'A sin and a shame': Ourso seeks tougher law on treatment of dogs

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
'INTOLERABLE CONDITIONS'...These were among the pictures taken by Iberville Animal Control officers to show abuse of animals and the poor living conditions to which they are subjected. Some were believed to have been injured in dogfights. Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said he would seek a new parish law that would hold dog owners to account.

Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said he would seek uniform laws throughout the parish to require dog owners to provide proper housing and care for their animals, particularly ones considered vicious.

Ourso, at a recent Parish Council meeting, presented a booklet containing 118 photographs animals control officers have taken of abused animals, some injured in dog fights, and of the poor living conditions they are forced to live in.

“This is a sin and a shame,” he said. “It is not the dog's fault. It is the irresponsible dog owners.”

Ourso said Iberville Animal Control euthanizes 120 to 125 dogs a month, of which 65 to 75 percent are pit bulls.

“This is starting to be a big, big problem,” he said.

Pit bulls often are used in dog fighting, which is illegal in Louisiana.

“I do not want to single out pit bulls,” the parish president told the POST/SOUTH. “The problem is with irresponsible owners and the conditions that there are with the fighting.”

“I'm not tolerating this,” he said. “People need to be held accountable for their treatment of these dogs.”

Ourso said he and Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. would review the parish ordinance and the animal control ordinances of the parish's six municipalities to come up with a new measure to present to the Parish Council for consideration this month or next month.

“There needs to be teeth [in our ordinance],” Ourso said.

The parish president said he hoped the municipalities would follow suit and adopt the same ordinance to make enforcement easier for animal control officers.

“It's hard to enforce a law [when] each municipality has a different law on vicious dogs,” Ourso said.