Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19652
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Child or elder neglect
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

County: Lafourche

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged

» Kristy Bell
» Tyrone Bell

A young Thibodaux couple was jailed after police said they found their two children with a dead dog in the same room in their trailer.

Kristy Bell, 21, and Tyrone Bell, 22, were arrested after a neighbor reported their dogs may have been mistreated, and police found the pit bull dead and bleeding inside, Thibodaux Police said.

Tyrone Bell told officers the dog swallowed an object and was sick but alive when he left for work Wednesday morning, police said. Officers responded to their trailer, in the 500 block of Oak Lane, that afternoon.

Kristy Bell was the only person there when officers first arrived and cooperated, bringing the dog outside and answering questions, police said.

Officers gave the two children, 1-year-old twins, to their godmother soon after arriving and notified Child Protective Services of the incident. The state Department of Children and Family Services could not be reached to confirm whether the children were in the state's custody.

A second dog, another pit bull, was in the Bell's trailer as well, police said.

"When they looked in the living room, the first thing the officers saw was a dog kennel that was full of feces. And they noticed a dog that was so malnourished he was unable to stand. The dog was also bleeding from the neck, that appeared to be a wound from the collar."

"They're just a couple that got married a little too soon, had not one but two little babies, and didn't have a lot of money coming in," said their neighbor and friend Melinda Horsley, who said she has known Tyrone Bell since he was 15.

The dead dog ate an aluminum can by accident, and Horsley and her husband had taken the dog in Tuesday to see if they could help it, Horsley said.

"But it was bleeding, and it was in bad shape," she said.

A neighbor had reported before that Kristy Bell was mistreating her children, a report that was "bogus," and Kristy Bell had been afraid authorities would take her children away, Horsley said.

"Her babies were her world. ... If she didn't have enough to feed them, she could always get something from us," Horsley said of her own family and the neighbors.

The police "only saw what they saw at a bad moment," Horsley said. Tyrone Bell was planning to bury the dog when he got home, she said.

Thibodaux Police Chief Scott Silverii says officers found the home in deplorable condition, with dog waste and used diapers on the floor and furniture.

Horsley said she and her neighbors cleaned up part of the Bell's trailer after the arrest.

"We're all like a big family here," she said.

The Bells were each charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, simple cruelty to animals, and two counts of child desertion. They are in the Lafourche Parish jail in lieu of $40,000 bonds each.


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