Animal ordinances reformed in New Orleans - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Animal ordinances reformed in New Orleans

New Orleans, La. -

The City Council has passed an ordinance that brings sweeping reforms to the way New Orleans handles domestic and wild animals.

FOX 8 received this news release from Councilwoman Susan Guidry's office Thursday afternoon:

District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry announced today that her ordinance to rewrite Chapter 18 of the City Code, which governs the care and control of domestic and feral animals, has gained the unanimous approval of the City Council. Guidry said, "I am proud to author this ordinance, which is the product of many months of collaboration and discussions with numerous interested stakeholders. Not only do these changes bring our city's animal control and pet ownership laws in line with modern best practices, but they also establish New Orleans as a national trailblazer with respect to how we treat animals that have been the victims of cruelty such as dog fighting."

Councilmember Guidry collaborated with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA-SPCA), pet owners, the City's Health Department, veterinarians, breeders, dog show enthusiasts, and animal rights advocacy groups over an 18-month period to craft this comprehensive ordinance that addresses numerous issues related to the care, protection, and control of pets and feral animals, including:

  • Reducing rabies vaccination requirements from annual to every 3 years;
  • Creating a new, lowest-level designation of "potentially dangerous" dog, and amending the criteria for designating a dog as "dangerous" or "vicious," which will:
  • Allow municipal court judges greater discretion in issuing designations, based on the circumstances of individual cases;
  • Prohibit dogs from being designated as potentially dangerous, dangerous, or vicious simply because of the dog's breed;
  • Treat attacks against humans as more serious offenses than attacks against other domestic animals;
  • Clarifying the SPCA's authority to protect animals that are the victims of cruelty;
  • Establishing criteria/conditions that allow for the rehoming of dogs that have been seized in dogfighting situations;
  • Providing more specific and humane guidelines for the tethering of dogs;
  • Creating new rules concerning feral and/or free roaming "community cats" that have been sterilized, vaccinated, and ear tipped;
  • Establishing minimum standards of care for animal shelters in Orleans Parish.

FOX 8 news also received this statement from the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

The New Orleans City Council voted unanimously (7-0) to pass proposed legislation regarding animal ordinances in Orleans Parish. The newly passed amendments include updates to existing rules as well as new ones that will provide increased protection for animals in the community.

The Louisiana SPCA, which handles animal control for Orleans Parish, approached the council to revise the existing ordinance as the last update took place 15 years ago with no major changes since 1956. Councilmember Susan Guidry worked with Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the Louisiana SPCA, for several months on the proposed laws. Zorrilla and Councilmember Guidry surveyed various individuals and groups throughout the process to ensure the proposed changes were comprehensive.

The updates include new minimum standards of care for pets, specific rules regarding the re-homing of dogs seized as a result of dog fighting, updated regulations regarding feral cat colonies, and revised tethering requirements, among other things. Additionally, the new legislation allows rabies vaccinations to be administered every three years instead of every year once an animal has received two vaccinations 12 months apart.

"Along with Councilmember Guidry, we have worked incredibly hard to get these amendments updated and passed," said Zorrilla. "It is the Louisiana SPCA's mission to protect animals in our community and beyond. We are excited to see this legislation signed into law and serve as a guide for other cities across the country."

The Louisiana SPCA will work closely with the City of New Orleans to communicate the changes so that the public, specifically pet owners, are aware of the updated ordinance. To view the ordinance as well as the amendments, please visit

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