Ouachita Parish Police Jury approves funding to help enforce leash law

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:25 PM CDT
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - The Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter and the animal control unit is getting some much-needed funding to fix a parish-wide problem.

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury approved a $100,000 budget item on Monday that will support the shelter’s purchase of a new truck and personnel. Trucks are used to pick up stray, injured, and dangerous dogs.

“It’s still probably not enough but it’s a good start on the problem we have today," said District B Juror Jack Clampit. The problem Clampit is referencing is the increase in loose dogs across the parish.

According to Clampit and the shelter Director Stephanie Mullins, nine “bite dogs” have been picked up in the last ten days. “Bite dogs” are dogs that have been documented for biting other animals or people.

Clampit said they’ve had more and more calls about loose dogs and attacks. He hopes with this new funding it can help the parish animal shelter better enforce the leash law.

“We definitely appreciate that we can get this extra help. It’ll help us patrol the areas better. It’ll help us pick up animals more that are causing nuisance problems," Mullins said.

There’s a statewide law against dogs being “at large” which says owners cannot allow their dog to trespass onto another person’s property. While the state law exists, it’s up to each parish to maintain it.

In addition, there is another state law that can determine if a dog is vicious or dangerous. Clampit said they’ve also had reports of dogs killing chickens too.

If a dog is reported, it has to quarantine at a shelter for 10 days.

“After the ten days, they’ve received a summons they will go to court, if they did not they will be released back to them," Mullins said.

Owners can be fined up to $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second, this also includes the fee to house the dog at the shelter.

Section F. of the law reads:

Any person who fails to restrain and confine a dangerous dog as ordered by the court shall be guilty of contempt and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

Clampit wants this to also be a lesson for dog owners who may not be aware of the law.

“Yes, you have rights but understand that your rights end at your property line," he said. "You have no right to run your animals on somebody else’s property. You have to keep them up, you’re liable for them.”

Clampit said that the new funds to buy the fourth truck and add an extra staff member should take effect at the beginning of 2021.

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