New operations aim to lower pit bull population in Tangipahoa Parish
HAMMOND- For years, Tangipahoa Parish has been partnering with Wings of Rescue, an organization that flies dogs to other states where they have a higher chance to be adopted. Unfortunately, not all dogs are likely to be adopted and have to stay behind.
"After we've done several flights and you go through, you get a kennel that is mostly populated with unwanted mixed pit breeds, that you can do nothing with," director Chip Fitz said.
On any given day, up to 70% of the dogs at the Tangipahoa Parish animal shelter are a pit bull mix.
"The southern United States has a pit bull population problem, for sure our parish does. Pretty much all of southeast La. does and they're hard to move," Fitz said.
The unwanted dogs lead to overcrowding. One solution, not favored by many, is euthanasia.
"That's tax payer money that is being used to kill dogs, where it otherwise could be used for streets, fire services, ambulance services, all these services communities in Louisiana need," Wings of Rescue director Ric Browde said.
Tangipahoa Parish spends around $1 million each year on animal services.
"It really bothers me that we have to spend that much government funding on taking care of animals that people aren't being good owners and doing what they need to do to take care of their animals," Fitz said.
The other best solution to end overcrowding in shelters, and certain breeds from overpopulating, is spaying and neutering the dogs.
"Two things, spay and neuter, leash law. Do those two things, the need for animal services drops drastically," Fitz said.
Unfortunately the cost to get animals fixed has gone up in recent years, making it more difficult for owners. Wings of Rescue wants to help.
From now until Dec. 18, pit bulls in Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, St. Tammany, and Jefferson parishes are qualified for a free spay and neuter. Owners who participate will be entered to win $1,000.
"If we do just 500 spay neuters, we're going to take 250,000 pets that will not go into shelters in the next two years," Browde said.
Fitz says any dog with the slightest pit bull in them will be accepted. Tangipahoa owners can make an appointment by calling (985)-244-6960. If needed, Browde says the surgeries can be booked past the December date.
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