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Opelousas dealing with animal control issues in light of pitbull attacks

Opelousas, La. - A legally blind Opelousas resident says she's afraid of walking the streets after a series of pitbull attacks on her and her guide dog.

"We don't want our citizens getting attacked by other animals," says Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum.

The statement may seem obvious, but after Agnes Courville stepped forward after her recent attack, it sparked a debate on how to stop it. 

"She did not want compensation, she just wanted something done about the loose dog," says Tatum.

Tatum says animal control knows the pit bulls and who they belong to.

Authorities say the dog's owners were not following a leash law.

"If you walk your dog or if your dog is outside, it's supposed to be on a leash," says Tatum.

Tatum says there is a $50 dollar fine for not following the leash law but the problem of animal control stems from an overload in the city.

Currently, there is no Opelousas animal shelter, only the St. Landry Parish Animal Control shelter.

That shelter is filled to capacity.

"When they are full, it affects us as a city because we have nowhere to place the animals that we pick up," says Tatum.

It also doesn't help that there is only one animal control officer who divides his time among several departments.

"He may be doing something else helping out and he has to get in his truck and come so it makes it hard," says Tatum.

As for solutions, Mayor Tatum says that a short term one may be putting them on the outskirts of a sewage treatment plant.

Far enough away from the actual sewage but in a large enough area with a field to build a fence and keep the animals at bay for the time being.

As for a longer term plan, it may be bringing back an old dog pound.

"It was off of Grolee St. at the old sewer plant and water plant at Grolee St. so there's even been talks about that...maybe re-opening that up," says Tatum.


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