Livi Joeleigh Romero
It was surprising to learn during this week’s meeting of the Jeff Davis Parish (JDP) Police Jury that certain laws concerning livestock were not on the books.
Wednesday, ordinances were amended to state that parish-wide, it is illegal to permit livestock at large on public highways or property other than that of the animals’ owner. Police Jury President Donald Woods said the amendments came about after area residents complained about livestock owners allowing their animals to roam. Unfortunately – and surprisingly – the concerned residents could do nothing about the problem because there was no law against the practice in certain places.
Woods said similar laws had been passed in particular areas but nothing was on the books that affected the entire parish. Thankfully, the police jury addressed the issue.
Like much of Southwest Louisiana, JDP consists of mostly rural areas and livestock ownership is common. Some own livestock for personal use while others breed and sell. Any animal owner realizes that sometimes, situations arise that are out of their control. Fences fail. A few animals break loose. Surprises and accidents are to be expected.
But most of us also know that some livestock owners can be quite careless, allowing their herds to roam onto roads and others’ properties time and time again. It’s irresponsible, annoying and, a lot of times, infuriating to have horses, cattle or other animals tracking up property or interrupting traffic where they do not belong. People are quick to complain about a dog coming into their yard and causing problems or a cat tearing into their garbage. Sometimes though, in more areas than just JDP, it seems livestock at large is overlooked because the animals bring in money for the individual and through taxes. This is not to imply that is always the case, though.
Not every livestock owner is irresponsible; many work each day to make sure their animals are cared for and properly penned.
However, for those who often have to move herds off of neighbors’ properties or patch up yet another piece of dilapidated fencing, please handle your business. After all, we are living in a modern age, not just beginning to settle the West.
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