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Update from the Rapid Response Animal Abuse Team - a Program of The Humane Society of Louisiana

From: Jeff
Sent on: Thursday, March 6, 2008 2:02 PM

Our humane organization receives thousands of complaints each year involving cruelty to animals. When a nursing dog was recently fatally shot in Edgard, Louisiana, leaving behind four orphaned puppies, we decided to restructure our investigations department. With a small staff and limited resources, we decided to use the skills and talents of people locally and across the nation to help us to respond to emergencies and help us solve animal abuse complaints. We are calling this group of concerned citizens our Rapid Response Animal Abuse Team.

We plan on analyzing some of these cases on the Internet, with hundreds of people helping us. We also plan on training volunteers to become "pet detectives," so that they will know what to look for in solving these crimes. This approach will allow us to deploy volunteers across the state to visit crime scenes, interview witnesses, collect and preserve evidence, and work with law enforcement agencies in solving many of these cases. So far, over 100 individuals have registered to be a part of our Rapid Response Team, and three attorneys have agreed to serve on our legal panel . They will be asked to review our protocol, answer legal questions, and help us file grievances and formal documents.

Current Cases:

#1: The Edgard 5. This case refers to the mother dog and four nursing puppies who were found in Edgard, Louisiana, a rural area 45 minutes from New Orleans. A reward fund has been established to pay for information from witnesses, a press release was sent out, and a report has been forwarded to the Investigations Department of the St. John Parish Sheriff's Department.

#2: Pit Bull Breeding Operation.
Over the years, we have developed a very strong working relationship with the Louisiana State Police, Gaming Enforcement Division. This team of detectives has worked hundreds of dog fighting cases over the past few years, and their top dog fighting expert, with whom we have worked several times on different cases, was recently given a national crime-fighting award and was profiled in Parade Magazine. Our group has been very active in this field by helping to draft and pass tougher laws over the years, collecting information from a long-term undercover operation, and visiting dog fighting compounds with law enforcement agencies.

Last week, we received information from residents in Crowley, Louisiana, who suspect that their neighbor is breeding and selling fighting pit bulls. They were able to take these photos, which clearly show a large-scale pit bull breeding operation. In Louisiana, it is a felony to "own, possess, or keep a dog for the purposes of fighting." We forwarded this information on to our contacts at the State Police, and they assigned the case to a detective within 24 hours. For your reference, there is now a national 24-hour dog fighting hotline:[masked]-4787. You may also wish to keep these numbers of the State Police regional offices nearby:

New Orleans:[masked]
Baton Rouge:[masked]
Lake Charles:[masked]

#3: Cat Shot in Tangipahoa Parish. Two of our seasoned cruelty investigators, Randy and Lynda Stegall, were driving down a back road when they heard a gunshot and discovered the body of a cat in a drainage ditch. A few yards away, they saw a young boy with a rifle on a nearby porch. They took photos of the cat and called the authorities. The case has been forwarded to a detective with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Department, who plan on interviewing the suspect. Updates will follow in future reports.

In our next report, we will provide you with information on contacting other law and code enforcement agencies, such as Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Louisiana Livestock Brand Commission. Each of these agencies has specific jurisdictional and regulatory powers over the use of some species of animals, as well as enforcement capabilities.

Ways to help our Rapid Response Animal Abuse Team:

1. Register as a member by sending us your name, address, phone numbers, and email address, or visit our website at and register online.

2. Send a donation to our Reward Fund or operational account to The Humane Society of Louisiana, P.O. Box[masked], New Orleans, LA 70714.

3. Send us gift cards for Home Depot, Sears, or Wal-Mart that we will use to purchase supplies for our animal housing facility in Tylertown, Mississippi. Send all mail to the addr

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