OPELOUSAS, LA (WAFB) - Five teenagers from St. Landry Parish, ranging in age from 13 to 16-years-old, are accused of stealing two horses and tack from Dominique's Stockyard in Opelousas and abusing them on April 4.
Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Livestock Brand Commission say they were able to recover the stolen horses, with the assistance of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, through a tip to law enforcement. The horses' saddles and tack were also recovered. Officials say the horses were physically abused as well.
"Thanks to an alert citizen, our investigators swiftly moved in to rescue and recover these animals from this inhumane treatment. Upon their rescue, investigators say there were signs of physical injuries sustained to the horses and evidence collected at the scene to support this. This is intolerable," said LDAF commissioner, Mike Strain, DVM.
The five teens were arrested Monday, April 10. They were all placed in a juvenile detention center in Opelousas. Four of the teens remain in the center, while one has been released to his parents.
Two of the teens are charged with theft of livestock. One is charged with accessory after the fact to theft of livestock. Another teen is charged with theft of livestock and aggravated cruelty to animals, while another is charged with accessory after the fact to theft of livestock and aggravated cruelty to animals.
The charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and theft of livestock are both felonies.