Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18228
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Reward: $1,000
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Monday, Jul 11, 2011

County: Orleans

Disposition: Open
Case Images: 3 files available

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

A local animal advocacy group is asking for help finding the person responsible for burning and torturing a small dog.

The Yorkshire terrier was dropped off at Zeus' Place, a New Orleans pet grooming salon. Surveillance video shows a woman leaving the dog, which was inside a carrying case, then driving off.

Surveillance video can viewed here.

"We don't know who he is or who he belongs to -- or how this happened to him," said Michelle Ingram, owner of Zeus' Place. "I'm hoping that either she calls in or someone that knows her calls in and gives us information on where this pet belongs and how this happened so that we can properly treat him."

The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has joined the search for answers, and officials said it's rare to have a witness or video in animal cruelty cases.

"It is very hard to find people to come forward to talk about their neighbors and their community members in a negative light," LASCPA spokeswoman Katherine LeBlanc said.

Ingram and an employee, Maris Carsillas, made sure the animal received medical care.

"I still give (the dog) some pain drops, and once a day, we clean the wound and we put some ointment on it," Carsillas said.

Those who are helping the animal recover are at a loss for understanding.

"How could this happen to a dog?" Casillas asked. "Especially to a puppy."

Forensic psychologist Jill Hayes said she doubts the person who hurt the dog is the woman in the video.

"Generally, over 90 percent of cases are committed by (men)," Hayes said

Hayes said there is a common thread among child abuse, domestic violence and animal cruelty.

"A lot of times, the people have been abused as children and the house is rife with domestic violence. The dogs are sometimes used as a retaliation tactic between the husband and the wife, or the husband and the children," Hayes said.

The psychologist said she worries that the person who abused the dog could be young, and it could lead to something more violent.

"The average age that a child starts being cruel to animals is about 6.5 years old. It actually (occurs) before bullying, vandalism and cruelty to people. If you look at the people in jail, a greater majority of people have committed animal abuse than the people on the street," Hayes said.

The LASPCA said animal cruelty cases don't receive as harsh of a penalty as it would like to see. The penalty usually includes fines and community service, but rarely jail time.

Officials said more than a quarter of the calls in 2010 were about animal cruelty cases, which was more than 5,000, and LASPCA officials said 88 percent of reported child abuse cases have an element of animal abuse in the home.

The Humane Society of Louisiana said it is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the woman who dropped off the abused dog.

Anyone with information is asked to call LASPCA at 504-368-5191 or the tip line at 888-648-6263.

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