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May 18, 2010 12:33 PM by Melissa Canone

Acadia Humane Society Complaints Increase

Humane Society Release: The Acadia Chapter of the Humane Society of Louisiana has been working non-stop for several months, responding to reports of animal abuse in a tri-parish area: Acadia, St. Landry, and Evangeline Parishes. The group was established more than eight years ago and has investigated thousands of calls; however, in recent weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of calls the agency has received. The group is very small, with only a handful of volunteers who respond to the calls and care for the surrendered or confiscated animals. Janet Lyons, a mother of five and who has received awards for her volunteer work in the past, heads up the local chapter and acts as the group's principle cruelty investigator. Ms. Lyons often works closely with law and code enforcement agencies to help enforce and uphold the local and state anti-cruelty ordinances and also has housed and nursed back to health thousands of injured and abandoned animals.

Ms. Lyons recently responded to two calls, which left an indelible impression, even on this seasoned investigator. First, Ms. Lyons responded to a call involving two German Shepherds who were abandoned by their previous owners. The dogs were left in their locked kennels at 1803 Albert Venable Rd, in Church Point, to fend for themselves. The previous owners, Mark and Cindy Wingate, simply abandoned the property and failed to relocate the animals or make any provisions for their future care. By the time a neighbor contacted an agency, it was almost too late. One of the confined canines was found dead in his cage, and the other was barely alive when found.

Now named "Renate," which means "reborn" in German, the sweet female German Shepherd weighed only 53 pounds, about 2/3 her normal body weight, when found. Renate apparently had not eaten in several weeks and was on death's door, when rescued. Renate was immediately transported to a veterinary clinic to begin her lengthly rehabilitation. Renate was also found to be suffering from advanced heartworm disease. During her stay at the vet clinic, Renate regained most of her weight, has begun her heartworm treatment, and is available for adoption to a loving and understanding home.

More recently, the group was asked to work with the Acadia Animal Control department, which responded to a complaint involving more than one dozen cats living in deplorable conditions. Upon inspection, 18 cats were found stuffed and living in rabbit cages at 336 1st Street, in a yard overgrown with weeds and next to a house full of trash and debris. Piles of feces of up to eight inches were found under each rabbit cage, and four to five cats were crammed into the cages, which space so tight that some of them could not even turn around.

The group vowed to save as many of the cats as they could, since they survived such horrible living conditions for so long. They felt that they owed the cats as much. Once removed, the 18 cats were bathed and examined by a local vet, who deemed them all savable. All were sterilized and some were treated for dental problems and respiratory diseases. The group has spent more than $1,000 on the cats to date. Eight of the cats have since been adopted, with the remaining cats still looking for homes.

The group has established an animal cruelty investigation community fund and is hopeful that caring individuals and businesses will help to replenish their empty coffers. All donations are tax deductible and contributions may be sent to P.O. Box 697, Church Point, Louisiana 70525. Checks and money orders should be made out to The Humane Society of Louisiana. In the check memo space, please write in "Acadia Chapter."

The Humane Society of Louisiana is the sponsoring agency of the Acadia Chapter, and is one of the largest animal protection agencies in the the state. The group is headquartered in New Orleans, operates a sanctuary in Tylertown, Mississippi, and oversees seven chapters throughout the state. For more information, please call 1-888-6-humane or visit www.humanela.org.

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