Neuty, beloved nutria rat, allowed to stay with Bucktown family

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 8:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A beloved nutria will be allowed to stay with his adopted family after the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries chooses not to remove the rodent from its owners.

This comes after thousands on social media signed a petition to keep ‘Neuty’ with the Lacoste family.

You can think of him as a rodent or invasive species, but to the Lacostes, he will always be a member of the family.

Denny Lacoste says they found Neuty years ago, barely able to walk, trying to cross the street.

“I was coming to work and the mom was crossing the road with about six to eight pups, and some got ran over and he was just kind of on the ground crying so I stopped my truck, and I picked him up,” said Lacoste.

Since then, Neuty has become domesticated.

“He’s a lot of work. I’ll never have another one. He’s been good. Just like a puppy would do. He’s been good for the last two years, potty trained.”

But after being highlighted in a local news story, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries attempted to remove the two-year-old, 22-pound nutria, as it is illegal to house them as pets.

Labeled an invasive species, nutria were released into the wild after the fur market tanked in the 1930′s. They’ve been known to affect wetlands and other animal habitats negatively.

In a statement, the department planned to reintroduce Neuty at the Baton Rouge Zoo. But Lacoste says that’s when the community stepped up.

“20,000 signatures nationwide. Our friends in Alaska called. He’s in a paper up there.”

With over tens of thousands of supporters on social media and a petition on, Denny says he’s been blown away by the support from the community.

And after lawyering up, the Lacostes and Wildlife and Fisheries finally came to an understanding.

“It’s fine; they worked with us. They were nice and polite. We never had any problems, just had to get through some legalities.”

Meaning in this rare case, Neuty is staying with his family.

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