A problematic and overreaching proposed animal ordinance could be voted on by the St. Landry Parish Council at its next meeting on November 16, 2022. The proposal includes vague definitions, dangerous dog provisions that are contrary to state law, overreaching and incentivized confiscation provisions, permit requirements for any person who sells or transfers a cat or dog, and would violate dog owners’ due process rights.
Animal owners are urged to immediately contact members of the St. Landry Parish Council and urge them to reject the proposed animal control ordinance. Instead, ask them to consider reasonable measures that will protect animals without trampling the rights of animal owners and parish residents. Scroll down for councilmember contact information.
Concerns and Talking Points:
The proposal features overreaching requirements for EVERY person who sells, donates, or exchanges (including giving away) a single dog or cat. In addition to individuals who transfer ownership of a dog or cat, every person who “raises” dogs or cats; or who breeds a single dog; or who is found to have more than ten unaltered animals of breeding age of the same breed on their premises would be defined as a “breeder.”
- A “breeder” would be required to obtain an annual permit and be subjected to twice-a-year inspections and unlimited additional inspections. News stories report the permit fee would be $500 per year.
- An occupational permit issued by parish government and a USDA Class A or B animal dealer license would be required to apply for a breeder permit, with no exemptions for persons who sell or give away a dog or cat or for breeders for whom USDA does not require or issue an animal dealer license.
- The St. Landry Parish President would be granted sole authority to establish rules and regulations for “breeders.”
- “Breeders” would be limited to keeping no more than 50 dogs, cats, or other undefined “small animals” of any age on a property at any time.
- “Breeders” would be required to comply with extensive and overreaching requirements, including a restriction on enclosing adult animals of opposite sexes in common cages, regardless of whether they would be housed together for breeding purposes
- Requirements for breeders/sellers are additionally complicated by an overreaching definition of “commercial kennel.”
Problematic dangerous dog provisions that are contrary to state law. A proposed definition in the proposed ordinance could lead to unreasonable and unnecessary consequences, including resulting in a dog being declared potentially dangerous if it injured a cat that strayed into the dog’s fenced backyard. Under such circumstances, the dog would be subject to confiscation and the owner would be required to comply with enclosure requirements and to provide proof of liability coverage. An appeal process, if any, is unclear. Further, the proposed dangerous animal provisions are not in keeping with Louisiana state law.
Tramples due process rights of animal owners. The owners of confiscated animals may be required by animal control – and NOT by a court of appropriate authority – to post a bond in the amount of 30 days costs of care for impounded animals. The required amount would be determined at the sole discretion of the animal control director. Failure to pay would result in forfeiture of the animal. There is no provision for refund if the charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty.
Overreaching confiscation provisions. The ordinance seeks to authorize confiscation of all animals on a premises under various, and often poorly defined, circumstances.
Incentivized animal confiscations. Of significant concern, fines and fees collected pursuant to the ordinance would be payable to the St. Landry Parish Animal Control Shelter and dedicated to the shelter, rather than being made payable to the parish government for allocation to animal control as part of the budgeting process.
No reasonable restrictions on nuisance complainants. Any person would be authorized to make an animal nuisance complaint against an animal owner, regardless of whether the person is affected by the alleged nuisance. A third nuisance violation within a 12-month period could result in confiscation of the animal. The ordinance would grant the St. Landry Parish President or his designee sole authority to determine appeals.
Unclear definitions. There are numerous terms used in the ordinance that are vague, undefined, and with conflicting usages. For example, there is no clear differentiation among animals that are “off leash,” “stray,” and “at large.” Therefore, it is unclear under what circumstances animals could be confiscated or the disposition process that follows. It is unclear under what circumstances it would be a violation for a dog to be off-leash while working, training, or in competition. Also, it is unclear under what circumstances a confiscated animal could be transferred to an undefined “suitable custodian” or “rescue organization.”
Resources: Please visit the American Kennel Club Government Relations “Key Issues” webpage for information and talking points about:
As of November 11, the upcoming meeting agenda was not yet available. Concerned residents should check the parish website to confirm the meeting date, time, and agenda.
Emails for St. Landry Parish Council Members:
Jerry L. Red, Jr.
Nancy A. Carrierre
Mildred D. Thierry
Harold L. Taylor
Alvin J. Stelly
Vivian S. Olivier
Dexter Q. Brown
Timmy G. LeJeune
Jimmie E. Edwards
Coby R. Clavier
Copies of messages of concern can also be sent to Council Clerks:
For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org .