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Comprehensive animal control ordinance sent to Police Jury

A draft of a comprehensive animal control ordinance will be considered by the Acadia Parish Police Jury when it meets in regular session on Tuesday.
Presented to the jury’s Legislative Committee by Lauren Casanova during committee meetings last Tuesday, the proposal sets forth minimum standards of care for animals and mandates the spaying or neutering of all dogs over the age of 6 month unless otherwise permitted.
“This is something I’m very passionate about,” Casanova told the three-member committee.
A volunteer at the parish animal shelter, Casanova, who was accompanied by Jamie Amy and Jamie Guidry, said the biggest issue facing Acadia Parish is overpopulation of animals.
“There are approximately 180,000 dogs in the parish — three for every person — and we have 18 kennels,” she said. “That leads to a very high euthanasia rate.”
Casanova’s proposal includes detailed mandates for the sheltering and tethering of pets and provides that parish Animal Control officers “may remove any animal from the property in less than five business days, if the removal is deemed necessary by the agency to protect the health and well-being of the animal.”
In addition, the animal’s owner “shall compensate the (Animal Control) agency for the costs of keeping and care of the animal(s) at a rate of $25 for every day” that the animal is kept.
The proposal also mandates that owners or keepers “must spay or neuter all dogs over 6 months old” unless permitted.
Exceptions to that clause include:
• a licensed veterinarian certifies that the dog should not be spayed or neutered for specific medical reasons; or
• the owner / keeper has obtained or has submitted an application for an “intact” dog — “not surgically spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian.”
That permit comes with a $50 application fee and a $200 annual permit renewal.
“The only reason a person would need to keep an intact dog is for breeding,” Casanova said, “and puppies can go for $300, $400, $500 up to $1,000 each.”
The proposal also mandates that female dogs cannot be bred until they reach the age of 18 months and are permitted one litter per year.
Penalties for violation include fines of up to $100 per dog for the first violation; $250 per dog for the second violation; and impoundment of the animal along with a fine of up to $500 per dog for third and subsequent violations.
A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, parish secretary-treasurer, has confirmed that Acadia does, in fact, have an animal control ordinance on the books but acknowledged that it is not as comprehensive as Casanova’s proposal.
Animal Control Supervisor Tim Benoit said he would look over Casanova’s proposal and consult with jurors concerning possible changes to the parish document.
The Legislative Committee voted to send the proposal to the full jury for consideration.
The jury meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 in the third-floor meeting room. The public is invited.

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