Pet overpopulation issues addressed in St. James Parish

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

VACHERIE – More than 25 people attended a recent meeting at the St. James Library to discuss the need for animal control services in the parish. Many in the room told stories of rescuing cats and dogs from harrowing situations, often without any help from any agency or organization. Many also told of spending thousands of dollars out of their own pocket to nurse injured or abandoned animals back to health.

Representatives from the parish President’s office, the Sheriff’s department, and the Gramercy Chief of Police attended and spoke of the need to join together to construct a shelter and provide services. The Humane Society of Louisiana (HSLA), which facilitated the meeting, called it productive and long overdue.

Attendants developed a four-prong approach to building a local shelter: 1) seek funding from the state during the next legislative session; 2) collect rabies vaccination fees as a source of recurring revenue; 3) seek private and parish funding and 4) establish a non-profit that can supplement the work of the parish and raise additional funds. The group also agreed to form a Cat Support Task Force since many shelters no longer accept cats, and the parish has a large and ever-going population of outdoor cats.

For the past several years, residents and law enforcement officials have had to use the services of neighboring parishes, such as Ascension, but those parishes’ resources are stretched to their limits.

The group plans to meet again in September and will invite Parish President Pete Dufresne and Sheriff Willy Martin to attend.

“I was grateful and impressed by the turnout. I am also grateful to all the rescuers who have been toiling for years without any formal structure or support from the community, and I was impressed with the heartfelt convictions of those who attended. Like many members of our group, they see the need to finally address the issue on a parish-wide basis and to form alliances with government agencies, individuals, businesses, foundations, and humane organizations. We can only solve this problem with all the stakeholders coming together,” says Jeff Dorson.

Those willing to get involved can contact the Humane Society at The group plans to meet with officials and residents in parishes throughout the state during the next several months and years. They have recently held meetings in Livingston and Avoyelles Parishes and addressed the Jefferson Parish Council.

Established in 1988, the Humane Society is one of the largest animal protection organizations in the state. For more information, please visit its website at