OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — In Opelousas, Parish President Jessie Bellard is clearing the air about the St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter

“So we do have some staffing changes at the shelter, part of our evaluation process has determined the majority of the people or employees that are working there were not following protocol or procedures so we took care of that and hired new people,” Bellard said. “Employees are going to have to follow the rules and procedures, it’s that simple, those who do not don’t stay.”

While making staff changes, Bellard said the shelter is also receiving help from the Bissell Pet Foundation moving forward.

The foundation is assisting in efforts to make sure animals are properly cared for, including additional staffing and even paying for animals to receive care from the vet.

Dr. Kim Sanders, with Bissell foundation, said, “Bissell is really here to make sure this is an ongoing community support group, that the animal shelter is a resource center. Whether that’s supplying the vaccine clinic that we’ll have in the spring. Or whether that’s trying to figure out ways to really assist with spay neuter because that’s the only way to keep the populations under control.”

With these new plans in motion to improve the shelter, Bellard and Sanders also respond to the increase in negative comments coming from social media regarding the shelter.

“I think it’s very common in any animal shelter or any community that is revolving around the shelter to find a lot of drama,” Dr. Sanders said. “And all of that just takes away from the animals that are in need. When I got there all of the animals are being treated appropriately, they were all being cleaned every single day, they were all being fed, getting water, and receiving medical attention, everything is up to date on the computer. All of the animals are receiving what they need right now.”

“I learned a long time ago when you’re in public office, there’s always going to be one or two people coming after you,” Bellard said. “We’re going to move forward, our government is going to move forward, and I know we’re going to get it done and we’re going to get it done right. Regardless of what people are going to say.”