Lafayette Parish has its own dog laws that do not apply in the rest of Louisiana. These laws concern dangerous dogs:
Sec. 10-476. - Definitions.
When used in this article the following words, terms and phrases, and their derivations shall have the meanings ascribed to them, except where the content clearly indicates a different meaning:
Animal control center advisory board means that advisory board established and appointed by the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government.
Animal control officer means any person employed or appointed by the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, including duly commissioned police officers and/or animal control officers as well as any law enforcement officer within Lafayette Parish who is authorized to investigate and enforce violations relating to animal control under the provisions of this article.
Animal control supervisor means that person employed by the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government to act as the supervisor of the animal control center.
At large means that an animal is not under the direct control of the owner.
Dangerous or vicious animal means any animal that, because of its aggressive nature, training or characteristic behavior, presents a risk of serious physical harm or death to human beings or other animals, or would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being or property kept under the direct control of the owner. This definition shall not apply to animals utilized by law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties. The term dangerous or vicious animal includes any animal that according to the records of the animal control center advisory board or any law enforcement agency:
(1) Has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property, or when unprovoked, has chased or approached a person upon a street, sidewalk, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent mode of attack, provided that such actions are attested to in a sworn statement by one or more persons and dutifully investigated by any of the above referenced authorities.
(2) Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off of the owner's property; or
(3) Has been used primarily, or in part, for the purpose of animal fighting, or is an animal trained for animal fighting.
Direct control means immediate, continuous physical control of an animal such as by means of a leash, cord, secured fence, or chain of such strength to restrain the animal and controlled by a person capable of restraining the animal, or safe and secure restraint within a vehicle. Direct control shall not be required with reference to any government police animal.
Impoundment means the taking or picking up and confining of an animal by any police officer, animal control officer or any other public law enforcement officer under the provisions of this article.
Muzzle means a device constructed of strong soft material or of metal commercially designed to fasten over the mouth of an animal to prevent the animal from biting any person or other animal.
Owner means any person or partnership, corporation or other legal entity owning, harboring or keeping any animal, or in the case of a person under the age of 18, that person's parent or legal guardian. An animal shall be deemed to be harbored if it was fed or sheltered for three or more consecutive days. This definition shall not apply to any veterinary clinic or boarding kennel.
Sanitary condition means a condition of good order and cleanliness to minimize the possibility of disease transmission.
Under restraint means that an animal is secured by a leash, led under the control of a person physically capable of restraining the animal and obedient to that person's commands, or securely enclosed within the property limits of the owner's premises.
Sec. 10-477. - Procedure for declaring an animal dangerous or vicious.
(a) An animal control officer or any adult person may request under oath that an animal be classified as dangerous or vicious by submitting a sworn written complaint on a form approved by the animal control supervisor. Upon receipt of such complaint, the animal control supervisor shall notify the owner of the animal that a complaint has been filed and that an investigation into the allegations set forth in the complaint will be conducted.
(b) At the conclusion of an investigation, the animal control center advisory board may:
(1) Determine that the animal is not dangerous or vicious and, if the animal is impounded, waive any impoundment fees incurred and release the animal to its owner; or
(2) Determine that the animal is dangerous or vicious and order the owner to comply with the requirements for keeping dangerous animals set forth herein and, if the animal is impounded, release the animal to the animal's owner after the owner has paid all fees incurred for the impoundment. If all impoundment fees have not been paid within ten business days after a final determination that the animal is dangerous or vicious, the animal control supervisor may cause the animal to be humanely destroyed.
Sec. 10-478. - Notification of potential declaration as dangerous or vicious animal.
(a) Within five business days after concluding his investigation into the potential declaration of an animal as dangerous or vicious, the animal control supervisor shall notify the owner by certified mail or by hand-delivery of written notification of the potential declaration of the animal as dangerous or vicious. The posting of such certified mail shall be conclusive evidence of notification to the owner. The owner's refusal of said certified mail shall not, in any fashion, constitute failure to notify. The animal control supervisor, at his sole discretion, shall also be able to notify the owner by the hand-delivery of written notification.
(b) The notice shall inform the owner of the animal that the owner may request, in writing, a hearing by the animal control center advisory board concerning the potential declaration of the animal as vicious or dangerous within five business days after delivery of the notice.
(c) If the animal control supervisor cannot, with due diligence, locate the owner of an animal that has been seized pursuant to this article, the animal control supervisor shall cause the animal to be impounded for not less than five business days. If after five business days the owner fails to claim the animal, the animal control supervisor shall cause the animal to be humanely destroyed.
Sec. 10-479. - Hearing on dangerous or vicious animal declaration.
(a) The animal control center advisory board shall hold a hearing within ten business days after receiving the animal owner's written request for such a hearing. The animal control supervisor shall provide notice of the date, time and location of the hearing to the animal owner by certified mail and to the complainant by regular mail. The posting of such notice shall be conclusive evidence of notification to the owner. The owner's failure to receive the certified mail shall not, in any fashion, be used to defeat notification. The animal control supervisor, at his sole discretion, can provide any such notice by hand-delivery.
