UPDATED INFORMATION HERE: stopbsl.org/2014/11/24/moreauville-la-update-officials-pledge-to-suspend-enforcement-of-ban
On October 13th the small town of Moreauville, Louisiana, passed a ban on pit bull type dogs and Rottweilers.
The city has a little over 900 residents and no online presence.
Officials claim that they passed the ban at the request of several residents. These residents approached the council saying that they were unable to walk in certain neighborhoods because “these dogs were basically running along town.” Alderman Penn Lemoine said the ordinance was enacted to “appease” these residents.
Officials say that there have been attacks but none have been documented. This begs the question, what sort of animal control is in place, or was in place, before the ban? Was it being enforced? At the very least, it is clear that any laws that were in place were not being enforced. We are attempting to get a copy of any pertinent legislation for review, but at this time, it is unclear if there are any laws on the books, or if there is an animal control agent tasked with enforcement.
The law does not have a grandfather clause. This means that every single dog that matches the targeted type is at risk of being confiscated and killed. A letter was sent out to residents saying that they must get rid of their dogs by December 1st or they will be confiscated and taken to a “veterinary clinic for further disposition.”
According to a local report, when the police chief was asked what would happen if dogs are not turned over voluntarily, the resident questioning the chief was told that, “They would come and get the dog and the dog would be disposed of and we would be fined.”
When pressed to clarify what “disposition” meant, Alderman Penn Lemoine refused, saying, “I’d rather not elaborate on that.” Apparently, city officials are fine with passing a law that takes away and kills people’s dogs because of the way they look, but they are not comfortable talking about it publicly.
Something the Pro-BSL lobby claims all the time is that a ban doesn’t mean that dogs are taken away from their homes and killed. They claim that these are scare tactics used by “pit bull advocates.” They claim that all current owned dogs are allowed to live out the rest of their lives under a ban and that it is just new dogs that are not allowed. We know from many places that this is not true, and this letter to owners of pit bulls and Rottweilers is just more evidence of that. We at StopBSL would like a statement from BSL proponents, clarifying what exactly they mean, in the face of this evidence, that it is only a “scare tactic.”
Families with targeted dogs are seeking support to be able to keep their dogs. There is a question as to the legality of taking property that was obtained legally at the time of the legislations passage (in this case dogs are considered property) and “disposing” of it. There are also questions about the legality of the ordinance in general. Preliminary review from experts in the field of dangerous dog law point to numerous constitutional and due process issues in the ban.
Officials are claiming that if there is enough of an outcry, they might revisit the issue on the December 8th meeting. This is completely insufficient. The deadline for the targeted dogs is a week before the next meeting.
RESIDENTS AND LOCALS: It is incredibly important that members of the council hear your voices. The passage of the ban was kept relatively quiet until now. It is important that people are heard but all communication must be professional, respectful and factual. We know this is an emotional issue, but anger and vitriol achieves nothing except to alienate officials in a time when people need their voices to be heard the most. Offer alternatives, such as containment laws and point out the many failures of breed discriminatory laws.
Fosters are being lined up so that the targeted dogs can have a safe place to go, if needed, while this issue is resolved. If you are local and outside the city limits of Moreauville, and can foster, please send a message to www.facebook.com/RepealBSLMoreauville.