jury members.
After Lewis informed the jury of the overwhelming situation the organization is currently facing with abused, neglected and abandoned animals within Webster Parish, District 1 Juror Bruce Blanton agreed that this law was needed.
“I don’t see a downside to having a program like that,” said Blanton.” Why would you not do it?”
Juror for District 12, Benjamin Jordan disagreed. “It takes away people’s freedom and now you’re having to pay for a freedom that you’ve had for a thousand years, and I am opposed to that. It’s a personal responsibility. If you don’t want your dogs to breed, then you need to get your dogs fixed. I’ve got two and they are both fixed. They don’t have puppies.”
Lewis said, “Everyone is not responsible.”
She explained for the people who would like to breed their dogs, they would be required to pay a reasonable fee for licensing. The majority of the animals that are being turned into the rescue are not purebred dogs. Most animals that are taken in by LaMa are mixed breed dogs and Pitbull’s that are starving or injured and left with nobody to take responsibility for them.
Jordan expressed his opposition even further.
“So, we are going to punish the people that are responsible. I don’t believe that I shouldn’t have to pay to breed my dog,” he said.
Bernard Hudson, juror for District 5, inquired what exactly Lewis was asking of the police jury at this time.
Lewis said, “I am not. I am just informative.”
Hudson said, “I don’t like dogs and I don’t like cats, but I do like the control of them. If the jury doesn’t do anything about it, before I leave here, I need your address and I will just give you a check for a donation to help out.”
Lewis had both Webster Parish Sheriff, Jason Parker, and State Representative and retired veterinarian, Wayne McMahen express their gratitude for what Lewis is trying to accomplish.
“We need to continue to look forward in the future to how we can do a better job in our parish,” said McMahen. “I think it’s an important part of making it a safe place for people to live and feel comfortable to live with all different ideas, whether it’s having to have them spayed or not. That’s a decision we need to look at. We need to look at what other parishes in our state have done. There are templates out there that are working better than others.”
Caddo Parish along with many parishes located in the southern portion of the state have already passed a mandatory spay and neuter law with Bossier in the process of following suit.
Webster Parish Animal Control Deputy, David Robinson explained that surrounding parishes have vet techs travel by bus to a nearby clinic, where they set up to have residents bring their animals to be spayed/neutered.
He said,” They go in the clinic, then they go out the door. There is no 24-hour holding period. It’s very successful and very organized. The police jury would need to get involved to get that started.”
The LaMa functions solely on donations and grants. This year they have saved 579 dogs and 37 cats. The organization has already paid to have 178 animals spayed/neutered. The amount of $13,525.54 was paid to Buffington Veterinary Hospital for these services with $1,425.00 paid to Stewart Animal Hospital and $112,575.91 to McMahen Veterinary Hospital.
LaMa is currently working towards being able to provide mobile spay/neuter clinics possibly for next year. The WPPJ is open to considering a mandatory spay/neuter law in the future.