(b) At a hearing, all interested persons shall be given the opportunity to present evidence of the issue of the animal's dangerousness or viciousness. Criteria to be considered in a hearing required herein shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
2. Severity of attack or injury to a person or domesticated animal;
3. Previous aggressive history of the animal;
4. Observable behavior of the animal;
5. Sight and circumstances of the incident; and
6. Statements from interested parties.
(c) A determination at a hearing that the animal is, in fact, a dangerous or vicious animal as defined herein shall subject the animal and its owners to all of the provisions of this article.
(d) The failure of the animal owner to request a hearing shall result in the animal being finally declared a dangerous or vicious animal and shall subject the animal and its owner to the provisions of this article.
Sec. 10-480. - Appeal from dangerous or vicious animal declaration.
(a) If the animal control center advisory board determines that the animal is dangerous or vicious at the conclusion of the hearing conducted, that decision shall be final unless the animal owner applies to a court of competent jurisdiction for any remedies that may be available within five business days after receiving notice that the animal has been finally declared dangerous or vicious. The appeal will be a civil proceeding for the purpose of affirming or reversing the animal control center advisory board's determination of dangerousness or viciousness.
(b) The appeal shall be commenced upon the filing of a petition and the issuance of a rule to show cause by the owner of the animal that the animal should not be declared a dangerous or vicious animal. This civil rule shall, at the time of its issuance, be fixed for hearing not later than five days, including Sundays, half holidays and holidays, from the date of the issuance. It shall be heard by preference over all other matters in cases fixed for the same day and shall be heard continuously day after day until submitted for adjudication. Upon the trial of the rule to show cause the court shall determine whether or not the animal is a dangerous or vicious animal and then make any order deemed appropriate by the court.
Sec. 10-481. - Keeping of dangerous or vicious animals.
The keeping of dangerous or vicious animals as defined herein shall be subject to the following requirements:
(1) Leash. No person having charge, custody, control or possession of a dangerous or vicious animal shall allow the animal to exit its kennel, pen, or other proper enclosure unless such animal is securely attached to a leash not more than four feet in length. No such person shall permit a dangerous or vicious animal to be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside a kennel or pen, unless a person capable of controlling the animal is in physical control of the leash.
(2) Muzzle. It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper of a dangerous or vicious animal to allow the animal to be outside of its proper enclosure unless it is necessary for the animal to receive veterinary care or exercise. In such cases, an animal shall wear a properly fitted muzzle to prevent it from biting humans or other animals. Such muzzle shall not interfere with the animal's breathing or vision.
(3) Confinement. Except when leashed and muzzled as provided in this section, a dangerous or vicious animal shall be secured in an enclosure that is suitable to prevent the entry of children and which enclosure is designed to prevent the animal from escaping. The enclosure shall include shelter and protection from the elements and shall provide adequate exercise room, light and ventilation. The enclosed structure shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition and shall meet the following requirements:
a. A minimum of ten feet shall be used as a guide for proper length.
b. The height shall be such as to allow ample head room at any time when the animal is standing erect on two legs. Ample shall be defined as a minimum of four inches from the crown of the head at maximum height.
c. The width shall permit freedom of movement. Freedom of movement shall be defined as the ability of the animal to adjust posture without coming into contact with the sides of the structure. Minimum width shall be four feet.
d. Said enclosure shall provide proper shelter from the elements. The shelter may be external or internal, but if internal shall not encroach on the ability of the animal to move unobstructedly. If external, it shall be constructed in such a manner as to prevent the escape of the animal from seams or weak areas of the structure itself.
e. Such housing shall consist of at least three solid sides, a roof, a solid level floor and shall be large enough to allow for postural adjustments.
f. Such housing shall be constructed of material which does not lend to escape and does not cause discomfort to the animal.
g. The flooring of the enclosure shall be of such construction as to prevent tunneling or digging to escape.
h. Constraining walls shall be of such material and such size or dimension as to prevent and preclude said animal from biting through said walls, or the possibility of said animal escaping through damaged sections of said walls.
i. Said walls shall be embedded into the substructure and joined to roofing structure in such a way as to preclude the possibility of escape through seams or to allow the animal to become entangled or caught in such seams.
j. A covering (roof) shall be constructed to prevent the animal's exit or entry into the structure by means of climbing.
k. The gate or door shall be of equal or superior materials and construction to the walls.
l. Said opening shall be erected in such a manner as to allow for method of proper fastening and securing of said door or gate by means of a locking device.
m. Said opening shall be of such strength and durability as to prevent forceful opening by either the animal housed within or by juveniles.
n. The entire facility must be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
o. Additional requirements may be made upon inspection of the facility by the animal control supervisor, or his designee. Such requirements may be include, but not be limited to, adequate visible warning signs, larger gauge wiring, smaller mesh wiring, or structural change to insure proper accommodation of the animal.
