Pet owners shocked by animal cruelty case

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / July 29, 2000

DESTREHAN – “I’m still in shock…this is a lot all at once.”That was the reaction of David Perales, who had two dogs and a cat boarding with Ormond Pet Parlor.

A Kenner woman was arrested Tuesday and charged with 11 counts of cruelty to animals after neighbors of her Destrehan kennel business complained that boarded pets had been neglected for days at a time.

Jennie Smith, 20, 821 Champagne Drive, reportedly left 10 dogs and a cat confined in cages and pet carriers for three days without food or water at Ormond Pet Parlour, located at 14078 River Road in Destrehan.

Lee Ann Matherne, animal control officer for St. Charles Parish, said thebusiness was shut down while animals were rescued by the St. CharlesAnimal Shelter. Owners in most cases have been contacted, but othersawait reclaiming.

At the shelter, rescued dogs Holly and Britney were overjoyed when Perales arrived to claim them. He learned of the problems when he phonedfrom West Virginia to check on them and found out the business had been shut down.

Perales was directed by the kennel’s neighboring businesses to contact the parish animal shelter, where he learned the rest of the story. Hearrived Thursday to pick up his dogs. A calico cat he also boarded at thekennel he made available for adoption.

“She was uncooperative, like she didn’t care,” Matherne said of Smith, adding the pets were confined in cages heaped in waste matter. “If theywere house broken, they aren’t any more.”A business neighbor called the St. Charles Animal Shelter and theSheriff’s Office Tuesday and, at 11:30 a.m., officers accompanied by Smithentered the business and found the neglected animals.

Two of the dogs were confined in pet carriers, with no food, water or toilet facilities, unable to even stand.

“We haven’t talked to all the owners yet because they’re on vacation,” said Capt. Patrick Yoes. “We’re trying to get in touch with them.”Smith was released upon posting bond. Bond was set at $11,000 by 29thJudicial District Judge Emile St. Pierre.This incident follows another animal neglect case in St. Charles Parish,where a New Sarpy woman kept 36 animals, including cats, dogs and birds, in squalid conditions in a house trailer. In that case Elena Bodner, 53,faces 36 counts of cruelty to animals.

Lt. Pam Schmitt, investigating both cases, said some of the animalsrescued in these cases are still awaiting either reclaiming by their owners or adoption by a responsible family.

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