The Lafourche Parish Council has finally passed a more stringent dog ordinance, but how much “teeth” the law actually has remains to be seen.
By a 7-2 vote, parish law will require dog owners whose animals have been deemed “dangerous” to be properly registered and insured.
Daniel Lorraine and Jerry Lafont voted against the measure.
A “dangerous” animal is now defined by the ordinance as “one which when unprovoked has killed, seriously bitten or otherwise caused severe injury to any human or animal on or off the property of the animal.”
The registration requirement for breeding of “dangerous” animals will include a permit fee.
By the wording of the ordinance, “no owner shall be allowed to breed any dangerous or vicious animal unless it has been registered and a permit has been obtained from Lafourche Parish Government. The breeding permit fee shall be two hundred dollars ($200).”
Registration includes the animal being tattooed and micro-chipped for identification purposes, at the owners’ expense. The tattoo number and the identifying microchip must be provided to all police agencies within Lafourche Parish by the animal’s owner.
Additionally, owners of these animals will be required to carry liability insurance in the amount of at least $500,000 to cover property damage or bodily injury caused by the animal.
The ordinance, initiated by Councilman John Arnold after several dog attacks on residents of Lafourche and Terrebonne, has been debated since April.
“The key issue is insurance to protect the victims,” said Arnold.
Phillip Gouaux backed Arnold on the measure.
“This ordinance is going to enlighten a lot of people who have animals. If you have a vicious animal, and it attacks somebody and you don’t follow the law, you are going to suffer the consequences,” said Gouaux.
As to the rather high breeding permit fee, Arnold argued that it will stop “backyard breeding” and irresponsible owners.
Several councilmen argued that the law will be unenforceable.
“It’s the right idea, but it’s like controlling guns. Who’s gonna enforce the chips and tattoos? People who don’t follow the laws are not gonna follow this,” said Joe Fertitta.
“I don’t like the fees (in the ordinance). We have too many rules and laws; too many restrictions. It’s not going to be enforced. Even though we pass it, you can’t stop the dog from biting,” remarked Lorraine.
Likewise, Jerry Lafont argued that enforcement is impossible.
“The court has to declare it vicious, right? There comes a time when legislation is overboard. I can’t support this,” he said.
But most councilmen agreed that something must be done and that the ordinance is a positive step in controlling dog attacks.
“Enforcement may be difficult, but the ordinance will bring attention to the problem. Just because it’s not enforced does not mean we shouldn’t do this. We need to do our jobs,” said Aaron Caillouet.
Photo source: wikipedia
Posted on Fri, August 29, 2014
by Buster Avera, Contributing Writer