The New Orleans City Council passed several revisions and additions to city ordinances relating to pets. Those changes went into effect March 22, 2013. SPS has reviewed the ordinance and highlights eight of the pertinent changes below. There is also a link to the full ordinance.
The New Orleans City Council made changes to ordinances that relate to a wide range of topics relating to pet ownership. SPS has chosen the eight changes that we felt were most pertinent to our clients. The summary we provide is meant to give you a basic idea of what the law now requires from pet owners. There is a link to the actual legislation at the end of this article, and we encourage you to check it out so that you can be fully informed. Remember: ignorance of the law is no defense and these summaries don’t address all the topics covered in the law. Be a responsible and informed pet owner!
- Annual license requirements for pets: Even though the timing requirements for rabies vaccinations has changed, pets are still required to visit their veterinarian every year to receive up-to-date tags and licenses.
- Revised rabies vaccination requirement: Pet owners now have the option of getting a yearly rabies vaccination, or a rabies vaccination that lasts three years after the first puppy series is completed. Regardless of the type of rabies vaccine, tags must be updated every year.
- New definition of “community cat”: A “Community cat” is a cat that is free roaming or “wild,” without any discernable identification that has been vaccinated, sterilized, and ear-tipped. This is different from a feral cat who is “wild,” but who has not been vaccinated or “fixed.” Community cats are exempt from feeding bans, and license and registration requirements.
- Updated laws for intact dog permit: Residents with intact dogs within Orleans Parish are not required to spay or neuter their dog. However, owners are required to apply for an intact dog permit or exemption. Owners without a permit or exemption for their intact dog will be charged fines.
- Unlawful/inhumane tethering of dogs: The new law lays out very exacting standards for the humane tethering (chaining up) of dogs in a yard. Please read the ordinance before you tether your dog.
- Micro-chipping or ear-tipping indoor/outdoor cats: Because “community cats” will not be removed from a premises by animal control, it is now mandatory that all indoor/outdoor cats be ear-tipped or microchipped in addition to being sterilized and vaccinated. Not only will this help keep the cat safe, but also it will prevent animal control from erroneously removing an indoor/outdoor cat reported as a nuisance.
- Protection of pets during extreme weather: When temperatures are below freezing, pets must be moved indoors or to an area that shelters from the weather. When the National Weather Service issues an extreme weather warning, all pets must be moved indoors, be cared for adequately, and remain indoors for the duration of the warning. This includes warnings for heat, tornado, tropical storm, or hurricane.
- Expanded definition of illegal owning of exotic animals: Wild or exotic pets are illegal in Orleans Parish. The list of wild or exotic pets now includes roosters. It is illegal in Orleans Parish to own any rooster, cockerel, cock, or chanticleer.
Please be a responsible pet owner and abide by these new laws. It will help keep our animals and our communities safe. Sarah the Pet Sitter would also like to remind you that it continues to be against the law to walk a dog without a leash.
If you would like to learn more about the new animal ordinances, SPS recommends checking out the SPCA website or reading the legislation itself.