NEW IBERIA, La. — Following concerns from animal safety advocates, a new manager will lead Iberia Parish Animal Control.
Iberia Parish President M. Larry Richard confirmed to KATC he has offered the position to someone, but because of the hiring process, he could not disclose who that person is.
However, he, along with local rescue organizations, is hoping this will improve the relationship between animal rescuers and the shelter.
“Of course, they need to be able to work with rescuers, but you need to be able to manage the facility," said Richard about the qualifications of a new leader. "We have an ordinance that we have to follow, we have government rules that we have to follow, we have things that you have to do in order to manage the facility. You have to be able to manage your employees, do budgets, several things that a manager does. And the person that we picked I feel is going to do really good at this, I really do.”
The president also added he will be more involved in shelter operations in the future.
"I feel some of the things, I'm hearing is an easy fix," he said. "Very, very easy fix.”
Animal rescuers tell KATC they are also in the dark regarding who the new manager could be, but they're looking forward to a better relationship with the shelter.
“We are very excited to hear that there is going to be a full-time manager," said Tracy Davenport, president of Louisiana Imagine No Kill. "We have been pushing for that for the last year. We're just all curious to see who it's going to be. Of course, we are anxious to hear. We are really hoping it’s somebody who is rescue friendly, and motivated and hardworking because that’s what it takes to do this job, and we’re just looking forward to working with whoever is here."
She says there's room for improvement at the shelter, aside from the hiring of a full-time leader.
“There are some structural improvements that need to be done, and there’s a couple of guys here looking at that today and see what they can do in terms of help," she said.
Davenport hopes another full-time employee is hired to help run the shelter's daily operations.
Richard says some changes are already taking place at IPAC.
“Communicating more with some of the rescuers, trying to get them to understand what it is that you have," said Richard. "Some of the things that we’re doing right now, I just told you we had 41 animals, we're shooting video and the pictures. The animals that are currently in the shelter, we are exposing them to the rescue groups and networking with rescues, and of course that’s something that we want to continue to do.”
The change in leadership comes after animal safety advocates expressed concern regarding the way interim director Herff Jones was running the shelter. They said some animals were put down prior to being contacted to see if rescuers could assist with the dogs.
KATC reached out to Jones for comment on the allegation, among other topics regarding IPAC, but we have not heard back.
Jones was put in the position by Parish President Richard.
“Someone has to be in charge of this facility and I picked him to do it and I’m glad I picked him," he said. "The person that we picked to become the shelter manager, I’m glad I picked that person, we just have to get through the process to get that person hired.”
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