Louisiana Animal Control Association
Interview with Charles “Chip” Fitz
Director, Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control, LA
NACA recently sat down with “Chip”, Director of the Tangipahoa Parish Animal Control in LA and the is the President of the Louisiana Animal Control Association (LACA). LACA was recognized in 2022 by NACA as the State Association of the year and we wanted to share with you some of the brilliant insights he shared with us!
What value does having a state association bring to the members/officers in your area?
There are so many reasons for the association. We strive to raise the level of professionalism throughout the state. In our effort to achieve this, we offer specialized training in things like control pole training, bite stick training, pepper spray use, officer safety, humane trapping, safe handling of animals, report writing, field investigations, cruelty investigations, etc. We work diligently to have a general one-stop training to prepare new officers and kennel personnel alike as well as offer more in-depth training for seasoned officers and kennel personnel. We include topics like disease control, cleaning techniques, core vaccines, etc. However, for me, one of the most important aspects is networking. Networking not only gives local contacts but also boosts morale by being reminded that we are all in this together. It sets an atmosphere of statewide cooperation. I feel that this is one of the biggest assets of the program. We combine our conference with a chemical capture class to offer as much as possible.
What are some of the tips, and tactics that LACA uses to grow its state association?
Each year we try to reach out to all animal services organizations to help to get all included in the training. We offer scholarships for those that cannot afford to attend. We stay in contact with members to try and make sure that we offer training in the areas that are the most needed. We look for venues in different areas of the state and we try to offer some type of after-hours program as well to keep the training as interesting and fun as possible.
What do you think the future of state associations for animal control looks like or what would you like to see?
For the future, I feel that each state having an association is imperative. I would hope that one day we would even be having multi-state conferences where two or more states could combine with workshops on trends within jurisdictions and new strategies toward lifesaving for animals. Sharing success stories and programs that worked on decreasing intakes and on achieving owner compliance. As I mentioned previously this would also be a pathway to networking that would be valuable in times of disaster etc.
How does one become the NACA State Association of the Year? What guidance or advice do you have for other state associations aspiring for this prestigious recognition?
In becoming the Association of the year, the first step would be to make sure that you get nominated. On top of that make sure that you are offering good training in an organized program and working towards helping to raise the level of professionalism in your state. With us, we include NACA registration in our (state association) registration to help keep all attendees connected and informed on the national level as well.
In states with no state association for animal care and control, do you have any guidance on where to start or what they might want to consider/do before starting one?
For the states, without a state association, I would recommend that you attend a full conference of one of the states that do have an association and that is offering annual training. Talk to some of your jurisdictions and see about starting an interest. You could even start by partnering with an existing association for training and to get established before going all in. We periodically get attendees from our adjoining states. Anyone interested in trying to start a state association and training would be welcome to come to observe at one of our annual conferences.
Thank you “Chip”! NACA is honored to have recognized LACA and all the amazing hard work your state association does!