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City, parish reviewing vicious-animal ordinance

Last Modified: Friday, August 01, 2014 11:50 AM

By Justin Phillips / American Press

Lake Charles city attorney Billy Loftin said Thursday that he is working with Calcasieu Parish officials to address issues that Animal Services has with the city’s vicious-animal ordinance.

Residents in the Booker and Cessford streets area have complained to the City Council about dogs running loose in their neighborhood. Corey Rubin, assistant city attorney, said at Tuesday’s council meeting that Animal Services wanted the city to review its description of dangerous animals.

Loftin on Tuesday proposed an ordinance allowing the city to amend the definition of “vicious animals.” He said Thursday that the discussion remains centered on that.

“We have communicated with the Police Jury staff to understand what amendments are needed to cover the issues they have brought up,” Loftin said. “We’ll complete this process and then see how they respond.”

The city code defines a “vicious animal” as “any animal that has attacked or bitten any person or other animal without provocation.”

The residents told the council that three dogs have been attacked and killed by nine cane corsos, a muscular and large-boned Italian breed, living in the 800 block of North Booker Street. They have yet to report a person being bitten.

They said the dogs chase them, and that one even managed to get into a home. Booker Street resident Gwen Harris said Tuesday that a bus driver who takes children to J.D. Clifton Elementary changed the bus stop location in the neighborhood. Harris said the driver was concerned about the students’ safety.

Many residents said they’ve contacted Animal Services and the police, and they gave the council a document detailing recent incidents. They said nothing has been done.

Loftin said at Tuesday’s meeting that the ban on at-large animals should apply to the dogs. A review of the code shows that the section on nuisance animals could also apply. It defines “nuisance animal,” in part, as an animal that chases people or cars, along with one that attacks other animals.

Under the code, animal owners can be fined if two neighborhood witnesses who don’t live in the same house give sworn statements to Animal Services and if the agency finds the owner at fault. Four-time-offending animals will be impounded and destroyed.

Loftin said people should be careful if they find themselves around a dangerous animal.

“Follow the law. If you’re in danger, immediately seek help from the appropriate public agencies,” Loftin said. “Immediately contact animal control, then contact the police.”



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