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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Councilman pushing for ‘dangerous’ animal ordinance

Councilman pushing for ‘dangerous’ animal ordinance

Parish Councilman John Arnold is not giving up his fight for a more stringent ”vicious and dangerous” animal ordinance in Lafourche.

At last Tuesday’s parish council public meeting in Mathews, Arnold reintroduced a measure to amend the ordinance, one which he had unsuccessfully tried to pass in April.

“Since the last time we proposed this, we’ve had four attacks by pit bulls in the parish,” he stated. “These animals are vicious animals, and their owners need to be responsible.”

In an effort to garner more support for his measure, Arnold has tried to rework some of the things councilmen found wrong with the original amendment.

“We took away some of the fees and penalties in the April proposal,” said Arnold. “We took out some things which other councilmen wanted out.”

His earlier proposal called for vicious and dangerous animals to be annually licensed, with a yearly fee of $25, for any animal three months of age or older.

That part of the amendment has been removed.

But his amendment still calls for no owner to be allowed to breed any dangerous or vicious animal unless it has been registered and a permit obtained from Lafourche Parish Government. The permit fee is still $200 in Arnold’s latest proposal.

Additionally, he wants all dangerous and vicious animals to have microchip identification and all tattoo numbers and chip identification numbers to be registered with police agencies in the parish.

He also proposes that the ordinance should include defining a “dangerous animal” as any animal “which was previously declared dangerous by a court or complaint jurisdiction”, and any animal “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.”

While Arnold was the only councilman to vote yes on his April amendment (Gouaux and Caillouet were absent), some councilmen who had expressed dissatisfaction with what they called vague wording and oppressive permit requirements may now be in favor of his measure.

“We have no place in the world for vicious dogs. I truly believe that people need to be more responsible for their animals,” Phillip Gouaux is quoted as saying in a recent Daily Comet article.

Lindell Toups also showed favor for the amendment.

“We’ve got to do something ... whatever they want to go with, I’ll go along,” said Toups in the same article.
Still other councilmen like Jerry Lafont express opposition to the measure.

“What will the ordinance change? What’s the difference? You can’t enforce this until the dog bites someone,” said Lafont at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Backyard breeding is what I’m talking about,” said Arnold. “Breeders need to ‘man up’ like gun owners who already have strict laws. I encourage the council to stand behind me on this.”

The proposal is set to be debated and voted on at the August 26 public meeting.