Bienville Sheriff: 65-year-old woman arrested after starving dogs found in squalor inside home, yard, locked in shed


Mary Hodges, 65, was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after Bienville Parish deputies found 14 malnourished dogs in her home, yard and locked in a shed. The BPSO says more arrests are coming. (Mary Hodges photo courtesy Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office)

BIENVILLE PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Bienville Parish sheriff’s deputies on Friday took a 65-year-old woman in custody after finding malnourished animals in declining health and living in squalor inside her home on Lela Street, as well as in her yard and locked in a shed.

Mary Hodges was arrested on a search warrant at the home where the animals were found and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. An arrest warrant also has been issued for one other person living at the residence, according to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Last Sunday, BPSO Sgt. John Poda located 11 living dogs running loose and also observed four dogs inside the residence. The following BPSO deputies returned the residence and provided water to the dogs that were outside.

One dog carcass previously was located in the yard of the home, and an earlier complainant had related there were eight living and five dead dogs inside the residence.

After Sunday’s grim discovery, Bienville Parish Communications Deputy Jean Cowan on Wednesday contacted the Louisiana Humane Society and coordinated resources to provide food as well as veterinary support for the animals.

Throughout the week, BPSO deputies fed and watered the dogs that were outside the home until Friday when Dr. Kasey Johnson of the Jonesboro Animal Clinic was retained to assist in the removal and care of the animals.

Upon execution of the search warrant, deputies located 14 animals, rather than the 11 they originally believed were there. Inside the house, instead of four dogs, deputies found five, as well as seven in the yard and two locked up in a shed.  Deputies reported they were overwhelmed with the smell of dog urine and feces, and there was no food or water to be found.

On Friday, Johnson and her assistants removed all the animals from the residence and took them and were transported to the veterinary clinic for vet care and possible relocation.  

During the search, deputies located documents of several people who had resided at the home prior to the investigation.

Hodges was first booked into the Bienville Parish Jail, but since has been transferred to the Webster Parish Women’s Facility.

The Sheriff said more arrests are forthcoming.

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