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Neuty freed: After public outcry, state works out deal to keep famous La. rodent with his adoptive family

5 days 11 hours 14 minutes ago Friday, March 17 2023 Mar 17, 2023 March 17, 2023 6:09 PM March 17, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ
Photo: The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate

BATON ROUGE - State officials say they will let Neuty the Nutria stay with a New Orleans-area couple just a day after threatening to take the famous rodent away. The announcement came after more than 17,000 people signed an online petition demanding that the state leave Neuty and his family alone. 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a statement that the Lacoste family is being allowed to apply for a permit so they can legally keep Neuty, so long as they meet certain conditions. 

“I think this is a good conclusion for all sides,” LDWF Sec. Jack Montoucet said.

Outcry erupted on social media Friday after news broke overnight that the popular quadruped was going to be seized by the agency. LDWF released a statement Thursday night saying that it was made aware of Neuty's cozy but illegal living situation through lighthearted news reports published this week.

Neuty, who's been living with the Lacostes for more than two years, had become somewhat of a celebrity in and around Jefferson Parish after regular sightings started getting attention on social media. 

Despite his popularity, LDWF initially said Thursday it had made arrangements to take Neuty and hand him over to the Baton Rouge Zoo, citing Louisiana law banning the ownership of nutria, which is considered an invasive nuisance species.

Read the latest statement from LDWF below.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has worked out an agreement which will allow the New Orleans couple to keep its pet nutria.   

LDWF Sec. Jack Montoucet said Friday the owners have applied for a permit and that LDWF has provided special conditions under which the nutria can remain with his owners.

The matter is ongoing and details of the permit are being finalized.      

The owners had previously been issued a citation for possession of a wild animal that is not permitted. Nutria are an invasive species with a population that has caused considerable damage to the state’s coastline, crops and marshes.

“I think this is a good conclusion for all sides,” Sec. Montoucet said.

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