St. Landry Parish Animal Control wants restrictions on dog breeders
Beginning Wednesday, St. Landry Parish government officials will begin visiting rural parish communities to explain a revised parish-wide animal control ordinance that proposes stricter regulation of livestock operations commercial.
The ordinance, which has been reviewed by parish council members and made available to the public on the parish government website, could be considered for introduction next month, according to parish president Jessie Bellard.
Members of the parish council, however, have not discussed aspects of the ordinance at committee or regular meetings since Bellard and parish attorneys began creating the 37-page ordinance earlier this year.
According to the parish government website, the ordinance is still under review and was drafted by a committee, which included input from animal rights activists.
The ordinance also addresses occurrences of animal nuisance, impoundment of small animals, control of rabies, livestock, animal abuse and neglect, dangerous and vicious animals and handling of complaints. .
PREVIOUSLY:Former St. Landry animal control director charged with stealing animals and supplies from center
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Bellard said citizens interested in the proposed ordinance should also go to the parish government website to review details of the current animal control ordinance. Previewing existing and proposed orders should be done before public hearings are held, Bellard added.
“Over the next two weeks, we’re going to be going to Sunset, Krotz Springs, Eunice, and Palmetto and hearing from everyone at these town hall meetings. The ordinance took two years to come up with and now we want to put something in place,” Bellard said when he discussed the ordinance before a small audience at the Delta Grand in Opelousas last week.
Two years ago, with the assistance of the St. Landry Parish District Attorney’s Office, another parish-wide animal control order was presented to the parish council, but no action was taken. was taken on this document.
“The purpose of regulating who raises animals is for (the parish government) to get something in writing that will allow us access to ownership of puppy mills to ensure that the animals there are properly taken care of. “, Bellard said. in an interview. “At this time we do not have the authority to do this unless there is a complaint or the person occupying the property authorizes us to carry out an inspection.”
Bellard said that in some recent cases, breeders have moved dogs to different locations to avoid inspection.
The new ordinance will require animal breeders or dealers to annually obtain an operational license from the parish government that allows animal control officers to carry out a physical inspection of the establishment.
Once a breeding operation has been cleared by parish authorities, Bellard said, better inspection capabilities will be available for animal control officers to make periodic visits without notice.
“If those who raise dogs or small animals do things correctly, there will be no problem. If there are animals in their possession that are not being cared for, then that is a concern,” Bellard said. “Obtaining a license for breeders will create a paper trail that will allow animal control officers to better inspect their operations and those enforcing the ordinance to do their jobs better.”
The proposed ordinance limits breeders to having 50 dogs at one location.
In 2021, Anita Kay Belaire, who according to court documents operated a small dog farm between Grand Coteau and Opelousas, was arrested by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department and convicted on 174 counts of animal cruelty.
Belaire returned 135 dogs at the time of his arrest according to court documents.
She pleaded guilty to 4 counts of simple animal cruelty and was sentenced to 6 months in parish jail followed by one year probation. She also had to take a responsible pet owner course.
The ordinance seemed ready to be introduced several months ago, but Bellard told the parish council that he wanted to delay any formal discussion so that another section concerning bee colonies could be inserted into what had already been included in the original draft document.
“We’ve had complaints lately about bees becoming nuisances that swarm and pose a problem for individuals and residences,” Bellard said.
A section of the ordinance states that bee colonies can be destroyed if the colonies are deemed dangerous to the public.
Jeanie Casanova, who attended the Opelousas meeting, said she would like to see a section with a provision on spaying and neutering animals.
Courvelle and Bellard attempted to operate the parish animal shelter outside Opelousas as a no-kill facility, where the only animals that are euthanized are those deemed too sick or others that are dangerous. .
Casanova and Carrie Baird, who also spoke at the Opelousas meeting, said cat and dog populations had steadily increased throughout the parish because owners were not neutering or neutering their pets. .
“We have to stop the births. It’s a problem that can be solved so easily,” Casanova said.
WANT TO GO?
Here is a list and times of scheduled public hearings over the next two weeks:
Sources of Krotz: Wednesday, 6 p.m. at the Gary Soileau Community Center 216 Park St.
Eunice: Thursday, 6 p.m. at City Hall 300 S. Park St.
Sunset: Tuesday, Sunset Community Center 108 Leo Richard Lane
Saw palmetto: Thursday, August 18, Palmetto City Hall 224 E. Railroad Ave.