Jul 14, 2014 6:32 PM by Dave Fields
Following an Acadia Parish Animal Control investigation of the deaths of two dogs impounded by the town of Basile, the Acadia Parish Animal Control (APAC) supervisor reports that he has cited a Basile town employee on two counts of animal cruelty.
Animal Control Supervisor Tim Benoit, who works for Acadia Parish Police Jury, explained that the APAC's citations against the Basile employee in charge of caring for impounded dogs come as a result of an investigation conducted at the request of the Louisiana Humane Society. According to his investigation, Benoit said, the employee had neglected the animals, including two dogs that died within less than a week of impoundment. Benoit said he did not see the alleged violations as criminal in nature.
"It's a civil matter," Benoit said.
Benoit said that, although Basile is divided between Evangeline and Acadia Parishes, the shelter resides in Acadia Parish, allowing his office to conduct an investigation into the sudden death of the two animals.
The two dogs, Vick and Fancy, were only four-years-old and were in good health at the time they were impounded, according to the dogs' owners, Basile residents Cynthia and Royce Johnson. Benoit said he wrote the employee a citation for violating Section 4-35 of Ordinance 1060 of the Acadia Parish Police Jury Policies and Procedures. Benoit said that the employee has 30 days to pay his fine of $500.
Benoit said that his investigation revealed the need for improving animal care in Basile and that the the town's mayor asked for his recommendations on how to remedy the Basile animal control issues at hand. According to Benoit, the mayor intends to follow his recommendations and has taken steps in that direction already.
The attorney for Basile confirms that the town, in fact, did pass a resolution to prohibit the employee in charge of the facility at the time of the incident from working at the facility in the future. Prior to receiving the citation, the Basile shelter employee told KATC that he had been reassigned away from the animal shelter.
The Basile attorney also verified that Basile also resolved to upgrade and improve its animal control facility and to train employees with specialized training in animal control and kennel care.
Benoit said the town of Basile will employ an organization that he personally regards as "the Habitat for Humanity of animal shelter construction." Benoit explained that the same Pennsylvania nonprofit organization, Animal Lifeline, which assisted in the construction of a Rayne animal shelter, will be brought back to Louisiana to construct the new shelter in Basile.
Benoit said that he also expects the Basile Council, in a meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, to authorize the hiring of an official Animal Control Officer fo the Town of Basile. Benoit said the individual likely to assume that position is a current Acadia Parish employee, whom he expects to be trained at the expense of the town of Basile.
"We are going to correct this problem and we are make sure that this never happens again under my watch. I am sending an officer over there," Benoit declared.
Benoit said that he has consulted with David Marcantel of the Louisiana Animal Control Association to coordinate an effective plan to provide better animal control in Basile.
"Just give me some time. We will get this fixed," Benoit added.