RUSTON, La. (AP) — It's been nearly six months since Louisiana Tech University's mascot Tech XX died, and university officials say Tech XXI should be named by this spring if everything goes to plan.
Jim King, Tech's vice president of student affairs, tells The Times (http://bit.ly/Vg8mCt ) a major part of the delay is Tech's need to obtain a federal permit before owning another bulldog.
King said his office is working with the school's student government association, which owns the animal, to meet requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
"We had no idea in the beginning of this process that these requirements existed, but we are going to be in full compliance and do whatever we can to bring another bulldog to Tech," King said
The university is seeking to replace Tech XX, a four-year-old English bulldog, which died in July of heatstroke after an animal clinic employee left him outside too long.
To get a new mascot, Tech must get approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That process requires federal endorsement of the dog's care, including nutritional needs, assurance of a veterinarian on call or staff, and suitable living conditions. The university also must pass a preliminary inspection of where the dog will stay before a permit is given.
"From there, we do surprise inspections around once or twice a year to make sure everything is OK," USDA spokesman David Sacks said.
If approved, Tech will have to go back to the USDA annually to renew its permit.
King said Tech is well into the application process and is working to finalize a written care plan for the bulldog as well as establishing a mascot oversight committee.
King said the university cannot wait to finalize the process and welcome Tech XXI.
"A bulldog is so much a part of who we are at Tech," King said. "We can't wait for spring to come and hopefully introduce the Tech family and the world to Tech XXI."