Tag Archives: westwego louisiana bsl

Westwego Louisiana Councilman to propose breed ban

Councilman Glen Green has been talking about a push to increase restrictions on dogs deemed to be pit bulls since a horrific attack on a constituent and friend earlier this year.  He plans to bring these regulations to the City Council on Monday.

The changes to the law, should they pass, would ban any dog deemed to be a “pit bull” that is not registered in the city. Those that are registered would be subject to a list of requirements. Owners would have to be older than 21, unless the dog is being used as a service dog, dogs must be muzzled in public, spayed or neutered and microchipped and the owner must have a homeowner’s or renter’s liability insurance of at least $100,000.  It is interesting that Councilman Green has thought about the service dog issue but not surprising that he would not understand the breadth of the hardship such regulations would impose on a person with disabilities.

Unlicensed animals would be killed if the owner fails to remove the dog from the city immediately and the owners fined $500.

The dogs would be DNA tested to determine if they fall under the restrictions but there is no clarification at this time as to what breeds are going to be included. Officials say 50% would be considered restricted. Also not specified is what kind of DNA test is acceptable, since saliva is notoriously unreliable and even blood tests do not meet the standards to be admissible in court.

Councilman Green apparently is well aware that this law would be extremely expensive but according to a recent interview he plans on paying for it out of his discretionary fund.  An important question is what happens when the Council either no longer has the funds to pay for it, or is no longer willing to take that money out of the fund?  What happens when that fund is needed for more pressing matters than targeting dogs based on appearance? No doubt they have not thought that far ahead and in the end the tax payers will bear the burden of enforcing a law that Councilman Green wants to be strictly enforced.

Councilman Green acknowledges that the dogs themselves are not the problem. He stated that “The rationale is to control the pet owners, not so much the pets … We’ve got to do something to get their attention.”

What he does not seem to realize, though, is that he is doing exactly the opposite of what he intends. The things that he plans on introducing are targeting the dog, not the owner, and will not help to increase public safety.

Westwego residents and locals: Please reach out to the members of the Westwego City Council and if at all possible attend the meetings to voice opposition to breed discrimination. It is important to remember that the attack that happened was a terrible tragedy. Emotions are bound to run high, but nothing is ever accomplished by reacting emotionally.  Be factual and respectful in all correspondence. Offer strong breed neutral alternatives that would target problem owners instead of dogs. You can find alternatives to breed discrimination here. The Council is not interested in how much people love their dogs, they are interested in real effective ways to help make the community safer. Though the methods they are choosing are not the solution, their hearts are in the right place.

Councilman Glen Green: glenngreen@netzero.com

Councilman Ted Munch: TedMunch@cityofwestwego.com

Councilman Ivy Rogers: ivyrogers@cityofwestwego.com

Councilman Melvin Guidry: melvin.guidry@nov.com

Councilman Larry Warino: LWarino4westwego@aol.com

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Westwego Louisiana officials introduce strict breed discriminatory requirements

Earlier we reported that a councilman in Westwego was seeking to make it more difficult for people to own certain types of dogs following a severe attack on one of his constituents and friend.  The changes to the law are officially up for consideration by the entire council.

The restrictions include insurance requirements, a minimum age of 21 years for any owner of a targeted dog, stiff confinement regulations inside and outside the home, warning signs, spay/neuter and microchipping.

Interestingly, officials are addressing the specific idea of mix breeds.  These restrictions would apply to pure breed dogs by default. In the case of mixed breed dogs they must be DNA tested in order to determine if they would fall under the regulations. Dogs over 50% “pit bull” would have to comply.   The Mayor supports these changes as well as the DNA testing.

Some immediate issues that stand out. There is no mention yet of who would be responsible for the cost of testing. There is also no mention of how the costs of enforcing these restrictions would be absorbed by the community.  Increasingly problematic is how officials intend to police how people are confining their dogs in their own homes.

Officials have said that they will wait until the new council members are seated in office, and that they will hold public hearings on the matter.

Residents and locals: Please continue to reach out to officials to urge them to institute breed neutral alternatives. Be polite, be respectful and offer solutions. A list of alternatives can be found here.

Contact information:

City Council
Phone: 504-341-3424

Mayor John Shaddinger, Jr.
mayor@cityofwestwego.com

Council Member Glenn Green
glenngreen@netzero.com

Council Member Melvin Guidry
melvin.guidry@nov.com

Council Member  Ted Munch
TedMunch@cityofwestwego.com

Council Member Ivy Rogers
ivyrogers@cityofwestwego.com

Council Member Larry Warino
LWarino4westwego@aol.com

Westwego Louisiana Councilman seeks to add breeds to ordinance

Following an attack on a woman in Westwego Louisiana, Councilman Glen Green has sworn to add more breeds of dogs to the cities dangerous dog laws, which currently single out pit bulls.

Westwego’s law, which was passed in 2000, requires owners of pit bull type dogs to keep the dogs confined in kennels when not on leash or with their owners. Kennels must be made of chain link fencing at least six feet high, five feet from the property line, and 20 feet from neighboring homes. Failure to do so results in a fine of $250.

Though Councilman Green has not said exactly which breeds will be added, he has mentioned Rottweilers specifically. According to Green, he will be seeking additional support from other members of the council before approaching this issue. He was quoted in a recent news story saying “If they want to challenge it in court, so be it. There are several breeds that I’m putting in there.”

What is rather unfortunate is that these challenges will cost everyone in the city by making poor use of tax payer dollars. Councilman Green says that he blames the owner of these dogs for not taking care of them properly, yet he is choosing to target the dogs instead.  Not the attacking dogs, but dogs that he has a perception of as being vicious.

Councilman Green knew the victim personally.

Residents: Please respectfully, and sympathetically reach out to your council members to ask that they look into a strong and enforceable breed neutral law instead of adding breeds to their restrictions. The urge, after such a terrible incident, is to act but actions taken must still be in the best interests of the community at large.  No amount of breed specific laws would have stopped this heartbreaking incident.  By creating a comprehensive breed neutral ordinance with stiff penalties for violation serious incidents like this can be reduced.

Officials can be found here. It is of absolute utmost importance that, when communicating after an attack this severe, you remain unimpeachable in your professionalism in every communication.  This is not about dogs.  This is about creating a safer community for the residents of Westwego. Breed specific laws divert resources from the real obstacles to making communities safer, which is why breed neutral laws have been shown repeatedly to increase public safety.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victim of this attack and all the friends and  family of the victim.