Lafourche Council strikes down push to beef up vicious animal enforcement
MATHEWS, LA (WVUE) -
While Lafourche Parish already has a vicious and dangerous animals law on the books, on Tuesday council members considered a measure to add more enforcement and new teeth to it.
"You need to have the proper housing. You need to make sure these animals are spayed and neutered. We need to stop the backyard breeding," said Councilman John Arnold, author of the new ordinance. "We need to get these dogs micro chipped in case they're lost, they can be returned to their owners."
After lengthy debate, the council voted down the measure by a vote of 6-1.
Arnold's plan called for owners of pit bull and other animals deemed vicious to get special permits for their animals.
But some spoke out against it, calling the proposal unfair.
"I think we're barking up the wrong tree here," said veterinarian Lionel Delahoussaye. "This is a personal problem with people, not necessarily the animal."
The push to strengthen the law came in response to an attack in neighboring Terrebonne Parish in March.
According to authorities, a 130-pound dog mauled 4-year-old Mia DeRouen inside an apartment in Houma. DeRouen died from her injuries. Her mother was also injured in the attack.
"All I'm saying is, if we can save one life and make our parish a safer place - that's why every member of this council was put here, to make this parish a better place," Arnold said.
However, other council members raised questions about the parish's ability to enforce the proposal and said it's too vague.
"We (already) have the laws on the books to cover it. Why do you want to supersede the state laws? I can't support it," said Councilman Joe Fertitta.
With the measure being voted down, the existing Lafourche vicious animals ordinance remains in effect.