Animal Services FAQs

How do I report stray animals, nuisance animals, or animal cruelty situations?

The Sheriff’s Office and Municipal Police Department numbers are listed above to report stray, loose, or nuisance animals. The appropriate department jurisdiction will need a description of the animal(s) causing the problem, a description of the problem, and your name, address and phone number so they can get back in touch with you if necessary. The owner’s name and/or address is helpful, but not required.

For example:  “My name is John Smith and I live at 123 Pine Street.  My phone number is 555-1234. There’s a large, brown dog out loose on our street. I think it might belong to the family at 135 Pine Street. I’m worried because it’s barking at the kids getting off the school bus.”

Cruelty and neglect complaints, dog fights and cockfights can be reported anonymously, but it’s important for you to provide as much information about the problem as possible. For example: “There is a very skinny black dog tied to the front porch on the northwest corner of Oak Avenue and Pine Street. I don’t know the address, but it’s a blue house with white trim.  The dog has no food, shelter or water.”

Dog fights and dangerous animals situations may be reported 24 hours a day, and a serious cruelty complaint may also be reported outside of normal business hours. Call police, sheriff or 911 at night, on weekends or holidays for these situations.
The more information they have about an animal problem, the better they are able to help.

If you witness someone causing deliberate harm to an animal, you can report them to law enforcement. Try to have as much information as possible. Photos or videotape of the abuse is even better. Be sure to use the time-date feature on your camera if this is possible.

If you think someone is neglecting an animal, let the appropriate department know. According to law, animals must be provided with adequate food, water and shelter, adequate space, clean living conditions and basic veterinary care. “Shelter” means an actual dog house–being able to duck under a porch, car, or boat doesn’t count. If a dog is kept on a chain, the chain must be at least five times the length of the dog (not counting the tail) and it must be set up so the chain doesn’t get tangled on bushes, posts, etc.

Animal fighting is considered cruelty to animals. Even if no other evidence of cruelty or neglect is present, animal fighting is illegal on its own. Drugs, gambling, prostitution and other illegal activities are often present at human-induced animal fights–fights set up by people to challenge one dog against another. You may report dog fights or cock fights directly to the police or sheriff.

It is against the law to allow dogs to run loose in St. Martin Parish. Dogs must be in a yard, in a pen, or on a chain. Dogs walked on a leash must be under the direct control of their owner at all times.

Cats are not required to be on a leash or under the direct physical control of their owners, but they are not allowed to leave their owners’ property. If your wandering cat causes a nuisance for your neighbors, the neighbors have the right to humanely secure the cat and ask us to pick it up. You may either place the animal in a cage, secure it on a screen porch, or use a humane trap like a “Hav-A-Hart” trap. If you don’t own a humane trap, you can rent one from a rental store or borrow one from the cities, Sheriff’s Animal Control Division or Animal Services.

If loose animals are causing a problem in your neighborhood, simply call the appropriate law enforcement department. Be able to give the dog’s location and a good description. If you think you know who the dog might belong to, tell them.

How do I get help with an animal problem at night, on weekends, or on holidays?

It is an emergency when:

  • an animal has bitten someone,
  • an animal is trapped, injured or otherwise in serious danger,
  • wildlife has wandered indoors,
  • an animal is loose on the Interstate, or on a major street,
  • or other situations in which an animal is in distress or a human being is in-danger of being harmed by the animal.
How do I adopt a pet? How much does it cost?

Just show up during regular business hours and you can choose from the available dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in our adoption program.

All dog adoption fees are $120.00, and cat adoption fees are $75.00. This includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccine and microchip.

Payment must be credit/debit or money order for adoptions. Be sure to bring proper identification–your current driver’s license, passport, military ID or state ID card.

The fee for animals adopted from the Animal Services Shelter pays for the animal’s rabies certificate, tag and registration, and for the required spay or neuter surgery. 

My pet is missing! What should I do?

Call the Animal Services Shelter during normal business hours as soon as you notice your pet is missing. Please give us as much information about your pet as possible:  the date your pet went missing, along with its age, sex, color, breed (if known), weight, and important distinguishing features such as a stub tail. It’s important for us to know if your pet was wearing its tag and collar.

Remember, the people answering the phones are not in the kennels looking at the animals. They are in an office looking at the impoundment information. So, if you call looking for a gray tabby cat, they will be unable to see minor details about your pet’s color pattern, etc. If the people answering the phone say that we’ve picked up a dog or cat anywhere close to your pet’s description, you need to come identify it in person as soon as possible.

