The Hammond, Louisiana city council voted unanimously to strengthen municipal ordinances on the control of dogs deemed to be dangerous and vicious. The ordinance was changed after months of careful study and consultation with animal welfare groups and the city’s attorney.
You may recall that back in May, Hammond officials originally instructed the city attorney to draft an ordinance regarding the keeping of vicious dogs, especially pit bulls. The council decided against a breed specific ordinance because of the problems and legal implications of identifying certain dogs as dangerous based on their breed alone.
One major change in the revised ordinance is requiring that an animal be declared dangerous and vicious by the Hammond City Court, and not by law enforcement officials making a judgment based on personal observation at to whether a dog was “dangerous and vicious.”
Under the new law, a dangerous dog is defined as one that, when unprovoked on two separate occasions within a prior three-year period, engages in any behavior that required a person to take defensive action to prevent bodily injury. A “vicious dog” is defined as an animal which, unprovoked, inflicts serious bodily injury on a person or to a domestic animal off the property of the owner of the dog.
Hammond officials are to be commended for taking the time to thoroughly research this issue, and for reaching out to experts and residents for their input. The end result is a law that will enhance the safety and welfare of all the members in the community – human and animal alike.