United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are two motions: (1) Jefferson Parish's motion
for summary judgment; and (2) the Plaintiff's motion for
partial summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the
motions are DENIED without prejudice.
lawsuit for declaratory and injunctive relief and money
damages presents a constitutional challenge to a municipal
code provision proscribing animal cruelty. Because no
evidence is submitted in support of the motions for summary
judgment, these facts are drawn from the allegations of the
April 11, 2015, shortly after noon, the temperature was in
the low 70s with overcast skies. Catheryn Babin was driving
with her two-year-old Catahoula/Labrador mix, Peyton Legion,
in her Mini-Cooper convertible. Ms. Babin stopped at Big Lots
on Veterans Boulevard in Jefferson Parish to buy dog food.
Leaving the windows rolled down and the convertible top
pulled back just enough to expose the front seats, Ms. Babin
exited her car, leaving Peyton Legion to wait in the car.
at 12:12 p.m., while Ms. Babin was shopping in Big Lots, a
woman named Ashley McMurry called the Jefferson Parish 911
operator to complain that a dog was left unattended for 10
minutes. Ms. McMurry told the operator that the dog was
panting and looked “uncomfortable, ” although she
also told the operator that the windows were down, it was
“not that hot, ” and that the dog did not appear
to be in distress. A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy
was dispatched to the scene.
Ms. Babin exited Big Lots, Ms. McMurry confronted her,
complaining that the dog was left alone in the car. Ms. Babin
showed her that the door was unlocked; as soon as she opened
the car door, Peyton Legion came to Ms. Babin and he was then
on-leash in the parking lot. Ms. McMurry continued to
complain and berate Ms. Babin.
about 12:25 p.m., Deputy Micah P. Blange arrived on the
scene. He spoke with Ms. McMurry and another individual. Soon
thereafter, another Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputy,
Michael Voltolina, Jr., arrived at Big Lots. Voltolina
examined Ms. Babin's car and explained to her that
deputies were required to come to the scene to investigate,
but that he did not see cause for issuing a summons. After
Voltolina left Ms. Babin, Blange drove over to speak to her.
Blange asked her three questions about her identity and then
asked why she had not left her dog at home. Ms. Babin
explained that she and Peyton Legion were on their way home
from visiting a senior center; Peyton Legion is a trained
service animal who spent the morning working with
Alzheimer's patients at the center.
told Ms. Babin that he was issuing her a criminal misdemeanor
summons. Ms. Babin asked why, to which Blange responded that
it was two against one. Blange released Ms. Babin after
issuing a summons for violation of Jefferson Parish Code
Section 7-126(d), which provides:
7-126. - Cruelty in general.
(a) No person shall ill-treat, neglect, abandon, or cruelly
treat an animal. No person shall unnecessarily or cruelly
beat, mutilate, kill, torture, inflict injury, or abuse, or
cause or procure to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, killed,
tortured, injured, or abused, any animal or commit any act
which under any other law constitutes cruel treatment, or
fail to provide obviously necessary veterinary care.
(b) No animal shall be tethered as a means of stationary
confinement; such stationary confinement by tethering shall
be considered as cruel treatment.
(c) No animal shall be denied access to proper food, water,
shelter, sanitary and safe environment, or proper veterinary
care as is provided in section ...