Public shelters subject of new legislation


New Orleans – Louisiana Animal Welfare Commissioner Juanita Murphy traveled to Baton Rouge to witness the signing of SB 216 by Governor John Bel Edwards. Based on Murphy’s work with the Natchitoches Humane Society, Senator Gerald Long, asked her to serve on the LAWC commission. She has served since 2013 with 12 other appointees and acts as treasurer for the commission.

The Humane Society of Louisiana, an animal advocacy organization based out of New Orleans, has been inspecting public and private animal shelters since its inception in 1988. A high number of animal shelters operating in the rural areas of the state are substandard and sometimes fail to provide basic care for animals placed in their care. Many often consist of a single row of cages at the edge of town and half of the 64 parishes in Louisiana do not have a single sheltering facility for stray or unwanted companion animals.

The Humane Society of Louisiana, realizing that more needs to be done to help shelters get into compliance, introduced SB 216 with the help of State Senator Troy Carter. The bill, which passed with amendments, asks shelters to register with the LAWC and submit contact information and annual reports on the number of animals housed, euthanized, adopted or returned to owners. Their statistics will help all agencies identify problem areas and try to shift resources where they are most needed.