The ordinance allows us to keep dogs and cats for 5 days. If they are unclaimed after that time, they are evaluated for health, age, personality, etc. Those not suitable for adoption are humanely euthanized, and, unfortunately, we often must euthanize a healthy pet simply because there is no room in adoption. So it is very, very important that you begin to look for your pet as soon as you notice it’s missing. 

Make up flyers right away, and post them at gas stations, grocery stores and other neighborhood gathering places.  Check with local vet clinics, too:  sometimes, kind people find an injured pet and bring it to the neighborhood veterinarian.

Run a lost ad in the paper, and check the found ads every day.

Animal Control or other Law enforcement picked up my pet. What do I do now?

Call the Animal Services Shelter at 394-1220.
If you have received a warning notice, have it handy when you call us. You may need to refer to it.
If we have your pet, you will have to pay:
Impoundment fee…………………………………….. $15
Horses and livestock ……………………………….. $35

If your pet is not wearing a current rabies tag on its collar, and you cannot provide other proof that it is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, you will have to pay:
Rabies vaccination, tag and license fee…………$12

If your pet is up-to-date on its shots, but the tag has been lost, bring your vet’s receipt when you pick up your pet. Or call you vet and ask for that information to be emailed to the Animal Services Shelter at animalservices@stmartinparish.net.

If your pet has stayed with us for one or more days, any portion of the day, you may also have to pay:
Kennel boarding fee (per day/portion of day).....$10
Horses and livestock.....$25

If Animal Services paid any extra services such as veterinary work, contracted labor, trailer fees, etc you may also have to pay back the expense incurred.

All fees must be paid at the Animal Services Shelter during normal business hours.

Even if you are not certain your pet was picked up, call Animal Services Shelter, as soon as, you notice your pet is missing, and call every day to see if we have picked it up. 

What should I do if I find a stray pet?

Call the Animal Services Shelter. If the animal is wearing a rabies tag on its collar, you can read the tag number to us over the phone and we can trace the animal’s owners so you can contact them.

If the animal is not wearing tags, you may want to take care of the animal for a few days while you post on social media.

You may also want to post “found” flyers in your neighborhood and in adjacent subdivisions. It’s a good idea to place a few flyers at local gas stations, veterinary hospitals, grocery stores, etc.

If you can’t find the owner, or if you are not able or willing to try, call the appropriate law enforcement office to pick the animal up OR bring it into the Shelter.

If you have kept the animal for more than a week, posted on social media, and the animal is unclaimed, you may keep the dog or cat if you’d like to give it a home.

What about pet licenses?

When your dog or cat receives its rabies shot and gets its tag at a licensed veterinarian’s office, it becomes officially licensed in St. Martin Parish. Parish law requires both dogs and cats to be vaccinated for rabies at the age of three months, then once a year afterwards, and to wear a rabies tag on the collar. Even if you think your full-time indoor pet will never get out, accidents can happen. The serial number on your pet’s rabies tag will trace it back to you.  Be sure to save your vet’s receipt–if your pet loses its rabies tag, you will be able to prove it is up-to-date on its shots.

Ferrets are also required to have an annual rabies shot.

If you’ve just moved to St. Martin Parish, you must have your pet licensed by a veterinarian in the parish within 30 days. Contact a vet in St. Martin Parish of Animal Services at 337-394-1220 to purchase a license. 

Because rental leases and residential neighborhood agreements are  private contracts,  these situations do not fall under our jurisdiction. We suggest that you contact an attorney if a dispute arises over the pet restrictions in your rental lease or subdivision restrictions.

Raccoons are getting into my garbage. What can I do?

Many problems with raccoons, opossums and other wildlife often can be solved simply by building an enclosed pen for your garbage cans. It should have a top and four sides.  Use a spring-type latch–this lets the garbage collector in but keeps raccoons out. You can also buy ready-made, raccoon-proof pens at some feed stores.

Tamper-resistant garbage cans are another good solution. Or you could try stretching a piece of bungee cord across your garbage can lid. Just anchor the bungee cord to the handles.

It’s also important to avoid leaving pet food out at night. If raccoon and opossum problems persist after you’ve removed food sources and secured your garbage, you can contact Wildlife & Fisheries for information on wildlife trappers. 

