Donaldsonville OKs stray-animal agreement with Ascension

City Council members unanimously approved an agreement with Ascension Parish government for housing stray animals picked up within the city limits.

However, the agreement may soon bring with it changes to the city’s laws that could hold owners of captured pets more liable for fees incurred.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. said during Tuesday’s council meeting that under the previous agreement, the city paid a $15,000 annual fee to the parish to shelter animals captured by city workers.

However, the parish recently changed its fee structure for animal impoundment, after nearly closing its Sorrento-based shelter due to heavy deficits.

For the next fiscal year, funding for the shelter will come through an intergovernmental agreement between parish government and the parish’s three municipalities — Donaldsonville, Gonzales and Sorrento.

According to the new agreement, the parish will charge $175 per delivered animal impounded and $225 per animal picked up in the municipalities by parish personnel.

The city has averaged about 100 animals impounded annually in recent years, the mayor said. Given that figure, the rate increase would mean about a $25 increase per animal impounded from the city.

Sullivan said the city may also revise its own ordinance to possibly charge the owners of loose animals that are impounded.

“We’re taking a loss each time we bring an animal to the shelter,” he said.

The council will address possible changes to its animal control ordinance at its next Committee of the Whole meeting.

Other issues coming before the council included:

CITY IMAGE: Councilmen decided to revisit the city’s ordinances regarding blighted property, in efforts to aid its volunteer group working to improve the city’s image.

Reporting on behalf of the city’s Louisiana Development Ready Communities Committee, co-Chairwoman Robyn Penn Delaney asked the council to address issues such as high grass, abandoned vehicles and dilapidated structures.

“We’re looking at the city as a whole, and these are the issues we’re seeing that need to be addressed,” she said.

The committee is tasked with finding ways to improve the city’s image in efforts to bring in new businesses and residents.

Council members said they would address the specific ordinances in question at their next Committee of the Whole meeting, scheduled for July