Two Leesville residents have been arrested on charges of animal cruelty after numerous animals were found neglected and malnourished at their home.
Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office says that on October 29, 2018, deputies arrested 49-year-old Steven Ray Jones and 31-year-old Holly Nicole Dowden of Leesville.
VPSO received a complaint from a concerned citizen regarding the alleged neglect and possible mistreatment of animals at a residence located on Wise Burns Road.
According to a release, detectives arrived at the home but were unable to contact anyone. There, they observed a miniature horse lying in the front yard which appeared unresponsive.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the location and blood samples were taken from animals at the location for further testing by a veterinarian.
Contact was made with Jones who alleged that an unknown person, or persons, had been poisoning his animals over an unspecified period of time. Laboratory results on the blood collected from the animals later showed no disease or poison in the animals’ systems.
Detectives reported that numerous animals were neglected including only a small amount of hay and rabbit food and no dog food or livestock feed at the scene.
Officials from the St. Landry Parish Animal Control Facility, Vernon Parish Animal Control, the Louisiana Brand Commission, and the Vernon Parish Police Jury were contacted for assistance.
Eight donkeys, six horses, six dogs, and one goat were removed from the location. Nine other dogs were removed from the home and about 12 additional animals, which had died, were buried.
A veterinarian determined the cause of death on all of the animals appears to be neglect and malnutrition.
Jones and Dowden were arrested and each charged with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals. Bonds have been set at $10,000.
Both remain in the VPSO jail.