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Last updateFri, 04 Jul 2014 5pm

New Llano Louisiana

Federal Court Enters Preliminary Injunction Against Town Of New Llano Pit Bull Ban

Judge Patricia Minaldi entered a preliminary injunction against the Town of New Llano's pit bull ban on Tuesday, which prevents enforcement of the ordinance until the case reaches resolution. The judge also ruled the dog at the center of the dispute, Mazzy, could go home with some restrictions after being kenneled out of town. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division by Christine and Victor Nelson, who challenged the constitutionality of New Llano's pit bull ban.

The hearing took place in Judge Minaldi's courtroom, and the case was argued by both sides for over an hour. Fred M. Kray, arguing for plaintiffs, started out his argument by pointing out that Louisiana's state dangerous dog law requires a municipal court filing, notice of hearing, hearing, rules of evidence and appeal. This process is mandated for dogs that have bitten or acted aggressively. The New Llano ordinance allows none of these protections for dogs that have done no wrong except to look like a pit bull to the New Llano fire chief. Kray also moved to strike citation to statistics cited by the Town in there brief from dogsbite.org. He questioned how cutting and pasting from a website on the internet could be used as precedent without peer review, data or any way to know the accuracy of such statistics. He pointed the court to the peer reviewed article Co-occurence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog-bite related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009) as a more complete and accurate picture of the reasons dogs bite—breed not being one of them.

Read more: Federal Court Enters Preliminary Injunction Against Town Of New Llano Pit Bull Ban

Town of New Llano, Louisiana, Sued Over Pit Bull Ban

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of New Llano's Pit Bull ban was filed this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division. The lawsuit alleges that New Llano's Ordinance 4 of 2013 is unconstitutional because, among other things, it allows the Town to seize and identify a “pit bull” without any type of hearing. Even though Louisiana law provides that an owned dog is personal property, under the New Llano law, there is no procedure in which the Town is required to prove it has the right to seize a dog, nor is there any way to legally defend against the Town's designation of a dog as a pit bull.

The lawsuit also raises the issue of whether the Town can rely on a canine DNA test as the final determinant of a dog's breed. The suit alleges that the Mars Wisdom Panel 2.0, upon which the Town relies, has terms of use that preclude its use for the purpose of enforcing a breed ban. The Ordinance also makes it impossible for the average person to know whether his or her dog is banned because it has two different definitions of pit bull: (1) a dog that is "predominantly" pit bull and (2) a dog that is "of any pit bull breed."

Read more: Town of New Llano, Louisiana, Sued Over Pit Bull Ban