Be a Good Animal Owner
In the U.S., 6-8 million homeless animals end up in shelters every year. Over 1 million pets in the U.S. are infected with heartworms (an easily preventable disease). The Humane Society estimates that over 1 million animals per year are involved in cases of animal cruelty/neglect. Many pet owners are unaware or unconcerned that the manner in which they are keeping their animals may be violating state law and local ordinances. You can be a part of changing these statistics. The information provided below is given with the intention to inform, educate, and provide animal owners with the tools they need to give their animals a great home.
Know The Law
Part of being a responsible animal owner is knowing the state and local laws that govern the keeping of animals. Keeping your animal in a lawful manner is not only good for your animal, but it can also prevent an unwanted visit from animal control or having your animal impounded at the animal control shelter. You can read the ordinances that govern the keeping of animals in West Baton Rouge Parish here.
Treating or keeping your animal in a cruel or inhumane manner is not only an awful thing to do, but it is also against state and local laws and can lead to criminal prosecution. State Law (14:102 and following) and WBR Parish Ordinances Chapter 14 deal with defining animal cruelty/neglect and the prescribed penalties if convicted. As the owner of an animal, you must provide that animal with proper food, water, shelter, and veterinary care at all times. State Law (14:102.2) defines proper food, water, shelter, and veterinary care as the following: "proper food means providing each animal with daily food of sufficient quality and quantity to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal. Proper water means providing each animal with daily water of sufficient quality and quantity to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal. Proper shelter means providing each animal with adequate shelter from the elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal. Proper veterinary care means providing each animal with veterinary care sufficient to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal." If you would like to report a suspected case of cruelty/neglect you can call our main office at 225-336-2428.
As an animal owner, you should provide your animal with proper veterinary care. Besides medical care, a good veterinarian can also provide you with recommendations on a good diet, heartworm/flea preventatives, training services, and a host of other things to help your animals live their best life.
Local Veterinarian Services:
|Rivertown Animal Hospital / Brusly, LA / 225-749-5000|
|Spay Spa / Erwinville, LA / 225-627-5772|
|Equine Health Maintenance (Dr. Dina Duplantis mobile veterinary services) / Erwinville, LA / 225-324-3962|
|H & M Veterinary Services / Erwinville, LA / 225-627-6138|
|LSU Small Animal Hospital / Baton Rouge, LA / 225-578-9600|
|LSU Large Animal Hospital / Baton Rouge, LA / 225-578-9500|
|Associated Veterinarian Services / Baton Rouge, LA / 225-928-4417|
|Carville Veterinary Clinic / Plaquemine, LA / 225-687-7387|
|Animal Medical Center / Plaquemine, LA / 225-687-6016|
Top Medical Concerns
Heartworms and preventatives
If you are the owner of a dog, cat, or ferret, listen up! A heartworm infection can be a potentially life-threatening problem for your pet and it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for the process to begin. A heartworm infection causes not only a serious medical condition for your pet, but it can be spread by a mosquito bite from your pet to other animals.
Due to the subtropical climate, Louisiana is home to several species of mosquito that are capable of transmitting heartworm. The Southern House Mosquito (Cx. Quinquefasiatus), The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes Albopictus), and The Inland Floodwater Mosquito (Aedes Vexans) are the most prevalent vector species in our area.
Louisiana ranks second in the nation for the highest incidence of heartworm infections. In the southern portion of Louisiana, the infection rate is thought to be as high as 80% in dogs over 2 years old.
The good news is that heartworm infections are easily preventable. Make sure your animal is under the care of a veterinarian and follow the recommended guidelines for heartworm testing and preventative application. For more information regarding heartworms and what you can do to prevent them, you can visit the American Heartworm Society website here.
Rabies and vaccinations
A Rabies infection, although rare in domesticated animals due to widespread vaccinations, is a life-threatening situation for animals and humans alike. Protecting your animal from a rabies infection by having it vaccinated is the right thing to do as a responsible owner and it is the law in most states and localities. More information on rabies can be found by visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association website here and the CDC website here.
Animal owners in West Baton Rouge Parish (code of ordinances chapter 14) must have their animals vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian annually or tri-annually depending on the vaccine given. Upon having their animal inoculated, owners must also obtain a rabies tag issued by WBR Animal Shelter & Control from their veterinarian or in person at the animal control center.
Proof of rabies inoculation must be retained by the animal owner at all times, and the rabies tag must be affixed to the collar of the animal for whom it was issued and worn at all times. Failure to do so can result in your animal being impounded at the animal control center and fines imposed to redeem the animal.
Animal Bite Cases
In cases where an animal bite or scratch has broken the skin of a human being, rabies infection is the primary concern and must be ruled out. Bite cases must be (WBRP code of ordinances 14-31) reported to the animal control center, the Sheriff's, and/or local police department within 24 hours of the bite occurring. Failure to do so is considered a crime and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. To report an animal bite or an animal acting in a rabid manner during normal business hours, call our main office at 225-336-2428. To report such a case after business hours, dial 911 to contact the Sheriff's department or local police.
Animals that have bitten must be impounded by the animal control center for a ten-day quarantine period during which, fines and fees shall apply. In-home quarantine and quarantine at a veterinary hospital of the owner's choice are allowed under certain strict circumstances.
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral disease that affects members of the equine family (horses, mules, donkeys, and zebras). The disease is very prevalent in the Gulf States and is typically spread from horse to horse by either blood-sucking insects (such as deerflies/mosquitoes) or contaminated surgical equipment being used on different horses. EIA regulations vary from state to state. State law in Louisiana mandates that all horses must have a Coggins/EIA test done annually. Foals are required to have a Coggins/EIA test done no later than one year after birth.
WBR Parish Ordinances (14:113 / 14-86.1) mandate that owners of equines within WBR Parish abide by these state regulations. Failure to do so can result in the owner's equines being impounded and fees imposed to redeem them.
For more information on EIA and state law concerning owner responsibilities in regards to annual testing, you can visit the LSU Ag Center website here and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry website here.
West Nile Virus/Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Although rare in domesticated animals such as dogs and cats, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) both pose very serious health concerns for humans and equines alike. The good news for equines owners is that, unlike humans, there exist several vaccines to help protect equines from WNV, EEE, and other mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquito-borne diseases are extremely prevalent in the Gulf States due to their temperate climate.
As a responsible equine owner, you should consult your veterinarian on having your equines properly vaccinated. To learn more about WNV and EEE in horses you can visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners webpage on WNV here or their webpage on EEE here.