When the small town of Moreauville, LA, enacted a breed discriminatory law targeting “pit bulls” and Rottweilers, it was a quiet affair. The law, passed on October 13th, didn’t garner so much as a blip online.
When officials sent a letter to residents demanding they remove their dogs by the first of December all that changed.
As of this post, the story has been picked up by USA Today, CNN, The View, CBS affiliates, as well as garnering some international coverage and attracting attention from celebrities across the nation.
Two petitions are currently circulating. One was started by the family of Zeus, who has become a media figurehead of sorts for the village’s breed discriminatory law. This petition has over 140,000 signatures. The other was started to focus on a general repeal and has over 10,000 signatures in one day.
The attention that has been given to the issue of breed discriminatory laws by this story has been remarkable. It has been the media’s driving behind Zeus and his family that has brought so much attention to this issue. We must stress, however, that this is about more than just one dog. There are many other families that are at risk. It is good that there has been something to galvanize people into action, but we cannot lose sight of the larger picture. Zeus’ owner, Joanna Armand, has also been attempting to bring attention to the other families involved. Unfortunately, the media has not yet picked up on the larger issues at play.
I was able to speak with two other people who are effected by this ban and asked them each to make a statement.
” I live in Moreauville, LA. I have 5 kids and a grandson. I have a pit bull named Sugar. My grandson is 2 and he has been raised with Sugar. I have a 14 year old son who has ADHD, bipolar, and Aspergers syndrome. When he is down he talks to Sugar…my dog has never hurt anyone or anything. She is a part of the family. It would hurt my kids and my family severely to have a member of the family ripped out… It is hell to love with the worry of if we’re going to lose our family dog, a part of our family and all the ban will do is hurt innocent people. The good have to suffer for the bad.“
“My Name is Cindy Devens. The ban in Moreauville, LA, is effecting more than just Zeus and it needs to be addressed…My dogs are emotional support dogs in a way too. I have a member in my household who is diagnosed PTSD and he relies on their love, affection, and his need for care. He needs these dogs too! We served our country for 6 years a piece. Both of us are Air Force veterans and the other member of my house is a combat veteran with 15+ months served in combat. We fight for our country and here we are fighting for our dogs! I’m appalled by the ignorance of this type of law/ban and it has placed a HUGE emotional strain on my household. There have been too many sleepless nights and emotional roller coasters since the papers were dropped off. No one understands just how bad this could affect someones psyche with these type of issues. We just moved to this town in July… I will not be overlooked just because I am new to town!”
The goal here is not just to keep Zeus with his family, but to have officials repeal the breed discriminatory law completely, keep all the families together and enact a law that will address the issues the community is facing.
This is about more than just one family. This is about more than many families. The fight against this law is about the loss of rights, due process, and a missed chance to help make residents safer in their community.
Residents approached the council with legitimate concerns about dogs at large. These concerns must be addressed. It is still unclear at this time if there is an animal control agency in town that would be able to enforce any law on the books. It appears that there are several veterinary clinics that contract with the city to house animals, in lieu of a formal shelter. City officials had included the name of a veterinary clinic in the meetings minutes, implying that this clinic would be tasked with the “disposition” of banned dogs.
This clinic has made a public statement saying that they have not agreed to this, and that they do not support euthanizing dogs for the enforcement of a ban. Unfortunately, some people had taken it upon themselves to attack the clinic personally. This attack is unwarranted and counterproductive. We would like to take a moment to thank the clinic for making a stand against breed discriminatory laws.
“We have agreed to be no part of this ban in Moreauville and were never apart of it. The paper of the minutes stating us as the clinic was done without our knowledge. A letter will be going out to the town of Moreauville this week stating that we will not participate in this ban….All doctors at VCA, both Simmsport and Marksville are in agreement that no dogs brought in due to the ban will be euthanized unless the dog has a history of viscously attacking someone and is unable to be contained to the owners’ premises…“
The latest reports coming from Moreauville state that enforcement of the breed discriminatory law will be put on hold until the council has a chance to meet and address concerns about the law.
Thus far, officials who have been reached have been open to suggestions that would meet the needs of the residents who complained about issues in the community. The situation has been extremely confusing because the way the ordinance that has been circulating reads, there are restrictions but officials and the letter residents received clearly state that it is a ban.
Some concerned residents attempted to obtain a signed copy of this ordinance, any general dog laws that are on the books, and the meeting minutes, but the town hall was closed. Thus far, these documents have been unavailable.
Alderman Penn Lemoine said the board will have a special meeting to address the ordinance. He also said that they’ll likely overturn the law.
From the article: “Part of the problem the village might need to instead address, Lemoine said, is properly enforcing the village’s leash ordinance rather than banning certain dogs.”
The most productive line of action at this point is to offer solutions to the towns issues. We do not know if the discussion will continue at the next scheduled meeting, December 8th, or if the board will meet before then. We will update accordingly as information becomes available.
It is imperative that residents attend this meeting to be heard. Officials have stated that they want to hear from residents specifically.