(4) Signs. All owners, keepers or harborers of dangerous or vicious animals shall display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words "Beware of Animal".
(5) Liability insurance, surety bond. The owner of a dangerous or vicious animal shall present to the animal control supervisor proof that the owner has procured liability insurance or a surety bond in the amount of not less than $100,000.00 covering each animal so declared for any damage or injury that may be caused by each such dangerous or vicious animal. The liability insurance policy or surety bond shall contain a provision requiring that the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government be notified immediately by the agent issuing the policy or bond or by the company issuing the policy or bond in the event that the insurance policy or bond is canceled, terminated or is about to expire. The liability insurance, or surety bond, shall be obtained prior to the issuing of a permit to keep a dangerous or vicious animal. The animal owner shall sign a statement attesting that the animal owner shall maintain and not voluntarily cancel the liability insurance policy, or the surety bond, at any time during which the owner possesses the dangerous or vicious animal. The appropriateness of the liability insurance or of the surety bond must be approved by the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services of the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government.
(6) Notification of escape. The owner, keeper or harborer of a dangerous or vicious animal shall notify the animal control supervisor immediately if such animal escapes from its enclosure or restraint and is at large. Such immediate notification shall also be required if the animal bites or attacks a person or domestic animal. The person in charge of any animal which, at the time of its escape, has been declared vicious or dangerous shall also be personally liable for any damage that may result from the animal's escape as well as any costs of its capture.
(7) Failure to comply. It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any owner, keeper or harborer of a dangerous or vicious animal registered with the animal control supervisor to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this article. Any animal found to be in violation of this article shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this article shall result in a revocation of the animal's license and the permit providing for the keeping of such animal.
Sec. 10-482. - Permit and tag requirement for dangerous or vicious animal, etc.
(a) The owner, keeper or harborer of a dangerous or vicious animal shall, within three business days after the classification of an animal as dangerous or vicious, or upon acquisition of such an animal, obtain an annual permit from the animal control supervisor to harbor the animal. The fee for such permit shall be $50.00 per year.
(b) At the time the permit is issued, a red circular tag shall be issued to the owner of the dangerous or vicious animal. The tag shall be worn at all times by the animal to clearly and easily identify it as a dangerous or vicious animal.
(c) The permit for maintaining a dangerous or vicious animal shall be presented to any animal control officer or law enforcement officer upon request.
(d) Under any circumstance where an animal causes any abrasion, puncture, tear, or piercing of the skin by either biting or scratching a human being or domesticated animal, said animal shall be required to be micro-chipped, at the owner's expense, by a licensed veterinarian prior to being released from the Lafayette Animal Control Center or veterinary clinic.
(e) The owner of any animal declared to be dangerous or vicious must have the animal sterilized (neutered or spayed as the case may be) by a licensed veterinarian at the owner's expense.
(f) The owner of any animal declared to be dangerous or vicious must have the animal micro-chipped, at the owner's expense, by a licensed veterinarian.
Sec. 10-483. - Notification of intent to impound.
(a) When the animal control supervisor, or his designee, intends to impound an animal declared to be dangerous or vicious for violation of this article, he shall notify the owner or custodian of the animal, by certified mail or by hand-delivery of written notification, of the intended impoundment at least ten business days prior to the intended impoundment except as provided in the following section, 10-484
(b) The notice of intent to impound shall inform the owner or custodian of the animal that he may request in writing, within five business days prior to the tentative impoundment, a hearing to contest the intended impoundment and finding of violation.
(c) Upon request by the owner or custodian of the animal for a hearing pursuant to the previous subsection, a hearing shall be held within five business days after the request for a hearing. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing shall be provided by certified mail or by hand-delivery of written notification to the animal owner or custodian requesting such hearing.
(d) If the owner or custodian requests a hearing pursuant to the provisions of this section, no impoundment shall take place until the conclusion of the hearing, except as is authorized in the following section.
Sec. 10-484. - Immediate impoundment.
(a) An animal declared to be dangerous or vicious may be immediately impounded without a pre-impoundment hearing when the animal control supervisor or his designee determines such immediate impoundment as necessary for the protection of public health or safety. Such immediate impoundment may be ordered for any violation of this article or when the animal bites a person or domestic animal.
(b) The owner or custodian of the animal immediately impounded pursuant to this section shall be notified of the impoundment by certified mail or by hand-delivery of written notification within five business days after the animal's impoundment.
(c) The notice of impoundment shall inform the owner or custodian of the animal that the owner may request, in writing, a hearing to contest the impoundment within ten business days after the mailing or hand-delivery of the notice of impoundment.
(d) Upon request by the owner or custodian of the animal for a hearing under this subsection, a hearing shall be held within five business days after such request. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing shall be provided by certified mail to the animal owner requesting the hearing.
If you or a family member has been attacked by a dog, you need a Lafayette Dog Bite Lawyer today!