Michael Blaise Landry Foundation
The Michael Blaise Landry Foundation is a foundation located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana established in memory of 4 year old Blaise Landry who was fatally attacked by 3 boxers in his own yard. Their goal is to promote safe child and canine interaction, responsible pet ownership, and legislation on tougher laws for dangerous dogs.
Published in the “Advocate Westside Bureau” – October 25,2010
By KORAN ADDO
NEW ROADS – Eighteen months after three dogs killed a Morganza toddler, the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury is set to overhaul the parish’s animal control ordinance. On Tuesday, police jurors are expected to begin debating whether to assign fees to owners of potentially dangerous dogs, levy fines to owners of loose dogs and make other provisions based on recommendations from the parish’s Animal Control Committee. The committee includes two veterinarians, a volunteer with the Pointe Coupee Animal Shelter and a captain with the Sheriff’s Office, among others. The push to reshape the animal-control ordinance began after 4-year-old Michael “Blaise” Landry was mauled by a neighbor’s three boxers on April 10, 2009.
Tammy Landry, the victim’s mother, late last week described the incident. She said Michael was eager to help her with some gardening, but she wasn’t quite ready and he walked away to play with his toy truck. Moments later, Tammy Landry said she heard her family’s dogs barking. “I went around the house to see what my dogs were barking at. I looked up and could see those boxers in my yard and they had something,” she said. Tammy Landry said she thought her son had gone inside the house to help his grand-mother cook. By that time, Tammy Landry said her neighbor was in her yard near where the boxers were and she ran to see what was happening. “I got to the dogs and saw my baby covered in blood,” she said. “The biggest boxer had my baby’s whole head in his mouth and I could see his little blue eyes looking up at me.” Tammy Landry, her husband, Robert Landry and their neighbor beat the dogs as they tried to carry Michael away, she said. “When my husband picked my baby up, the biggest dog was still lunging at him,” Tammy Landry said. Michael was taken by helicopter to Pointe Coupee General Hospital where he died.
Tony Clayton of Port Allen was the prosecuting attorney before a Pointe Coupee grand jury that on May 8, 2009 declined to indict Rob Roy, a member of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 division, on a negligent homicide charge. Grand jurors heard from six witnesses during a daylong session before deciding that the incident did not rise to the level of a grossly negligent act. Clayton has said the dogs were let out of their pens into their fenced yard while a caretaker cleaned the kennel. He said the dogs slipped under a barbed-wire enclosure and attacked the child. The boxers, owned by Roy’s fiancĂ©e, Candace Wells, have since been euthanized. In making the parish’s animal control ordinance more stringent, Tammy Landry said she hopes the Police Jury will use “common sense” to make punishments fit violations of existing laws. “We have leash laws on the books,” she said. “It takes law enforcement to enforce them. In my case, they chose not to do anything.”
Animal Control Officer Michel “MeMe” Meche is on the volunteer animal control committee. He said the parish, especially in the New Roads area, has owners who abandon dogs and those who allow dogs to roam the streets unsupervised. In his three years working for the parish, Meche said he’s seen instances where there have been 20 dog bites or attacks in one month. On average, Meche estimates that he has been called to the scene of a dog bite between five and 10 times per month. There were three such instances last week, he said. The recommendations the committee is planning to present on Tuesday address a broad range of issues, including leash laws, vaccinations, pet registration and how dogs are restrained in public and in vehicles, Meche said. “We’re not trying to invade anyone’s privacy,” he said. “We want to have all pets vaccinated and we want to know who has what animal.”
Carol Vincent, chair of the animal control committee, said the recommendations will include a series of fees and fines designed to make animal owners more responsible and to inject some revenue into the parish’s animal control office. Vincent said the office operates without a budget instead drawing money from the parish’s general fund. Police Jury President Melanie Bueche said the parish’s existing animal ordinances were based on laws enacted in East Baton Rouge Parish, where the Metro Council on Wednesday will introduce an agenda item to propose stricter rules governing dangerous and vicious dogs. Revamping East Baton Rouge Parish’s current laws to fit rural Pointe Coupee Parish, with its wide open spaces, will be a long and painstaking process, Bueche said. “Some people want things to stay the way they are, others want some very strict rules and some people want something in the middle,” Bueche said. “We have to find something that’s workable and then we have to see it in action to see if things are reasonable and enforceable.”