Couple charged with 27 counts of animal cruelty for condition of home; children removed by state

Photo provided by the Thibodaux Police Department.
Monday, June 3, 2013 - 4:33pm

A couple’s compassion for stray animals created a dangerous and toxic environment for their two children, as well as the animals they were hoping to save.

“One of the owners claimed that he would pick up stray dogs on the street,” David Melancon, Thibodaux Police Department, said. “We told him that we understood that, but he had to properly take care of them.”

Melancon noted that 24 dogs and 3 cats were all living with a family of four in a small trailer located on Oak Lane in Thibodaux. The investigation began when a handful of the dogs escaped from the home and were bothering the neighbors.

“Several of the dogs got out of the trailer and were found running around the barking at people,” Melancon explained. “When officers responded to the complaint, the trailer appeared to be abandoned from the outside. When they got inside, they were shocked by what they saw.”

Melancon, who was on scene during the investigation, said the noise from the animals was so loud it was difficult for the officers to talk to each other in close proximity. However, the toxicity of the home was far more concerning.

“The smell was unbearable,” he said. “We had to cover our faces. The floors were so soaked with urine that it was soft and pliable. The feces was so thick that you could not walk around it. It was located on the floors, walls, and even in the sheets located on the children’s beds.”

Melancon explained that there were holes in the trailer, which allowed for the animals to escape.

“I asked the owner how many animals they had and she responded ‘who can know that,’” he said.

The dogs, ranging in size from small to medium, were reportedly in poor condition. Many were classified as mal-nourished. They were all removed from the home and transported to the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter. They were all examined by a vet and are being treated in various ways.

“They were fed and nourished and we’re going to try and find them homes,” Melancon said.

As for the two children, they were removed from the home by the Office of Child Protective Services and placed with family members.

The owners, Archie and Melinda Horsley, were charged with Cruelty to Juveniles and 27 counts of Cruelty to Animals.
 

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