The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) has received word that several Jefferson Parish councilmembers will request to defer the consideration of the proposed cruelty ordinance changes, which were scheduled to be considered today, until a future meeting. Councilmembers have expressed an interest in hearing Parish residents’ views about the proposal. Therefore, it extremely important that concerned Jefferson Parish residents contact the members of the Parish Council and express their concerns.
AKC remains concerned with several aspects of the proposal. They include:
- The proposed changes to Sec. 7-126(d) will require that no animal shall be left inside a vehicle or in a crate/carrier while unattended. While the AKC appreciates any policy attempting to ensure that no animal is neglected, especially when exposed to extreme heat or other weather conditions, the proposed ban fails to consider the ways dogs may be reasonably and safely contained and controlled in certain circumstances, including while hunting and at AKC-sanctioned events, like at the Lagniappe Cluster of Dog Shows. These four days of events, held annually at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center, provide an economic impact upwards of $500,000 on the local economy. A more reasonable alternative would permit reasonable containment indoors, or otherwise during acceptable weather conditions or when provided appropriate temperature control with regular monitoring of conditions.
- Proposed changes to Sec. 7-128(a)(7)(i) prohibits any person from placing “any animal on public display for the purpose of sale, offer for sale, barter or giveaway upon any street, sidewalk, parking lot, shopping center walkway or other public place.” (Emphasis added.) The AKC believes this wording is overbroad and if enacted and enforced can effectively ban purebred rescue and other groups from offering animals for sale (or “adoption”) at Pet Fest, held every year at Lafreniere Park, or at other similar rehoming events.
- The proposed revamping of Section 7-129 requires that individuals charged with animal cruelty and whose animal is seized must post bond for the animal/s care within 15 days. The proceeds of the bond would be effective for 30 days, and would require renewal for every additional 30-day period during the pendency of the case. Failure to do so at any time would allow the Parish Animal Shelter to place the seized animal for adoption, fostering, or euthanization. While a defendant incurs high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, it is likely that paying daily care costs far greater than what they would usually incur could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of innocence was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would effectively have had their property permanently taken by the government, with no recourse. The AKC believes that the proposal should be amended to allow waiver of the bond requirements for indigent defendants who prove they are unable to pay the otherwise required bond costs pending resolution of their case.
- Proposed Sec. 7-129(b)(1)(vi) would allow the animal shelter to place a seized animal for adoption, foster, or euthanasia, for “humane purposes” regardless of whether a bond was posted. The AKC believes that this is unreasonable. In the alternative, when a person or interested party has met the bond requirements (or, as recommended above, in cases involving a proven indigent defendant in which a bond requirement is waived), permanent disposition of a seized animal should only take place upon the judgment of a court.
Contact information for Jefferson’s councilmembers along with a link to a copy of the proposal may be viewed here.
AKC GR appreciates the assistance of local dog owners who have taken the time to reach out to the Parish Council and of Parish Council staff who have assisted them.
For more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) has received word that several Jefferson Parish councilmembers…