Leash, aggressive dog laws in Calcasieu Parish

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:59 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A tragic case in Baton Rouge has raised questions about leash laws in our area.

Seven-year-old Sadie Davila was killed when a dog attacked her last Friday. The dog’s owner faces a count of negligent homicide because his dog was roaming free.

“There is a leash law in Calcasieu Parish and actually all municipalities within Calcasieu Parish,” said Michael Delaney with the Department of Animal Services and Adoption Center. “You’re not to have any animal outside of your home unattended unless it’s on a approved tether system, which is a two-point system, a fenced in yard or a kenneling system, or some type of confinement device that eliminates that dog from being able to leave its property. Dogs in tenement yards, which is multi-family dwellings, this is going to be your trailer parks, your RV parks, at no time can that dog be off leash even if you’re with the dog.”

If you experience an aggressive dog, documenting the event is one of the most important things to do.

“So if you’re walking down the road, somebody’s dog comes out, comes out on the road, barks at you growls, or just comes out in a friendly manner, it’s still in a ordinance infraction,” said Delaney. “The best thing to do is take a picture or video of that, because it’s inspectable evidence, because every citation can be appealed.”

“I think you should have a leash law there because anything can go wrong,” said dog owner Chelsea Su. “Sometimes you’re not really familiar with the dogs temperaments. You need to have control over them in public areas, and I think that’s important for the safety.”

The severity of a dog bite determines what an owner could be charged with.

“Your first offense is $40, and up to your fourth offense is $500. With a second impound within the city limits you are mandated to spay or neuter that animal after the second impound,” said Delaney. “The parish has the same thing - it’s mandatory, but there is a $300 fee opt-out.”

“Depending on the severity of the bite, it could be just a ‘at large’ ordinance infraction, or it can go all the way up to a dangerous dog. Ordinance infraction, which is a higher fine, and it’s a strict confinement requirements for that animal for the duration of its life,” Delaney said. “It also can go to a dangerous dog to state level to where it has gone from the 14th, in front of the judge there, which could be criminal negligence at that point too, depending on the circumstances that took place with the dangerous dog attack.”