by Marion Marks
Caddo Parish Animal Services (CPAS) is a misunderstood and under-appreciated entity whose goals should be to improve the quality of life of citizens, while cutting tax-payer expenses and improving educational appreciation for the services they provide to animals and families with animals. No modern community can exist without the services they provide because there will always be problems with stray or lost animals, injured animals on public land and regulation of animals who coexist in our space.
In 2008, Matthew Pepper, then Director of the Department of Animal Services and Mosquito Control, wrote a letter of support to multiple granting agencies supporting Robinson’s Rescue to enlist a greater cooperative effort to reduce the number of stray, unwanted and abused animals in Caddo. Robinson’s Rescue was established with a mission of making this a reality. Robinson’s Rescue has become a regional resource that cuts pet overpopulation at reasonable prices and offers spay and neuter options in many cases for free. In 2013, Caddo publicly reported the total intake of dogs and cats was 9,756 with 7,852 animals euthanized. That is an 80% euthanasia rate.
The educational programs and Caddo’s partnership with Robinson’s Rescue have been rewarding to the community, resulting in a more humane environment for services as opposed to those of Caddo. However, the parish appears to have adopted a new philosophy concerning animal services, even to the surprise of some commissioners. When asked about the new “Spay-Neuter Clinic” within the current animal service facility, many commissioners were surprised and shocked that it was built without their knowledge. They did state that although they were aware of the line-item budgets approved, it was never their understanding that this was part of the plans.
So, a first Saturday adoption opening in March, there were five un-spayed females, and the second Saturday, promoted as the “Grand Opening,” there were seven un-neutered males available for adoption! How can this be consistent with a program whose very mission is animal population control and who just spent OUR money for a new spay-neuter clinic?
If the goal of CPAS is to be efficient and frugal of tax-payer resources, the construction and operation of their new clinic and animal services seems questionable, at best. If they are attempting to offer services, they fail to communicate with their audience of users and partnering organizations. Certainly many of them operate out of the pockets of generous volunteers, and they are uncomfortable with the apparent expenditures that need major refinement and definition.
The best recommendation I can give to the new CPAS program is that they sputtered and choked up to this point getting out of the gate. I can only hope that communicating the use of tax-payer monies and the services provided to taxpayers and partnering organizations becomes more refined and successful.