Please do not feed raccoons. Sure, raccoons are cute. But rabies isn’t. Raccoons can carry rabies, which is transmittable to humans, pets and livestock. Raccoons also carry distemper, a serious disease which can be transmitted to dogs and cats that aren’t up-to-date on their shots. If a raccoon bites a human, a doctor must be called immediately. Treatment may be needed for exposure to rabies and other diseases. If a raccoon bites a pet, take the pet to a veterinarian right away.

Who do I call to help me with a dead animal?

There are no special laws concerning the disposal of most deceased pets on your own property, but you will want to bury it as deep as possible–at least two feet for a cat, small dog, or other small pet; three feet or more for a larger pet.

It’s a good idea to place a few paving stones directly above the spot to discourage scavengers. You might also want to plant a tree or bush to mark the spot, or make a marker of your own.

The law does require that large livestock animals must be buried at least six feet deep, or cremated.
Beware of buried utility lines–always call “Dottie” at 1-800-272-3020 before you dig a hole.

If you don’t have a yard, or if you are not able to dig a grave, you will need to find another means of disposing of your deceased pet. Some veterinarians offer burial and cremation services, or they will refer you to someone else who can help. Look in the Yellow Pages under “veterinarians” and “pet cemeteries, crematories and supplies.”

Another way to dispose of a dead animal is simply to wrap it neatly in paper, a plastic bag or an old T-shirt and deposit it at the curb in a closed garbage can or in a sturdy box you’ve taped shut (this will prevent scavengers from disturbing the remains). 

It’s better to avoid wild animals found dead on the road.  Rabies can survive in the corpse of a dead animal, and rabies is often the reason the raccoon was out in the road in the first place. If you have an urgent reason to remove a road kill, use plastic or latex gloves, put the dead animal in a plastic bag, and secure it in the garbage as described above.  Be sure to dispose of the gloves and to wash your hands thoroughly after attempting this. Never touch a road-killed animal if you have an open cut or abrasion on your hands.

If you’re a good Samaritan and you notice that a dead dog or cat is wearing its rabies tag, you can call us and tell us what the tag number is, and we can track down the owner to notify them of the situation.

For burial of your dead livestock on your property, call Public Works at (337) 394-2200, ext. 226  to make arrangements.

Someone has been bitten by an animal. What needs to be done?

Because of the danger of rabies, which is always fatal if untreated, animal bites and scratches must be reported to municipal law enforcement or the Sheriff’s Animal Control Division. A bite report will be taken, and every effort will be made to find the animal, quarantine it, and observe its health for ten (10) days. Anyone who has been bitten is safe from rabies if the dog or cat which bit them is still alive ten days later.

If you, a family member, or a visitor to your home was bitten by your own pet, you must report the bite, but you may be allowed to choose to kennel your pet at your veterinarian’s office during this time. If the animal dies for any reason during this time, you must contact the Animal Services Shelter so your pet’s remains can be examined for rabies. Please call us at 337-394-1220.

If the dog or cat was not up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, or if it was running loose or otherwise in violation of the ordinance at the time the bite occurred, the animal will be impounded in our Rabies Observation Kennel here at the Animal Services Shelter for ten days. The owner may reclaim the animal after ten days have passed, and must be ready to pay any fees may apply. In some cases, you may pay your fees at the Animal Services Shelter and then we will transfer your pet to your own veterinarian’s office for observation.

If you are bitten by a wild mammal, such as a fox or raccoon, notify the Animal Services Shelter immediately and we will make every effort to capture the animal and examine it for rabies. Birds, reptiles, fish, and other animals do not carry rabies. If you are not sure whether or not the animal which bit you is a mammal, please call the Animal Services Shelter and we can help identify it for you.

Due to risk of infection from bacteria, and due to the risk of dangerous venom from a snake or spider bite, you should see a physician if you have been bitten by a bird, reptile, spider, or any other non-mammalian animal for medical treatment, but the animal does not need to be impounded or quarantined. 

If unable to locate the animal which bit you, you must go through a series of post-exposure anti-rabies injections to protect you against the rabies virus. While the risk of rabies is very small in the case of dog and cat bites, the virus is always fatal if untreated. However small the odds are, the risk is almost always too great to gamble on.

If you have been bitten by a wild animal which got away, you must have the injections to protect your health. Consult your physician for medical advice as to whether or not you should have the injections in situations where a dog or cat got away.