Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing stories of animals left out in the elements, whether it be extreme heat or cold, like we're experiencing now in northwest Louisiana. With the idea of keeping fur babies safe during what we're calling the Cajun Blizzard of 2018, I decided to do a little searching regarding the legal implications of leaving pets outside to face the elements. Here's what I found:

In the state of Louisiana as a whole:

These Louisiana statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty provisions.  The term "cruel" is defined in the first section every act or failure to act whereby unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.  The crime of cruelty to animals is subdivided into simple cruelty or aggravated cruelty. Simple cruelty occurs when a person intentionally or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, or overworks, torments, cruelly beats, or unjustifiably injures, or, having charge, custody, or possession of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, unjustifiably fails to provide any living animal with proper food, proper drink, proper shelter, or proper veterinary care.

Statues in Caddo Parish:

Definitions; cruelty to animals RS 14:102 (5) "Proper shelter" means providing each animal with adequate shelter from the elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal. 

Here's what happens in Caddo Parish if you're charged with cruelty to animals:

(2) The seizing officer shall:

(a) Notify the owner of the seized animal of the provisions of this section by posting written notice at the location where the animal was seized or by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion residing at that location within 24 hours of the seizure.

(b) Contact Caddo Parish Animal Services to care for any such animal. CPAS shall retain custody of the animal or find a suitable custodian to care for the animal. A suitable custodian can be defined as a CPAS approved 501(c)(3) private animal welfare society, animal rescue organization or approved CPAS foster care home. The custodian shall retain custody of the animal for the purpose of evidence at trial, subject to order of the court.

(c) Photograph the animal within 15 days after posting of the notice of seizure and shall cause an affidavit to be prepared in order to document its condition in accordance with R.S. 15:436.2.

(3) The seized animal shall be held by the custodian provided for in subsection (2)(b) of this section for a period of 15 consecutive days, including weekends and holidays, after such notice of seizure is given. Thereafter, if a person who claims an interest in such animal has not posted bond in accordance with subsection (4) of this section, the animal may be humanely disposed of by sale, adoption, or euthanasia.

(4) A person claiming an interest in any animal seized pursuant to this section may prevent the disposition of the animal as provided for in subsection (2) of this section by posting a bond with Caddo Parish Animal Services within 15 days after receiving notice of such seizure in an amount sufficient to secure payment for all reasonable costs incurred in the boarding and treatment for any seized animal for a 30-day period commencing on the date of initial seizure. Such bond shall not prevent the department, agency, humane society, or other custodian of the animal from disposing of the animal in accordance with subsection (2) of this section at the end of the 30-day period covered by the bond, unless the person claiming an interest posts an additional bond for such reasonable expenses for an additional 30-day period. In addition, such bond shall not prevent disposition of the animal for humane purposes at any time, in accordance with subsection (6) of this section. The amount of the bond shall be determined by the department, agency, humane society or other custodian of the animal as authorized by the court in accordance with the current rate for board and on the condition of the animal after examination by a licensed veterinarian.

(5) Upon a person's conviction of cruelty to animals, it shall be proper for the court, in its discretion, to order the forfeiture and final determination of the custody of any animal found to be cruelly treated in accordance with this section and the forfeiture of the bond posted pursuant to subsection (4) of this section as part of the sentence. The court may, in its discretion, order the payment of any reasonable or additional costs incurred in the boarding or veterinary treatment of any seized animal prior to its disposition, whether or not a bond was posted by the defendant. In the event of the acquittal or final discharge without conviction of the accused, the court shall, on demand, direct the delivery of any animal held in custody to the owner thereof and order the return of the bond posted pursuant to subsection (4) of this section, less reasonable administrative costs.

(6) Nothing in this section shall prevent the euthanasia of any seized animal, at any time, whether or not any bond was posted, if a licensed veterinarian determines that the animal is not likely to survive and is suffering, as a result of any physical condition. In such instances, the court, in its discretion, may order the return of any bond posted, less reasonable costs, at the time of trial.

(Ord. No. 37, 2016, 5-24-16)

In short, if you're not going to take care of your pet, you don't deserve it. If that ticks you off, I really don't care.