WALKER, LA (WAFB) - Walker Police issued a misdemeanor summons to a Livingston Parish woman for cruelty to animals in the case of those puppies found in an ice chest in Walker.
Police say she told them her mother-in-law couldn't take care of the dogs, so she was trying to help her out. When she realized the shelter couldn't help her because she lives outside the city, she dumped them nearby. Officers and volunteers, with one Baton Rouge animal advocacy group, tell WAFB that incidents like these happen more often than you may think.
Just one day after, a litter of abandoned puppies were left inside an ice chest in Walker. Another litter was found outside of Cortana Mall, and Northside Humane Society volunteers found a dog chained to a post on Thursday afternoon. Her puppies were left in a box out in the sun.
"One of the puppies was almost dead. It's incomprehensible that people can be as cruel as to drop animals off which we're hearing so much about lately," said Northside Humane Society president Lori Darensbourg.
Darensbourg says animal dumping is common around this time because this is when many dogs and cats have litters, but she says that does not make it okay. "I think people have the priorities mixed up," said Darensbourg. "This is lives, and these puppies and kittens are out suffering on the street due to people's priorities being in the wrong order."
Walker police had several officers looking into the case there. Captain John Sharp says abandoning unwanted animals is not only inhumane, but it's also illegal. "A first offense of cruelty to animals is how this is defined; [and] is a misdemeanor. It's punishable by a fine of up to 500 dollars and/or some jail time," said Sharp.
Second time offenders can face felony charges, and no less than a year in prison. Sharp says there are many local groups willing to help spay and neuter your pets for little or no money. If you can't take care of your pets, find a shelter that will take them in.
"If you have animals that meet the qualifications, bring them there. It might take a few minutes to fill out a few papers, but that's the legal way to do it," said Sharp.
Officers want to remind people of another state law which says -- if you pick up a stray dog, it legally becomes yours and you must provide it with food, shelter, water and medical care. Failing to do any of these things is considered animal cruelty--which is punishable by fines and prison time.
Click here for information on low cost spay and neutering clinics and shelters.