FRANKLIN — The St. Mary Parish Courthouse’s council chambers was filled with animal advocates Wednesday evening as several parish residents geared up to address the parish council on activity going on at the St. Mary Animal Shelter.
Janelle Yates, an animal rescue volunteer, was able to pass to each council member a packet of research that included testimonials from several local residents all alleging mistreatment of animals at the parish facility.
“This is really a sincere concern,” Yates said to the council. “It’s not to start drama.”
Some of the allegations regarding the St. Mary Animal Shelter included shoddy instrafructure, animals being hurt at the shelter and pets not being returned to their owners promptly.
The animal shelter has faced similar allegations recently after a former employee posted several photos on social media showing animals in unhealthy conditions.
However, during a meeting this year members of animal advocacy groups and members of the parish council said that the shelter seemed to be in good condition.
Yates disagreed Wednesday, saying that her group has been asked to provide evidence which she did with the information packet she submitted to the council.
Parish President David Hanagriff thanked all those attending for coming out for the issue, but was also firm in his position.
“We do not abuse animals at the shelter,” Hanagriff said, to laughs and boos from the audience. “We don’t neglect or abuse our animals, point blank.”
Hanagriff also mentioned that the Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s recent survey of the shelter showed the building and animals were in good condition. The parish president said a meeting would be scheduled in the future to hear out the residents.
In other business, Registrar of Voters Jolene Holcomb announced her retirement following more than 40 years at the registrar’s office.
“I was only 18 years old when I started here, I spent my entire adult life serving the voters of St. Mary Parish,” Holcomb said. “Now I’m hoping to spend some time with my grandkids while I still have time to enjoy that.”
Holcomb recommended the current chief deputy of the registrar’s office to take her place, but the decision will ultimately fall to the council.