BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A truancy complaint resulted in the arrest of a woman for cruelty to a juvenile after 35 animals were found inside her home.
"We got a tip that the juvenile who was living inside the residence was not going to school," David Melancon, Thibodaux Police Department, said. "We were told the child was being bullied at school for smelling like animal urine."
When officers arrived at the home located on Oakley Street on Friday, Dec. 6, they made a shocking discovery.
"They could smell a very strong odor coming from inside the residence before they approached the front door to the home," Melancon explained. "Once they went inside the home, with the home owner's permission, they observed that the conditions were not livable."
Officers recovered 14 adult cats, 18 kittens, and 3 dogs inside the home. They observed animal feces and urine on the floor throughout the home, as well as on the juvenile's bed.
"The odor was so strong that officers had to rotate in and out of the home so they could go outside to get fresh air," Melancon said.
The home owner, Lorencia Raffray, 45, told officers she was keeping the animals out of compassion.
"Raffray claims that only a few of the kittens belonged to her," Melancon said. "She was not able to give a precise number of the animals inside the home. She claims the majority were dropped off at her home and she was only keeping them until she could find them homes.
"Officers could not find any evidence to suggest that she was trying to find them shelter," Melancon added. "Regardless of whether she was trying to find shelter for them or not, the conditions in the home were unsanitary."
Raffary was arrested and charged with animal cruelty (35 counts) and cruelty to a juvenile. She was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center. She was released after posting a bond of $500.
The juvenile was released to a family member. Officials say the juvenile will not be allowed to return to Raffray until the living conditions of the home are improved.
All of the animals were removed from the home and taken to the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter for treatment.