In a legislative session dominated by tax reform discussions, a Louisiana lawmaker is finding time to push a bill that would outline what, legally, would be the proper shelter for a dog.

That bill, proposed by Rep. Matthew Willard (D-New Orleans), would update the existing animal cruelty law to specifically outline what type of housing dog owners should provide for their pets.

Under the current animal cruelty law, "'proper shelter' means providing each animal with adequate shelter from the elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering by the animal." The new proposal carves out a specific provision for doghouses. That proposed law reads as follows:

"Proper shelter" means, with regard to dogs, an upright, weather resistant structure with three walls, an opening, a roof, and a floor; it shall be free of waste and standing water, and it shall be sufficient in size for an animal to stand in an upright position, turn around, and make normal posturing positions.

Willard's proposal goes further, specifically outlining what types of housing are not acceptable. The bill continues:

"Proper shelter" shall not include animal carriers, plastic crates, and other enclosures designed to provide temporary housing.

Willard's bill cleared the House Criminal Justice Committee unanimously after lawmakers made technical amendments. The proposal is pending a vote in the full House of Representatives. That vote is expected to happen on Tuesday.

We will continue to follow this bill. We'll update this story as it progresses or stalls in the legislature.

The session continues through June 10.

Postscript: No word if the legislature will consider allowing doghouses to fly.

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