The 2021 Louisiana state legislative session focused on taxation and spending, with limitations on the introduction of non-fiscal bills. Legislation of interest to dog owners that was tracked by AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) during the regular session included:
Senate Bill 144, now Act 100, creates the crime of unlawful possession, transfer, or manufacture of animal fighting paraphernalia. AKC GR monitored this positive bill to ensure that it would criminalize possession of animal fighting equipment, while not prohibiting the lawful use of certain equipment, such as treadmills, that are used to humanely train, condition, and provide physical therapy to animals. AKC GR thanks Sen. Greg Tarver and Sen. Troy Carter for sponsoring this legislation.
Bills that did not advance:
House Bill 223 sought to define proper shelter for a dog as an upright, weather resistant structure with three walls, an opening, a roof, and a floor; free of waste and standing water; and of sufficient size for an animal to stand in an upright position, turn around, and make normal posturing positions. Animal carriers, plastic crates, and other enclosures designed to provide temporary housing were excluded. Louisiana dog advocates recommended friendly amendments to the bill that would include as proper shelter “igloo” style dog houses and other effective shelters, for example, stables and similar facilities that provide full protection to animals, but may not have manufactured flooring. The bill did not advance during regular session.
House Bill 231, among other provisions, sought to amend certain provisions under current law regarding the disposal of dogs seized in conjunction with an accusation of dog fighting. It would have allowed the appointment of a licensed veterinarian or other suitable custodian to care for and individually assess each dog to determine of the dog is suitable for placement. AKC GR supported HB 231 in principal, but had concerns about specific sections of the bill. It passed in the House with amendments, and did not additionally advance during the regular session.
House Bill 605, among other provisions, sought to levy sales and use tax on veterinary services and animal boarding services. The bill did not advance during the regular session.
AKC GR thanks dog owners, sportsmen, AKC club members throughout the state, and advocates who took action to protect the well-being of dogs and preserve the rights of responsible dog owners.
Problematic local ordinances continue to be proposed and enacted in parishes and municipalities across Louisiana. Dog owners are urged to watch local media, regularly check local government websites for information about proposed laws, and share this information with AKC GR.