By Nicole Tull
The DeSoto Parish Police Jury Committee for the Animal Control met Wednesday evening at 5:00 pm. Connie Philipp, director of Animal Control, presented a proposed budget with many line items having notations. She is requesting $400,000 from the jury to help with the nearly $520,000 proposed budget for 2022. The remaining monies will be raised through the Friends of the Animal Shelter group, donations, fundraisers, writing grants, etc.
Philipp also explained that the fee schedule would be adjusted in an effort to accommodate the growing budget. In years past Animal Control has tried to work with the community when picking up animals. There is currently a $25 owner surrender fee but none for strays since no one can be found responsible for wandering animals. Animal Control has not been antagonistic thus far about enforcing fines for fences, dogs on chains, etc. as they want to have a good relationship with the community while still providing a service.
A full gallery of visitors listened as Philipp went on to explain the line-item notations on the proposed budget. The salary line indicates an increase reflecting personnel and needs. There were unexpected expenses incurred this past year due to the ice storm causing damage to the building. The facility is now 12 years old and is starting to show an increase in wear in which an increase is shown on the budget proposal maintenance line. The committee asked Philipp about available spaces for dogs and cats. She responded that there are 37 spaces for cats and 27 spaces for dogs inside. There is a space outside that can be utilized if needed that will allow for 6 more dogs. However, she insisted that it is not ideal to be at capacity as the animals are subject to disease and illness from the stress of being in confined space with other animals. Furthermore, the outside area is subject to the temperatures of the weather.
The committee then asked Philipp about the veterinarian from Marshall, TX that is working with Animal Control. They asked about employing a local vet. She responded that she has been able to secure a steep discount from the out of state vet that the local vets have not been able to match. She assured the committee that she is considerate of expenses going in and out, trying to alleviate stress on the budget.
The committee thanked Philipp for her report and voted unanimously to accepted her budget. The committee will present the proposed budget for a vote by the full jury Monday night at the regularly scheduled Police Jury Meeting.