OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – An Opelousas man has been charged in connection with an animal cruelty complaint of local retired race horse, Dr. Drip.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Jermaine Dwayne Doucet, Jr., 18, who owned the horse, was arrested Monday on the felony charge of cruelty to animals.
Deputies began investigating the case on June 20, 2017, when the St. Landry Parish Animal Control notified to Sheriff’s Office of a possible animal cruelty complaint.
An anonymous source told authorities that a horse was severely malnourished. Detectives drove to the land and assisted Animal Control in locating the horse.
Guidroz said the horse was malnourished to an extent that the vast majority of the rib bones of the horse were easily observed.
The horse also had several saddle sores along the back area of the horse and a substantial amount of maggots and flies populating were on the saddle sores.
Detectives were able to contact the land owner and gave the authorization to enter his property in order for the animal to be seized by St. Landry Parish Animal Control. Local veterinarians affiliated with the Acadiana Equine Hospital examined the horse and began treatment for the ailments.
On June 21, 2017, Animal Control contacted the Acadiana Equine Hospital and informed them the horse’s condition had worsened. Another examination of the horse was conducted and the determination was made that the horse should be euthanized. The horse was euthanized by the examining doctor.
Animal Control began their investigation obtaining statements from the parties involved and the case was found to be a felony criminal act. The case was then turned over to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Detectives Section where two detectives were assigned.
On June 26, 2017, detectives learned the horse had changed hands many times and began their interviews. According to the investigation, the horse was purchased by the lease owner of the land from another person who was given the horse by the original owner. Detectives were informed that the horse was purchased by the care taker of the land for Jermaine Doucet Jr. and he did agree to Jermaine’s horse to be housed on the land.
On June 26, 2017, Jermaine Doucet Jr. was interviewed at the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. Jermaine Doucet did not submit an official statement, but he did indicate that he did, in fact, own the horse. Doucet was placed under arrest based on information gathered during the course of the investigation.
Sheriff Bobby Guidroz added, “We will conduct criminal investigations on any and all reports of animal abuse we receive from Parish animal control that violates state statutes if there is no scene contamination and evidence destruction. The evidence I speak of is the evidence we need to gather among other things, is the evidence the district attorney needs to prosecute the person (s) responsible for the abuse, mistreatment and criminal acts of the animal.”