Moreauville, LA, update: Officials pledge to suspend enforcement of ban

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.  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 all the families together, but to repeal the ban and enact a law that will effectively 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 certain dogs in the community.  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.

It was a mistake,” said Alderman Penn Lemoine. “And it’s got to be redone and reworded. And this Dec. 1 date is not going to happen.”

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.

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12 responses to “Moreauville, LA, update: Officials pledge to suspend enforcement of ban

  1. A Bloody Disgrace,this council,should be removed,they are in the wrong century.
    BSL IS EVIL.

  2. Barbara Pellegrin

    Such ignorance in 2014 is hard to comprehend.

  3. I’m the one that got in touch with the clinic and let them know what was happening. Sent them a copy of the minutes and told them the tide of hate that was about to flow their way. Through private conversation with them it was obvious that they are animal lovers. I suggested that they make a public statement before their review sites got flooded with negative reviews by uninformed people. I also suggested that they draft a letter to the council denying their services for this ordinance. I suggested that they send it registered so they have proof. The council had no right to take it upon themselves to mention this clinic in their unpopular ordinance. I also wrote to the city I gave them loads of factual information and offered to talk to them regarding the issues of ‘vicious’ dogs. As a trainer, I work with behaviorally challenged dogs on a constant basis. I have experience and knowledge that would allow me to talk to them and possibly help them understand what their real issue is. It most certainly is not the breed or mix. Hopefully the council members will back off of this ridiculous ban/death order and take some time to educate themselves so they can address the real issues facing them.

    • Thank you very much for getting out in front of that debacle. The last thing people need to be doing right now is alienating members of the community that have the potential to be a very powerful voice.

  4. Elections are coming up. This council must not care if they get re-elected or not. The citizens need to ban together and not let up. Educated the city Government on the facts and not on what they believe to be true. If they believe that banning these dogs will prevent dog fighting or criminal activity they are sadly mistaken.

  5. I have signed the petition but not being a citizen of this Village, I hope that the citizens do show up to this meeting in force to oppose this unfair ban,

  6. Please stop this

  7. How could you take these family members away you will do more harm than good listen to these families u council need to be fair and be there for yur peoole and there fur babies the trama u will put these families through is cruel and nasty come on councils BSL is wrong as it hurts the good people and the good dogs lwt the good people and dogs stay together be human not monsters

  8. I have no problem with a vicious dog ordinance. I do have a problem with breed specific ordinances. Free roaming dogs need to be picked up and the owner given a hefty fine. If it happens a second time, the owner gets fined again, but loses the dog and the fate of the dog rests in the hands of the vet and/or animal shelter. As for dogs that bite, a hefty fine to the owner, a vet check for rabies or other diseases. A physician can examine the bite’s severity and the owner of the dog must pay for the person’s exam. If a minor bite, perhaps returning the dog to the owner; if a major bite, the dog is put down. If at any time the owner cannot pay the fine, the dog must be surrendered to the authorities. I, myself, had a rule when I owned a dog…if it ever bit another person, I would put it down. Luckily it never came to that, but it did get out one day and jumped up on a little neighbor girl. The dog didn’t bite, just wanted to play, but I was extremely concerned and spoke with the neighbor. I made sure the girl was ok and I made sure the fence was reinforced, and it never happened again, but you have to be a responsible pet owner and you have to pay the consequences when something happens. If you own a dog, you must train it and continually reinforce that training. It’s not just a 6-8 week course and you’re done. If you can’t afford to train, sustain, and potentially pay fines, then you should not own the dog.

  9. Punish the deed (bad owners)
    Not the breed (pit bulls are wonderful with responsible owners).
    Has anyone passing these breed bans ever spent 5 mins. with a pit bull? Done any home work.
    Passing bsl is traumatic & heartbreaking for families affected.

  10. There’s apparently a special meeting tomorrow Dec 5th to address the Breed Ban.Follow Reporter Brooke Buford on Twitter.Think she’s going to be there.