Lawtell animal hording suspect makes bond

The man St. Landry Parish authorities arrested last week on animal cruelty charges, Donald James LaFleur, is home with his relatives now after he posted a $25,000 bond.

The 61 year old Lawtell man, made headlines throughout the region after his arrest on 1,500 counts of animal cruelty.

Parish President Bill Fontenot, who helped monitor the rescue of the animals in LaFleur’s care, said those charges could have been worse, after finding 500 more animals.

Most of the animals were birds, chickens, ducks, peacocks, parakeets, and pheasants, who now live in comfortable, temporary homes.

Fontenot said about 30 died as a result of the heat and crowding they had experienced at LaFleur’s small compound.

About 60 more had to be euthanized at the suggestion of the veterinarians that were brought in.


On Friday
, authorities in St. Landry Parish made a startling discovery. Roughly 2,000 animals were found at a man’s home in Lawtell, the majority in poor condition. The owner, 64-year-old Donald Lefleur, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

“(There were) dogs, cats, geese, chickens, pheasants, a little bit of everything. Also, snakes. ” said St. Landry Parish Director of Administration, Jessie Bellard.

And the list goes on. Rabbits, peacocks, and turtles were also rescued. The stench alone could be smelled from the road. Tipped off from a caller out of New Orleans, Bellard said he immediately obtained a warrant after visiting the house and seeing the conditions inside.

“The smell was horrendous,” said Bellard. “The chickens were in some little crates and they lived in feces until it built up so much they could jump out of the crate.”

Bellard says around 100 chickens were roaming inside and 20 dogs were living in crates, some so small they could barely move. It took most of the day for crews to find and collect all the animals. Also found around the property, rotting carcasses and chickens eating other chickens. But what Bellard found most shocking was Lefleur’s reaction to the seizure.

“He was very surprised that we were going to take his animals,” said Bellard. “He didn’t think he did anything wrong.”

Some animals are in such bad shape, they’ll have to be euthanized. But there is hope for others—albeit a long road to recovery.

“The employees are going to have to make sure all animals are accounted for and documented and the veterinarians are going to be looking at the 4-legged animals,” said Bellard.

Once they are treated and deemed healthy, they’ll be up for adoption or a foster home.

This particular incident wasn’t the first time Lefleur was arrested for animal cruelty. In 2004, authorities seized a number of dogs found in what was deemed a puppy mill at his home. However, he was not charged.


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