GRETNA, La. — After two separate dog attacks in one day, the city of Gretna unanimously approved a slight adjustment in their ordinance on vicious animals.
The city council meeting comes a week-and-a-half since Maureen Vincent watched as their 18-year-old cat, Jessie, was killed by a neighbor's dog. Two dogs attacked the cat who was sleeping in an outdoor closet at the Vincents' home. Her husband, Jim Vincent, addressed the Gretna City Council.
"I know of people that are scared to death to go out on the sidewalks. That's not right in Gretna," he said.
The same day that cat was killed, a pit bull in Gretna bit a mail carrier on the head. That mail carrier was taken by ambulance to a hospital for dozens of stitches.
One of Vincent's biggest frustrations was that the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter did not have the authority to apprehend the attack dogs. Currently, Gretna ordinance allows the Jefferson Parish Animal shelter to intervene and take a viscous animal if it attacks a person, but it wasn't clear on what to do if a dog attacks another animal.
"It was extremely disappointing to me to hear you couldn't pick up the dog," Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant said to the Interim Director of Animal Control.
That's why the city moved quickly to introduce, adopt and approve an ordinance in one night that will allow the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter to detain a violent animal that attacks another animal.
"In my tenure of being here, we've never done this," Constant said.
"We're taking a step to empower animal control to help us more," Gretna City Attorney Mark Morgan said.
The Vincents are still emotional and they say the dogs should have never been in their yard.
"I just want owners of these types of dogs to be more responsible. Follow the law. Keep your dogs confined," Maureen Vincent said.
This is one step in what the Vincents hope will bring up more conversations about aggressive animals in their city.
"It's not the fix all, end all," Constant said.
Mayor Constant already expressed her support in this ordinance clarification, but it officially goes into effect once she signs off on it within the next several days.