Walter Pierce

Animal cruelty probe creates crisis

by Walter Pierce

Dozens of stray dogs and cats at the Kaplan pound have been saved from the gas chamber thanks to the quick action of a Vermilion Parish animal welfare group.

The crisis started last week when sheriff’s deputies confiscated 18 pit bull terriers from a home north of Abbeville as part of an animal-cruelty investigation. The incident is detailed in a report in The Abbeville Meridional.

The pit bulls were brought to the Kaplan pound, creating an instant over-crowding problem. According to Joelle Rupert, a member of Vermilion Animal Aid, the pit bulls took up roughly two thirds of the available space in the pound. Concerns over the safety of the stray population at the pound led to officials segregating the pit bulls from the rest of the population. But the pit bulls had to stay put while the sheriff’s office investigated the animal-cruelty case, hastening the clock ticking down to euthanization for the rest of the stray pets.

Rupert says the police jury gave Vermilion Animal Aid, which helps the pound adopt out animals, an ultimatum: “They were going to give us until the weekend,” Rupert says, “and we asked for an extension and they gave until about the middle of the week, and we have almost all of them [adopted].” VAA placed the animals, including boxers, dachshunds and Labradors, on . The group also sent out an urgent plea via e-mail, and other non-profit animal rescue groups including one from Texas joined the effort. One of the last dogs from the group scheduled to be euthanized this week is headed to a new home in Washington, D.C.