THE PEOPLE vs. LOUISVILLE LAW
The 91 page animal control ordinance was a landmark case in Human vs. Animal Rights, exhibitors boycotted the Louisville dog shows but HSUS $$$ won again.
Analysis by Margaret L. Doster Courtesy of National Pet Press
Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Council passed a 91 page animal control ordinance sponsored by Council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton (Democrat) on December 19, 2006. The ordinance amends Louisville/Jefferson County Metro code of ordinances (LMCO) pertaining to animal control and welfare.
Amendments to the proposed ordinance were provided to the Metro Council only one hour before the meeting took place!
After an alleged party-line battle by the democrat-controlled council which lasted into the wee hours of the morning, the ordinance was finally amended to remove breed specific language.
The remainder of the ordinance seeks to control almost every aspect of animal ownership including the prohibition of private ownership of exotic cats, certain canids, snakes, rodents, marsupials, and other non-domestic species.
The sections of the ordinance which apply to dogs are staggering.
The number of dogs a citizen is permitted to own is based upon acreage.
A dog owner is permitted (excluding puppies) to quarter 3 dogs outdoors on up to .5 acre; 7 dogs on up to 2 acres and no limit on tracts greater than 2 acres. There is no definition of "quartered outdoors." thus no way to know how long a dog can be outside before it becomes "quartered outdoors."
Kennel standards are established for owners of more than four dogs and inspections of home kennels is required.
As any reputable hobby breeder knows, early "pack" socialization and close contact with humans is essential to puppy development yet there are requirements preventing "unwanted contact" between intact pets. other pets, or anyone except the owner's family or kennel employees until the offspring are four months old, well beyond the optimum age of socialization.
Ironically, the definition of neglect says in part: "Failing to provide to a pet any social or human interaction that such pet is chronically isolated from any animal or human contact."
Intact animal licensing and breeder licensing is required. Breeders are required to report the sale of all litters, including brief description of all puppies.
Sales of all dogs must be reported to Metro Animal Services, including the buyer's name and address even if the buyer is not local.
The license number of the person offering to sell must be published in any electronic or print advertisement.
Licensed kennels, i.e., any promises where pets are kept for breeding or exhibiting, must be open during "reasonable hours" for unan- nounced inspections by Metro Animal Services.
The ordinance grants Metro Animal Services authority to enter private property without a warrant and to seize animals without a court order. (In September, 2004, a similar provision was declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.)
Veterinarians are required to report rabies immunization information to LMAS (Louisville Metro Animal Services) so that unlicensed dogs can be impounded!
LMAS can also impound dogs for "irritating" or "perturbing" ANYONE. The ordinance is worded so that anyone who feels intimidated by the animal in any way, even if the animal is on its own property or INSIDE the house and simply barks at a passer-by can complain. It is then classified as a "problem" dog.
This provides any person who has a fear of dogs or a problem with you having dogs an opening to see that you are forced to remove dogs from your property.
What dog owner hasn't heard their dog alert them to a passing stranger or something unusual happening during the night?
If the problem dog is impounded an owner will have to jump through a number of expensive hoops in order to reclaim it.
The ordinance mandates spay/neuter for any unaltered dog that is impounded for any reason. Re-vaccination and re-licensing is a requirement for all dogs and cats removed from a kennel or cattery at any time.
Unaltered dogs must be walked on a 4 foot leash, and despite health concerns, it must be implanted with a microchip.
"Potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs" shall be confined by a fence at least six feet in height with a dig barrier. A "DANGEROUS DOG" sign is required. The county attorney has indicated that unaltered dogs have the same requirements as potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs. ALL unaltered dog enclosures must be approved in writing by the Director personally—there is no provision allowing him to delegate this task. Owners of unaltered dogs are left to guess what kind of enclosure will be acceptable to the Director.
Ownership of ANY animals by anyone who has two violations within 5 years, no matter how minor, is prohibited for two years from the date of the second conviction.
Re-homing of dogs without the intervention of Metro Animal Services is prohibited. Animal welfare groups must be licensed by LMAS. The animal welfare group must meet minimum kennel standards.
Facilities are subject to inspection by the ACO during reasonable hours. All dogs and cats four months or older must be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, have a Metro Government license and a valid rabies vaccination.
Records must be kept on any animal accepted or housed. No animal may be sold, offered for sale or advertised for sale without the permission of the Director.
People (including breed rescues) may try to get around this by offering pets for adoption for a fee, but such language could still be interpreted as a sale.
In such cases, the adopter would pay the penalty, as any animal purchased in violation of this section of the ordinance can be impounded and the owner cited.
If an owner cannot keep a pet, they can request permission to sell the pet, or can give the pet away—but then must report the sale or adoption to LMAS within 10 days, and include a description of the animal and the name & address of the new owner.
Louisville is the home of the Kentuckiana Cluster, a full week of dog shows including specialty events for many breeds. Over $6 million dollars flow into the city from exhibitors.
Incredibly, the Democrat controlled Metro Council requires visiting exhibitors present proof of current rabies immunization in any dog over four months. Visiting exhibitors are exempted from the licensing requirements of the ordinance if they are on show grounds.
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