Residents push for change in LaFayette dog ordinance

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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The LaFayette City Council made a motion to take action regarding the city’s problem with untethered and aggressive dogs in the neighborhoods after a community member spoke during a public hearing Monday night.

ENI Community Liaison Adrian Holloway spoke to the city council about recent incidents in her neighborhood with an untethered and aggressive dog. Holloway said that the current ordinance is not protecting her children and the children in her neighborhood.

“The current ordinance that’s in place as far as animal control reports — the dog ordinance — seems to be more protection for the animal as opposed to the human,” Holloway said. 

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According to Holloway, a pitbull in her neighborhood has chased people down the streets and into their yards on several occasions. The dog was apprehended by animal control officers but was returned to the owner for a $50 fine. 

Holloway appealed to the city council to make changes to the ordinance that better protect citizens from unprovoked aggression from untethered dogs. 

According to Holloway, the ordinance states that individuals can pay a $50 fine in lieu of prosecution if the dog has been impounded less than three times. An amendment in the ordinance states that for each time impounded, the owner retrieval fee will increase by $10. 

“I think that’s about a total of $180 — three opportunities to injure or kill someone,” Holloway said.

The ordinance also states that any animal that bites, scratches or attacks a human without being provoked may be quarantined. It also states that officers have the authority to kill any dangerous animal “running at large,” which is defined as being unrestrained by owners and off the owner’s property.

The dog in question has invaded Holloway’s backyard while her children were playing outside. She said the dog has chased a 17-year-old youth down the street of the neighborhood. The dog has also chased her neighbors, a young mother and her children, back into their house when they were walking to their car. 

“I’ve been complaining about the dogs for 15 years,” said Councilwoman Tammie Williams during the council meeting. 

Williams agreed with Holloway, citing her own complaints about the ineffectiveness of the ordinance over the years. 

“It’s not a new problem in the city of LaFayette,” Williams said.

Police Chief Cpt. George Rampey, who was also present during the council meeting, said his officers have made several arrests recently all across the city for ordinance violations. 

Williams discussed raising the animal control retrieval fine from $50 to discourage repeat offenders. The council agreed to meet for a work session on Wednesday at 5 p.m. to make a decision on the ordinance.