BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana's rescue shelters are facing new restrictions on how and when they can give animals to facilities that use them for research.
A new law recently signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards will ban shelters from taking in stray or unwanted animals solely to euthanize them for research facilities and will prohibit shelters from selling animals for research or experimentation.
Any shelters that give living animals to research facilities will only be allowed to do so if they tried to find other placement for the animals first, if precautions are taken to minimize pain and only under limited research circumstances.
The new law, sponsored by Houma Republican Rep. Jerome "Zee" Zeringue, takes effect Aug. 1. Those who don't follow the law can face fines up to $1,000 for each violation.
The legislation came after People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a federal complaint alleging that the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine may have disobeyed the federal Animal Welfare Act by buying dogs from a Baton Rouge shelter for experimental and research purposes.
News outlets reported that LSU rejected the allegations and said it follows federal regulations. The shelter said it stopped providing animals to LSU and other institutions for use in research.
Zeringue's law doesn't bar shelters from turning over dead animals for research but says the shelters can't euthanize an animal "for the sole purpose" of research. In addition, any shelter that turns over dead animals to a research facility must post a sign onsite notifying the public of the practice.