GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - The Ascension Parish Council introduced a measure Thursday that will force the owners of dogs labeled "dangerous" to meet requirements before leaving the dog unattended outside.
The ordinance, which uses current Louisiana guidelines for classifying dogs as dangerous, was recommended by the Ascension Parish Animal Control Department.
"We want the owner to be completely responsible for the safety of the public," said Michael Leblanc, director of Animal Control.
Leblanc said requirements include fitting the animal with a large red tag, having a micro-chip placed in the dog and keeping it in a double entry cage at all times when outside.
"Over half the dog bites we start off with are perpetrated on children, so we have to, as adults, take the responsibility to protect these children," Leblanc added.
The ordinance affects the owners of dogs that have either bit or caused bodily harm to people off the owner's property two or more times in a 36-month span.
"It is just a tool to give to the judges, something other than a dog already been deemed vicious to go in somebody's back yard. It gives them the right to put them in a proper cage," said Councilman Kent Schexnaydre.
Leblanc said the parish typically deals with between 30 and 40 bite cases a year and added the ordinance would do more to make sure those numbers drop moving forward.
"The owner could just have the dog at home and that's it and it's really not safe for the people that live nearby, so once it affects you, you really want to be involved in trying to get things in order," Leblanc explained.
The measure will be up for public discussion and possible vote at the next parish council meeting, which is scheduled for September 4.