Morgan City, Louisiana makes it unlawful to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell any pit bull, with exceptions. For example, if the owner has a permit for a pit bull on or before July 25, 2006, who has a pit bull license, and who maintains the pit bull in compliance with the pit bull license requirements, may keep a pit bull within the city. If the owner does not comply with the requirements, the pit bull could be impounded and destroyed.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city any pit bull.
(1) An "owner" for purposes of this chapter, is defined as any person who owns, possesses, keeps, exercises control over, maintains, harbors, transports or sells an animal.
(2) A "pit bull", for purposes of this chapter, is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.
(c) Exceptions. The prohibition of this section shall not apply in the following enumerated circumstances. Failure by the owner to comply and remain in compliance with all of the terms of any applicable exception shall subject the pit bull to immediate impoundment and disposal pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, and shall operate to prevent the owner from asserting such exception as a defense in any prosecution under subsection (a).
(1) The owner of a pit bull, who has applied for and received a permit for such pit bull pursuant to section 18-64 of the Morgan City Ordinance on or before July 25, 2006, the effective date of the ordinance enacting this section 18-65, who has applied for and received a pit bull license in accordance with subsection (d) of this section, and who maintains the pit bull at all times in compliance with the pit bull license requirements of subsection (d) of this section and all other applicable requirements of this chapter, may keep a pit bull within the city.
(d) The owner of any pit bull which had been licensed pursuant to section 18-64 of Morgan City Ordinance on or before the date of publication of the ordinance enacting this section 18-65 shall be allowed to keep such pit bull within the city upon compliance with the terms of the exception contained in subdivision (c)(1) of this section only if the owner applies for an receives an annual pit bull license on or before July 25, 2006. As a condition of issuance of a pit bull license, the owner shall at the time of application comply with or otherwise provide sufficient evidence that the owner is in compliance with all of the following regulations:
(1) The owner of the pit bull shall provide proof of rabies vaccination and shall pay the annual pit bull license fee of $10.00.
(2) The owner of the pit bull shall keep current the license of such pit bull through annual renewal. Such license is not transferable and shall be renewable only by the holder of the license. A pit bull license tag will be issued to the owner at the time of issuance of the license. Such license tag shall be attached to the pit bull by means of a collar or harness and shall not be attached to any pit bull other than the pit bull for which the license was issued. If the pit bull tag is lost or destroyed, a duplicate tag may be issued upon the payment of a $10.00 fee.
(3) The owner must be at least 21 years of age as of July 25, 2006.
(4) The owner shall present to the city and police department proof that the owner has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least $100,000.00, covering any damage or injury which may be caused by a pit bull during the 12-month period covered by the pit bull license. Such policy of insurance shall contain a provision requiring that the city be named as an additional insured or such other provisions as will require that the insurer notify the city in writing no less than ten days prior to any cancellation, termination or expiration of coverage.
(5) The owner must have the animal micro-chipped by a licensed veterinarian as a permanent means of identification if the animal has not been permanently tattooed.
(6) The owner shall keep the pit bull "confined" as that term is defined in subsection 18-64(b) of the Morgan City Ordinance. When the animal is not confined, the owner shall have the pit bull securely leashed and muzzled.
(7) The owner shall have posted at each possible entrance to the owner's property where the pit bull is kept, a conspicuous and clearly legible pit bull sign. Such pit bull sign must be at least eight inches by ten inches in rectangular dimensions and shall contain only the words "PIT BULL DOG" in lettering not less than two inches in height.
(e) The city and/or police department are authorized to immediately impound any pit bull found in the city which does not fall within the exceptions listed in subsection (c), above, and the city may house or dispose of such pit bull in such manner as the city may deem appropriate, except as the procedures in subsection (f), below, otherwise require.
(f) When the city has impounded any pit bull pursuant to this section, and the owner of such dog disputes the classification of such dog as a pit bull, the owner of such dog may file a written petition with the city for a hearing concerning such classification no later than five days of impoundment. Such petition shall include the name and address, including mailing address, of the petitioner. The city will then issue a notice of hearing date by mailing a copy to the petitioner's address no later than ten days prior to the date of the hearing. Where no written request from the owner for a hearing is received by the manager within five days of impoundment, the pit bull shall be destroyed.
The hearing, if any, will be held before a hearing officer designated by the city. Any facts which the petitioners wish to be considered shall be submitted under oath or affirmation either in writing or orally at the hearing. The hearing officer shall make a final determination whether the dog is a pit bull as defined in subsection (b)(2) of this section. Such final determination shall be considered a final order of the city subject to appellate review by the state district court.
If the dog is found to be a pit bull, it shall be destroyed, unless the owner produces evidence deemed sufficient by the city that the pit bull is to be permanently taken out of the city and the owner pays the cost of impoundment. If the dog is found not be to a pit bull, the dog shall be released to the owner. The procedures in this subsection (f) shall not apply and the owner is not entitled to such a hearing with respect to any dog which was impounded as the immediate result of an attack or bite. In those instances, the dog shall be handled and the procedures governed by the provisions of section 18-64.
(Ord. No. 06-7, § 1, 6-27-2006; Ord. No. 06-10, § 1, 8-22-2006)