Officials in Westwego, Louisiana are amending the city’s pit bull ordinance to make it more difficult for city residents to own pit bulls. According to a draft version of the city’s new ordinance, dogs’ owners must be at least 21 years old and have at least $100,000 in liability insurance under their homeowner or rental policies.
The move for more restrictions comes just days after a resident was attacked by her own dogs inside her home. One of of those dogs just had a litter of puppies. The incident led City Councilman Glenn Green to seek to strengthen Westwego’s pit bull ordinance, which was enacted in 2000.
Saying he is going to allow residents to keep their pit bulls, Councilman Green’s goal is to make it more expensive for residents to own the breed. Mayor Johnny Shaddinger claims responsible owners will have no problems with the proposed ordinance and the new regulations.
Under the proposal, owners must “install” microchips in their dogs to “track them if they escape.” Breeding pit bulls will be banned, and the dogs must be spayed or neutered. If not confined to backyards, the dogs must be muzzled and must be walked on leashes no longer than 4 feet. Licensing fees haven’t been set, but the punishment for violating the ordinance could include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
The mayor indicated the city council will wait to take action on the proposal until after newly elected members take their seats in July. Public hearings on the proposed ordinance will also be held.
As noted above, the city already has a pit bull ordinance, and the desire to strengthen the law is a clear indication that their breed specific ordinance is ineffective. Please encourage the city officials to focus on education to curb irresponsible ownership, as well as on dog bite prevention.
Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the current Westwego officials listed below. (Once the new members are seated, we will provide their contact information.) Please also provide city officials them viable alternatives and suggestions for their consideration. We recommend sending the city officials the NAIA publication, “A Guide to Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.” The guide has some excellent points that would help lay the groundwork for an ordinance that will address the problems in the city.
Talking points and alternatives to breed specific legislation can be found here.
Mayor John I. Shaddinger, Jr.
Council Member Glenn Green
Council Member Ted J. Munch
Council Member Ivy E. Rogers
Council Member Melvin J. Guidry
Council Member Larry Warino
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